January 18, 2011

DARK THOUGHTS


To those outside of Europe, if you don't know who Franquin is... you are forgiven. Although, you mostly likely have at least encountered one of his creations, albeit watered down and having all of its anarchic humor removed: the Marsupilami.

But Franquin is so much more, so, so much more. Inventor of one of the best one-page series of all times, Gaston, he also was responsible for essentially doing the ultimate run on what before him had been an average Belgian humor/adventure comic book, Spirou (where the Marsupilami made its debut). Remember when I wrote here that you must be very aware of your influences?

Franquin is one of mine, on a good day. The best scenes of 10 Beautiful Assassins (of which there were not many) evoke his spirit, and trust me, it took a cauldron, seven virgin hearts (do you have any idea how hard it is these days to get them?), three sluts (you can get those in Los Angeles, they are a dime a dozen, and yes, they are male and female) and a whole package of blueberries.

He is not only an influence of mine, though, his genius is universally recognised by those of us who are lesser than him, but still try to live up to what he has done, to go where he went decades ago. Together with Uderzo & Goscinny (who you have to take as a unit, as it was proven by the abhorrent Asterix stories done after Goscinny's death) and Hergé, they are our big three. Our gods, for all who like to be funny, for all who have that sense of wonder, for all who don't want to grow up.

But out of all three, only Franquin continued to push the boundaries. Of all three only Franquin sharpened his pencil in the 1980s to do something that can be translated as "Dark Thoughts", which are, well, they are again what today would be called "truthiness", exposing the lies in sharp black and white, mostly black.

They are the crowning achievement of a lifetime's worth of work.

He was never better than in them. Look at this one page that takes apart, by simply extrapolating it to the most logical outcome, the death penalty as contrasted to "thou shalt not kill".