Canardo, hard at work as usual.Inspector Canardo
is a long running comic series written and drawn by Benoît Sokal. The eponymous protagonist is an antropomorphic duck Defective Detective Anti-Hero
, who often treads on the gray areas of justice while trying to cope with the problems of a world populated by Funny Animals
The first stories were published in the late 1970's. They were short episodes with a loose continuity, published in the comic magazine A Suivre
. The comics were satirical in tone and parodied Film Noir
detective movies heavily, but gradually Cerebus Syndrome
got hold on the series and started shaping it towards its current form.
Sokal started writing longer Canardo stories in 1980's, resulting in the first Canardo albums. They established a more stable continuity and started to focus more on tense plots than parody. Over the course of 30 years, 19 albums of Canardo's (mis)adventures have been published.
This comic provides examples of:
- Anti-Hero: Canardo. He is often well-meaning, but is also cynical, greedy and alcoholic.
- Anti-Villain: Most of the one-off bad guys are these. In addition, even Clara has moments where she appears to genuinely care for Canardo, and Rasputin is broken and pathetic instead of evil in Misty Wedding.
- Anyone Can Die: And most of them do die, some more than once.
- Arch-Enemy: Canardo vs Rasputin, and to some extent, Canardo vs Clara as well.
- Aristocrats Are Evil: or at least major assholes.
- Backup Twin: Or, to be precise, backup son. After Canardo commits suicide, his previously unseen son shows up, inherits his father's possessions and, after a brief misadventure, his entire life.
- Break the Cutie: Happens a lot. Rasputin's daughter in Mark of Rasputin suffers a horrible breakdown when she realizes what her father is.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: The early stories play Canardo's medium awareness for laughs several times, but the fourth wall has remained mostly intact in the albums.
- Busman's Holiday: The Sinking Island album has Canardo win a holiday on the eponymous island, only to end up investigating a murder.
- Cats Are Mean
- Cerebus Syndrome: The early comics meander between a Film Noir parody and a serious detective drama. As the series progressed to albums, the parody was toned down and the series focused on its more dramatic elements with a touch of Dark Comedy.
- Cool Car: Canardo drives a sweet white Cadillac.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Garenni's wife.
- Death Is Cheap: Many characters have survived certain deaths with little or no explanation. Canardo himself has died roughly five times, even lampshading it in one of the A Suivre comics - turns out the "blood" was just tomato soup.
- Driven to Suicide: One A Suivre comic has an aged Canardo commit suicide. The next story features his son's transformation into his image.
- Early Installment Weirdness: The original comics feature humans who apparently are not much unlike us. To them, Canardo and the others are just animals that are acting weird. After the first few albums the humans went missing completely, leaving behind a World of Funny Animals.
- Evil Overlord: Rasputin is this in his debut appearance. He and his men ride through Siberia, killing, looting and raping. After he loses a daughter, loses his eyesight and nearly dies, he does become a bit more sympathetic, but eventually returns to his violent ways.
- Famous-Named Foreigner: Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin, named after Rasputin The Mad Monk.
- Fat Cat: Rasputin.
- Femme Fatale: Clara is a schemer who shifts her allegiances for personal gain and seems to have very little interest for the lives of the others.
- Funny Animal: Most of the characters are these, but sometimes talking but otherwise normal animals and even humans are seen.
- It almost seems like the characters' degree of anthropomorphism depends on who is looking. To Canardo Rasputin is an enormously fat, humanoid cat, but when humans see him, he is a large, non-humanoid feline somewhere between a tiger and a lynx.
- Generation Xerox: Canardo himself commits suicide in one of the earlier stories. He is replaced by his son, and it doesn't take long for fate to make him exactly like his father.
- Girl Of The Album: Canardo picks up a good number of attractive women over the course of the series: even those that are not one-night things will be gone with no explanation by the time of the next album.
- Honey Trap: the title of one story, where Canardo supervises an attempt to blackmail a politician by recording his having brutal sex with a prostitute.
- Kavorka Man: Canardo himself, though since a majority of men are fairly unattractive too, thanks to the art style, he may very well be considered handsome in-universe.
- Laser-Guided Karma: In The Suave Death, a group of soldiers responsible for murdering Bronx's father is killed by none other than Bronx himself. The soldiers were expecting this.
- Let's Get Dangerous: Bronx the bear seems harmless despite his huge size, because he is too stupid to get angry at anyone. Except when he hears the song Lili Marleen.
- Mature Animal Story: The stories feature sex, drugs, violence and various grim themes such as suicide, insanity and rape.
- Named After Someone Famous: Inspector Canardo is an Expy of Columbo, while Rasputin is, of course named after Rasputin The Mad Monk.
- Oddball in the Series: Misty Wedding. It is the only comic to have any humans as main characters. It also contains paranormalities that are otherwise not present in the series, such as Deal with the Devil and Psychic Powers.
- Or Are You Just Happy to See Me?: Occurs in The Girl who Dreamt of the Horizon. A seductive lady thinks Canardo is getting "excited", but he says he just has a revolver in his pocket. After they're interrupted by a motorcycle gang's attack, she is surprised to find out he wasn't kidding.
- Punny Name: Canardo, a pun on the French word canard for duck and Columbo.
- Put on a Bus: Garenni
- The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: The revolutionaries in Black Tide resort to terrorism by hijacking an oil tanker and threatening to release the oil if their demands aren't met.
- Secondhand Storytelling: The early comics refer to Un Installment episodes such as "Canardo's resurrection".
- Serious Business: Winemaking.
- Shout-Out: Canardo's entire persona is modelled after Inspecter Columbo from the TV series Columbo.
- Time Travel: Canardo does this in A Miserable Little Pile of Secrets. He has a pocket-sized time machine, which is the only futuristic device seen in the series so far.