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Comic Book: De cape et de crocs

A 10-volume French comic series written by Alain Ayroles (also author of the Fractured Fairy Tale comic Garulfo) and illustrated by Jean-Luc Masbou.

In Europe of the 17th century, two noblemen united by an indestructible friendship, Don Lope de Villalobos Y Sangrin, a rash and impulsive Spanish wolf, and Armand Raynal de Maupertuis, French Gascon fox poet, dash into an epic adventure in search of the treasure of the Tangerine islands. During their trip, which will lead them to the borders of the world, and even elsewhere, they will meet their companions of adventure: Eusèbe, a naïve but cunning rabbit, Raïs Kader, who hides a generous personality under surly airs, and promises Lope a duel to the death but becomes his friend, Doña Hermine, Don Lope's lover, who hides a similar feeling, Séléné, Cenile's adopted child, who lives an idyll with Armand, and Bombastus, learned German so cultivated as to be annoying. Besides this heterogeneous troupe, they will also meet Andreo, Séléné's brother and his servant, Plaisant, a troop of pirates without scruples, a ruthless capitàn and strange exiles from the moon...

De Cape et de Crocs provides examples of:

  • Actual Pacifist: Most of the selenite population (except the mimes).
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Spooneristic Smugglers (contrebandiers contrepeteurs).
  • Anachronism Stew: Hoooo boy, where to start... Let's just mention the Heavy Metal concert onboard a pirate ship (with period instruments to boot) and leave it at that.
  • And the Adventure Continues
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Prince Jean and his sister.
    • Eusebe's backstory takes place in Paris under Louis XIII, so naturally we encounter lots of them.
  • Art Evolution: In the first book, Rais Kader looks like an Arabian Mario, he nows looks more the Badass he's supposed to be.
  • Atlantis: Mentioned (as being a myth). At one point, our heroes are stranded on a tiny patch of rock in the middle of the ocean, which is later shown to be the roof of a Greek-type building with statues, but nothing else is made of it.
    • It is referenced later as having been in contact with the Selenites at some point.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis / Combat Clairvoyance: How Armand wins against Mendoza (though shutting up probably helped).
  • Badass Bandolier: The Rais carries four pistols like this during the You Shall Not Pass moment.
  • Bamboo Technology: TWO friggin' MOON ROCKETS.
  • Beleaguered Assistant: Plaisant to Andreo; also Cigognac to Cap'tain Boone.
  • Big Bad: Prince Jean for a good chunk of the story.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Several times, one with pegasi even.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Don Lope often slips back to Spanish when excited or angry.
  • Blessed Are the Cheesemakers: The Moon has some fromage trees.
    Cigognac: After all, there is such a thing as a breadfruit tree...
  • Blood Knight: A very downplayed one: Colin is suffering from bellicism, very rare among the peaceful Selenites, and it makes him attempt to pick fights with everyone he meets.
  • Brains and Brawn: The two main characters are both excellent swordsmen, but Don Lope is notably more hot-blooded and eager to go into a fight, when Armand is more intellectual and diplomatic.
    • Lope has also proven to be physically stronger and a better fighter than Armand, he has been able to fight and even win against the Sword Master. It even becomes a plot point near the end of the series.
  • Brutal Honesty: Don Lope has a moment of this when he begs Armand not to fight the Maitre d'Armes and let him go in his stead, because he's simply the better swordsman. Armand, who's already dealing with Selene possibly preferring the Maitre d'Armes to him, does not take it well.
  • Book Ends: The series begins and ends with Don Lope and Raïs Kader duelling.
  • Call Back: In volume 8, the heroes sneak onto the ship in exactly the same way as the first book (down to the mimes making the exact same gestures as their Turkish counterparts).
  • Call Forward: Eusebe learning to squeak like a rat.
    • While selling hats, he stumbles under a pile containing not only Bombastus' hat but Armand and Don Lope's.
  • Cannibal Tribe: Subverted. Sort of...
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Mendoza. Especially obvious when he rants about how Eusebe's appareance, personnality and behaviour represent everything he hates.
  • Carnivore Confusion: Lampshaded several times for laughs.
  • The Cat The Squid Came Back
  • The Cavalier Years: Set in the 17th century Mediterranean, Italy and Malta specifically.
    • And France for the Eusebe-centered books.
  • Chase Scene
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: The pirates.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Musketeers wear blue, guards wear red.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Mendoza
  • Commedia dell'Arte: Hermine and the Pirates are forced to perform one of these in Volume 4 for the benefit of their Selenite captors. The performance is rather lackluster until Don Lope and friends burst on the scene to confront their rivals. Fortunately for all involved, the audience thinks it's All Part of the Show.
    • The entire series is written in this style as well.
  • Cunning Like a Fox: Armand de Maupertuis, of course.
  • Darkest Hour: End of volume 8.
  • Dashing Hispanic: Don Lope & Mendoza.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Armand.
  • Death by Materialism: See Taken for Granite below.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The war at the end of volume 8, in red.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Averted when Eusebe meets the musketeers. Leading the Cardinal's guards, Eusebe attempts to arrest them, but the new Big Bad de Limon arrests them all. The musketeers declare him a Worthy Opponent in prison and cease all hostilities.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Everything Aldrin de Redondie says only describes what he is doing and thinking at the moment.
  • Determinator: All the heroes, to some extent, but the Rais gets a good one at the beginning: when it seems the map has been stolen (and so all hope of obtaining the treasure to raise his fleet), he declares it to have been written, and so will continue to scour the seas until they run red with blood.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Mendoza would have never imagined that Armand could counter his secret and fatal move.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Armand and Andreo.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: When the Rais' men lose the map, he orders his ship's mast to be sharpened, so he can impale a dozen or so sailors as an example.
  • The Ditz: Séléné
  • Dope Slap: One pirate who doesn't realize they don't need to keep up the honest merchant act anymore gets one.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: Mendoza
  • Dumb Blonde: Séléné and, especially, Andreo.
  • Easily Forgiven: It seems the squid doesn't hold grudges for cutting off one of his tentacles and using him as a carrot.
    • It seems to have regenerated, so...
  • Enemy Mine: In the first book, Spaniard ("and therefore bastion of Christianity") Don Lope has to team up with the Ottoman (and Muslim) Rais Kader. They get over it - mostly.
    • In a darker tone, Armand and Mendoza.
  • Enemy Mime: The Mimes are assumed to be ferocious savages.
  • Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: The Maître d'Armes, even though he's obviously (for the audience) Cyrano de Bergerac.
    • Also the Rais Kader, which translates to Boss Kader.
  • Everything's Squishier with Cephalopods: The giant squid.
  • Expressive Hair: The Rais Kader's mustache. Droopy when depressed or confused, horizontal otherwise.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: Subverted with Fagotin, an intensely creepy-looking chimpanzee who's gone from street artist to hired killer.
  • Evil Twin: Two Three sets, we have yet to see Eusèbe's.
  • Expy: Cap'n Boone is Blackbeard.
  • Feed It a Bomb: Don Lope defeats the giant rat by throwing a barrel of powder in its mouth and shooting it.
  • Food Porn
  • Foregone Conclusion: Montmorency was mentioned in a single line in the first book as having been killed by Don Lope in a duel, which caused their expulsion from France. Eusebe runs into him and rubs him the wrong way.
  • For Science!: Bombastus' primary motivation.
  • Funny Animal: Don Lope and Armand, obviously. Eusebe is rather a Talking Animal.
  • Funny Background Event: All the time. One of the earliest examples is the living roots (?) escaping from the vats of the Kabbalist that Kader visits at the beginning in Venezia and falling to their deaths.
    • Eusebe doesn't watch where he's going while carrying a large spit, to the chagrin of a cook's backside.
  • Furry Confusion: Lampshaded several times.
  • Furry Reminder: When very pissed off, Montmorency (a dog) gets on all fours with teeth bared.
  • Galley Slaves: With the requisite lunatic drummer, whip-toting guards, and slave uprising when the ship is attacked. When the ship's crew is put on the lifeboat, the drummer is still banging away.
    • Also, due to the Running Gag of referring to every ship as a galley, we get this exchange, as Don Lope and Armand have snuck onto the Rais Kader's ship:
    Don Lope:: Ola, amigos! We are Christians, like you! We've come to rescue you from the Barbary scum!
    Armand: Once again, Don Lope, this is not a galley, but a zebec. A zebec is a sailboat...
    Don Lope: So these people in the hold are not galley slaves?
    Armand: No!
    Don Lope: But Turkish sailors?
    Sailors: YES!
  • Genius Bruiser: One of the three recurring pirates comes up with the theory of gravitation. Note that he comes up with it after Bombastus hit him on the head with an apple...
    • The two guards in the Turkish ship are discussing philosophy when they get knocked unconscious.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: One scene (sadly untranslatable) has our heroes break free from the pirates and attack, the pirates loudly proclaiming what body parts were hit, using words containing those body parts (a possible translation would be: "My arm! I've been disarmed!"). So when it's the guy who got bit in the ass', he just goes "What should I say?" note 
    • Also, everything the spooneristic smugglers say is astonishingly vulgar once decoded.
  • Gold Fever: Cénile.
  • Good Cop Rabid Cop: The pair get a spy to talk by having Armand pretend to hold Don Lope back so he doesn't stab him.
  • Greed: Cenile is Harpagon turned Up to Eleven.
  • Grows on Trees: There is an island where cheese and eggs grow on trees. It's later revealed they come from the moon, where almost everything, including precious gems and gold, grows on trees. Selenites think of gold as annoying weed. The only currency on the moon is poetry.
  • Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Zigzagged. Eusebe goes completely naked without attracting comment, while Armand and Don Lope go fully dressed.
  • The Heavy: Mendoza is the series' most iconic and recurring villain. Much like Olrik, he usually works as the Dragon with an Agenda / The Starscream for other villains.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Eusebe's rock.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Lope and Armand. Also, Andreo and Plaisant.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs: The Selenites refer to someone being not quite right in the head as being terratic (where we would use lunatic).
  • Horse of a Different Color: While there are horses and pegasi on the Moon, giant ducks are an alternate form of transportation.
  • Hot-Blooded: Don Lope.
    Armand: You'll have to excuse him, it's in his nature to think with his arteries.
  • Hot Gypsy Woman: Hermine
  • How Dare You Die on Me!: When Don Lope believes Kader to be lost at sea, his reaction to the loss of his enemy turned adventuring companion is to let out an angry scream: "We were supposed to have a duel!"
  • Hurl It into the Sun: Prince Jean's fate. Though it's mentioned that the sun is an inhabited planet like the moon.
  • Hurricane of Puns: Armand is particularly fond of this trope.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Armand sees Don Lope barrel past on an amputee's cart waving his sword, chasing a sedan chair blinded by Eusebio, asking how one can engage in such farcical behavior. Then he points his sword at Plaisant, on which are skewered several vegetables and a squid.
  • I Am Spartacus: Subverted when the musketeers and the Cardinal's guards are facing the police:
    Limon: Who are the leaders here?
    Musketeers (Staring Though The Sword): Us!
    Guards (pointing at Eusebe): Him!
  • I Ate WHAT?: Don Lope, learning he very likely just ate a dog.
  • Interrupted Suicide: Armand is about to jump from a cliff in despair from losing Selene to the Maître d'Armes and being stranded on the Moon without his friends when the Rock arrives to warn him that his friends have been captured by Mendoza.
  • It's All About Me: Prince Jean
  • Insignia Rip-Off Ritual: Done to Eusebe after he gets arrested for participating in a duel (in fact trying to prevent it).
  • Insistent Terminology: Boney Boone wants to be called Captain, but nobody seems to remember to call him that. Later inverted since he's trying to pass for a civilian, leading to: "Captain Boone!" "That's Mister Boone!"
  • Interservice Rivalry: A three-way version. While the musketeers and Cardinal's guards is well known, the actual police force harasses both of them, leading to the musketeers making friends with Eusebe.
  • It Runs on Nonsensoleum: Bombastus' flying machine and moon rockets fly because of the noise generated by explosions... at least, that's how he explains it.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Armand.
  • Killed Off for Real: The panicky pirate, The Pebble, Mendoza.
  • Lame Comeback: Subverted. Eusebe, unaware as always that he's being insulted, replies that Montmorency's ears are very large as well. This is considered a devastating comeback by the present company.
  • Laser-Guided Karma / Karmic Death: Cenile
  • Large Ham: Captain Boone, but the others show some signs as well, especially during the theater sequence.
  • Let's Get Dangerous: Armand stops rhyming and starts fighting in the final battle. It works.
  • Lions and Tigers and Humans... Oh, My!: With no explanation whatsoever.
  • Long List:
    • "... les cornemuses, mais aussi les luths, les violes, les violons, les harpes, les clavecins, les hautbois, les bombardes, les flageolets, les pipeaux, les binious..."
  • Macross Missile Massacre: The heroes' aerial escape route ends up taking them through Bombastus' extravagant fireworks show.
  • Mad Bomber: Bombastus tends to put a little too much gunpowder in his fireworks.
  • Mad Scientist: Bombastus
  • Man Hug: Between Lope and Armand, all the time. Fellow badasses Cap'n Boone and the Rais Kader share one.
  • Manly Tears: Don Lope breaks down when he think the Rais Kader is dead. Later, Don Lope starts telling Armand about his first marriage and the death of his beloved wife. Armand is welling up by the middle.
  • Meaningful Name: Everybody.
  • Message in a Bottle: In French, English, Latin, Cannanean...
  • Medium Awareness: Sort of. The beginning of the third book has Armand and the Rais on an curtained elevated platform reading documents, then three sharp raps are heard. They look up, clear their throats, and then start talking, as if they were on a stage. (The raps coming from Don Lope hammering on a shell to crack it open).
  • Milking the Giant Cow: Many characters are seen gesticulating wildly in the background.
    • The pirates and their panic attacks.
    • When Armand gets a little too caught up in his poetry and starts Chewing the Scenery, Don Lope starts imitating him for a laugh.
  • Mighty Whitey: Inverted. The Noble Savage finds a tribe of primitive white-skinned men and is treated as a god before he convinces them otherwise.
  • Money for Nothing: On the Moon, gold, jewels and other precious objects grow on trees. They use poems as currency.
  • Motivation on a Stick: How the Flying Dutchman is moved. It involves a giant octopus and a really big fish.
  • Nice Hat: Most everybody has one, but Bombastus keeps his the longest.
  • Noble Savage: Double subverted; the members of the savage tribe are caucasian. The only black-skinned member of their village is very educated.
  • Noble Wolf: Don Lope is this in two ways. One, he greatly values friendship and he's part of the hero group; two, he's literally a noble wolf by virtue of his nobleman status. He is happy to slip into Savage Wolf mode when required, and says he was one after his first wife died.
  • Noodle Incident: How Eusèbe was sent to the galleys in the first place. It apparently involves being framed for murder.
    • It is to be the subject of two upcoming prequel books by the same authors.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Eusèbe (himself Non-Human Sidekick of two Non-Human Main Protagonists) has a pet animated rock.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Colvert and Souchet's respective right-hand-men are named Lesecq and Legros, the first is obese and the other skinny.
  • Not So Stoic: Don Lope, upon the Rais Kader's disappearance.
  • Oblivious to Love: Séléné to Armand
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Bombastus and the Maître d'Armes.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Don Lope and Rais Kader to each other. When Don Lope believes the Rais Kader gone, he cries out that he didn't have the right to deny him their duel. Later, the Rais tells a badly-wounded Lope that they still have their duel to fight.
  • Orphan's Plot Trinket: Séléné's necklace.
  • Overly Long Name: Don Lope de Villalobos y Sangrin, Messire Armand Raynal de Maupertuis, but the award goes to Herr Bombastus Johannes Theophrastus Almagestus Wernher von Ulm.
  • Overprotective Dad: Rais Kader, once he gets his daughter back.
  • Pirate
    • And corsairs, and freebooters...
  • Precision F-Strike: Only once in the whole series, addressed to a fish, and it's in Spanish (but not even hard to figure out).
    • Later, the (other) Porthos expy demands food in a Gascon accent, and just as easy to read.
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: The pirates.
  • Rascally Rabbit: Eusèbe.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: See Brains and Brawn, above.
  • Reference Overdosed: From literature, theater, tv shows, cinema, science, history...
  • Regal Ringlets: Séléné; Mademoiselle.
  • Rodents Of Unusualsides: When facing chimeras (Lunar creatures that turn into your worst fear), the ship's rats coalesce into a single giant rat the Skaven would be proud of.
  • Rousing Speech: Cigognac's speech, also a CMOA in its own right. Captain Boone does this repeatedly as a morale-inducing method.
    • On the evil side, Mendoza is good at this.
  • Running Gag: Don Lope de Villalobos y Sangrin never gets a chance to fully introduce himself. The closest he ever gets is "De Villalobos y". Also, variations on "What the devil was he doing in that galley?"
  • Sand Is Water: The non-dark side of the moon.
  • Scars Are Forever: Andrea keeps the one he got from his very nearly suicidal attack on Mendoza.
  • Scary Shiny Glasses: Bombastus gets these a lot in the last book.
  • Schedule Slip: Up to two years between books. Lampshaded at one point when Armand, who was in a cooking pot at the end of the last book, notes "It feels like I've been cooking in here for a year!"
  • Scenery Porn: Gorgeous views of the sea and the Moon landscapes.
  • The Scrooge: Cenile
  • Selective Obliviousness: Captain Boone flat-out refuses to believe the chicken he carries on his shoulder is not, in fact, a parrot.
    • "And the reason it doesn't speak is because it has a sore throat!"
    • He also does not (or pretends not to) recognise an actual parrot when he encounter ones.
    • Bombastus refuses to acknowledge the pirate's theory of "gravitation" over his own. With Scary Shiny Glasses no less.
  • Shoot the Rope: Subverted. "Well, I was trying to shoot him in the head..."
  • Shout-Out: Too many to count, including references to the Roman de Renart, classical French theater and literature, but also William Shakespeare, Moby-Dick, the works of Jules Verne, and popular culture like Alien, Monty Python, Walt Disney, Lemmings, Rambo, Batman and Robin...
    • Cenile's gold scene is likely a Shout-Out to a similar scene in La Folie des Grandeurs.
    • A musical one: when Séléné tells the Weapon Master that she would like to be called Roxane, she stands under the glow from the Earth which is red because of an eclipse.
    • While they have different names, the Three Musketeers met by Eusebe are the usual caricatures of Athos, Porthos and Aramis. The name of the book? Twenty Months Earlier.
  • Shout-Out Theme Naming: See Expy above.
    • Also, the last part of Don Lope's last name, "y Sangrin", refers to the wolf's name in the Roman de Renart, Ysengrin (whose wife is called Hermine by the way). Similarly, the fox's estate in this tale is called Maupertuis.
    • Bombastus Johannes Theophrastus Almagestus Wernher von Ulm calls out to Paracelsus (full name: Philippus Aureolus Paracelsus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim), the Greek astronomer Ptolemy (whose main work is the Almagest), Wernher von Braun, and Monty Python. Also probably either to Johann(es) Faust or Johannes Gutenberg. Oh, and Ulm is home to the unlucky early flying/gliding pioneer Albrecht Ludwig Berblinger ("the Tailor of Ulm", 1770-1829) and the birthplace of Albert Einstein.
  • Silly Reason for War: When our heroes are stranded on a rooftop in the middle of nowhere, Don Lope and Kader are once again arguing, this time insulting their respective country's military ability. When Armand wearily asks what started it this time, Eusebe replies "A periwinkle".
    • Armand and Don Lope themselves met when they were fighting over a flag.
  • Staring Through the Sword: How the pirates salute Eusebe's rock being cast into space.
  • Taken for Granite: Cenile's fate, refusing to take cover in a gold forest results in him being coated in it.
  • Taking the Bullet: Eusèbe's pet pebble. It is sadder than it sounds.
  • Techno Babble: Bombastus' theories.
  • Thirty Gambit Pileup: Eusebe's story has multiple plots centering around the duc de Limon, a potential successor to Richelieu as Prime Minister. Eusebe manages to get on both de Limon and Montmorency (who's opposed to Limon)'s bad sides.
  • The Show Must Go Wrong
  • Timmy in a Well: With a rock.
  • Title Drop: Kind of, capes and fangs are mentioned in the same sentence.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Andreo is not able to see that the "honest merchants" he tries to hire on a treasure hunt are pirates.
  • Strapped to an Operating Table: Used on a living stone. It seems like a parody, but then they start using acid....
  • Tribal Carry: When captured by the savage tribe.
    • "Degrading! This is degrading!"
  • True Companions: The main cast gradually becomes this through the story.
  • Understatement: The Litotiens' hat. The enormous palace of the no less gigantic Fort-à-Bras on the other side of a mountain is described as "the scrawny guy's hut behind the hill".
  • The Vamp: Mademoiselle
  • Viewers Are Geniuses: You need a good knowledge of French literature and theater to spot all the references.
    • And movies and music and comics and English literature and...
    • Even before that, you need a very good vocabulary. The poetry battle and the encounter with the philosophers were especially bad.
  • Villain Exit Stage Left: At the end of Album 9.
  • Villain Song: The pirates and the Prince.
  • Visual Pun: A court clerk is seen writing with a cat on his desk. In French, "greffier" refers to the job but it is also a cat in argot.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Don Lope and the Rais Kader grow into this.
  • Volleying Insults: The aforementioned rap battle.
  • Walk the Plank: Mendoza inflicts this to Eusebe.
  • Wham Episode: The end of Volume 8. Dear God, the end of Volume 8.
    • To expand: Mendoza successfully conquered the Moon, the Weapon Master was overrun after a Last Stand with Eusèbe at his side, and Don Lope has been shot unconscious, possibly dead. And some secondary characters have been killed during the battle.
  • Wham Line: I love you... Maître d'Armes!
  • Why Do You Keep Changing Jobs?: Eusebe goes through a lot of jobs while in Paris, failing either because he's, well, a rabbit, or because of the powerful enemies he's made.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Cigognac aspires to the pirates who don't do anything lifestyle, so the repeated betrayings of that ideal come close to breaking him.
  • World of Ham: Given how often they seem to be actual theatrical performers...
  • Worthless Yellow Rocks: On the moon, gold and gemstones grow on trees. The Selenite chamberlain gets confused when he hears Earthlings attribute any value to them.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Don Lope is afraid of rats.
    • The pirates are afraid of rabbits, ghost ships, and even metaphysics.
  • Wretched Hive: Paris, which it pretty much Truth in Television when hygiene was limited to emptying the chamberpot out the window.
  • You Fight Like a Cow: Armand's first battle against Mendoza and against the Maitre d'Armes. In the other battles, it's mostly him monologuing (in rhyme no less).
  • You Shall Not Pass: "Messieurs les mimes, tirez les premiers!" "These dogs will know the fury of a janissary!" "No pasaran!"
  • Younger Than They Look: Plaisant, despite looking like he's in his forties, is actually the same age as Andreo and Selene.

CubitusFranco-Belgian ComicsDallas Barr

alternative title(s): De Cape Et De Crocs
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