Comic Book: Tif et Tondu

The principal cast. Note how the villain is actually more prominent...

Tif et Tondu is a Belgian comic book series that counts 45 albums. It was originally created by Fernand Dineur in 1938 in the Spirou magazine. The art was eventually handled by Willy "Will" Maltaite, and several writers followed. Maurice Rosy would be the most influent one. The series ended with Alain Sikorski (art) and Denis Lapière (writing).

The plot is about two short fat guys called Tif and Tondu, a bald guy and a hairy and bearded guy. In the very beginning, Tif was on his own and a few weeks later, he met Tondu.

The heroes being not much more than Everymen, the series became popular mostly for its main villain: Monsieur Choc (created by Rosy), head of Nebulous Evil Organisation The White Hand, and being the reason the series is still remembered today. Tall and thin, wearing a tuxedo and his head being hidden by a knight's helmet and occasionally smoking with a cigarette holder, he was considered one of the great examples of evil coolness. Albums featuring him as the villain got a recent re-edit, with him prominently displayed.

Despite their names, Tif (slang for "hair") is the bald one and Tondu ("shaven") is the hairy and bearded one.

Interstingly enough, the series did get a prequel series, which however revolves around Monsieur Choc. This is little wonder, considering he's one of the most interesting characters in franco-belgian comic book history. There sheer number of tropes below that are based on him are proof of this.


Tropes:

  • Alliterative Name and Alliterative Title: Tif et Tondu.
  • Art Evolution: The drawing early in the series is very rough and gets much smoother later on.
  • Breakout Villain: Originally, Monsieur Choc was only created to re-animate the series, which had been mediocre up to that point. His second appearance saw him arrested and de-masked. However, no one could have forseen his insane popularity, causing him to return quickly. In the end, he became the villain of the series and even got a prequel series for himself.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Monsieur Choc has no problem double-crossing his associates for greater benefits.
  • Coat, Hat, Mask: Monsieur Choc, with his tuxedo and helmet.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: Monsieur Choc of course. His planning is really good and it takes the heroes lots of effort to counter it and come on top at the end.
  • Darker and Edgier:
    • The last albums, which tended to more realistic storylines such as Tif and Tondu dealing with a hostage crisis.
    • The prequel series. Let's say it this way: Monsieur Choc can finally show why he's so feared.
  • Dreamwalker: Monsieur Choc is an evil variant of this in The Great Battle. The stuff he does to people in their dreams and threatening to turn them insane unless they comply with his demands is really nasty.
  • Deus ex Machina: In one story, the Big Bad of the day dumbed Tif and Tondu in a swimming pool. The hodling bars have been removed prior to this and the automated roof closed on our heroes' heads. After a few hours, they were getting tired and it looks like they were about to drown. That is, until a bunch of teenagers decided to have a midnight swim in someone else pool. They opened the roof, were shocked to find the pair and were promptly rescued.
  • Dub Name Change: Interestingly enough the French original calls the bearded one Tondu (translated: "Shaven") and the shaven one Tif (slang for hair). In the Dutch version this was changed around, calling the one with the beard Baard (translated: "Beard") and the bald one Kale (translated: "Bald one"), probably to avoid confusion from the readers (or the translators).
  • Everything Is Better With Monkeys: John Fullshoke in The Shadow Without a Body.
  • Evil Plan: Monsieur Choc is master of this.
  • The Faceless: Monsieur Choc. At least until the prequel series, which finally shows his face and gives him a name and origin.
  • Fountain of Youth: What the Nazis are seeking in Swastika.
  • Giant Spider: Tif has hallucinations of seeing one in A Diabolical Plan.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Monsieur Choc uses a cigarette holder to smoke. Not only is it because he is a snappy villain, but also because it'd be difficult to smoke without it through his knight's helmet.
  • Humongous Mecha: Monsieur Choc piloting the giant Toar statue in Toar Awakens.
  • Improvised Weapon: Several.
    • Tondu uses an underwater cutting torch in Curse of the Lighthouse to repel an attacking diver.
    • In Tif and Tondu against the White Hand, they use a carpet... two times in the same story.
    • The Return of Choc saw them and the crew of a dock use water hoses and instant cement to defeat attacking gangsters.
    • Some mooks under Monsieur Choc's employ had a hard time to neutralize Tif and Tondu. Then one of them comes in with a giant two-handed wrench. Ouch.
  • Invisibility: In The Shadow Without a Body.
  • Ironic Nickname: The hairy one is named bald and vice versa.
  • Killed Off for Real: Monsieur Choc, apparently. On the other hand, we thought so before and were always wrong.
  • Latex Perfection: When not wearing his helmet, Monsieur Choc wears latex-perfect masks. He has even fooled a whole nation by wearing one under his helmet and being arrested.
  • No One Could Survive That: Monsieur Choc goes through these several times. "Choc is never dangerous only when you believe he is alive!"
  • Odd Couple: Tif and Tondu themselves.
  • La Résistance: The Stubs in Magdalena, broken automatons who are denied repair.
  • Ridiculously Human Robots: In Magdalena. Choc's remote-controlled robots in The Villa of the Long Cry at least look like it on the outside.
  • Robot Girl: The eponymous Magdalena. Her creator locked himself in a room for hours with her, supposedly to enjoy her company. Subverted as she is not a sentient robot but a portal to a world populated with Ridiculously Human Robots who dress like a Masquerade Ball.
  • Rubber Man: Tif turns into one in a two-album story arc (The Green Matter and Tif Bounces Back).
  • Suicide, Not Murder: Inverted twice, in two completely different stories. A string of suicides happened in a lighthouse prompting our duo to investigate. It turns out they were a series of murders disguised as suicides. The setting get recycled in a hotel room in the last album of the series.
  • Strip Poker: Tif plays strip-dart-throwing with a woman. At first, she cheats by giving him unbalanced darts, but he gets better... and she's a sore loser.
  • Super Speed: In Choc Treatment, Monsieur Choc uses a special serum that gives super speed. It does come with all the theorized side-effects.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: In Swastika.
  • Threatening Shark: Monsieur Choc about to get eaten by one in the very last panel of Choc 235. Of course he does escape.
  • The Unreveal: A short story was about an agent who managed to get a photograph of Monsieur Choc without his helmet. The end revealed the photograph to be Choc's - useless - baby picture.
  • Villain Protagonist: The prequel series is this, although it can be excused since Monsieur Choc is simply that good of a character.
  • Artistic License - Biology: Transplanting a mechanical heart and a human brain on a gorilla turning him invisible!


Alternative Title(s):

Tif Et Tondu