Now that's localized snowfall.Le Génie des Alpages
is a French-Belgian comic book series by Richard Peyzaret, who uses the idiosyncratic Pen Name
The series is a humoristic take on life in the alpages
, the high-altitude grazing fields where sheep are traditionally sent to spend the summer in the French Alps. The main characters are Athanase the young shepherd, his unnamed pet dog, and the restless, squabbling sheep.
The humor is firmly of the absurd
type, and partly inspired by Monty Python
. Random developments such as the vegetation picking itself up by the roots and walking about, or a sentient fog playing accordion with the mountains, are to be expected. Beyond the absurdity, the tone of the series is gently anarchist, with authority figures being turned into ridicule.
This comic series contains examples of:
- Acid Reflux Nightmare: Eating cheese fondue for dinner caused the dog to have a weird nightmare.
- Arcadia: Subverted at times, but generally played straight. The mountain grazing fields are depicted as clean and pristine (if completely wacky), and the few city slickers who come up from the valleys are mostly fools or intrusive busibodies.
- Artistic License – Paleontology: Mammoth-sized sheep are just another example of comic absurdity.
- Blinding Bangs: The dog's shaggy hair always hides his eyes.
- Bungling Inventor: The dog has, among other things, invented miniature sentient automata and a process to mass-produce genies' lamps.
- Butt Monkey: Poor, poor Romuald...
- The Chick: The female shepherd from the valley next door.
- Dada Comics
- Dreadful Musician: One of the sheep plays bagpipes so atrociously, it creates localized earthquakes.
- Funny Background Event
- Human Popsicle: The ovine equivalent. A primitive, mammoth-sized sheep is discovered frozen inside a glacier. The sheep melt the ice around him and successfully revive him.
- Intoxication Ensues: At one point, the old shepherd begins to hallucinate and has a conversation with his long-dead father. Turns out the dog had laced his pipe tobacco with weed.
- The Smurfette Principle: Inverted (sort of) as Romuald is the only ram among countless sheeps.
- Sophisticated as Hell: The various characters usually use a very classy-sounding and complicated language... and then start spouting slang, if not swears.
- The Nameless: The name of the dog is never revealed. Lampshaded when he asks a sheeps who fancies himself the ovine Einstein, "What is my name?", and since the latter didn't know, the whole universe disappeared. Until the next page, that is.
- Put on a Bus: The older shepherd, a main character in the early books, pretty much drops out of the series later on.
- To The Little Prince, by having the prince show up at one point asking for a stranded airplane pilot, logically, to draw him a sheep.
- To the Silver Surfer with the "Silver Skater".
- Talking Animal: The shepherd dog, the sheep, and just about every other animal that shows up.
- Unlimited Wardrobe: Athanase has a seemingly infinite collection of wool sweaters, which he wears one on top of another.