© J.-J. Procureur
Born in Brussels on 23 February 1958, son of the great Will, Eric Maltaite has always lived in a special universe evolving around comic strips. He sees his father working on the strips of Tif et Tondu, and sometimes helps him when he reaches adolescence.
He makes great progress and he has his first youthful work published in TINTIN in 1976 (Bidevision). He becomes friends with Stephen Desberg who begins to assist Tillieux for the scripts of Tif etTondu. After an initial joint venture resulting in a complete story in SPIROU (Jules et Gil, 1978), the Maltaite-Desberg team embarks upon a more ambitious project, a parodic series about the Herodius family whose members travel through the ages with a malice that baffled the readers in those days. Two long stories are created for this family (Le Vol du Transgalaxie Express and Opération Chamboise, 1979), followed by several resurrections in short stories.
In his early days, Eric was obviously influenced by the wild humour used by the wonderful friends of the family: Jijé, Franquin, Tillieux, Delporte, Peyo, Walthéry or Macherot. His first productions quite naturally have a rather "willian" style, but he gradually frees himself from it. He feels the urge to explore a more semi-realist field with lots of action instead of humour, and Desberg appears not to be totally at ease in the comical genre.
So they try their hand at a new style, creating in 1980 special agent Jimmy Plant... who becomes famous for his registration number 421! After a rather humoristic start which shows some James Bond-like satire, the series alternates police, spy and science fiction frames in an original way. 421 experiences eleven long adventures until 1992, allowing the young illustrator to explore other graphic styles and to discover how pleasant it is to regularly change atmosphere and style.
While the stars of the older generation prefers to find a stable character to devote their career to, Eric Maltaite is one of those flying stars of these days, one of these talented, versatile illustrators who prefer one-shots and miniseries.
While 421 begins to become a routine job at Dupuis, he publishes Mono Jim (Le carrefour de Nâm-Pha) with a script by Denis Lapière in L'ECHO DES SAVANES, then in album at Albin Michel in 1987. The example of his father (converted rather late to direct colour plates and to themes for adult readers for the Aire Libre collection) encourages him to create such a work with Desberg (Carmen Lamour, P et T Productions, 1993). In 1999 he composes an album on Robinson (La Naufragée) on his own for Albin Michel.
At the same time he occasionally features in SPIROU with various cycles of complete stories, such as Nationale Zéro, on a script by Jean-Louis Janssens in 1995, but, swinging to and fro between comic strips for adult readers and those for all ages, and also attracted by his taste for travelling and lazing about, he is still finding his way, working alternatively for Albin Michel (Les mille nuits de Schéhérazade, illustrations of the most erotic of the stories in the famous fairytale) and Glénat (Zambada, on a script by Autheman, a police action miniseries).