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Spirou Et Fantasio (d'apres Fournier)

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By oclero   |   Watch
Published: August 10, 2014
© 2014 - 2019 oclero
C'est un hommage à Jean-Claude Fournier. C'est en fait la première case (un peu retravaillée) de ce qui aurait dû être le 30 ème album de Spirou Et Fantasio : La Maison dans la Mousse.
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TokyoGo-Go's avatar
This is a really nice piece of drawing (and colouring) and a very joyful scene...^^

I'm English and today, in a charity shop, I came across a volume of Spirou and Fantasio. I have never seen them before in my life. The volume is called 'Panade ā Champignac' by Franquin. I think it's from 1967, or thereabouts, and I was really impressed by the style, charm and humour of the drawings. It's all in French, so I cannot really read it. But in it, Spirou is wearing a very cool, red tracksuit and he drives a Honda S800 coupe. Very stylish stuff. I've since done some internet research and found out more about Franquin and the strip....^^

Je suis anglais et aujourd'hui, dans un magasin de charité, je suis tombé sur un volume de Spirou et Fantasio. Je ne les ai jamais vu auparavant dans ma vie. Le volume est appelé «Panade à Champignac» par Franquin. Je pense qu'il est de 1967, ou à peu près, et je suis vraiment impressionné par le style, le charme et l'humour des dessins. Il est tout en français, donc je ne peux pas vraiment le lire. Mais en elle, Spirou est vêtu d'un très cool, survêtement rouge et il conduit un coupé Honda S800. Substance très élégant. Depuis, j'ai fait quelques recherches sur Internet et a trouvé plus sur Franquin et la bande .... ^^
oclero's avatar
ocleroHobbyist Traditional Artist
Did you find a French book in a UL charity shop ? Interesting!
"Panade à Champignac" is the last album Franquin made for Spirou & Fantasio. He became bored of the characters since he didn't create them. He then gave them to Fournier, his successor, who was also his student and protegee. Fournier gave Spirou & Fantasio a very poetic touch. At the begining, he tried to emulate Franquin's style, but soon he found his own style, which is the one I tried to replicate on my drawing.
A little bit of History: the drawing is actually taken from the last Spirou & Fantasio album Fournier made, which was never finished and never released, sadly. The atmosphere was intended to be even more poetic than the previous ones. This never released album is titled "La Maison dans la Mouse" (The House in The Foam). Only the first pages are available, and it is very very cute, and so much well drawn and stylish, it's a shame that the Publication Company never let him finish the story.
TokyoGo-Go's avatar
If you start a Spirou and Fantasio group or club then I will join.

Which do you prefer - Fournier or Franquin?

Franquin has Marsupilami in the strip. I think that he and Spirou may be the prototypes for Calvin and Hobbes, the later American strip. That's what it looks like to me, anyway.

I really like the style and the panache of the cartooning. I can only read bits of the strip because it's in French. But I'm going to have a really good look through it. I'm very pleased to have it. I really like the countryside setting and the big old chateau and the city streets at the beginning. Would that be Paris or Marseilles? Where are the offices of Spirou?

I think the house in Fournier's drawing may be the same one as in "Panade à Champignac"
oclero's avatar
ocleroHobbyist Traditional Artist
I don't have a preference. When I was a child, it was Fournier because he's from Britanny (Celtic and West part of France) like me, and he was really a star in our region, so my grand parents offered me his albums. I think his first ones are not really good, the stories go nowhere and everywhere and the drawings are not that good (himself did approve that). He really begin to master Spirou & Fantasio in "Tora-Torapa". When I was a child, it didn't matter, but now I can really see how he matured in storytelling and drawing, starting from "Tora-Torapa".

On the other hand, Franquin is like a God, along with Hergé (creator of Tintin), in franco-belgian comic books. They are the two most famous and renowned creators of our countries. Franquin created the whole Spirou universe (but not Spirou which was created before in 1938), which includes Gaston Lagaffe and the marsupilami, and gave Spirou a style that was soon imitated by all the other comic books at the time, in the 40's/50's/ early 60's. At the time (and still today), Spirou has a weekly published magazine (Journal de Spirou) and it became the main force against US comic books. But Spirou remains above because of Franquin stylish lines, and let's not forget his assistant Jidéhem who was responsible for all the backgrounds, cars and vehicules. They like Atom design (futuristic 40's-50's design) and you can see it in their lines and choices of decoration in homes, futuristic cars, etc. But from mid-60's, Franquin gave up this style and created another one, which is used in "Panade à Champignac" (btw means "Mess in Champignac").

The countryside where your book takes place is called "Champignac-en-Cambrouse", which is a cliche name for small countryside villages. The old man living in the manor is the Count of Champignac, and he is a biologist specialized in mushrooms ("Champignon" means mushroom). Of course, like all good cartoon scientists, his experiences always turn bad, which often the start for a new Spirou adventure. In "Panade à Champignac", he turned Zorglub (who is the main antagonist in Franquin years) into a baby.

Spirou & Fantasio are friends with the Count of Champignac since an early Franquin's album, and visit him pretty often. They live in a big franco-belgian town, which is neither Paris nor Bruxelles, but a mix between both, since Spirou was distributed in France and Belgium and had to please both countriesn which have a lot of culture in common, and obviously the language. They don't live in the city center but in a stylish home in the suburbs.

There is a third "big" period for Spirou & Fantasio, which is after Fournier gave up. Tome & Janry took the turn and made amazing albums also. The suite "La Frousse aux Trousses"/"La Vallee des Bannis" is a masterpiece, and the second one is often cited as one of the best Spirou & Fantasio albums, and one the best "classic" franco-belgian albums also.

Sorry for writing so much text, but it's always nice to see that Spirou & Fantasio cross borders.
TokyoGo-Go's avatar
Thank you very much for writing all of that. It was fascinating to read it and you have given me some very valuable cultural context and artistic background to the series.

The Franco-Belgian dimension is clearly important in understanding all of this. I had no idea that Franquin is as highly regarded as Hergé, nor did I have much previous idea about the importance of Franco-Belgian comics culture as a whole. But you have given me at least some idea about this. I would be interested to have a list of the most important and well-regarded Franco-Belgian comics "tomes" or albums. That would be useful for me, and possibly also enjoyable, too!^^

The copy of "Panade à Champignac" which I came across in the charity shop is very small. It is about the size of a paperback novel. But I have since checked online and found it in the original album size at a reasonable price. So I have bought this one as well. It will be nice to have them both. The paperback-sized copy will fit in my bag and I can also use it for reference.

Speaking as an outsider with little extensive knowledge or understanding of the series, I have to say that I like the style which Franquin uses in this particular album. Having checked the covers to many of the other Spirou et Fantasio albums online, his style appears to be both more energetic and more relaxed - more free, if you like - on this particular album than in some of the previous ones. For example, Spirou's costume is more like that of a sports car driver and his gloves are more like driving gloves than appears to be the case in some of Franquin's earlier albums. There is also the matter of the car he drives, which I think is a Honda S800 coupe, which was only in production between 1967 and 1970. Although it was preceded by the similar-looking S600, I believe. Basically, I really like the sixties style and countryside setting of "Panade à Champignac". Franquin really nails the look and feeling of the time, from a Franco-Belgian context...^^

I have also noted what you have said about Tome & Janry and "La Frousse aux Trousses"/"La Vallee des Bannis". When I have some money, perhaps I will pick those up as well. But for the present, I am happy with "Panade à Champignac".

Thanks again for all of the valuable background information and cultural context with which you have provided me. 
oclero's avatar
ocleroHobbyist Traditional Artist
You're welcome! Spirou & Fantasio is my favorite comic books of all time since I was a kid, so I pretty much know every album by heart ^^

Franquin (and Jidéhem) used to love the 50's modernism and include them in his albums (furniture, buildings, cars with elegant lines, clothes....) and both worked really hard during this period of time (Spirou & Fantasio, Gaston Lagaffe, Modeste & Pompon), with a very tense/nervous style, very clear and powerful lines.
And at the dawn of the 60's, Franquin did a nervous breakdown, too much work, too much pressure maybe also, and he was a famous perfectionnist. So instead of making one (even up to several) album(s) a year, he began to work slower and slower. "QRN sur Bretzelburg" which was released before "Panade à Champignac" took him (and his assistants) several years to make. The publication was paused several times because of his nervous breakdown. He tried to keep on drawing Spirou & Fantasio but he actually preferred Gaston Lagaffe, that you can see in "Bravo les Brothers", the second story now included in "Panade à Champignac". "Bravo les Brothers" was published before "Panade à Champignac" in the journal. During the 60's Franquin progressively gave up Spirou & Fantastio, and at the same time changed his style. He stopped to draw with pen and ink, and instead used a pencil, which made him less nervous, more relaxed. He also stopped to write long stories, and wrote only short gags, because he said that long stories made him nervous, he never knew how to finish the stories. He did every thing that was possible to free himself from the constraints he created during the 40's/50's.

"Panade à Champignac" was pretty much a big "fuck you" to Mr. Dupuis, who was the owner of Dupuis Editions and Journal de Spirou. Dupuis wanted Franquin to keep on drawing Spirou & Fantastio, logically because he was THE star at the time, and the albums sold very well. But since he hadn't created the series, he wasn't able to do what he wanted to do with the characters, and he always had to ask Dupuis to know if they were OK with the story, and they thought he was beginning to take too much time to made the albums (a recurrent issue with Spirou & Fantasio for all the authors! and the reason they change authors). So for his final album, he transformed his greatest villain (Zorglub) into a ridiculous baby, as a joke, like "So you want me to draw Spirou? OK so take some Spirou but don't complain!". The situations are absurd, the characters are ridiculous, they are false suspens and several false ending, it is a very strange album actually.

If you like Champignac countryside, Tome & Janry made a whole album in the little town, "Le Rayon Noir" (The Black Ray). I also love the town of Champignac because it reminds me my grandparents small town, and it also have a manor in it.

I don't have a list of the greatests franco-belgian comic-books of all time, actually I have one but it is too much a personnal list of favorites, and not really and list of absolute classics.
In the "good old classic" vein, I can still try, and recommand these series (very classic):
 - Tintin (of course!)
 - Astérix (obvisouly)
 - Lucky Luke, a parody of western movies and comic-books, but also interesting because of the historical characters it uses, and often refer to our modern society.
 - De Capes Et de Crocs, a wonderful story both in the swashbuckler genre and comic theater genre, with anthropomorphic characters and dialogs written as poetry
 - Gil Jourdan, in the film noir genre (good plots, good atmosphere, crimes, warehouses, ports, car chases and car crashes...), but still very funny
 - Peter Pan by Regis Loisel, fantastic version, dark and beautiful
 - Gaston Lagaffe by Franquin and Jidéhem, perhaps the most funny of its time
 - The Smurfs! the 10 firsts albums are absolute classics, the stories have multiple degrees of reading, double-entendre, ect.
 - By Franquin again, another masterpiece: Idées Noires. Very very dark humour, in black and white, absolutely beautiful, a must-read. Politically engaged.

But for me, Spirou & Fantasio are still the best IMHO ^^
TokyoGo-Go's avatar
Thank you very much for writing all of that. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and have now done so at least four times.

"I also love the town of Champignac because it reminds me of my grandparents small town, and it also have a manor in it."

That is quite strange, because when I was a kid, my grandparents also lived in the countryside, near to a small village, which likewise had a Manor House nearby, with a genuine "Lord of the Manor" living in it. And it was precisely my memories of this sort of countryside and situation that were stirred when I first looked through "Panade à Champignac". The sunshine, the green grass, the roads through the countryside, the house, etc...Franquin does nail the look of all of that, beautifully.

As I said, it's a pity that I cannot read it, or very much of it. Although I do love the opening gag where the lorry driver leans out of his cab and pats the roof of the "petite" car, only to receive a punch from marsupilami. And then he muses that it must be the influence of James Bond. I thought that was very funny...^^

I can see that there are differences in the style Franquin uses on "Bravo les Brothers" when compared to "Panade à Champignac". The former is more precise and concentrated, whereas (to my eyes) the latter is more relaxed and free. But I am happy to have them both.

I must check out the Peter Pan by Regis Loisel and also "Le Rayon Noir" by Tome and Janry.

Thanks again! And please feel free to write some more, if and when you feel like doing so.  
fukiko777's avatar
fukiko777Student General Artist
On voit bien que le style du dessin est largement inspiré du style de dessin à Franquin ! Wow vraiment magnifique !
fukiko777's avatar
fukiko777Student General Artist
En effet ^^ : j'ai lu la description et j'ai reconnu le style >< ! Argh j'ai confondu Fournier avec Franquin..
oclero's avatar
ocleroHobbyist Traditional Artist
Merci c'est gentil! Mais ça serait davantage inspiré par le style de Fournier non ? ^^
spiroureporter's avatar
Génial ! C'est comme de voir comment l'album aurait été.
oclero's avatar
ocleroHobbyist Traditional Artist
Merci :) Pour m'entraîner il faudrait que je refasse les 4 premières planches d'après les esquisses, et présenter ça à Mr Fournier :)
Darkemus06's avatar
Darkemus06Student General Artist
J'aime beaucoup ! c'est tres bien fait et on ressent bien l'ambiance de la bd :) 
oclero's avatar
ocleroHobbyist Traditional Artist
Merci !
CartooneyJooney's avatar
Wow, c'est une belle scène.
oclero's avatar
ocleroHobbyist Traditional Artist
merci !
anonymous's avatar
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