A comic from the Franco-Belgian school by artist Philippe Liegeois and writer Bob de Groot (better known as Turk & de Groot
). It follows the eponymous character, inventor Léonard le Génie (Leonardo the Genius, loosely based on real world inventor Leonardo da Vinci
) and his clumsy "disciple" Basile.
The stories vary in length from one or a few pages up to a whole album. The basic storyline is as follows: Leonardo has thought up some new invention, and needs the help of his assistant to build and/or test it. Basile, being a Heavy Sleeper
, first needs to be awoken, using another invention, explosives or just plain old cartoon violence. As the building or testing proceeds, Basile suffers Amusing Injuries
, either from his sadistic master
or through his own incompetence
. The story usually ends in one of these ways: Basile goes a step too far in annoying Leonardo and is chased by him, Basile finally gets fed up with the abuse and retaliates on Leonardo, or the invention fails spectacularly and both Leonardo and Basile are chased out of town by an angry mob
Other characters in the comic are:
- Raoul the cat, comments on the action and is sometimes seen applying first aid to Basile or repairing the property damage.
- Bernadette the mouse, comments on the action and is occasionally chased by Raoul in Tom and Jerry style. She has taken over first aid duty from Raoul in the recent stories.
- Crâne the talking skull (A reference to Hamlet), comments on the action.
- Mathurine (Saartje in the Dutch translation) the housekeeper, is sometimes the victim of a failing invention, but also tends to put both Leonardo and Basile back in place if they make too big a mess.
- The Great Albert (a time-travelling Albrecht von Bollstädt), a rival inventor. Although one album is just one long story about a huge battle between the two, in later albums they are shown to be on more or less friendly terms. Comes with a clumsy assistant of his own.
- The Villagers: Sometimes seen chasing Leonardo and Basile out of town after a failing invention destroys (part of) the village.
A 20-episode All-CGI Cartoon
was made in 2009.
This comic provides examples of:
- Accordion Man: Just one of many ways in which Basile gets mutilated.
- Amusing Injuries: Basile, either at the hands of Leonardo or through his own incompetence. Leonardo and the rest of the cast aren't always safe either.
- Anachronism Stew: Although the stories supposedly take place in the 15th century, Leonardo has electricity and modern tools at his disposal, and has built computers and robots, amongst others. Somewhat justified by him being an inventor, but still...
- Lampshaded at least once; Leonard invents a photo camera and, on having put the film in an envelope, realises there's nowhere to mail it to. "Do I have to invent everything myself?"
- Anvil On Head: Leonardo has a tendency of whacking Basile with anvils, mallets and other heavy, blunt objects as punishment for various slights.
- Bad Boss: Leonardo, although the occasional role reversal shows that Basile would arguably be even worse, given the chance.
- BFG: Léonard's blunderbuss, which he keeps in his beard.
- Brilliant, but Lazy: Basile, in those rare moments when he's neither sleeping nor being tormented by his employer, turns out to be a gifted inventor in his own right. While Leonardo was inventing the bicycle, he came up with the motorbike; and he once single-handedly built a Saturn V rocket.
- When Leonardo invented the safe and got a little too arrogant about it, Basile one-upped him by inventing the cutting torch.
- Bungling Inventor: Sometimes, Leonardo invents something that fails spectacularly (often destroying the village) or is just plain useless. Don't call him this to his face though, unless you like getting "blunderbussed".
- Canis Latinicus: Written on the ends of their beds are Leonardo's and Basile's Latin names: Maestro Genialis and Disciplus Simplex.
- Captured By Cannibals: several stories.
- Cartoon Bug Sprayer
- Catch Phrase: "DEBOUT DISCIPLE !" ("WAKE UP LACKEY !"), "Je sers la science et c'est ma joie" ("I serve science and it's my joy")
- Also Basile's trademark *sniff* when he's injuried
- Chew Toy: Basile.
- Cool and Unusual Punishment: Leonardo is a master of this, much to Basile's chagrin.
- Cool Car: Leonardo has a pretty cool car, especially for an inventor supposedly living in the 15th century. It can even transform into other vehicles...
- Cranial Eruption: Just one of many types of Amusing Injuries Basile suffers.
- Deadpan Snarker: Raoul shows traits of this.
Basile: Testing? That's usually where my misery starts...
Raoul: Misery? Oh no. You mean catastrophic disasters.
Basile: * sniff*
- Dem Bones: Crâne.
- Digging to China: Leonard intented to in Génie en sous-sol. He had to build a machine as he admitted his disciple could not do it with a shovel.
- Duck Season, Rabbit Season: When Basile would prefer to stop testing the anthropomorphing spray...
- E = MC Hammer
- Everyone Chasing You
- Favors for the Sexy: Happens when Leonard turns (surgically) Mathurine into "Jennifer". It was actually a Batman-Gambit from her.
- For Science!
- Funny Background Event: When not commenting on the main action, Raoul and Bernadette are often engaged in their own activities. Especially in the older comics these are small stories by themselves.
- Gadgeteer Genius: Leonardo, the self-proclaimed greatest genius in the
world galaxy universe. To his credit many of his inventions actually work quite well. Sometimes too well...
- Glad I Thought of It: Most of the times Basile has an idea of his own.
- But you can be certain Leonardo will remember it was Basile's idea in the first place when it fails after all...
- Hairy Hammerspace
- Healing Factor: Basile seems to have regenerative abilities on par with Wolverine. :-)
- Heavy Sleeper: Basile, waking him up takes high-yield explosives or similar violence. Most of the stories start with Leonardo waking Basile up by some unorthodox means. Basile can also instantly fall asleep at any time.
- Hilarity Ensues: Basile's clumsiness is often a source of amusement to the rest of the cast, especially Raoul and Bernadette.
- Humongous Mecha: In an Affectionate Parody of mecha-based Anime, Leonardo and Albert each build a giant mecha looking like themselves and fight it out. Leonardo calls his Leonorak, a Shout Out to the French-language version of UFO Robo Grendizer, Goldorak.
- This is also one Crowning Moment of Funny, especially the introduction of Leonorak:
Basile (waking up groggily): Ah, I see through the hole in the roof that it's dawn already!
Basile: :rotating gears in think bubble:
Basile: THROUGH THE HOLE IN THE ROOF!!!??
Leonardo (from Leonorak): Apprentice, shiver and quake before Leonorak!!
Basile (shivering): W-w-w-what d-d-do y-y-you th-think I'm d-doing, m-master?
Basile: I b-believe th-there c-comes the c-competition, m-master...
- Hyperspace Mallet: Leonardo can pull a variety of objects from his beard. Most often seen are mallets, anvils and his trusty blunderbuss.
- Idea Bulb: Sometimes used straight, but often toyed with. When Leonardo has a particularly good idea, or a series of ideas, he starts lighting up and making sounds like a Pinball machine or Video Game.
- Played with once. Leonardo needed an idea to make a broken lamp work so he... had one, caught the Idea Bulb and replaced the broken one.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: The title for every album includes the word "Génie" ("Genius").
- If My Calculations Are Correct
- Inherently Funny Words: a two-page gag is about it.
- Instant Bandages: Basile, after suffering Amusing Injuries. Sometimes justified by showing Raoul, or more recently Bernadette applying first aid.
- Insult Backfire:
Leonard: Your stupidity sometimes is so rich that I wonder if I shouldn't lock you in a Swiss safe.
Basile: I'm not touched with flattery.
- Lampshade Hanging: Raoul does this occasionally, such as wondering aloud how Basile manages to heal in between scenes.
- Levitating Lotus Position: Leonard encounters an entire squadron of monks flying like this. One even shouts mayday because he has a leg cramp, meaning he can't get the landing gear out.
- Lighter and Softer: The 2009 CGI cartoon made characters look cuter and toned the violence down in comparison to the original comics.
- Mad Scientist: Some of Leonardo's inventions are downright wacky, and he also has a tendency to meddle with chemicals and strange reagents, often with explosive results. Don't ever accept a drink from him...
- Massive Numbered Siblings: Léonard often seeks for a name in Basile's family to give it to his inventions.
- National Stereotypes: When Leonard went traveling around the world, every foreigner he came across was a national stereotype.
- Negative Continuity
- No Fourth Wall: The characters are aware they are in a comic, and Raoul occasionally addresses the reader directly.
- Not to mention speech bubbles, which have been fast frozen by the invention of the freezer, and spray painted on -when Leonard invented the censor, just to name a few.
Raoul: Hey, it's our reader! Welcome to a new album!
- Non-Fatal Explosions: At worst they will burn Basile to ashes or scatter his body parts (bloodlessly) over the room, but he will be alright in the next scene.
- No OSHA Compliance: Leonardo doesn't give a damn about Basile's safety or well-being, so Basile frequently has to do very, very dangerous work.
- Ocular Gushers: Enough to drown the house when Leonard invents pessimism.
- Putting On My Thinking Cap: Leonardo has a number of gadgets to help him concentrate. They usually involve strong coffee, or holding him upside down to improve the blood flow to his brain.
- Running Gag: The waking of Basile at the start of a new story and many, many other examples.
- The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Leonard and Basile usually refer to each other as "master" and "apprentice", but the master doesn't teach and the apprentice doesn't learn.
- Fridge Brilliance: it's an internship. Basile thus learns how to do things by doing them.
- So far he has only learned how to be a sadist. Leonardo teaches that by example.
- The Rival: The Great Albert. The album Genius contra Genius is entirely about a huge battle between the two, but later stories show them to be on more friendly terms.
- Shout Out: The stories occasionally feature elements from other comics. For example, the red-and-white-checkered moon rocket from the The Adventures of Tintin albums Tintin Destination Moon and Tintin Explorers On The Moon shows up in a few stories, one of which is titled Genius to the Moon (and appears in the album with the same name).
- Speech-Bubble Censoring: An amusing inversion where the text is censored by the image. Leonard uses an aerosol spray on the bubbles.
- Speech Bubbles Interruption
- Squashed Flat: Yet another common amusing injury, often involving a hydraulic press or similar tool.
- Stuff Blowing Up: Happens all too frequently, but it's alright, they are all Non-Fatal Explosions.
- Sweeping Ashes: The usual result of Basile being hit by Non-Fatal Explosions or X-Ray Sparks.
- This Is Gonna Suck: Basile, when he knows the pain is coming.
- Time Machine: Leonardo has build a few, and some are occasionally used in stories, taking him either to the prehistoric or to modern times.
- Too Dumb to Live: Not only does Basile stay with an abusive master, he simply can't get anything done without seriously injuring himself.
- Torches and Pitchforks: The villagers sometimes chase Leonardo and Basile out of town after one explosion too many.
- Unsound Effect: A variation of this trope used for comedy. Verbs are often used instead of common onomatopeis, describing the invention being on-work, and Basile hurting himself.
- Wrong Parachute Gag: Two similar gags:
- One comic has the disciple open the parachute, only to reveal a sheet of paper from the maid Mathurine, saying the parachute is in laundry.
- In another comic, a similar joke is made by Leonardo accidentally handing Basile the backpack containing their lunch instead of a parachute.
- X-Ray Sparks: Happens every time Basile has to power on a new invention.