Andre Franquin‘s weird creature with the leopard-spots and the ridiculously long prehensile tail returns in The Beast by Zidrou and Frank Pé, but it’s sure not the Marsupilami you remember…
Yes, that’s the cover to volume 1 of The Beast, published for the first time in English by Europe Comics, and promising a very different version of the Marsupilami, one of the most successful and most recognisable Euro comics characters of all time.
Ande Franquin’s creation has sold multiple millions of copies over the years, as well as contributing enormously to sales of Spirou and Fantasio, but this new version of Franquin’s most famous creation, by writer Zidrou and artist Frank Pé, promises to take things into a whole new direction from what we’re used to over the years, this classic Marsupilami…
Now, before you throw your hands up in horror at this new version, bear in mind that this is just one little version and one that looks quite gorgeous to boot. The initial darkness you see below in the preview pages is lessened as the book goes on, as we focus more on the characters we meet along the way and particularly young François, a lovable, caring outcast here in post-WWII Belgium.
Try to look past the initial thought of this being some kind of grim and gritty version of a classic characters, it’s absolutely not that, despite what first impressions might suggest.
It’s realistic rather than nasty, with all the emotional range that that realism bestows on the story.
But it does look and read very, very well, putting a different spin on something classic, but doing it with respect, and doing it very well indeed.
Europe Comics’ PR describes it thus…
“Belgium, 1955. A mysterious animal is caught in the jungles of South America and transported to Europe on a cargo ship, where it ends up starving and half-dead on the outskirts of Brussels. François, a young boy with a fondness for taking in strays, finds it and brings it home to his mother and his menagerie—his best and only friends. As the son of a departed German soldier, François is the favorite target of every bully in school.
Nobody can identify the strange creature with the voracious appetite and the stupendously long tail, and François figures his new pet is perfect for show-and-tell… But with a wild beast and a small classroom, things quickly get out of hand. Will this spell the end for François’s new animal friend? The real story of the legendary Marsupilami!”
The Beast is part one of a two-volume series, originally from Éditions Dupuis and published digitally from Europe Comics.
Now, time for a quick preview: