Comic Book / Spirou and Fantasio

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Spirou-ensemble1.jpg
Spirou (left) and Fantasio (right), with the Marsupilami and Spip the squirrel.

Spirou et Fantasio (Spirou and Fantasio) is one of the most successful Belgian comic book adventure series, spawning various spin-off series and two Animated Adaptations (one in 1992-1995, the other in 2006-2009).

Spirou is an intrepid hotel groom/reporter. With his sidekick Fantasio and his pet squirrel Spip, he has many adventures over the globe, fighting Mad Scientists and evil dictators, but also doing a fair bit of actual reporting on the side.

This series has the distinction of being one the few "work for hire" franchises of Franco-Belgian comics (most of them are owned by their initial creators or their estate). As such, various authors worked on the main series over the years:

  • Robert "Rob-Vel" Velter was commissionned to create the Spirou character to headline the new eponymous weekly "Le Journal de Spirou" magazine. He wrote and drew Spirou's adventures from 1938 to 1943, after which the war prevented him from continuing; his publisher bought the rights to the series and has had various creative teams work on it ever since. These adventures have never been reprinted and are mainly known for the introduction of Spirou's pet squirrel Spip.
  • Joseph "Jijé" Gillain (already a well-known veteran, now mostly remembered for drawing the Western series Jerry Spring) then took over the series (as well as a lot of publisher Dupuis's strips). He introduced Fantasio, whose garish costumes and gaffes made the perfect wacky Sidekick. Overwhelmed by having to handle too many series at once, he gave most of them to the care of various young artists he had groomed for that purpose.
  • André Franquin took over Spirou et Fantasio around 1948 (though Jijé did a few stories after the formal switchover). He is credited for creating the most well-known parts of the Spirou universe, including Champignac, the Marsupilami, Zorglub and Gaston Lagaffe. At the end of Franquin's run, the series received the input of Michel "Greg" Regnier for plots, grounding Spirou's adventures in a more realistic geopolitical context. By the beginning of the '70s, Franquin grew bored of the character and left the series (though he kept the rights of a few of his creations, including the Marsupilami and Gaston Lagaffe).
  • Young artist Jean-Claude Fournier then took over the series, updating slightly the look of the characters and giving the characters a more militant outlook.
  • In the 1980s, publisher Dupuis found Fournier too slow and started looking into other creative teams, with three of them working at the same time. Nicolas Broca & Raoul Cauvin's contribution (three albums) were quickly abandoned], as well as Yves Chaland's retro take, in favor of Philippe "Tome" Vandevelde & Jean-Richard "Janry" Geurts. They reached a commercial and critical success by updating Franquin's tradition, often with a slightly Darker and Edgier mood. They also launched the spin-off series Le Petit Spirou (about Spirou's youth), which took a lot of their time: after a failed "realistic" relaunch, they left the main series.
  • In the 2000s, Dupuis gave care of the main series to Jean-David Morvan and José-Luis Munuera, who tried including elements from each of the previous authors' runs; the lackluster sales meant they were given the boot after only four albums. Then Fabien Vehlmann and Yoann Chivard (credited simply as Yoann) took over the series and have been releasing new albums since 2009.
  • A series of out of continuity one-shots written and drawn by different artists (Le Spirou de...) started in 2006. Five have been published as of 2009, the more notable being Spirou, journal d'un ingénu, an alternative origin story by Émile Bravo in which Spirou is a young hotel groom in 1939.
  • A spin-off focusing exclusively on Zorglub, La fille du Znote , written by Munuera, was released in 2017.

The magazine for which this series was created, now titled Spirou, is still being published nowadays. It is now a weekly anthology of various comedy series, as well as serializing various adventure series of Dupuis's catalogue. Throughout the '90s and 2000s, its eponymous series barely appeared in it (due to frequent Schedule Slip), though Le Petit Spirou remained a regular presence. This changed with the one-shots, which have been published at thrice the rhythm of the main series so far.

Cinebook had been translating the books in English since 2009, alternating stories from the Franquin and Tome/Janry era.

A Live-Action Adaptation, originally scheduled for early 2017, was released in February 2018.

Spirou and Fantasio provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Acquired Situational Narcissism: Spirou becomes a highly popular movie star in La Grosse Tête. This inflates his ego tenfold and he starts to treat Fantasio like dirt. This ends when the movie producer disown him after the film set was trashed by revolutionary soldiers.
  • The Alcoholic: Dupilon.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Cyanure
  • Aliens in Cardiff: The Ksorien aliens from Du cidre pour les étoiles land in the rural area near Champignac in order to study with the Count of Champignac.
  • Alternate Continuity: Lampshaded in Alerte aux Zorkons, in which Fantasio mentions a character from a past adventure whom Spirou has no recollection of, and adds "Well, that was in a different space-time continuum." Fans interpret this as a sign that Fantasio went back, after all the time-travel shenanigans in Aux Sources du Z, and erased the Morvan & Munuera adventures from continuity. A Fourth Wall-breaking one-pager with Spirou and the new artist Yoann having wacky adventures through time until Fantasio and the new writer Vehlmann put a stop to it and pledge to put everything back in order lends some credence to this theory, but the fan dislike of the Morvan & Munuera era also seems to be a factor.
  • Ambiguous Robot: The "clone" or "android" in Machine qui rêve.
  • Animal Talk: Extremely inconsistently handled with Spip; in some early stories Spirou and Fantasio were able to understand him, but later on it was established that while Spip understood humans perfectly well, humans did not understand him. Whether other animals understood him seemed to vary depending on the story, but it is notable that while he was good friends with the Marsupilami, the two were never depicted as having anything resembling a conversation. The rule of thumb seems to be that only the reader understands Spip's comments, but there have been several exceptions.
  • Animated Adaptation: Two of them.
  • Animesque: Spirou à Tokyo, with lampshades aplenty.
  • Anti-Villain: Zorglub, Ankou and Luna Cortizone.
  • Applied Phlebotinum
    • Almost all of the Count's inventions are based on mushrooms as a main ingredient or an energy source.
    • Also, the Zorglonde, a form of energy designed by Zorglub which can be used to paralyze living things (only the Marsupilami is immune) or to control people's minds.
  • Apocalyptic Log: in La Vallée des Bannis, Spirou finds a very helpful notebook from a previous explorer. Subverted: the guy has actually survived all these years and helps our heroes escape from afar.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: In L'Ankou, Fantasio stubbornly refuses to believe that he's dealing with a supernatural creature.
  • Arch-Enemy:
  • The Artifact: Spirou still wears a variation of his trademark hotel groom costume, even though he left that job decades ago.
    • Lampshaded in Des Haricots Partout, when a UN delegate assumes he's the Count's personal bellboy.
    • Spoofed in Le Petit Spirou, where he wears it as a little kid and even his parents own the same outfit.
    • Also lampshaded in the short story Back to the Redac, where Spirou is forced to go back to wearing his bellhop uniform (he had more or less discarded it by the end of Tome & Janry's run, and Morvan & Munuera only had him wear it in flashbacks). Why? Because his contract with Dupuis, the publisher of the comic, obliges him to wear it since he's the face of the company and it is so iconic. The next album, Alerte aux Zorkons features him in full uniform again.
    • The latest books turn this into a Running Gag, each of them having him being forced to wear the uniform for the majority of the story for a reason of another (publicity stunt, losing his other clothes, having a well-meaning host provide him with nothing but those). He comments each time that he hates it.
  • Artistic License – Paleontology: Le Voyageur du Mésozoique features a dinosaur with pink and yellow spots.
  • Author Tract: Whenever currents events are alluded to, but especially L'Ankou, an Anvilicious attack against civilian nuclear power production "defiling" the folklorish lands of Brittany.
    • Most of Fournier's run had a strong ecological vibe.
  • A Villain Named "Z__rg": Zorglub, of coursenote . In a downplayed examples, other villains created by Franquin (such as Zantafio or Zabaglione) also tend to have "Z" somewhere in their name.
  • Awesome Anachronistic Apparel: The Count's frock coat and cravat, over which he occasionally wears a caped greatcoat and a deerstalker.
  • Badass Moustache: The Count de Champignac.
  • Badly Battered Babysitter: Spirou and Fantasio in Panade à Champignac, while babysitting Zorglub.
  • Banana Republic: Palombia
  • Beardness Protection Program: Inverted briefly in Machine qui rêve. The comic opens with a bearded man being pursued by the authories, who shaves his beard off in a bar's bathroom because his image is being broadcasted on the news channels. It turns out to be a movie that Spirou and Fantasio are watching.
  • Berserk Button: The easiest way to make Spirou drop his level-headed hero shtick is to harm Fantasio or Spip.
  • Big Fancy House: In La fille du Z, Zorglub and Zandra live on a private island with a big modern house, a swimming pool and robots for servants.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • In Le journal d'un ingénu, WWII has erupted and Spirou is crushed to learn that the girl he loved, Kassandra, is killed in Stalin's purges. On a lighter note, Spirou becomes friend with Fantasio for the first time.
    • In Le Groom vert-de-gris Spirou is saved from Nazi guards by a Jewish girl named Audrey. Later, World War II has ended and he decides to ask her out. However, he learns that guards had put her on a train and nobody knows where she is or why they took her. She is revealed to have survived some books later, but not before Spirou turned to alcoholism for a while because of this.
  • Black Like Me: Played anviliciously straight in Le Rayon noir, when Spirou is turned black by some of the count's phlebotinium (in the album, in addition to darkening his skin and hair, it turns the latter curly and makes his lips thicker; the animated version only keeps the palette swap). Though pretty hilariously, after half of the town's been turned black and back, people comment how the milkman is still black. His answer: "But I've always been!"
  • Body Double: Lenin's body as displayed in his mausoleum is one, the real one being too fragile.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Spip would occasionally do this in Fournier's stories, acknowledging that he was a comic book character, lamenting his lot as an animal sidekick and even occasionally going into rants on how Spirou and Fantasio were lousy comic book heroes.
  • Breakout Character: Marsupilami later had his own comic book and cartoon series.
  • Breakout Villain: Cyanure is a bizarre case. In the comics, she was a one-shot villain, but in the earlier animated series, she became one of the most recurring villains, to the point of gaining Joker Immunity.
  • Break the Cutie: Audrey, the Jewish girl who saved Spirou in Le Groom vert-de-gris was last heard being deported in Nazi's death camps. In later albums, Spirou found her alive much to his relief. Unfortunately, the poor girl has PTSD and say she isn't ready to go out on a date with Spirou yet.
  • Brick Joke: Spip being gagged in Spirou à Moscou
  • Bumbling Dad: After having an argument with his daughter, Zorglub accidentally activated the Z-Ray, causing him to panic. When Zandra asks him what it does, he replies that he doesn't know, because it's still experimental. We find out moments later that it's a Wave Motion Gun and it's firing on a populated city.
  • The Bus Came Back: In 2013, Dupuis purchased the company Marsu Productions, which had the rights to Franquin's creations like Gaston and the Marsupilami. Since then, they have started re-appearing together with Spirou and Fantasio in promo images and suchlike. Most notably, in the 75th-anniversary issue of Spirou, Marsupilami made a surprise appearance in a four-page story named Le Conte de Champignap. He reappears in the series proper in book #55, Wrath of the Marsupilami, with an explanation to where he's been all this time, and, more importantly, why nobody commented on his absence. Turns out Zantafio used the Zorg-Ray to make the main characters forget about him. The Marsupilami is rather pissed about it.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Vito Cortizone, whose bad luck reaches abysmal levels. Justified by the fact that he's been cursed by his Chinese mafia rival.
    • Charles Atan and Renaldo in L'Abbaye truquée.
  • Call-Back: Plenty of those during the Tome & Janry run, mostly to the Franquin era.
  • The Cameo: Le Groom vert-de-gris is full of them. From old Spirou characters to Tintin, Snowie, Müller, Captain Francis Blake and other early 20th century Franco-Belgian characters.
  • Canon Discontinuity: Facilitated by the various creative teams working on the series with their own directions, often ignoring their predecessors' work. Due to the lack of reprints, most people think the series started with Franquin's run (Rob-Vel and Jijé's contributions are rarely acknowledged).
    • Because of a strange editorial edict, Nic & Cauvin could not use Franquin's supporting cast, making their short run very easy to ignore.
    • In Alerte aux Zorkons it's implied that Fantasio went back in time and prevented the events of Morvan & Munuera's Aux Sources du Z from happening.
  • Canon Foreigner: The second Animated Adaptation features a character named Zaoki, an Ambiguously Brown Wrench Wench who was the daughter of Zorglub (who was the Big Bad of the series, despite his Heel–Face Turn in the comics). She was probably added due to there only being one recurring female character in the comic proper.
  • Captain Crash: Madflying, the Australian pilot-for-hire in Kodo le Tyran and Des haricots partout.
  • Captain Ersatz: Batguy
  • Cat Fight: Between Ursula and Glu-Glu.
  • Censor Box: In Le gri-gri du Nikolo-Koba, the diamond of Koli can make people disappear (they come back when it is placed in its special sheath), but it doesn't affect clothes. When a male villain is returned, the frame includes a narrator box with a pointless line (which reads "this is a white square"), conveniently waist-height. This may be an allusion to the carré blanc that was used for 30 years on French TV to signal programs that may feature content inappropriate for children.
  • Characterization Marches On: Early in Franquin's run, Fantasio shifted from a total goofball to The Comically Serious. With the obvious irony of later having to handle total goofball Gaston Lagaffe.
  • Character Tics: Franquin-era Spirou had a tendency to chew on things and fidget with his foot when agitated or anxious.
  • The Chew Toy:
    • Fantasio in several of the Tome & Janry stories. If a leg needs to be broken, you can bet it'll be his. Also in many Franquin stories. The premise of several of them are based on "Bad shit happens to Fantasio" or feature a huge element of this in the story. A recurring plot is to have Fantasio be the victim of events outside his control. See La Mauvaise Têtenote , Les Héritiersnote , Z comme Zorglubnote ... That makes him turn Genre Savvy when submitted to madness by the mosquito of La Vallée des Bannis.
    • Also Vito Cortizone, who has literally been cursed with bad luck.
  • Chick Magnet: Spirou in the recent stories.
    • Fantasio in the Panique en Atlantique one-shot.
  • Chronic Villainy:
    • A minor case, but Zantafio actually gave up on his uncle's legacy at the end of Spirou et les Héritiers, and left Spirou and Fantasio on good terms, having decided to make his own life in Palombia. Comes Le Dictateur et le Champignon, it turns out he ended up becoming a ruthless dictator in Palombia about to cause a War for Fun and Profit, putting him into a villainous role again. Since then, all his following appearances have despicted him as one of the vilest antagonists in the whole franchise.
    • Notably subverted with Zorglub in the comic; he exactly turned back to evil only once after his initial appearance, but was rather quick to turn good again, and after that his Heel–Face Turn sticked.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome:
    • The Marsupilami was a major character during Franquin's run, but when Franquin left the series he kept the rights to the Marsupilami and decided not to allow him to continue appearing in Spirou et Fantasio. Marsupilami appeared for the last time in Fournier's first story, but after that he vanished without any sort of in-universe explanation. The same happened with Gaston, who had been a minor recurring character in the comic (and Fantasio had been Gaston's main foil in Gaston's own comic, with Spirou making sporadic appearances) but now remained exclusively in his own comics.
    • Seccotine disappear during Fournier's run with the series only to reappear in one of Tome and Janry's story.
  • Clear My Name: Fantasio in La Mauvaise Tête.
  • Cloning Blues: The Reveal in Machine qui rêve. The Spirou we've been following is actually a clone of the original, and proceeds to angst over whether he's a real human being or not.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Fantasio in his early appearances.
  • Coat Cape: Zorglub likes this style. Until Spip decides to chew on the fur-lined leather coat he wore out that way, that is.
  • Combo Platter Powers: The Marsupilami is an extremely versatile animal. He is not only quite clever (while still having a somewhat normal animal intelligence), extremely strong and with a perfectly prehensile 7 metres-long (25 feet) tail, but he is also revealed over the course of the series to be amphibious, able to home on Spirou and Fantasio across a whole country, capable of speech like a parrot, able to burrow underground, immune to the Zorg-Ray... And its spin-off turns this Up to Eleven.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Zandra is shocked and doesn't understand how she could fire beams from her eyes. Her father Zorglub says she probably blew up a fuse because she got angry. That was definitely not the proper answer to give her.
  • Comic-Book Time: Sure since it's a long runner.
  • Continuity Porn: Aux Sources du Z.
  • Cool Car: The Turbotraction (which somehow disappeared just after Franquin left). Pénélope in the Animated Adaptation. The first model was crashed by Ibd-Mah-Zoud in Vacances sans histoires to be replaced by the second model; in Panade à Champignac, Franquin replaced it altogether with a small Honda coupé. Fournier, who took over, kept the same small car. After that, Spirou and Fantasio would always drive small, cheap cars — Franquin said it first in Vacances sans histoires and Tome & Janry hammered in that Spirou and Fantasio are far from being rich in Spirou à New York. That makes the Turbotraction border Improbably Cool Car, except from the fact that it's actually the first road-worthy pre-series prototype given to them by the auto maker as thanks (first model, the Turbo-Rhino). The disappearance of the second model is never explained in-universe, though.
    • Noemie in the Fournier books. A pre-war car belonging to the Count (but far classier than what he drove in his first appearance) that has been modified to run on sugar thanks to a special mushroom, allowing it to reach comfortable speeds with a single lump.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive:
    • Basile de Koch, CEO of Farmarm in Virus.
    • And the Viper from Dans les griffes de la Vipère.
    • Mrs. Gallantine in Fantasio se marie. She's willing to use dirty tactics to get what she wants.
  • Covers Always Lie: The cover of Fantasio is getting married shows Fantasio fawning over a beautiful model, making readers think he's going to marry her. The model does appear in the story and Fantasio does finds her attractive, but she is not Fantasio' bride.
  • Cowboy Cop: The undercover policewoman in Fantasio se marie. She's trigger happy and violently pursue her quarry. We later find out she's working for Mrs. Gallantine and isn't a real cop.
  • Crapsack World:
    • La Vallée des Bannis features a Lost World with Everything Trying to Kill You (including liberal amounts of Schmuck Bait). If you manage to survive the initial confusion, the madness mosquitoes will turn most of you into raving maniacs all killing each other.
    • Also demonstrated to be true for the rest of the world in Dans les griffes de la Vipère, where a clique of extremely powerful people is revealed who can launch and win frivolous lawsuits, rewrite laws, force people into contracts that essentially equate to slavery, and set the CIA on random people; all to serve shallow whims.
  • Daddy's Little Villain: Luna, Vito Cortizone's daughter. She disapproves of some of her father's methods but still ends up on his side in the end.
    • Completely averted with Zandra, the daughter of Zorglub. She's isn't evil, but she still care for her father.
  • Darker and Edgier:
    • A general trend for the series as a whole, and inside nearly each creative run. Machine qui rêve, Tome & Janry's last album, tried reinventing the series as an ultra-serious (and decompressed) techno-thriller. It didn't work.
    • The early episodes drawn by Franquin were actually quite dark at times, with violent deaths, doomsday devices, and borderline horrific scenes (lightened with absurd resolutions), up to and including torture scenes in QRN sur Bretzelburg complete edition.
    • Some of the out-of-continuity stories have been this, especially those happening during World War 2. One of their subplots involve a young Jewish girl, possibly Spirou's first love, being deported and Spirou turning into alcoholism because of this. She's revealed to have survived, but a few books later.
    • The Un Cadavre Exquis comic jam also counts. The opening is already very serious, showing that Spirou had to fake his death without being able to tell anyone, not even Fantasio or Spip. While the comic eventually becomes less serious, in the first half there's some really dark moments, including a baby transforming into a violent ape-like creature before its mother's eyes and then mauling her to death, and even Fantasio trying to take his own life when unable to cope with Spirou's apparent death.
  • Darkest Africa : Spirou and Fantasio go to Congo in Master of the Black Hosts. At the time, the country is still a colony of Belgium, but it has a Nazi-like rebellion, a voodoo sorcerer and a hostile tribe of leopardwomen.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Spip is the most consistent example of this, but notably in Tome & Janry's early run of the series (he stopped speaking altogether in their later albums).
    • Depending on the Writer, Fantasio indulges a little snarking now and then as well.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: It took him two days of constant hitting on its head with a tree trunk, which was a mere stick to the beast, but Marsupilami managed to knock a dinosaur out.
  • Deface of the Moon: Zorglub's pet project was to demonstrate his genius by writing a brand name in giant letters on the Moon. It worked, but not quite the way he expected.
  • Depending on the Writer: The tone, plotlines and settings have varied wildly with the rotating creative teams.
    • For some reason, Fantasio's sexuality is also one of the things that gets editorialized. He's been everything from straight (Yoann & Vehlmann) to effeminate but interested in women (Morvan & Munuera) to gay and blatantly pining for Spirou (Yann & Tarrin) to straight-leaning-on-bisexual (Tome & Janry).
      • Though, in their defense, a child won't necessarily pick up on those kind of hints... And it can be argued that some of it is played for laughs.
    • Spip's intelligence, speech (see Animal Talk) and overall helpfulness, varies a lot between creative teams. In an out-of-continuity story, he actually plots to extinguish the human race by starting World War 2.
  • Dismantled MacGuffin: The magical necklace in Fantasio se marie is broken in three parts and various parties are trying to get it back together for their own benefits.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Defied. When Seccotine comes out of the bathroom wearing just a towel, Spirou is stunned and tries avoid staring at her.
  • Downer Beginning: Le Groom vert-de-gris begins in the middle of World War II with Belgium being occupied by the Nazi. Spirou works as a groom in a hotel used by the Gestapo as their HQ. Because of this, Fantasio has disowned his friend, not knowing he is secretly a member of the Belgium Resistance.
  • Dystopia Is Hard: The Kingdom of Bretzelburg under the dictatorship of General Schmetterling, who rules through the puppet king Ladislas. As a result of Bretzelburg's arms race with Maquebasta, the country's economy has all but collapsed, with long lines of people outside grocery stores due to the lack of food in the shops, bus passengers forced to pedal to move the bus due to fuel restrictions, people wearing newspapers as clothes and beer being replaced with tap water. The secret police is everywhere, with even the slightest expression of dissent meriting arrest and "re-education." Meanwhile, the copious amounts of weapons acquired as a result of the arms race are themselves shown to be useless: oil barrels are stuck together to appear like rockets and grenades are made from food tins... with the contents still inside.
  • Drives Like Crazy
    • Seccotine is the classic terrible woman driver. In the second animated series she's best called "reckless", dodging through traffic and leaving cars behind her slamming the brakes.
    • Also the oil sheik Ibn Mah-zout, who turned Spirou and Fantasio's car into scattered pieces of scrap metal in just a few minutes of driving it.
  • Easy Amnesia: Zorglub in Panade à Champignac. He gets hit over the head and all his memories come back. Then he gets hit over the head another time and they all disappear. And let's not forget the fact that he's acting like an 8-month-old in the first place.
  • Elixir of Life: The "spilling from the Fountain of Youth" variety is the macguffin in The Man Who Did Not Want to Die. The titular Man is Fantasio's old adventurer uncle Zantafio, who found the Fountain of Youth and brought back copious amounts of its waters (the Elixir) in large bottles. Decades later what remained of his supplies is accidentally lost and he has to return to the Fountain in time before ever-fastening Rapid Aging gets him...
  • Escaped Animal Rampage: In the story "Le Voyageur du Mésozoïque" a dinosaur escapes from the Count of Rommelgem's laboratory and causes havoc in the city.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Poildur says that he may be a thug and a thief, but he wont betray his country to the Nazis.
  • Everyone Went to School Together: Spoofed in La Jeunesse de Spirou (which has a drunk Unreliable Narrator), averted in Le Petit Spirou (which has none of the other regular characters).
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: In Bravo les Brothers, Gaston gives Fantasio three circus-trained chimpanzees as a birthday present.
  • Evil Albino: The big secret of the Master of the Black Hosts. Beneath his mask and exterior is an African albino. He has a huge Freudian Excuse for being evil and using sorcery, as he had a horrible existence since childhood.
  • Evil Chancellor: General Schmetterling, the commander of Bretzelburg's military and the de facto ruler of the small kingdom. He keeps King Ladislas docile by regularly giving him medication to "calm his nerves," thereby enabling him to run the country and escalate the ruinous arms race with Bretzelburg's neighbor Maquebasta, which he uses to embezzle copious amounts of government funds.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: The Marsupilami usually gets suspicious of bad guys even before they are known as such. This usually means he seems to attack a random stranger without provocation.
  • Evil Twin: Zantafio to Fantasio, although he's actually Fantasio's cousin.
  • Extreme Omnivore: The Marsupilami will try to eat anything that smells good, and is usually able to digest it without too much trouble. Spirou and Fantasio were able to capture him in the first place because he got drunk after drinking their entire supply of methylated spirit and suffered only from a hangover from it. In anther book he eats Fantasio's tobacco. And a wild Marsupilami's diet is mainly composed of live piranhas (and the occasional whole coconut).
  • The Faceless: Number 2 in Du glucose pour Noémie and the Big Bad in Cauvin's stories.
  • Fake-Out Make-Out: Used by Spirou on Ursula in Le Groom vert-de-gris to avoid a patrol of Nazis.
  • The Family for the Whole Family
    • Don Vito Cortizone and his family, of course.
    • Also, the Triangle.
  • Family-Friendly Firearms: In La Corne du Rhinocéros, the censorship commission made Franquin remove most of the bad guys' guns, which meant they were now pointing their finger at everything.
  • Femme Fatale: Luna, Vito Cortizone's daugther.
  • Fighting Your Friend: Spirou is forced to do this after Fantasio becomes infected by a Hate Plague in Vallée des Bannis.
  • Food as Bribe: During WWII, Fantasio hasn't paid his rent for six months and the landlord threaten him to throw him out. Fantasio then give her a large piece of meat and she allows him stay for another month.
  • Fountain of Youth: L'homme qui ne voulait pas mourir.
  • Freudian Excuse:
    • It's hard not to feel sorry for the Master of the Black Hosts. Being an African albino, he was abandoned in the jungle by his mother. An elderly Belgium nun found him and harshly raised him as a catholic. After her death, he lived on the streets and was ostracized by everyone. He tried to enroll as a priest, but the church rejected him. In the end, he was found by a sorcerer who made him his pupil. With his new found powers, he went on a vengeful crusade against Belgians and Africans-alike.
    • Zorglub revealed that he was mocked during his early life and led a lonely existence. So turned he to science and villainy to gain respect.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Fantasio in his early appearances. Including the mostly forgotten Fanta-Copter: a functional one-person helicopter backpack! Fantasio remains a gadgeteer all along, sometimes giving Champignac a hand in building his inventions (he's seen working on the submarine). Champignac eclipsed him as a real genius, but Fantasio sure knows his way around a toolbox : in Aventure en Australie, he's seen fixing a train with a plane's engine.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • In Les Petits Formats, a photograph lives Coutufon street, which could be translated as MuckingForon street
    • The titular Zorkons in Alerte aux Zorkons have evolved to lack a brain stem to resist the Zorg Ray. Fantasio instantly concludes that Zorg-kon is a fitting name for them ("con", meaning "moron", is a moderately strong swearword that is otherwise censored in the Spirou comics).
    • When Seccotine becomes Spirou new roommate, she says she wants to have an adventure with him, which in French could be interpreted as having an affair with him.
    • In La fille du Z, Zorglub let out a big Oh, shit! when he accidentally activated the Z-Ray.
  • Grave Clouds: The graveyard scenes in Un Cadavre Exquis all take place in the pouring rain. Spip lampshades this at one point, wondering: 'how come it's always raining in graveyards?'
  • Grim Reaper: In L'Ankou, Spirou and Fantasio get to meet the eponymous collector of souls. Because of their unfamiliarity with Breton folklore, they aren't nearly as scared as they ought to be.
  • Hack the Traffic Lights: Fantasio equips an old car with a device allowing him to remotely control the traffic lights so they are always green for him. He later gives it to an oil magnate who, being colourblind, misuses it and turns all lights red for him.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Fantasio, so much so that at the end of La Vallée des Bannis, the hospital staff did not realize he was no longer violently insane.
  • Harmless Villain: Zorglub
  • Hate Plague: Fantasio becomes infected by one of these in La Vallée des Bannis and spends the volume trying to murder Spirou.
  • Heads, Tails, Edge: Luna Fatale
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: The latest books and the one-shots make Zorglub this. Lampshaded at one point by Fantasio, who comments that he can't remember if he's supposed to be with them or against them.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Zorglub and John Helena.
  • Hero Stole My Bike: When trying to chase Zantafio's car, Spirou take a motorist's motorcycle. Later, he return it to the owner and tell him to write any complaint to Le Journal de Spirou.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: Although we never see him in this state, Spirou tells Seccotine in La Grosse Tête that Fantasio has been ill with depression after his book only sold twenty-something copies note . It's not mentioned again after that, but when Fantasio shows up again he appears to have recovered from it.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners
  • Highly Conspicuous Uniform: Zorglub's Zorgmen.
  • Home Base: Champignac.
  • How the Mighty Have Fallen:
    • Zantafio was once the dictator of Palombia, only to be forced to live as a vagrant after being thwarted by Spirou and Fantasio.
    • Kodo the Tyrant. He's the undisputed dictator of a fictional country in Asia named Catung. Fantasio and Spirou ruin him by destroying his opium fields and replacing his weapons shipments with agricultural vehicles. A year later, our heroes find him selling vegetables in a open market in Europe.
    • The revolutionary leader and his general in The Master of the Black Hosts. They both fail at overthrowing the Belgium colonists and were forced to hide in the jungle. A Catholic missionary take them in and they are forced to make slapstick movies for the rest of their days.
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: a particular tragic variant where the people of Champignac are forced to hunt their friend Spirou by the Viper.
  • Hypno Ray: The Zorglonde.
  • Iconic Outfit: Spirou's outfit, of course. His hat in particular has been used as a logo of sorts for representing the series.
  • Identical Grandson: sort of:
    • Aurélien de Champignac looks exactly the same as his uncle the Count of Champignac, except his moustache points up instead of down.
    • Zorglub's descendant from Le Réveil du Z looks exactly the same as his ancestor, except he's a dwarf.
    • Fantasio and Spirou also have identical family members in Le Réveil du Z, and much to their ancestors' shock, they are Zorglub's descendant's Elite Mooks.
  • Idiot Hair: Fantasio has the eight strands of hair that pop up on top of his head.
  • I Have Many Names: Zantafio uses many names:
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Zandra wished she has a normal life like all the other teenagers. She mention that she lives on a private island with his dad, a bunch of robots and she's the only who goes to school in a UFO.
  • Inconsistent Coloring: Fantasio's coat suddenly changes from black to green halfway through Un Cadavre Exquis.
  • Interrupted Suicide: In Un Cadavre Exquis, Fantasio tries to do this after believing Spirou has died. Thankfully Spip manages to stop him just in time.
  • Intimidation Demonstration: One of the early stories has the Marsupilami meet a gorilla, who starts engaging in threatening behavior (chestbeating, ripping trees out of the ground...). Subverted, however, in that it is quickly too tired to actually fight, and the Marsupilami goes by unharmed - and actually looks worried by the gorilla's state of exhaustion.
  • Intrepid Reporter
    • Spirou and Fantasio themselves, of course.
    • Seccotine is a cross between this and Paparazzi.
    • It also applies to Ororea from the Fournier books.
    • Fantasio leans more towards being a paparazzo in some stories, like Panique En Atlantique and Le journal d'un ingénu
  • Irony: Zandra points out the irony of that his dad, Zorglub, overprotecting her, while he invents some of the most dangerous weapons in the world.
  • Job Mindset Inertia: The town drunk was apparently a vetenarian before he took to drinking and is the Closest Thing We Got to a doctor. When giving Spirou a checkup, he gives his opinion as if Spirou were a horse.
  • Kill All Humans: Who would have believed this of Spip the squirrel? But that's what is shown in the shocking epilogue to Le journal d'un ingénu.
  • King of the Homeless: Two pre-teen kids fill this function for a group of Tokio homeless in Spirou et Fantasio à Tokyo
  • Latex Perfection: Played with in the story La mauvaise tête to frame Fantasio. While the mask is good enough to fool people watching him on TV or from afar, it always keeps the same, smiling expression, and the guy under the mask was specifically chosen to for his similar frame. He also never meets a close relative of Fantasio's while masked.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: Tome & Janry present the duo this way.
  • Madness Mantra: After Fantasio goes insane in La Vallée des Bannis he develops a tendency to say or yell, "FANTASIO MAGAZIIIIIIIIIINE!" due to the fact that the Hate Plague had made him fixate on the fact that despite them being lifelong partners, their book was still called Spirou Magazine. This part was left out of the animated adaptation of this album.
  • Mad Scientist
    • The Count of Champignac, although he gets saner after his debut episode and becomes The Professor. La peur au bout du fil Makes him REALLY mad though.
    • Zorglub, complete with the They Called Me Mad! speech.
  • Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter: Zandra, the daughter of Zorglub in La fille du Z.
  • Manchurian Agent: Luna in the second animated series.
  • Mass Hypnosis: One of the possible uses of the Zorg-Ray. Entire villages are evacuated that way.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: A lot of this in the Fournier series, especially with the magician Itoh Kata. Some of what he does can be explained by sleight of hand (although at an Impossible Thief level), but later on this can only be described as magical, such as when his hat is revealed to be a functional Hammer Space containing doves, rabbits, and everything else he puts there. In L'Ankou, he can actually make things disappear or teleport without explanation.
  • Missing Mom: Zandra never met or remember her mother. For good reason, Zandra eventually discover that she's a robot.
  • Mistaken for Gay
    • Seccotine thinks that Spirou is in love with Fantasio and teases him about it in Le Tombeau des Champignac.
    Seccotine: Your little Fantasio is well, that's what counts right?
    Spirou: What are you trying to say?
    Seccotine: Nothing, you're free to love whoever you want...
    • A street-vendor in an old Franquin volume mistakes them for a couple as well.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters
    • The Marsupilamis.
    • Everything in the Valley of the Banished.
    • The Snouffelaire.
  • Modesty Towel: In the One Shot, Fantasio is getting Married, Seccotine becomes Spirou's new roommate, much to the latter's annoyance. At some point, she comes out of the bathroom wearing nothing but a towel and left quite an impression on Spirou.
  • Mundane Solution: Zorglub struggles to deactivate the Z-Ray. Zandra simply unplug the power cord. Unfortunately, this cause their ship to plummet on the ground.
  • Mysterious Antarctica
    • In Le Voyageur du Mésozoïque, Champignac finds a dinosaur egg in the ices of Antarctica.
    • In Virus, a sinister corporation has a germ warfare research facility located in Antarctica.
  • National Geographic Nudity: The tribe of Leopardwomen are all topless. Yes, even the great old priestess.
  • Nearly Normal Animal: Spip and the Marsupilami, on different levels.
    • Spip's intelligence varies a lot Depending on the Writer. At his most clever, he's shown to be of nearly human intelligence with Thought Bubble Speech and perfectly understands human speech, but he still loves to eat nuts and climb on trees. Other writers have depicted him as behaving like a realistic squirrel.
    • The Marsupilami usually behaves like an extremely clever animal: he frequently misunderstands the humans, has no thought bubbles and particularly enjoys eating, sleeping and playing. However, in the Poorly Disguised Pilot Le Nid de Marsupilamis (Marsupilamis' nest), focusing on a family of Marsupilamis living in the jungle, their courtship behaviour is particularly human-like, especially where the female Marsupilami is concerned.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: The Marsupilami regularly displays new abilities that end up being helpful to the heroes (being amphibious, capable of finding Spirou and Fantasio across a country, burrowing, being immune to the Zorg-Ray, ...), but just as regularly the source of gags. Lampshaded by Spirou or Fantasio, who regularly note that he is full of surprises.
  • Nice Guy: André, Zandra's boyfriend, is rather friendly and doesn't do anything that would provoke others around him.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: In Le Journal d'un ingénu, Spirou's suggestion settles peace between the Polish and the Nazis, therefore averting war. However, Fantasio was looking for a big story and angered the Nazi negotiator. This prompted him to retaliate by calling off the peace proposal. Congratulations Fantasio, you just caused World War II.
    • In Fantasio's defense, the Nazi negotiator was total dick and deserved to be punched for hitting Spirou (who was just a young teenager during that time).
    • There's also hints that Nazi Germany wanted to push for war, regardless of the negotiations' outcome.
  • Nintendo Hard: The Sega Genesis game.
  • Nitro Express: One episode of the animated Spirou and Fantasio has the protagonists unwittingly transporting a truckload of "nitrotonic".
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: Zorglub mentions that he keeps a backup of everything he invents, except for her android daughter Zandra. He wanted her to be unique.
  • Nothing Exciting Ever Happens Here: Champignac. Would be a sleepy rural town, but wait, there's the Count... And Caténaire qualifies, too.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: In Vito la Déveine. Vito Cortizone is still a Butt-Monkey, but he also shows he can be dangerous. He almost successfully killed Spirou; after that failed, he neutralized him with a homemade drug.
  • The Noun Who Verbed: L'homme qui ne voulait pas mourir (The man who did not want to die).
  • Number of the Beast: Ursula invites Fantasio to come by her hotel room, which is number 666.
  • Offscreen Villain Dark Matter: In La fille du Z, the story explain that Zorglub receives his funds from the military in exchange for weapons and inventions. The military also protects his identity from the media and keep the location of his island a secret.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Zorglub and Champignac (although the latter is a mushroom specialist, he can also build submarines or counter-mind control devices when needed).
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Seccotine (the name of a brand of glue). Her real name is Sophie. "Spirou" is apparently is a nickname too.
  • Only One Name: Most characters are known only by one name (including in situation where the use of a nickname would not make sense, such as in court): Spirou, Fantasio, Zantafio, Zorglub, etc. Averted with the Count (see Overly Long Name).
  • Only Sane Employee: Fantasio in Bravo les Brothers.
  • On One Condition: Spirou et les Héritiers has Fantasio and Zantafio face off in three trials mandated by their uncle's will.
  • Outdated Outfit: Even in the 1970s, Spirou's Bell-boy Elevator Operator uniform was painfully out of place. Since the '90s, authors have finally decided to do away with it.
    • Well, you know, until "Alerte aux Zorkons" in 2010...
  • Overly Long Name: The count's full name is Pacôme Hégésippe Adélard Ladislas, count of Champignac. When boxing, his title of count isn't up for the taking.
  • Papa Wolf: Zorglub is very overprotective of his daughter to the point of exaggeration. When Zandra kissed a boy, he swooped down in his ship and sent robots to retrieve her, causing collateral damage and a panic on the streets.
  • The Paralyzer: Another possible use for the Zorg Ray. People remain frozen but are sometimes aware of their surroundings.
  • Past Right Now: The theme park recreating Edo.
  • Poorly Disguised Pilot: Le Nid des Marsupilamis, though the spin-off series would not be created until two decades later.
  • Post-Kiss Catatonia: When a time-traveling Spirou couldn't get rid of Seccotine, he resorts to kiss her which left her pretty stunted. She just stood still and wouldn't move for several minutes, as she was cut off from reality.
  • Power Perversion Potential: Fantasio uses the Count's own version of the Zorglonde to get some kisses (on the forehead) from a cute air hostess, to the bafflement of Spirou and the Count, and the envy of Spip.
  • Professor Guinea Pig: The Count tests his intelligence enhancing Super Serum on himself, after some experiments on a chicken. Ditto for his cold resistance drug.
  • Punny Name: Frequently the case in the Franquin and Fournier books, sometimes with along with a Bilingual Bonus.
  • Putting on the Reich: At times.
    • Uniforms worn in Zantafio's Palumbia, as shown in Le dictateur et le champignon, resemble those of Fascist Spain.
      • Interestingly, in "Aux sources du Z", Spirou complains that the uniforms resemble Nazi uniforms...
    • All Bretzelburg troops in QRN sur Bretzelburg, whose appearance invokes World War I Imperial Germany.
      • Bretzelburg as a whole is very reminiscent of either Eastern Germany and occupied France or Belgium during World War II.
    • Later on, Kodo le Tyran not only incorporates uniforms, but also a flag that fits well into No Swastikas.
  • Rapid Aging: The X3 serum from the Count of Champignac ages the subject from 70 years in an hour. Thankfully, the only creature to whom this was fatal was a cow.
  • Rapid-Fire "No!": When Zandra is abducted by his father with his ship, she utters a series of "No!" in rapid succession.
  • Recognizable by Sound: Averted in one story: Spirou, while lost in the jungle, overhears the very distinctive cry of the Marsupilami (despite being continents apart), but discovers it's an entirely different creature.
  • Recursive Canon: Spirou and particularly Fantasio work for Dupuis, the publishing company that produces the Spirou comic. Sometimes they are freelance reporters for Le Moustique, Dupuis' real-life entertainment magazine, and sometimes they work on the staff of the Spirou magazine itself, having to meet deadlines and doing publicity for the comic! In the comic stories, Spirou occasionally meets characters who read the comic and recognize him from it:
    • Jijé had him interact with members of his own fan-club (run by the magazine), Amis de Spirou ("Friends of Spirou"), in the story L'enlèvement de Spip.
    • In Spirou and the Heirs (Spirou et les héritiers), Spirou rescues a boy who is reading his earlier adventure, The Wizard of Culdesac (Il y a un sorcier à Champignac), and who asks him how it ends.
    • In Z is for Zorglub (Z comme Zorglub), a kid helps Spirou when he's looking for Fantasio, having recognized them both from the comic.
    • In Alerte aux Zorkons, a sniper refuses to fire on a Spirou-shaped advertising balloon the heroes are using to cross a military roadblock, because he used to read the comic as a child.
    • In Machine qui rêve, Spirou and Seccotine get out of getting a ticket for riding a motorcycle without helmets because the policeman has kids who read the comics. (He mentions he thought it was ‘just comics' and is surprised to find out Spirou really exists.)
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: In La Vallée des Bannis, red eyes are a sign that someone has been infected with the book's version of the Hate Plague
  • Reformed Criminal: La Murène in Virus
  • Ripped from the Headlines: Most of the more serious plots.
  • The Rival: Seccotine is a rival journalist to the main characters, hence Fantasio's dislike of her.
  • Robot Girl: Cyanure in Qui arrêtera Cyanure?
  • Robotic Reveal: Much to her shock, Zandra discovers that she's an android created by her father Zorglub.
  • Rogues Gallery: Not so much the comic — which had a greater variety of plots and more one-off villains — but the 1992 animated series was fond of recurring antagonists, particularly Vito Cortizone and Cyanure.
  • Ruritania: Bretzelburg is a typical Ruritanian country, with added Germanic trappings.
  • Saw "Star Wars" 27 Times: Zandra thinks that "Starbattle XI" is just a recycling of the old movies from the franchise. Still, she says that it wasn't so bad and she'll be watching it again, at least 7 times instead of the usual 10.
  • Screwball Serum: The Count has invented a superintellicence booster drug, the "X4", that had the unfortunate side-effect of causing some psychedelic episodes. In La Peur au Bout du Fil, the Count conducted a successful experiment to "purify" X4, but was distracted by phone and unwittingly drank the residue, which turned him into a psychopatic prankster.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Aniota decides to stay in her tribe and succeeds her grandmother as the new grand priestess. When she finds out the gruesome and disgusting rituals that she has to endure, she hastily decides to return to Belgium with Spirou and Fantasio.
  • Security Cling: Fantasio jumps into Spirou's arms on the cover of Qui arrêtera Cyanure?
    • Spirou does the same thing to Fantasio at one point in Le Prisonnier Du Bouddha
  • Senseless Violins: Seen many times in Luna fatale. Mostly the cases though (used to dissimulate tommyguns, which made the one time when a violin was actually required have it replaced with a comb and paper).
  • Sequel Hook: Yoann and Vehlman have turned this into a habit, often presented as The Stinger.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: The mayor of Champignac is fond of speaking in convoluted sentences replete with mixed metaphors.
  • Sexy Discretion Shot
    • In Le Groom vert-de-gris, which take place during WWII era, Fantasio wakes up in bed with Wehrmacht officer Ursula Chickengrüber getting dressed for work.
    • In Le Tombeau des Champignac, Spirou and Seccotine are freezing to death in a Tibetan mountain as their anti-cold drugs are wearing off. As they hold each other to warm themselves, Seccotine notices a mushroom that Spirou is holding just changed color. She correctly guesses it's tied to emotions and teases him by asking if he has ever kissed a girl, as she always thought he and Fantasio were gay. Cut to a scene outside the mountain with Seccotine saying: "But?! Spirou, what are you doing?" Later, Fantasio comes to the rescue and has very shocked expression on his face when he enters the cave.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In the album Le Groom Vert-de-Gris, a re-imagination of Spirou set during the Nazi occupation of 1942, several references are made to other Belgian Comics from this time period, including Tintin, Blondin et Cirage, Suske en Wiske, Lucky Luke, Quick and Flupke and Jo, Zette and Jocko.
    • Spirou et Fantasio in New York has what is obviously Soda as one of the cops.
    • In Tora-Torapa, Natacha and Benoit Brisefer can be glimpsed in an airport.
    • Spirou is dressed like Tintin in Le Journal d'un ingénu.
    • In La femme léopard, Nazi scientists are captured and put on a ship to Africa. The captain of the ship isn't named, but is clearly Allan from Tintin. Even the goons that are accompanied him are from The Crab with the Golden Claws.
    • Zandra went to the movies and watched "Starbattle XI: Son of Evil" and "Montana Bob and the Gold Baby", which are not so subtle nods to Star Wars XII and Indiana Jones 4 respectively.
  • Show Within a Show: some adventures show the heroes' documentary films. Le nid des Marsupilamis is mainly such a documentary with the title heroes as a Greek Chorus.
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Seccotine to Fantasio, with the former regularly stealing the spotlight or the theme of an article the latter wanted to write. At least in the second animated series, he often grumbles when she gets involved in their adventures.
  • Smash the Symbol: Well, technically it's steal the symbol, but Tanaziof's stealing of Lenin's body is intended to be this.
  • Smug Snake: Zantafio
  • Speech-Impaired Animal
    • Spip, though he does get thought balloons quite often.
    • Strangely, while Spip has a quasi-human intelligence (and the cynicism that comes with it), the Marsupilami, who can utter human words like a parrot does, only has animal-level intelligence. He is clever for an animal, though.
  • Spin-Off: Quite a few of them:
  • Spinoff Babies: Le Petit Spirou
  • Spoiler Cover: Although subtle, the cover of L'ombre du Z contains a big clue as to who the Big Bad really is: the shadow behind Zorglub is shaped like Zantafio's emblem when he was ruling Palumbia.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: The Ankou does it all the time, making the heroes rather jumpy.
  • Super Serum: A lot of these, all courtesy of the Count, and always extracted from some mushroom:
    • One of his first inventions is the "X1", a serum that when injected grants superhuman strength for a time.
    • A further one is the "X4", which incredibly enhances intelligence. The Count uses it on himself to invent a revolutionary diving equipment and submarine in the space of a few hours, while having no knowledge of the subject beforehand.
    • Another of his inventions allows to become immune to cold.
  • Technopath: The android Cyanure can take control of machines.
  • Techno Wizard: The Count of Champignac. Most of his Phlebotinum involves mushrooms in some form, including in the design stage.
  • Temporal Paradox: Dear God. The last Morvan & Munuera album made, Aux Sources du Z, the entire series was erased with one of these.
  • That Poor Plant
    • The Count once experimented a serum on a mushroom, causing it to turn into an ugly, misshapen thing.
    • In QRN sur Bretzelburg, Spirou convinces the king to stop taking the "medicine" his advisors use to keep him docile. He pours it out on a plant, which immediately wilts.
  • Theme Mobile: Whatever Zorglub invents is invariably named as Zorg-something, which gives us the zorglumobile and the zorgcopter (and the zorgwave, zorgspeak, the Zorgmen...).
  • Theme Naming: Fantasio's relatives include his cousin Zantafio and his uncle Tanzafio. They somehow manage to be serious characters despite the silly names.
  • The Talk: Zorglub's robot majordomo thinks it's time he has the talk with his daughter Zandra. It's actually about revealing to her that she is an android.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: In Le groom de Sniper Alley, the dictator of Aswana is killed in a missile barrage while he was hidding in his shack.
  • They Called Me Mad!: Zorglub's backstory. People laughed at his theories in school so he decided to create an army of mind-controlled soldiers.
  • Time Travel: In L'Horloger de la comète, Le Réveil du Z and Aux Sources du Z.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Spirou in Machine qui rêve. He spends the entire comic being pursued by The Men in Black who want to kill him, before he realizes that he's actually a clone of the real Spirou. The original sacrifices himself and allows his duplicate to live out the rest of his life.
  • Torches and Pitchforks: Whenever something unusual happens in Champignac, the townspeople will blame it on the count and the mayor will organize a march to the chateau, sometimes with the express purpose to smash up the count's scientific equipment. They tend to end up making fools of themselves, but when they realize that they quicly fix all damages and leave, feeling sorry for their foolishness.
  • Torture Technician: Subverted with Herr Doktor Kilikil in QRN sur Bretzelburg: his methods involve scraping chalk on a blackboard, or cooking a lavish and fragrant meal in front of a hungry prisoner. He's so good at it, in fact, that he eventually becomes a restaurant cook.
  • Tractor Beam: Zorglub's ship is equipped with a tractor beam, although it's called it a "raptzorg" beam.
  • Trading Bars for Stripes: Zantafio proposes it to Spirou and Fantasio. First they nearly lynch him, then they accept so they can plot against him more easily.
  • Tragic Keepsake: In a one-shot, Le Journal d'un ingénu, Kassandra Stahl says that Spirou looks great in his red groom costume. After her tragic death, Spirou decides to keep wearing his costume as a reminder of her.
  • Under the Sea: Much of Le Repère de la Murène takes place underwater.
  • Underwater Base: The villains of Le Repère de la Murène.
  • Underwater City: Spirou et les Hommes-Bulles.
  • Underwater Ruins: Les géants pétrifiés
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left!: Most of the time.
  • A Villain Named "Z__rg": Spoofed. Zorglub's name is a portmanteau of this and "Arglub", which is a standard Written Sound Effect for accidental strangling or drowning in Franco-Belgian comics.
  • Vladimir Lenin: his embalmed body plays a major role in Spirou à Moscou
  • War Is Hell: Invoked by the sniper who is tasked with shooting down the Spirou-shaped balloon in Alerte aux Zorkons. He breaks down and cries because he loves the comic and cannot bring himself to shoot at the balloon.
  • Weaponized Landmark: In Spirou et Fantasio à Tokyo, a live-sized statue of Hachikō (a famous japanese dog) is animated by telekinesis.
  • Weasel Mascot: Spip the squirrel.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: There has been a lot of ambiguity on where Spirou and Fantasio live, with conflicting hints pointing towards the suburbs of either Paris or Bruxelles. Meanwhile, the location of the quaint small town of Champignac is deliberately ambiguous.
    • The town's full title is Champignac-en-Cambrousse, which roughly translates as Champignac-in-the-Sticks or Champignac-in-the-Middle-of-Nowhere.
  • Windbag Politician: The mayor of Champignac is widely feared for his entirely improvised and metaphor-breaking digressions.
  • The Worst Seat in the House: In Spirou à New York the title characters are supposed to attend a "car ball" (like soccer, but the players are all in cars, and the ball is also a car) finals match to write an article about it. They are late (since they spend the entire comic on wacky mafia hijinx), but a shady guy sells them the last set of seats. Which are inside the "ball".
  • Would Hit a Girl: In Paris-Sous-Seine Spirou punches Miss Flanners in the face for being the cause of Spip's death. However, after discovering that Spip is actually safe and sound, he is mortified by his actions even though Flanners had still done enough to deserve the punishment - and advises him to not ask forgiveness for doling punishment to those that deserve it.
    • Later in Aux Sources du Z it's possibly subverted again as Aged!Spirou reveals he originally hit Miss Flanners because when he saw her, he immediately had "strange feelings" that he'd never felt before and it scared him, causing him to lash out... At Miss Flanners.
  • Writing for the Trade: Mostly averted, as most creative teams made a point of ending nearly every page with a gag or Cliffhanger because the prepublication schedule could be reduced to as little as one or two pages per week.
  • You Are Number 6: Members of the Triangle refer themselves by number according to their rank in their hierarchy.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Zandra's hair is pink.

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