by Patch O'Furr
Belgian, to be accurate. Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.
Une Aventure de Chlorophylle. T.1, Embrouilles a Coquefredouille, by Godi & Zidrou.
Brussels, Belgium, Le Lombard, September 2014, hardcover €10,60 (48 pages).
So they’ve started another Chlorophylle series. Whoop-de-do. Raymond Macherot (1924-2008) began Chloro the dormouse’s adventures in the weekly Tintin comic-book magazine (1946-1993) in 1954, continued it through 11 or 12 adventures (depending on how you count), and wrote/drew his last Chloro story in 1966. Since then, his Chloro stories have been reprinted umpteen times, alone and in collections. Lombard has tried to continue the Chloro series, in Tintin serializations and in albums after the magazine’s demise, with new stories by a variety of cartoonists: Hubuc & Guilmard, Greg & Dupa, Dupa & Bob De Groot, Bom & Walli. Nothing really caught on. Now here is another attempt, by Belgian comics artist Godi (Bernard Godisiabois) and writer Zidrou (Benoît Drousie). Is this one any different?
The other post-Macherot stories continued Chlorophylle’s adventures in the Belgian Tranquil Vale woodland. The supporting characters were Minimum the mouse, Mironton the dormouse and his wife Mirontaine, Torpedo the otter, Serpolet the rabbit, Clacky the crow, and the usual gang of Chloro’s friends and neighbors. The stories varied in quality, but they were all more of the same.
Complications in Coquefredouille, the first album in the new series, returns to the funny-animal island-kingdom where Chloro had his (arguably) most popular adventures. It’s the 33rd annual International Coquefredouille Film Festival; it’s opening with a new movie about when the kingdom was almost taken over by Anthracite the black rat and his two cannibalistic ferrets, and was saved by Chloro and Minimum (Les Croquillards); and King Mitron XIII of Coquefredouille sends invitations to Chloro and Minimum in the Tranquil Vale to attend. It’s a glitzy film festival; Chloro and Minimum get to meet the movie stars; the real Anthracite died in prison years ago so they don’t have anything more to worry about; so why not? But they arrive to find that there is a new terrorist movement that King Mitron’s government is trying to downplay. The FLF is trying to split Coquefredouille into two nations, the Kingdom of Coque in the west with its traditional capital at Le Fourbi, and the new (kingdom? republic?) of Fredouille in the east with its capital at La Turbine, the island’s second largest city and industrial center. The supposed revolutionists claim they want to stop the royalist government’s exploitation of the east, but nobody in the east seems to feel exploited or want to secede. King Mitron and his advisors suspect that the real reason for the FLF is that all of Couqefredouille’s mineral wealth is located in the east, and that independence for Fredouille would allow the “revolutionists” to set up a corrupt government to milk the eastern resources for themselves. Chloro tries to uncover the truth behind the terrorists, while at the same time dealing with the social complications at the film festival centering around the actors playing himself (Luigi Starletti, a mega-handsome small gray rat) and Anthracite (Antonio Caméo, a tall squirrel who specializes in playing villains).