Following the publication of a teaser issue number 0 on June 1, Pilote made its debut proper on October 29, 1959. The magazine was started by experienced comics writers Goscinny and Charlier, and artists Albert Uderzo and Jean Hébrard. Previously this team had worked together on several other projects, creating Le Supplément Illustré, a cartoon supplement for newspapers, and providing cartoons for Radio-Télé, a magazine published by Radio-Luxembourg. Pilote was marketed by Radio-Luxembourg, and featured editorials written by popular radio personalities of the day. The 300,000 copies of the first issue sold out in one day.
Charlier and Goscinny handled most of the initial writing. Although Charlier came up with two popular series,