The Belgian art of cartoons - How Belgian comic strip may have inspired the most notorious hijacker in the US

Dan Cooper is a Belgian-French comic strip series created by Albert Weinberg about a fictional Canadian military pilot and astronaut. Although the strip was particularly popular in the 1950s, it may have inspired the most notorious hijacker of the 1970s: DB Cooper.

The Dan Cooper series was first published in 1954 in Tintin magazine in response to the Buck Danny series in the rival Spirou magazine. Although relatively unknown in the English-speaking world due to a lack of translation, the series gained some attention in the United States in 2009 due to speculation about the identity of the 1971 hijacker DB Cooper, who went by the name Dan Cooper.

Cooper took a flight from Portland, Oregon, to Seattle, Washington, claiming to have a bomb and demanding 200,000 dollars in cash. He received the money when the plane landed for refuelling, then parachuted out somewhere near Portland.


Despite decades of investigation by the FBI, Cooper was never caught or identified. The only evidence found outside the plane was a few thousand dollars in ransom money buried or lost on a sandbar in the Columbia River.

Larry Carr, a retired FBI agent who led the Cooper investigation between 2007 and 2010, was first alerted to the possible parallels between the hijacking and the comic book series by a Canadian prosecutor at the International Court of Justice in The Hague. The man had collected Dan Cooper comics as a child. Carr soon became convinced that the comic book might hold clues to unmasking the notorious criminal.

I kind of ran with the idea that he might be French-Canadian and have lived or served overseas in Belgium

"It was so interesting that of the tens of thousands of agents and analysts who looked at this case, none of them ever found the comic book connection," Carr told The U.S. Sun. "I kind of ran with the idea that he might be French-Canadian and have lived or served overseas in Belgium."

Carr believes that some of the comic's storylines seem to match aspects of the Cooper case, including parachuting out of a plane and a ransom being delivered in a backpack.

Over the past few decades, more than 1,000 suspects have been linked to Cooper, but the true identity of the hijacker has never been established. In 2007, the FBI recovered DNA from a tie, allowing them to rule out potential suspects. Like Carr, the FBI believes Cooper died on landing, as his body was never found.




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