Monday, September 29, 2008

Captain Biceps

I went to Bordeaux a few years ago and picked up a copy of tcho comic which is the kind of thing we would kill for in England. Packed with great characters and amazing art, it was a joy. The lead character is a little guy called Titeuf who also appeared in The Dandy around 2005 as Tootuff. God knows how the Dandy printed it as it's pretty near the knuckle at times. Titeuf is a prepubescent kid who is confused and obsessed by the great unknown world of girls and sex and is a little scared by it. It has a good line in toilet humour, too. In one episode I saw in the latest album he and another kid are standing next to each other at a urinal. They develop a urinating rivalry which results in them both being drenched. Can you imagine THAT in The Dandy? Or indeed in an American Newspaper?

Along with Titeuf I was totally mesmerised by a character called Captain Biceps. He's a ridiculously muscled Superhero who does battle every week with a marvel superhero, or a character from fiction, or myth, or whatever the creators Tebo and Zep can come with. (Zep is also behind Titeuf). It is simply marvelous, and drawn in a wonderfully unfussy style. The design of the pages and colouring is also brilliant. Here are the first two episodes which I found on the net:

I now have all four of the annual collections, which I ordered through The French Bookshop in South Kensington. I can't read french, but it hardly matters, most of the humour is visual anyway. In one of my favourite episodes, a superman-alike is helping Biceps every time he gets in trouble, rescuing him from being crushed by moving walls etc. At the end of the strip Biceps is caught short without any loo paper. He calls for 'Hyperman' and wipes his bottom on his cape. The last picture of his bedraggled, stinking, poo-covered cape is just great. Of course it's not all poo and wee, there are some great visual jokes and ingenious ideas in there, along with superb characterisation-Biceps little sidekicks who each get killed are a good example. I hope this stuff gets translated, but I have my doubts it ever will. We get plenty of translated french to english albums in comics shops over here, but most of it was drawn more than twenty years ago. It's a shame that the current children's comics scene in france is unaccessible to english people, as we have a lot to learn. Even, amazingly, about toilet humour.


wilburonline said...

looks good -- reminds me of buying asterix in french when i was a kid to help learn was frustrating...think it was my mum's idea...

i've also got a lovely sempé day someone'll tell me what the captions say...

Renard said...

Hi there ! I was looking for some captain biceps drawings on the net - I found your blog. It's a pity you can't understand french in the few cases you mentioned : Goscinny's humour or even Zep's texts are hilarious.

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