Born in Anthée on 30 October 1927, Willy Maltaite, or Will for short,
starts to wield the brush with great assiduousness, creating a portfolio
of drawings at an early age. His parents recognise his artistic calling
and enrol him at Saint-Joseph de Maredsous college, where he fails
the entrance examination.
He then enters into an apprenticeship with Joseph Gillain, a young artist working for SPIROU. It is the beginning of a great friendship and the awakening of a deep devotion to his art.
The glorious and wild period of "The Gang of Four" begins in 1946: besides Will, Joseph Gillain takes a pair of completely wild youngsters, Franquin and Morris, under his wing. Astounded by his new pals' talent, Will starts to work on cartoons and illustrations.
His first works are published in the two weeklies, BONNES SOIREES and LE MOUSTIQUE. From that moment on, he wants to produce a comic book.
While Franquin, Jijé and Morris are in America, Will sketches "Le Mystère du Bambochal", which is rejected by Dupuis. Undismayed, he commissions a small publisher to produce a limited edition of 15 000 copies.
His style, however, prompts Charles Dupuis to ask him to take over "Tif et Tondu", the famous duo created by Fernand Dineur. He will animate these characters until 1990 before handing them over to Alain Sikorski. Maurice Rosy, Maurice Tillieux and Stephen Desberg will succeed each other on the scripts for the series from the early 1950s until Will leaves.
He and his pals become one of the mainstays of SPIROU, where he will produce regular episodes of the duo, one bearded and the other bald, with the exception of a period between 1958 and 1959, when he accepts the post of artistic director at TINTIN. He returns, greatly disappointed by a job with too much administration and too little creative scope.
He works on the backgrounds for Franquin for an episode of "Spirou", "Les Pirates du silence" in 1955, does the same for Peyo for the creation of "Benoît Brisefer" and then draws the first adventures of "Jacky et Célestin" for him, before training François Walthéry to succeed him.
Wanting to work with characters of his own, he launches "Eric et Artimon" in 1962, based on a script by Vicq and, in 1970, turns to fantasy with "Isabelle", which is scripted by Yvan Delporte and André Franquin.
In 1989, he undergoes a radical change of tone and devotes himself to more adult themes for the "Aire Libre" collection. He draws and paints "Le Jardin des désirs" based on scripts by Stephen Desberg, followed a year later by "La 27e Lettre". "L'Appel de l'enfer" for P&T Productions was his last major project with Desberg.
He dies in 2000, leaving his last book unfinished: "L'arbre des deux printemps" (scripted by Rudi Miel) will be completed by all his friends in a marvellous posthumous publication.