Les voleurs du Marsupilami
Les voleurs du Marsupilami and drawn by Franquin, is the fifth album of the Spirou et Fantasio series, resuming development of the Spirou universe where the previous Spirou et les héritiers left off. After serial publication in Spirou magazine, the story was released as a complete hardcover album in 1954. In The Marsupilami's Thieves and Fantasio regret giving the magnificent animal they brought back from the Palombian jungle, the Marsupilami, to a zoo, decide to free the animal again and return it to its original home; this plan fails because someone else beats them to the abduction, another quest to find the Marsupilami begins. This journey brings them to the city of Magnana, the fiendish Circus Zabaglione; as a direct sequel to the previous album, Les Voleurs contain several memorable episodes, including the intermezzo at the border station, Spirou and Fantasio's circus disguise act as "Cam & Leon", with some help from the science of The Count of Champignac. Football player Valentin Mollet, introduced in this story, is another "shifting" character in Spirou et Fantasio.
A villain - he steals the Marsupilami for money to support his family - he repays Spirou et Fantasio for giving him a second chance and ends up saving the day. Jo Almo, a pseudonym for Geo Salmon, is credited for idea work. Spirou official site album index Franquin site album index
Z comme Zorglub
Z comme Zorglub and drawn by Franquin, is the fifteenth album of the Spirou et Fantasio series, the first part of Franquin's Zorglub diptych. The story was serialised in Spirou magazine before its release as a hardcover album in 1961. In Z is for Zorglub, Fantasio receives a hair dryer as a gift from a secret admirer, but its unexpected hypnotic abilities announce a new ominous presence in the Spirou universe. Zorglub, an old acquaintance of the Count of Champignac, appears from the past and offers the Count the chance to join him in seizing world domination, but it is rejected. In response, Zorglub proceeds to demonstrate his powers by manipulating the township of Champignac to storm the Count's mansion, which nearly leads to the destruction of his laboratory; as this just fails, Zorglub decides to kidnap Fantasio, to "zorglhomize" him into a zorglhomme, forcing Spirou and the Count to travel to the village of Zorgland, attempt to outwit the criminal mastermind. Along with the introduction of the new arch-enemy Zorglub, a few inventions and vehicles associated with him are seen for the first time, most impressively the Zorglumobile and the Zorglécoptère.
Another first is the stunning weapon of the Zorglonde. Champignac town gendarme Jérôme is seen for the first time, is given the distinction of becoming the first zorglhomme of Champignac-en-Cambrousse; this album was translated into English and released in 1995 by Fantasy Flight Publishing, although this is out of print. Spirou official site album index Franquin site album index
Spirou et Fantasio
Spirou and Fantasio is one of the most popular classic Franco-Belgian comics. The series, running since 1938, shares many characteristics with other European humorous adventure comics like The Adventures of Tintin and Asterix, it has been drawn by a succession of artists. Spirou and Fantasio are the series' main characters, two adventurous journalists who run into fantastic adventures, aided by Spirou's pet squirrel Spip and their inventor friend the Count of Champignac; the comic strip was created by Rob-Vel for the launch of Le Journal de Spirou on April 21, 1938, published by Éditions Dupuis. The main character was an elevator operator for the Moustique Hotel, remained dressed in his red bellhop uniform for a long time after the occupation was dropped. Spirou has a pet squirrel called Spip, the series' first supporting character, introduced on June 8, 1939 in the story arc titled L'Héritage de Bill Money and liberated in the following week's issue, remaining a presence in all Spirou stories since.
Adding to the difficulties of magazine publication that came with the outbreak of World War II, Velter joined the army effort, his wife Blanche Dumoulin, using the pen name Davine, continued the work on the Spirou strip, with the aid of the young Belgian artist Luc Lafnet. Spirou became the property of the publisher Dupuis, who bought the character from Rob-Vel in 1943, since the series has belonged to no specific author; the title has therefore subsequently been passed on to writers. The first succession came in 1943 when Joseph Gillain, known by the pen name Jijé, was given charge of the character. In 1944 Jijé introduced a new character, who would become Spirou's best friend and co-adventurer. Holding many artistic commitments at Spirou magazine, Jijé sought to delegate much of his work, in 1946 he handed the series to his understudy, the young André Franquin, in the middle of the production of the story Spirou et la maison préfabriquée. Franquin developed the strip from single gags and short serials into long adventures with complex plots, is considered as the definitive author of the strip.
He introduced a large gallery of recurring characters, notably the Count de Champignac, elderly scientist and inventor. One Franquin creation that went on to develop a life of its own was the Marsupilami, a fictional monkey-like creature with a tremendously long prehensile tail; the Marsupilami appears in the majority of the Franquin stories, starting in 1952 with Spirou et les héritiers. In the series, it follows them everywhere they go. Marsupilamis in the wild take centre stage in Le nid des Marsupilamis which presents Seccotine's documentary featuring a family in their natural habitat, the jungles of the fictitious South American state Palombia. Starting with Le prisonnier du Bouddha, Franquin began to work with Jidéhem; as in some of his series, Greg staged his stories in a realistic geopolitical context. Le prisonnier du Bouddha is set with veiled references made to the Cold War; as for QRN sur Bretzelburg, it takes place in two imaginary European countries which bring to mind pre-reunification Germany.
Lastly, it is with Greg that Franquin created famed villain Zorglub in the diptych of Z comme Zorglub and L'ombre du Z. However, as Franquin grew tired of Spirou, his other major character Gaston began to take precedence in his work, following the controversial Panade à Champignac, the series passed on to a unknown young cartoonist, Jean-Claude Fournier, in 1969. One side effect of this is that the Marsupilami would only appear in one last story, Le faiseur d'or; this is. Starting with Du glucose pour Noémie, there would be no more appearances of the Marsupilami in Spirou et Fantasio, with the exception of a few discreet references. Only in the 1980s did the Marsupilami reappear in its own series, television cartoon and videogame. Fournier authored nine books in the series. Where Franquin's stories tended to be politically neutral, Fournier's stint on Spirou addressed such hot topics as nuclear energy, drug-funded dictatorships and Duvalier-style repression. Fournier introduced some new characters such as Ororéa, a beautiful girl reporter with whom Fantasio was madly in love with.
None of these were reused by artists until some thirty years when Itoh Kata appeared in Morvan and Munuera's Spirou et Fantasio à Tokyo. However, at the end of the 1970s Fournier's pace began to slow down and the publisher, sought new authors to replace him. For a time, three separate teams worked on concurrent stories. Nic Broca and Raoul Cauvin took on Fournier's lead without adding much to the characters, their primary addition to the Spir
Fantasio is a fictional character from the Spirou et Fantasio comic strip. He was introduced in 1944 by Jijé, drawing Spirou's adventures. Fantasio is Spirou's best friend and co-adventurer, a graphic reporter with an uncontrolled imagination and a mop of blond hair. In his early incarnation, he was taller than Spirou, with a clown-like demeanour, his hairstyle resembled that of Blondie character Dagwood Bumstead. In the Franquin era, he and Spirou became more alike, he has an evil megalomaniac cousin, his sworn enemy but bears a strong physical resemblance to him. Fantasio appeared in the Gaston comic strip, where he was the main character's superior seen trying to sign contracts with Monsieur De Mesmaeker, his job in this series could be described as an office manager. In opposition to his role in Spirou, in Gaston Fantasio was a serious character, playing straight man to Gaston's goofy antics, who thus becomes to Fantasio what Fantasio is to Spirou. However, Fantasio left that series when André Franquin left Spirou et Fantasio after the album Panade à Champignac, being replaced in the role by Léon Prunelle.
La corne de rhinocéros
La corne de rhinocéros and drawn by Franquin, is the sixth album of the Spirou et Fantasio series. The material was first serialised in Spirou magazine in two parts, Spirou et la Turbotraction and the sequel La corne de rhinocéros, merged into one for the release of the hardcover album in 1955. In The Rhino's Horn and Fantasio rescue their friend the racecar driver Roulebille, wounded by murderous thugs. Roulebille's employers, have designed a car so spectacular that competitors will stop at nothing to steal its revolutionary plans. In order to find Roulebille's partner Martin and retrieve the car's blueprints, the two reluctantly team up with another journalist, an irritating but priceless young woman called Seccotine; the search for Martin takes them to several regions of Africa - complete with rather dated portrayals of the natives. After retrieving the missing blueprints from the titular body part and Fantasio are given the first prototype of the car, baptised Turbot-Rhino to celebrate their adventure.
Publisher Dupuis had Franquin retouch an early sequence when thugs chase Spirou and Fantasio in the department store, removing their guns. The introduction of cheeky and quick-witted Seccotine into the Spirou universe was quite ahead of its time for Belgian comic books, she returns in several other stories. The futuristic-looking Turbotraction:Turbot-Rhino I was not as far-fetched as it looked at the time. Franquin based it on actual prototypes depicted in scientific revues. A life-size model of it and other vehicles created in the series was created for the World of Franquin exhibition in Paris and Brussels in 2006-2007. Spirou official site album index Franquin site album index
Le repaire de la murène
Le repaire de la murène, written and drawn by Franquin, is the ninth album of the Spirou et Fantasio series, adding underwater adventure to the Spirou universe. After serial publication in Spirou magazine, it was released as a complete hardcover album in 1957. In The Moray's Keep, shipping magnate Xénophon Hamadryas offers a $6000 prize to the makers of a submarine innovation in order to find his sunken ship Le Discret off the French Mediterranean coast; the Count of Champignac's mini-sub invention is so spectacular that the competition must resort to sabotage. A chain of secrets need to be exposed while the maritime criminal John "the Moray" Helena lurks in the deep; the inventions of the Count of Champignac are central to this story as the X4 mushroom elixir that increases brain activity comes into play, resulting in the "Véhicule sous-marin individuel". An old Fantasio invention, the "Fantacopter", makes a reappearance. A new discovery in the biology of Marsupilami is revealed. Spirou official site album index Franquin site album index
Les chapeaux noirs
Les chapeaux noirs, album in the Belgian comic series Spirou et Fantasio, released in 1952. The album contains the longer story Les chapeaux noirs written and drawn by Franquin, three shorter stories, Mystère à la frontière by Franquin, Comme une mouche au plafond and Spirou et les hommes-grenouilles by Jijé. All the stories were serialised in the Franco-Belgian comics magazine Spirou between 1949-50. In Les chapeaux noirs and Fantasio go on assignment for Le Moustique and travel to USA, on assignment to report on the status of Wild West. Upon arrival they are disappointed to find a modern culture, but by chance meet a man who directs them to Tombstone, a town with all the western myths intact. In Comme une mouche au plafond, Spirou finds himself levitating in his apartment; this phenomenon turns out to be caused by the wizard neighbour whom Spirou and Fantasio must outwit in order to stop his mischief. In Les hommes grenouilles and Spip take the train to meet Fantasio in the Mediterranean village Cassis-sur-Mer where he lives in his boat while trying his luck in the tourism industry.
But as crime flourishes abundantly in the area, they find themselves in a dangerous maritime adventure. In Mystère à la frontière, the heroes investigate a case reported in the papers, hoping to expose a smuggling ring responsible for bringing into Belgium a new drug, "Hicoine"; the title story draws upon Franquin's experiences in USA, when he joined Jijé and Morris on a journey to absorb Americana. While the other two harvested a great deal of material for their western series Jerry Spring and Lucky Luke, Franquin limited his USA-inspired work to the shorter story Les chapeaux noirs. Upon completing it, he went directly to work on Mystère à la frontière, another short story featuring a harmless drug, from there started work on Il y a un sorcier à Champignac. Since this became the launch of the series' stories told in long, in-depth context, this last prior work marks the end of the Spirou short story period. Spirou official site album index Franquin site album index