The animal

Take a popular comic character created almost 70 years ago (1952) for an audience of children and adolescents, now on their way to the elderly, with unusual characteristics: morphological uncertainty and problematic taxonomic classification, between the ape and the feline, with spots fur, like a leopard, prehensile tail with more than eight meters, and in addition marsupial …; the terrifying ferocity if hostile, makes him the king of the forest of fictitious Palómbia; but he is docile in temperament and lord of a voracious and omnivorous appetite. A marsupilami, isn’t it?

André Franquin (1924-1977) introduced it to Spirou and Fantásio’s album, Os Herdeiros, a classic, and from then on it became ubiquitous until the author abandoned the series. Spirou went on without this extraordinary supporting role until Dupuis bought the rights to the character, integrating her again in 2015, in La Colère du Marsupilami, by Yoann and Vehlmann.

In this week’s book, La Bête / O Animal, this is another marsupilami. At the port of Antwerp, at the end of November 1955, a moored boat carries a nightmare scenario: exotic animals trafficked from South America did not withstand most of the transport conditions resulting from a breakdown that forced the ship to stop for two weeks off Brazil. Among the survivors, a strange creature that cannot be seen, confined to a dark corner. How did it quell hunger and thirst? We do not know. And the captain, the shipowner and the secretary who went down to the basement also did not go out to tell. Evade the animal that wanders to the outskirts of Brussels. There, fainted, will be found by Franz, or François for the rest, a ten-year-old boy who has a special ability to deal with all animals, which he collects when he finds them mistreated. Perhaps because François, the son of a single mother and the result of her union with a German soldier during the occupation, was the target of bullying, as it is now said, by her colleagues, just as her mother is looked at sideways in the market where she makes a living. selling bivalves. We know how the women who slept with the enemy were purged, images that no one forgets. There is, however, Professor Bonifácio, a bonacheirão with the features of Franquin (a tribute), heterodox in pedagogy, also a victim of the war, for another reason: the young bride got tired of waiting when the defeated Belgian soldiers left in captivity. BD has changed a lot since 70 years ago …

The way in which Zidrou (Brussels, 1962 – we have talked about it) took on this icon is the prerogative of only the great screenwriters; Frank Pé (Ixelles, 1956) is an artist with a blessed pencil, doing what he wants from his risks. Each vignette is remarkable, in a semi-realistic line, with a very soft direct color.

La Bête is an exceptional book that well deserves a Portuguese edition, so the big publishers do not sleep or the small ones have some oxygen during the viral strangulation that plagues us.

The beast
Text Zidrou
Frank Foot Drawing
Editora Dupuis, Charleroi, 2020


But Franquin. And since we talked about André Franquin, creator not only of Marsupilami, but also of Gaston Lagaffe and Modeste and Ponpom, it is worth mentioning the complete complete edition of the incredible Black Ideas, masterpiece of black humor, with the collaboration of Yvan Delporte, chief- de-editor of Spirou magazine, for the semi-rural and more adult supplement Le Trombone Illustré, idealized by both of them as a more adult and subversive niche in a still very conservative magazine, published in 1977, and from which only 30 issues came out. We will return to Idées Noires. Fluide Glacial Edition, Paris, 2020.

Commodore Hanson’s Journey. In 1740, at war with Spain, Jorge II of England entrusts Commodore George Anson with the command of a fleet of eight ships and two thousand men to harass the transport of gold and silver from Chile and Peru, which filled the coffers and they paid for the war effort of the Iberian country, and also to capture the Royal Galleon, which he left Manila loaded with wealth. A risky mission that will force the British fleet to go around the world, bending the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Horn. A setback in the recruitment of the crew, will delay the departure by half a year, shuffling the accounts to Anson, who will meet at Cape Horn in the height of winter. Le Voyage du Commodore Anson, drawings by Matthieu Blanchin, text by Christian Perrissin, based on the travel account of the chaplain of the expedition, Richard Walter, published in 1748. Edition Futuropolis, Paris, 2021.

Source: Jornal i by

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