Friday, October 23, 2009

Le Cowboy

When I was a kid on a family vacation in Denmark in the '70s, we made the obligatory visit to Legoland. Among the many wonders of the world rendered in Lego, there was Mount Rushmore and more astonishingly, in the shadows beneath it, hordes of blond, blue-eyed Danish kids, done up in full Apache war bonnets, roasting rolls over a campfire. What a sight.

The French have their own fascination with the American West, incarnated by, among others, Lucky Luke, the cowboy who can draw his gun faster than his own shadow. Lucky Luke, with his talking horse Jolly Jumper, is the star of a series of cartoon books that first made their appearance in the 1950s and they are a huge hit among the French and Belgians of the postwar generation and since, as successful as the series better known to Americans, Tin Tin and Asterix. This week, the cowboy comes to life on the big screen in live action. Played by French hunk, Jean Dujardin, Lucky Luke is joined in his cinematic adventures by friends Calamity Jane, Billy the Kid, and Jesse James. History be damned. There's nothing like a shootout, the vanquish of evil, and a cowboy riding off into the sunset. Even if he is speaking French.


Mrs. FSG said...

That's funny! I am enamoured with the French and they are with our West?!

Carolyn said...

Thanks for the education and interesting information as always, Anne. Seeing blurbs in the free Paris papers this week for both Luke (movie) and Asterix (turning 50!), I hadn't realised they were both drawn by the same artist.


Starman said...

The movie "sounds" like it will be hilarious. I hope Netflix has it soon.

Shelli and Gene said...

I love the way the French pronounce the name, too. "Loooky Loook"

Gator said...

Morris aka Maurice De Bevere (nobody knows Maurice de Bevere, everybody knows Morris, btw) has nver drawn neither Astérix, nor Tintin.

That you're confusing Uderzo's and Morris's styles is understandable, but they have nothing to do with Hergé's style...

The link between Astérix and Lucky Luke (and Le Petit Nicolas and a few more) is that they were all written by René Goscinny, one of the last geniuses.

Tintin (one word) was written and drawn by one person: Hergé.

These three characters had different destinies depending on their creators' fates and a few legal issues.

Tintin died with Hergé (at least in comic book form, there were a few cartoons made after Hergé's death and the current movies of course)

After Goscinny's death, Uderzo kept on doing Astérix by himself (and it started to suck as Uderzo is no writer). Uderzo is still alive but very old (and maybe even senile), there's a whole legal battle happening about the rights right now, as Uderzo sold them to I can't remember which publisher and his daughter is suing saying they manipulated him in doing so.

As far as Lucky Luke is concerned, Morris kept on doing it with another writer (or even several) after Goscinny's death, and then he was replaced too when he died (I wonder who owns the right). Nowadays stay clear from the new Lucky Luke's books as they're written by the worst comedian in France (ok, it's up to debate, a lot of them deserve that spot): Laurent Guerra.

Also, a lot of Americans are always amused by the fact that French people like the Wild West and stuff like that.
Just as yourselves why is that and maybe you won't find it that amusing anymore.

Gator said...

I forgot one thing: Morris and Hergé are Belgian and Uderzo and Goscinny are French...

Remember that Belgium is as important as France (if not more) when dealing with "French" comic books (in France we call them "Franco-Belges" as opposed to American style or Japanese style)

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