There is an option now on your profile page
to use "compact" folders. This works pretty well for phone users and others who like less scrolling.
Sergeant Chesterfield (on horseback) and Corporal Blutch (dismounted) after a battle.Les Tuniques Bleues
, 1968-) is a Belgian French-language comic set during The American Civil War
. It follows the adventures of two soldiers, the brave but dim-witted Sergeant Cornelius Chesterfield, and his sidekick, the cowardly but clever Corporal Blutch. Unlike Sgt. Chesterfield, Blutch is not particularly keen on the war, and is mainly interested in getting through it alive. This results in no end of bickering between the two, and Chesterfield often dragging Blutch to battle at gunpoint.
The strips have begun to be translated into English; one collection came out under the title of The Blue Tunics
, but after the publisher folded, Cinebook
continued with the title The Bluecoats.
The comic contains examples of:
- The Alcatraz: Robertsonville Prison.
- The American Civil War: The setting for most of the pair's adventures.
- Armchair Military: General Alexander, and especially General Stilman, who never leaves his armchair. On one occasion, he suggested waiting after the battle to pay the troops, expecting to save money due to high losses.
- Though this is subverted in one story where Blutch and Chesterfield join a circus (long story) and end up performing in front of the Union army, Stilman of all people recognizes Blutch's horse and fires a gun wildly yelling CHAAAAAARGE!!!!, causing the disguise to fall apart when the horse collapses and plays dead.
- Annoying Laugh: Blutch
- Artistic License - Military: Characters are often shown saluting or presenting arms in the French manner, which is not authentic for American soldiers.
- Attack! Attack! Attack!: Stark only knows one tactic: "CHAAAAARRRRGGEEEEE!!!"
- Bad Habits: In El Padre, Chesterfield dresses up as a Catholic monk while stranded South of the Border. He and Blutch find themselves conducting a mass even though neither has ever set foot in a Catholic church and has any idea how to proceed; fortunately for them, the parishioners take it in stride.
- Big Damn Heroes: In Rumberley, when Chesterfield and Blutch are cut off and surrounded by overwhelming numbers of Confederates, a wounded Captain Stark rallies the wounded men who were previously evacuated, gets them mounted, and charges to their rescue.
- Bloodless Carnage: Every war scene like the one picture above.
- Blood Knight : Captain Stark.
- Canada, Eh?: In L'Or du Québec, the pair are sent to retrieve a stash of gold willed by a French Canadian prospector to the Confederate government, competing with a pair of Confederate soldiers sent to do the same.
- Carnival of Killers: One story has the pair recruit from a prison camp. They end up with a horsethief (and horseeater), a blind knifethrower and the accomplice who tells him where to aim, and a nutjob preacher who starts building his visionary cathedral anytime he's in the same place for more than five minutes.
- Deadpan Snarker: Many characters can act like this from time to time, but Blutch is a master of it.
- Dirty Coward: Blutch, sort of. He trained his horse to fall down as though fatally hit by a bullet whenever she hears CHAAAAAARGE!, Captain Stark's Catch Phrase. However, he is regularly seen performing acts of great bravery, and for all his talk of deserting, he hasn't yet made a serious attempt at fleeing (though this might have to do with Chesterfield always being in hot pursuit).
- So he's more of a Lovable Coward, then?
- He did at least once, by staging a fake wedding with one of the camp nurses.
- Dressing as the Enemy: Blutch and Chesterfield dress as Confederate soldiers in Le David.
- Easy Amnesia: Faked by Blutch in an attempt to be discharged.
- Even Evil Has Standards: at the end of the album Black Face, Captain Stilman, of all people, stands up to General Alexander when he wants to have Blutch and Chesterfield executed for transforming a false-flag operation into a farce. All of Alexander's officers think that they've taken that sordid operation too far, but Stilman is the only one who voices his objection.
- Fate Worse than Death: being assigned in Captain Stark's company is often considered as such. Considering that he has ordered a charge when his company consisted of him, Blutch, and Chesterfield...
- In one story, Blutch and Chesterfield are touring the prisons trying to recruit prisoners. One is about to be hanged when Chesterfield gives his speech. The guy then tells the hangmen to get on with it. Turns out he'd deserted from Stark's company.
- Flanderization: Captain Stark's determinator attitude increased to ludicrous levels with the ongoing series; he started as a ruthless soldier to some sort of "war autist", whose language skills are limited to CHAAAAARGE! and who sleeps on the back on his horse between two battles. Granted that he has been shot to near-death so many times he might be brain damaged by now.
- Confirmed in a recent album, in which it's revealed that he took a shrapnel in the head in a Confederate ambush.
- Friendly Enemy: In Rumberley, Stark and a Confederate cavalry officer take advantage of a lull in the fighting to have a drink and share war stories.
- Frozen In Time: 50+ albums and counting set in the 4-year period of the Civil War.
- Grey and Grey Morality: Neither side is shown as having the moral upper hand.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Chesterfield and Blutch are inseparable, for all their quarreling.
- Historical-Domain Character: President Lincoln, General Lee and other historical figures have cameos.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: As mentioned, Blutch trained his mare Arabesque to play dead on hearing the order to charge. When Stillman recognizes the horse by doing exactly that, Blutch's disguise falls apart rather quickly.
- General Alexander holds a briefing to explain the battle plan, then orders Blutch and Chesterfield to recite, then sends them on patrol where they are quickly caught. Alexander changes his plan, expecting the two to give up and reveal the fake first plan. Blutch spills the beans so quickly (helpfully pointing out weak spots) the Confederate commander is suspicious and has Chesterfield tortured. Chesterfield, of course, refuses to give in until even the Confederates are sickened/admirative. Chesterfield then gives in... revealing a battleplan he made up. Which, of course, turns out to be Alexander's real plan, leading to a Union defeat.
- Hunter Trapper: Blutch and Chesterfield use one as a guide into the Canadian forest. In a subversion of the trope, that particular hunter trapper is totally clueless about survival in the wild, and makes mistake upon mistake.
- Infant Immortality: The kid in Drummer Boy is found out and sent to jail to await execution by firing squad. As no one in high command really wants to be the one who ordered a preteenager's execution, Blutch arranges for the boy's Confederate brother to mount a rescue mission, beating seven kinds of crap out of Chesterfield in the process.
- Internalized Categorism: Stark does not consider anyone a soldier if they're not riding a horse.
- Know When to Fold 'Em: "Stark would rather get cut to pieces than retreat before the enemy, but he won't argue when there's a wildfire."
- Last Name Basis: this being the Army, characters are adressed by their family name when the military grades are not used. The exception being Blutch whose name is just... Blutch.
- The Mole: A woman is sent to infiltrate Union forces in Les Bleus dans la gadoue, and the title character of Drummer Boy is a Confederate informant. In Le David, Chesterfield and Blutch take on cover identities as disabled Confederate soldiers to gather intelligence on a submarine the CSA navy has built.
- Obfuscating Disability: When the pair dress up as a wheelchair-bound and a blind pair of veterans. They get caught when Blutch addresses the Confederate officer by rank when he's supposed to be blind.
- Only Sane Man: Corporal Blutch.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni
- South of the Border: El Padre takes place in Mexico.
- Status Quo Is God: At the end of Les hommes de pailles, the two protagonists desert the army when they are about to be executed. The are rehabilitated by the next album.
- Sweet on Polly Oliver: One story had a large, brutal man dress up like a battleaxe nurse, using Tough Love and vigorous kill-or-cure treatments. Stark fell in love, and even proposed.
- Those Two Guys: Blutch and Chesterfield in their occasional cameos in other Dupuis works (such as Lucky Luke).
- Truth in Television: A great deal of the background detail is authentic, and the events in the strip often follow real Civil War events, with the addition of Sgt. Chesterfield and Cpl. Blutch.
- Villainous Breakdown: the last of Chesterfield and Blutch's attempts at escaping his prison is too much to handle for the Lieutenant in charge of Robertsonville. He ends the album crying and sobbing at the bottom of a hole.
- General Alexander has a minor one in the album Black Face when his false-flag operation turns into a farce because all the bodies were completely naked. It gets worse when he realizes who are the ones responsible.
- War Is Hell: It isn't dwelt on as much as it would be in some other works, but wounded and dead men are shown as a matter of course.
- An In-Universe example also occurs, when a photographer is hired to take pictures of the military to boost enlistment rates. The Washington Armchair General behind the operation is angry that most of the pictures are of dead bodies and awkwardly-posed men.
- We Have Reserves: Stark is cynically profligate with his men's lives. As a result, his favorite tactic (in fact his only one) is to charge straight into enemy lines.
- What Did I Do Last Night?: Chesterfield and Blutch signed up for military service during a night of excessive drinking. The next morning, Blutch made the first of his many attempts at desertion, while Chesterfield took it in stride.
- Whole Episode Flashback: Blue Retro introduces Chesterfield and Blutch before they knew each other, and reveals how they joined the army.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: The only thing that has prevented Stark from charging the enemy lines (including hospitalization) is a wildfire.
- Wild West: The series started out as a Western, before Blutch and Chesterfield got transferred back to the main theater of the war, and returns there every so often.
- Worthy Opponent: General Lee is pictured in a positive light.