Michel Tacq Mitaq
La Patrouille des Castors
Keith Larson

Michel Tacq Mitaq was born June 10, 1927 in Uccle, close to Brussels, Belgium.  He was a Scout in the Troop Saint Aléne where his totem was Toucan.  He was Assistant Cub Master (Balou) from 1951 till 1954 in the Saint Aléne pack at Saint Gilles Bruxelles.  He later visited the 1957 World Jamboree at Sutton-Coldfield.  His love of Scouting would play a big role in his later comic work as an artist.

Mitacq & Saint Aléne Cub Scouts
Mitacq & Saint Aléne Cub Scouts

Using the pseudonym “Mitacqö he published his first artwork at age seventeen, and joined the famous World Press Agency in 1947.  In 1954, his collaboration with Jean-Michel Charlier took off with the publication of the first 'Patrouille des Castors' (Beaver Patrol).  Mitacq used the neckerchief from Saint Aléne for the Beaver Patrol; yellow with blue stripe.

La Patrouille des Castors
La Patrouille des Castors [Italiano]

The Beaver Patrol adventures included summer camp and visits to other countries.  In 1965 the Beavers became "Pionniers" (older scouts) and change their uniforms.  Mouche was modeled on the son of Pierre Joubert, the “French Norman Rockwell.”

La Patrouille des Castors - Pionniers
La Patrouille des Castors - Pionniers

The Beaver Patrol was formed of 5 Boy Scouts with guest members:

The Beaver Patrol comic strip was published by DUPUIS, Marcinelle, Belgium in the cartoon magazine "Robbedoes" starting in 1954.  The Robbedoes magazine is the Dutch translation of Spirou.  In 1960, Mitacq illustrated 'Patrouille des Zoms', a parody of the Castors, written by Yvan Delporte.  In 1959, he illustrated Charlier's 'Jacques Le Gall' for the magazine Pilote.  From 1968 until 1979, Mitacq did the artwork for 'Stany Derval.'  His work appeared in the medium of cartoon graphic novels or Les BD (bandes dessinees).  In Europe, fans of BD call it 'the 8th Art.'

Letter from Spirou
Michel Tacq - Letter from Spirou

Mitacq passed away in 1994 and the Beaver Patrol cartoon series ended.  A few months after his death, Spirou magazine justly honored one of its greatest contributors by giving him a grand homage.  The Belgium Scouts also published his illustrations on their 1995 calendar.  His books remain popular today among fans and are translated into several languages.

Belgium issued a commemorative mini sheet of 9 se-tenant postage stamps on October 4, 1999 during BRUPHILA '99 [Scott# 1771d, perf, p/o 1771].  This issue was a continuation of a series of cartoon strip stamps with the theme of "Philatélie de le jeunesse" (Youth Stamps).  The individual stamps in this issue pay a posthumous tribute to eight masters of Belgian comic strips, including Michel Tacq - "Mitacq,"  The Scouts in the stamp are sitting around a campfire telling the value of the stamp: BEF (17bef), and Euro (0.42 € ) each.

Michel Tacq
Michel Tacq - "Mitacq" Stamp [Large Picture]

This stamp issue also marks the 10th anniversary of the "Centre Belge de la Bande Dessinée" (Belgian Comic Strip Center), a museum and research library located in Brussels.  The central stamp on the sheet shows the Comic Strip Center.  The issue design was by MVTM (Design Cell of The Post).

Youth Stamps
"Philatélie de le jeunesse" (Youth Stamps '99)

Philatelic Notes:
Issue Cancellations: Other Souvenirs:
The Belgian National Telecom operator issued a phonecard for the Beaver Patrol.  The card copies a scene out of 'The Bottle in the Sea'. Only 1000 pieces were made, price 895 BEF (22.19 EUR)
The Belgium Post printed a hard cover book for this stamp issue.  "HOMMAGE 10de verjaardag voor het Belgische centrum van het beeldverhaal." Cost was 1300 ex. 750 BEF. Also available are a Dutch version : "9 Zegels Voor de 9de Kunst." French version : "9 Timbres Pour le 9e Art." Contents include a bibliography, short stories from the persons in the comics, a few comic designs, and more information about the Belgium Comic Strip Center.

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Credits:
1. Dominque Limbos
2. Echo, October 1999, Journal of Scout Philatelists Benelux
3. La Poste, http://www.philately.post.be/
4. philanews, 4/99, Belgian Post