Franchise / Marsupilami

The Marsupilami is a fictional animal species starring in two Belgian comic book series that got adapted twice into an animated series. Marsupilamis are monkeylike, black-spotted yellow creatures with an insanely long prehensile tail, from the Banana Republic of Palombia.

Marsupilamis were created by Andre Franquin for the Spirou and Fantasio album Spirou et les héritiers (Spirou and the Heirs) in 1956. Capturing one of these elusive and fictional critters was the goal of one the trials the title heirs were tasked to do to receive their inheritance. The captured marsupilami (nicknamed "the Marsupilami") became a Team Pet for the duration of Franquin's run, serving as Plucky Comic Relief, Big Guy and Deus ex Machina, thanks to his ever-expanding list of anatomical peculiarities. When Franquin left the series, he kept the rights to the species, and the appearances of the Marsupilami dwindled in his birth series, before finally stopping in 1970. He remains one of the most popular characters of the series.

In 1987, Franquin created his own Marsupilami comic book series, which got its own Animated Adaptation in 2000.

In 1992, an In Name Only Marsupilami was produced by Disney, initially as a part of Raw Toonage. And was first aired on NBC Saturday Mornings.

In 2012, a French live-action movie, Sur la piste du Marsupilami (On the trail of the Marsupilami) was released. Loosely based on the Franquin comics, it tells the story of a French reporter and his guide, who stumble upon the legendary Marsupilami.

And yes, that's two characters, one comic, one film, two cartoons and a publishing house all named Marsupilami.


The Marsupilami provides examples of:

  • Applied Phlebotinum: Is there anything the Marsupilamis' tails are not good for? They can use it as a lasso, as a fist, as a big spring they can jump on... In fact, the Marsupilami himself can be categorized as an Applied Phlebotinum in the Spirou series. How many times has he conveniently revealed New Powers as the Plot Demands?
  • Breakout Character: As explained above, the Marsupilami started out as the Team Pet of Spirou and Fantasio.
  • Badass: Marsu eats piranhas and killer ants, rips trees out of the ground, and punches out lions and crocodiles, to the point where he is the most feared creature in the jungle. Yeah, he qualifies. And he savagely beats up a martial arts master who he saw as a threat to his masters, the two of them stopping him just shortly before he killed him.
  • Banana Republic: The marsupilamis live in the jungles of Palombia, a Latin-American country with a chronically unstable government.
  • Cartoon Creature: The title characters.
  • Cartoony Tail: Of course.
  • Catchphrase: "Houba!" (the full phrase is "houba houba hop!"), present in both comic and animated series. Female marsupilamies go "Houbi!" and juveniles "Bi!" It's a big deal when they graduate to the adult versions. It's nearly the only syllables they can ever utter, although it depends on the material. Franquin's work on Spirou has the Marsupilami growling, roaring and making all sorts of noises beside "Houba!" He could even mimic human speech like a parrot, a trait rarely used in other adaptation. In the Disney series, His other phrase besides "HOUBA!" is "I'm Marsupilami, And this is my gorilla pal, Maurice!"
  • Distaff Counterpart: The Marsupilamie
  • Green Aesop: Destroying the Amazonian rainforest is bad, mmkay?
  • The Kiddie Ride: From the makers of the offensive Donald Duck ride, in the same offensive pose. Pass the Brain Bleach, please!
  • Natural Weapon: The Marsupilami's tail is as good as one.
  • Portmanteau: "Marsupilami" is one of the words "marsupial", Pilou-Pilou (the French name for Eugene the Jeep, a character Franquin loved as a kid) and "ami", French for "friend".