For a certain kind of comics and/or illustration fan, nothing could be greater than the privilege of watching their favorite artists at work. This is especially true for admirers of a generation of European creators whose comics seemed like pure imagination drained right out of their minds and onto the pages of countless comic strips and series. The concept of watching that process take place on television would seem like some kind of cynical joke today, but back in the early 1970s, a French television show called Tac au Tac did exactly that.

As unlikely as it seems, master comics artists Jean "Moebius" Giraud, Hugo Pratt, Nikita Mandryka, Alexis, Barbarella creator Jean-Claude Forest, Joseph Gillain and even Neal Adams and Joe Kubert were assembled in studios and filmed drawing together on enormous canvases, and you can see that remarkable footage below.The Institut national de l'audiovisuel (or National Audiovisual Institute) is a very cool treasury of what Wikipedia describes as "all" French radio and television. 20,000 hours of material is available on INA's website, including cartooning-based episodes of something called Tac Au Tac (translates to "Tit for Tat"). While it may seem absolutely incredible to us that anybody would wish to see these artists in action, the vibe on Tac Au Tac seems very relaxed, like, "Of course Moebius and Neal Adams are in the same room and drawing on the same canvas. What's wrong with you?" Truly, these videos depict a world as unlikely and fantastic as those seen in these creators' works.

December 27, 1971 - Jean Giraud, Gotlib, Mandryka, Alexis

The contributors to the French comics anthology Pilote assemble to create illustrations based around the theme of Noah's Ark.

retrouver ce média sur

January 22nd, 1972: Jean Giraud, Gotlib, Mandryka, Alexis

The artists improvise some kind of satirical work about superheroes.

retrouver ce média sur

May 22nd, 1972: Jean Giraud, Hugo Pratt, Jean-Claude Forest, Joseph Gillain

Riffing off of four onomatopoeia designed by Jean-Claude Forest and Joseph Gillain, Moebius and Pratt are challenged to create a three-panel story using their favorite characters: Blueberry for Moebius and Corto Maltese for Pratt.

retrouver ce média sur

September 30th, 1972: Jean Giraud, Neal Adams, Joe Kubert

These legendary creators sketch based on the theme of superheroes and monsters.

retrouver ce média sur

More From ComicsAlliance