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Marsupilami 1.jpg

Marsupilami is a fictional comic book animal created by André Franquin, first published on 31 January 1952 in the magazine Spirou.[1] Since then it appeared regularly in the popular Belgian comic book series Spirou et Fantasio until Franquin stopped working on the series in 1968 and the character dropped out soon afterwards. In the late 1980s, the Marsupilami got its own successful spin-off series of comic albums, Marsupilami, written by Greg, Yann and Dugomier and drawn by Batem, launching the publishing house Marsu Productions. Later, two animated shows featuring this character, as well as a Sega Genesis video game and a variety of other merchandise followed. The asteroid 98494 Marsupilami is named in its honour.

The name is a portmanteau of the words marsupial, Pilou-Pilou (the French name for Eugene the Jeep, a character Franquin loved as a kid) and ami, French for friend.

Marsupilami's adventures had been translated to several languages, like Dutch, German, Spanish, Portuguese and several Scandinavian languages. More than three million albums of the Marsupilami series are claimed to have been sold by Marsu Productions[2].

One album of Spirou and Fantasio featuring Marsupilami, number 15, was translated to English by Fantasy Flight Publishing in 1995, although it is currently out of print. Plans on releasing number 16 ended halfway through the translation process, due to bad sales. In 2007, Egmont's subsidiary Euro Books translated albums number 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 14 for the Indian market.

Contents

Appearance

The marsupilami is a black-spotted yellow monkey-like creature.[3] Male marsupilamis have an incredibly long, strong, flexible and prehensile tail which can be used for almost anything. Female marsupilamis have a much shorter tail, but still long compared to real animals. Unlike the males, the females also walk on the tips of their toes. When the animal rebounds, he makes a funny noise: "Boing".

Specimens

"The Marsupilami" refers originally to the individual captured and then adopted by Spirou and Fantasio, which they never bothered to name because he was the only known specimen. The Spirou et Fantasio album Le nid des Marsupilamis is mostly concerned with a documentary-within-the-comic about the life of a family of marsupilamis still living in the wild in Palombia. The spin-off comics later drawn by Batem star those, and the title of the series now refers to the - also unnamed - father in this family, and not to Spirou's original Marsupilami.

In these series, Marsupilami's wife is referred to as Marsupilamie (a female version of the name) but their three young are named, respectively, Bibi, Bibu and Bobo. Mars le noir (Mars the Black) is another specimen, which first appears in the album Mars le Noir. A former captive marsupilami, he first finds it hard to live again in the forest. After failing to seduce Marsupilamie, he becomes jealous of Marsupilami and nearly gets into a fight with him. Later, he meets a black female marsupilami, named Vénus, who becomes his mate. In Baby Prinz, another specimen, an elderly male who lives in a zoo, is featured. Altogether, that comes to eight specimens in Palombia, plus Spirou and Fantasio's pet.

Albums

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Spirou and Fantasio

Spirou et les hommes-bulles, 1959, by Franquin

These albums of Spirou and Fantasio feature the Marsupilami

  • 4. Spirou et les héritiers (Spirou and the Heirs, 1952). First appearance of the Marsupilami.
  • 5. Les voleurs du Marsupilami (The Marsupilami Robbers, 1952, after an idea by Jo Almo). This story picks up exactly where Spirou et les héritiers ends.
  • 7. Le dictateur et le champignon (The Dictator and the Mushroom, 1953)
  • 8. La mauvaise tête (The Wrong Head, 1954) (Only in a short story at the end)
  • 9. Le repaire de la murène (The Murena's Hideout, 1955).
  • 10. Les pirates du silence (Pirates of Silence, 1956, with Rosy (writing) and Will (backgrounds)); followed by La Quick Super (1956)
  • 11. Le gorille a bonne mine (Gorilla's in Good Shape, 1956); followed by Vacances sans histoires (Uneventful Holidays)
  • 12. Le nid des Marsupilamis (The Marsupilamis' Nest, 1957); followed by La foire aux gangsters (Gangsters at the Fair)
  • 13. Le voyageur du Mésozoïque (The Traveller from the Mesozoic, 1957); followed by La peur au bout du fil (Fear at the End of the Line, 1959, with Greg (writing))
  • 14. Le prisonnier du Bouddha (The prisoner of the Buddha, 1959, with Greg (writing) and Jidéhem (backgrounds))
  • 15. Z comme Zorglub (Z is for Zorglub, 1960, with Greg (writing) and Jidéhem (backgrounds)). First appearance of Zorglub.
  • 16. L'ombre du Z (The Shadow of Z, 1960, with Greg (writing) and Jidéhem (backgrounds)). Concludes a diptych.
  • 17. Spirou et les hommes-bulles (Spirou and the Bubble Men, 1959); followed by Les petits formats (The Small Formats, 1960); both with Roba (art). These stories, along with Tembo Tabou, first appeared in a newspaper, Le Parisien Libéré.
  • 18. QRN sur Bretzelburg (Q.R.N. over Bretzelburg, 1963, with Greg (writing) and Jidéhem (backgrounds)). A longer version was published in 1987 in a limited printing.
  • 19. Panade à Champignac (Babysitting in Champignac, 1968; with Peyo and Gos (writing)); followed by Bravo les Brothers (Hurray for the Brothers, 1967; with Jidéhem (backgrounds))
  • 20. Le faiseur d'or (The gold maker, 1970)
  • 24. Tembo Tabou, (1958, with Roba (art)); followed by short stories

Marsupilami

As well as the Marsupilami who lived with Spirou and Fantasio in many of the strips drawn by Franquin, there was another who still inhabited the wild Palombian jungle along with a mate and children. The family first featured in 1957 in the Spirou adventure Le nid des Marsupilamis (French for "The Nest of the Marsupilamis"), in which Seccotine, a journalist and rival to Fantasio, made a documentary about the life of the marsupilamis in the wild: courting, starting a family and feeding and protecting the youngsters from predators.

By the late 1960s, Franquin decided to pass the Spirou et Fantasio strip on to a new artist Jean-Claude Fournier. Franquin held the rights to the Marsupilami and would not agree to let the creature appear in any more of the Spirou et Fantasio stories. Fournier came up with a story called Le faiseur d'or ("The Gold Maker") in which the Marsupilami played an important part. Franquin agreed to this last appearance, provided that he draw the pictures of the creature himself.[4] Since then, however, the Marsupilami has never re-appeared in his strip of origin (though he can be seen as a stuffed toy in the Spirou adventure Virus, published in 1982).

In 1987, Franquin launched the Marsupilami series with the new publishing house, Marsu Productions, with Greg and Batem. This series featured the Marsupilami family which had appeared living in the wild in Le nid des Marsupilamis. Later, Greg abandoned the series, and other collaborators were chosen by Franquin, such as Yann, Fauche and Adam. The first published album of the series is La Queue du Marsupilami. In 2002, an album #0 was published, consisting of short stories featuring the Marsupilami, drawn by Franquin before 1987.

Robinson Academy (2005). Art by Batem, story by Dugomier
  • 0. Capturez un Marsupilami (Capture a Marsupilami, 6/2002) (Short-Story collection). Art and story by Franquin.
  • 1. La Queue du Marsupilami (The tail of Marsupilami, 10/1987). Art by Batem and Franquin, story by Greg.
  • 2. Le Bébé du bout du monde (The baby of the end of the world, 6/1988). Art by Batem and Franquin, story by Greg.
  • 3. Mars le Noir (Mars the Black, 3/1989). Art by Batem and Franquin, story by Yann.
  • 4. Le Pollen du Monte Urticando (The pollen of Mount Urticando, 11/1989). Art by Batem, story by Yann.
  • 5. Baby Prinz (10/1990). Art by Batem, story by Yann.
  • 6. Fordlandia (11/1991). Art by Batem, story by Yann.
  • 7. L'Or de Boavista (The Gold of Boavista, 10/1992). Art by Batem, story by Yann.
  • 8. Le Temple de Boavista (The temple of Boavista, 10/1993). Art by Batem, story by Yann.
  • 9. Le Papillon des cimes (The butterfly of the summit, 10/1994). Art by Batem, story by Yann.
  • 10. Rififi en Palombie (4/1996). Art by Batem, story by Xavier Fauche and Eric Adam.
  • 11. Houba Banana (7/1997). Art by Batem, story by Xavier Fauche and Eric Adam.
  • 12. Trafic à Jollywood (7/1998). Art and story by Batem.
  • 13. Le Défilé du jaguar (The fashion show of the jaguar, 9/1999). Art by Batem, story by Kaminka and Marais.
  • 14. Un fils en or (A golden child, 6/2000). Art by Batem, story by Bourcquardez and Saive.
  • 15. C'est quoi ce cirque !? (What's this circus!?, 9/2001). Art by Batem, story by Dugomier.
  • 16. Tous en Piste (Everyone to the ring, 6/2003). Art by Batem, story by Dugomier.
  • 17. L'orchidée des Chahutas (The orchid of the Chahutas, 6/2004). Art by Batem, story by Dugomier.
  • 18. Robinson Academy (6/2005). Art by Batem, story by Dugomier.
  • 19. Magie Blanche (White magic, 11/2006). Art by Batem, story by Colman.
  • 20. Viva Palombia (6/2007). Art by Batem, story by Colman.
  • 21. Red monster (4/2008). Art by Batem, story by Colman.
  • 22. Chiquito Paradiso (4/2009). Art by Batem, story by Colman.

Other

  • L'Encyclopédie du Marsupilami, published in 1991 is an "Encyclopedia" about how the Marsupilami works, not a comic book. Text is by Cambier and Verhoest, art by Batem and Franquin.
  • Gaston et le Marsupilami was published by Dupuis in 1978. This album groups all the short stories featuring both Gaston Lagaffe and Marsupilami, previously published in Spirou. All these strips were then published in the album Capturez un Marsupilami.
  • In December 2006, a series featuring the marsupilami as the main character was created in the Bibliothèque Rose Collection, published by Hachette. Scenarios are taken from the animated series Mon ami Marsupilami.
  • As an extremely popular character, there has been several Marsupilami cameos and tributes in Franco-Belgian comics, among the earliest in Jijé's series Blondin et Cirage, in the volume Les soucoupes volantes (1956), where the characters Blondin and Cirage find the creature Marsupilami Africanis, a slightly different species than the South American Marsupilamus Fantasii.

The animated series

Disney animation

Marsupilami and Maurice from the opening sequence of Disney's Marsupilami (15 Second intro can be seen on Raw Toonage).
Marsupilami: "Where is Maurice? That big gorilla is supposed to drop in....

Disney's version of the Marsupilami first appeared on television in Raw Toonage in 1992, and was then spun off into his own eponymous show on the CBS network. Marsupilami's supporting characters included Maurice the gorilla, Stewart the elephant, Eduardo the leopard, Leonardo the lion, Norman the poacher, and other characters. The original Marsupilami stories by Franquin never encountered a gorilla or elephant, since these species are native to Africa, while the marsupilami in the comic was said to come from South America (However, in the album "Le dictateur et le champignon", the Marsupilami escapes from his cell on a boat with a gorilla). Another change is Marsupilami can speak in difference to his comic counterpart that can only mimic sound like a parrot.

There were twenty-three episodes in the series, and the series lasted one season. Reruns of the show were aired on both Disney Channel and Toon Disney.

Marathon animation

Marsupilami and Leo from the opening sequence of Mon Ami Marsupilami

A second series, this time produced in France, premiered in March 2000 and ran for 52 episodes in France's Canal J. Produced by Cactus Animation, Marathon Production & Marsu Productions, this series more closely followed the character in the original comic.

In the first season, Marsupilami lived adventures alone, or with his family (his wife Marsupilamie and their three young, Bibi, Bibu and Bobo). For example, in one episode he saved a group of circus animals, got them back to the city and saved the circus from closing. In another, he had to go to the city again to save one of his young, captured by their constant enemy, the hunter Bring M. Backalive. In the second season, called Mon ami Marsupilami (translated as My friend Marsupilami in the Disney Channel version), Marsupilami and his family become best friends with a human family, the Du Jardin, that comes to live near them. Amanda is a Marsupilami researcher, while her husband Jean-Pierre is a computer technician that works from home and they have two children, Teo (Leo in the Disney Channel version) and toddler Zoe. Leo and Marsupilami become best friends and they have lots of adventures, with both new friends and old enemies, like Backalive.

This series has been broadcast in 35 countries, among them Germany (Super RTL), Belgium (RTL TVI), Canada (Télé-Quebec), Spain (Antena 3, Disney Channel, Toon Disney and TV3), Finland (MTV3), Cyprus (CyBC), Greece (Alter Channel), Ireland (RTÉ), Italy (Italia Uno), Portugal (Prisvideo), Switzerland (TSR), Russia (THT Network), Hungary (Minimax), Slovenia (RTV), Morocco (2M Soreheads), Turkey (Sar-An), Mexico (TV Azteca), Brazil (TV Globo), Venezuela (RCTV), Indonesia (RCTI), Malaysia (TV3 and TV9), the Africa Pansat (CFI ), and Latin America (MVS), the Near East and Middle East (TV5 ), (E-Junior), Vietnam (HTV7), Thailand (United Broadcasting Corporation), South Korea (EBS) Iceland (Uppeldi EHF), and South Africa (SABC).

Fame

  • A wax statute of a marsupilami was made and exposed in the Grévin Museum, a museum displaying realist statutes of famous personalities, along with two other famous Franco-Belgian comics characters, Tintin and Asterix.
  • Many commercial products were created by several societies: clothes (Avance Diffusion), shoes (Léomil), clocks, watches, decoration, dishes (Tropico), Figurines (Pixi and Plastoy), cuddly toys (Nounours), socks (Agofroy), schoolbags (Hasbro), school products (Oberthur), linen (MCT), puzzles (Jumbo), underwears (United Labels).
  • Marsupilami appears on a stamp created by the French Poste in 2003 (n° 3569).
  • The official website www.marsupilami.com claims to have more than 25,000 subscribers.
  • The Marsupilami is a fairground attraction in Asterix and the Big Fight.

References

Footnotes
  1. ^ franquin.com. "Franquin-Une vie-1952". http://www.franquin.com/bio/1952.php. (French)
  2. ^ http://www.marsuproductions.com/pers.php?name=marsupilami
  3. ^ Franquin, André (w, p, i). Spirou et les héritiers: 61/1 (January 1, 1952), Éditions Dupuis, ISBN 2800100060(French)
  4. ^ Franquin's official site (in French)

External links


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