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Comic Book / Alan Ford

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Alan Ford, also known as Alan Ford and Group TNT, is a long-running Italian comic book of the Spy Fiction and Black Comedy genre. It was created by writer Max Bunker (real name Luciano Secchi) and artist Magnus (Roberto Raviola, prolific author who also did Satanik), and first published in 1969.

Set in a Deliberately Monochrome World of Ham, the comic tells of the wacky exploits of Group TNT, a non-government secret agency based in a dilapidated, flowerless flower shop on Fifth Avenue, New York City. They Fight Crime! with no money, competence or abidance to the law, yet are surprisingly effective and have a large, if silly, Rogues Gallery.

Around volume 427 (2005) the series takes a sharp turn of events and Group TNT officially disbands, though Alan, along with his newly acquired fiancé Minuette and Number One, opens a detective agency, from which the heroes' adventures continue undisturbed (as of this writing). Generally, about the first 200 volumes are considered to be "classics" and are published as such.


The main concept elaborated by Magnus and Bunker was a parody of James Bond, of course lacking the hero's wealth, luck and gadgets. From the first volume onward, the comic book deeply dabbled in satire and tongue-in-cheek parody of society, political parties, capitalism and typical spy fiction tropes, usually interposed with running gags revolving around the members of the group and their antics. As the story proceeded, the comic book never strayed too far from the original humor, though sometimes racier material started to pop in the story (for example, an entire arc set in Brazil has an almost-always topless beauty as an important character).

Later on Magnus left the series (in order to experiment with new styles) and other authors took up his place, namely Paolo Piffarerio and later still Dario Perucca. Magnus would later return to draw the 200th issue.


It was a success in Italy, but where it really hit it off was Yugoslavia, where thanks to Nenad Brixy's amazing translation it has been a cultural phenomenon since 1972, and continues to be so in its successor states.

It also had a one-episode animated adaptation that can still be found (subtitled) on the net.

Now with a Character Sheet!

This work is absolutely Troperiffic, but mostly unknown in the English-speaking world, so tropers from Italy and the former Yugoslav states are welcome to add trope examples and anything else they can think of. This page definitely Needs Wiki Magic Love.

This Comic Book contains examples of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer:
    • At the start of the story, Alan is the object of unwanted affection from his landlady's ugly daughter. When they surprisingly meet after years of abstence (during which she married with a rich frenchman and has been leaving flower crowns on the bench when she and Alan first met), she refuses to recognize him as Alan. Unusually, the latter feels a little disheartened for this.
    • Later on in the series, a homely secretary he was trying to help instantly falls for him and force him to run away from her embrace, asking himself why there were always uglies falling for him.
    • In Number One's retelling of the Odyssey, Odysseus, Number One and Homer have to choose which one of them will become the husband of princess Nausicaa, who's a truly hideous lass. Eventually Odysseus manages to weasel out, and Number One leaves Homer to marry her.
    • In vol. 150, Alan catches the eye of Satanik from the comic book of the same name, who invites him for sex after drinking a potion... which alas gives her a serious case of Facial Horror mixed with Rapid Aging, scaring the crap out of poor Alan.
    • In issue 301, Alan and Bob have to get past a short homely secretary to enter the secret room of an hospital. Bob's seduction attempt goes a little too well and he spends the rest of the volume running away from her.
  • The Ace: Minuette Macon from the late series is a pretty lady and skilled motorcycle pilot, a good shooter, brawler and also knows some magic tricks.
  • Acid Reflux Nightmare: Invoked by the Number One in On the track of Melissa. Being unable to figure out the identity of Melissa, he decides to eat a sandwich with mustard, cabbage, tomato, lettuce, pickles and bell peppers before going to sleep, in order to find a clue in the following dreams.
  • Accidental Misnaming: Heroic attorney Hal Hamburger is introduced alongside a judge who's not only a Cloud Cuckoo Lander but also keeps misnaming his surname as "Sandwich", "Panino", "Bratwurst" or "Hot Dog". Other one-shot examples abound, such as boxer manager Spaghetti from ''The forbidden punch", who at one point actually complains when Bob keeps calling him with all possible pasta names but Spaghetti.
  • Action Girl: Minuette, as stated above, as well as Margot on the villainous side.
  • Affably Evil: Many of the recurring villains are courteous and well-mannered, such as Big Caesar, Aseptyk and in some cases Baron Wurdalak. Invoked by the one-shot "Kind Mugger", a street mugger who's incredibly corteous and nice, even as he aims the gun at his victims.
  • Affectionate Parody: Early on, it was a parody of spy stories pastiche, adding on detective stories, parodies of superheroes and politicians as well as sometimes horror and fiction tropes.
  • The Alcoholic: Superciuk fuels his power with bad-quality wine, though later on in the series he uses instead juice obtained from a tomato/onion hybrid bred by a couple of farmers. Xeres, Quantrill's pet python, is also very fond of alcohol, which is usually the best way to keep him from strangling his victims.
  • All for Nothing: A common resolution for some of the villainous schemes and plots. A few examples include Rich Mission (the formula for making an ever-fresh cream for cakes turns sour after a few months), Sergeant Gruber (the government refuses to pay the ransom and, unable to pay his debts, Gruber kills himself), Fat Christmas (The documents fall in a bonfire and burn to ashes) or the group's take on Around the World in 80 Days (Fogg wins the bet and marries the Indian girl... but he's then forced to pay her former husband's debts, losing all the sum he gained).
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: The origins of the villain "Centurion": handsome billionaire Mr Duls is madly in love with the humble but bad-tempered Miss Boia, who rejects him because she's attracted only to "villains". In order to win her heart, he starts a villainous career as the "Centurion" in order to win her over.
  • All Just a Dream: The volumes Dream of a Midsummer Night features a long dream sequence which consists in almost half the story. Superciukest! reveals that most of the story was a dream Superciuk had while napping.
  • All Myths Are True: While the story is mostly set in modern times, things such as vampires, ghosts and trips to other dimensions are possible and do exist.
  • Always Identical Twins: Parodied with the hitmen Frit and Frut, who are so identical they cannot even tell each other apart from themselves.
  • Amazonian Beauty: Suzy, Mr Trip's henchwoman from vol 41 is extremely well-muscled but still beautiful.
  • Ambiguously Bi: Baroness Von Strascen has plenty of male lovers, to the point that her right-hand man Herr Froghel warned her that her trip to America wasn't a sex-marathon, and flirts with Alan. While it's made clear that her marriage to Minuette is a business matter on both parts, she still looks rather eager to kiss the bride, unlike Minuette. In a later issue, the court medic of Strascen Hesse claims that she thinks that Minuette's naked body is beautiful, but when asked directly, she states that she loves "beautiful bodies" regardless of gender.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Referenced In-Universe in Festival: some journalists asks a newly-wed singer if her spouse is a man or a woman. She nonchalantly tells them she didn't really pay attention. Deliberate as said singer was a stand-in for the actual gay icon Donatella Rettore.
  • Ambiguously Human: Number One and his twin sister look like ordinary humans, and don't possess any particular powers, were it not for fact that both are incredibly ancient, possibly to point of predating human race. Their grandfather is even older, and as seen below on this page talking, intelligent parrot is least strange thing surrounding him and his home.
  • Art Evolution: Inverted, the issues under Magnus tend to be dark but extremely detailed and realistic, but after his departure and especially after the 100 volumes the art style becomes more simple and less dark.
  • Artistic License – Geography: Invoked early on by Bob Rock, where he obtains some information from a guard using a 20 Serbian Dollars bill as a bribe. Then the guard notices that the bill is printed only on one side and Serbia doesn't exist anymore.
    "Too bad, I'm not up to date with the modern economic and political world!"
  • Artistic License – Physics: As a Running Gag, characters will douse snowballs with water (usually by holding them under running water or by hosing a mound of them) to turn them into hard icy bullets rather than make them melt or dissolve due to the water pressure.
  • Ate the Spoon: Running Gag has a character, hostile to another, offering the latter a drink, only for the latter to pour it on the table, marveling sarcastically as the drink eat a hole through the wood as the former sheepishly comments on how strong the drink was.
  • Attention Whore: The woman who claims to be Melissa in the titular trilogy reveals that she's not guilty, and lied to get some fame in order to advertise her (atrocious) singing skills. Comprehensibly enough, the judge is furious.
  • Author Avatar: Among the main characters, Count Oliver and Bob Rock are caricatures of Bunker and Magnus, while more explicit caricatures of each other often appear in older stories. In Metropolitan Piano Concert it turns out that their avatars were actually the victims of the volume's villain, a small fry pianist who was mocked in their comic book and hired killers to have his revenge.
  • Back from the Dead: Superciuk somehow survives being Swallowed Whole by a shark. Also, the Conspirer, somehow, managed to revive himself after being corroded into a pile of bones by a chemical mist. Also, Number One in volume 200 reveals that he faked his death.
  • Bad Boss: Most villains have a knack for killing their own henchmen when they outlive their usefulness, but most notably Baron Wurdalak, after finding out that his dimwitted servants drank all the blood in the castle (thinking it was red wine.)
    Baron Wurdalak: "According to the Transylvanian Treaty of 1326 I am not allowed to feed on my own servants, but I never liked that treaty, nor have I signed it!" (proceeds to drain his minions to death).
    • The Alcade from Caramba and his political rival Don Diego Delarogna are this Up to Eleven: the latter promises the villagers that if he's elected he will reduce the working hour to 18 per day and lower the number of whippings to 20 per transgression. Don Diego is outraged... he's willing to lower the whippings to 15, but he won't go below 20 daily hours of work: they already have four hours to sleep, how dare they ask for more? Even Number One is appalled.
  • Bait-and-Switch: The resolution of The Baroness Von Strascen: the titular Baroness, who must get married in order to receive billions of euro in inheritance, seemingly decides to settle for Alan and invites Minuette to discuss this, ready to pay a hundred million dollars for the exchange. When they finally reach the chapel, it's revealed that the Baroness settled for Minuette herself.
  • Bald of Evil: Zigzagged with Big Caesar, former Emperor of Crime who eventually works for the good guys and even opens a sub-group in Los Angeles. He eventually returns being a villain and dies for real.
  • Bald Women: Violet, daughter of the villainous Doctor Alsar, becomes one when Alan accidentally pours an extra-effective anti-growth formula on her head. Also, the villain from El Rapador and her modus operandi.
  • Bedlah Babe: In The Ring of Inshallah, Alonisius' ring-induced hallucination include a busty Belly Dancer in the expected attire trying to get his attention and showing him what he's supposed to do with the ring.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Bob Rock hates being mocked for his height or his massive Gag Nose, and has quite a temper which usually leads to more disaster.
    • Cariatide doesn't like being mocked, especially by Bob Rock, and actually runs after him with a butcher knife when he tries to boil his beloved pet Squitty.
    • Mr Tromb loathes being called fat, and throws a tantrum whenever this happens.
  • Beware the Nice Ones:
    • Alonisius is a rather nice, apparently harmless fellow. He still has no reserves about staking to death Wurdalak's servants after they were drained and turned by their master.
    • Count Oliver, while not exactly a good guy, is of the non-violent persuasion. However, when he finds out that Bob har ransacked his secret stash of loot he downright challenges him to a Duel to the Death.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: The closest thing the series had to one was the Mangia sect, which fights the group all over the world in a miniarc going from issues 235 to 250 and becomes a serious threat to the group.
  • Big Beautiful Woman: Chiqita Porker from Mexico Olé is quite on the broad side, but is charming enough to seduce Bob Rock for her and her real boyfriend's plan. Subverted by Golondrina, the mayor's daughter in the following book: while she looks pretty much the same as Chiqita, her fiancé doesn't really like her and comments negatively on her bulk.
  • Big Eater: Being mostly poor and forced to subsist on meager soups of dubious qualities, all the members of the group are quite good eaters whenever there's a chance of eating something decent. Also, Doktor Kreuzer, after his third appearance and a long period in prison, is always seen eating on a snack.
  • BFG: Deconstructed with the hitman "Bazooka" Joe: as the name implies, his weapon of choice is a bazooka, which he uses with great efficiency, but since he also trains in his spare time he ends up burning all his money on ammo, with he himself pointing out that he's spending more than he's gaining.
  • "Blackmail" Is Such an Ugly Word: What makes the Number One The Dreaded with the USA governemnt and much more: whenever people try to stop him, he'll reveal a small black notebook of his and start narrating embarrassing/hot info on the person in question, causing any resistance to cease. He also usually threatens the "Three Pigs" with something about the "Lacrima Christi".
  • Boisterous Weakling: Bob Rock is very short, but also extremely colleric and prone to pick up fights with people much bigger and stronger than him.
  • Breath Weapon: Who else but Superciuk? His dreaded bad breath can knock people senseless and even melt machines and pistols if so he wishes. It's fueled by cheap barbera wine and later by a concoction made from the fictional Onioned Tomatoes. If he keeps himself sober or drinks too much champagne, the breath will fail him.
  • Break the Haughty: When he's introduced, Dan Spillone (lit. Pin) is an extremely condescending and arrogant asshat who kicks Brock out, sleeps through the entire volume and when Alan delivers him an hypnotized Gommaflex he acts as if he did all the job and angrily sends Alan on his way before getting all the glory. Promptly rectified when Number One shows up and digs some old stories about Dan's past as a two-bit criminal. This is probably topped by having him, as a repayment for his arrogance, repair the ceiling of the Group's shop.
  • Breaking the Fellowship: In volume 180, with the apparent death of Number One, the Group is disbanded, safe for Oliver, Alan and Bob Rock.
  • Brick Joke: Sometimes, a background sketch or event will re-appear later as a punchline. For example, half-way through one story the Number One orders an extremely fat person to do 7000 push ups in order to lose weight so that he won't be in the way. Near the end of the story, the poor guy did so many of them he reduced himself to a still-moving skeleton.
  • Brutish Bulls: "El Toro Majestic" from Mexico Olé is an incredibly vicious and powerful bull who has hospetalized several toreadors. Oddly enough, he can speak and no one comments on it, going as far as interviewing him before the corrida.
  • Bungling Inventor: Otto von Grunf's worksmanship leaves much to be desired and has a tendency to either crumble into a pile of junk or explode. Subverted by his glass-busting whistle and his boomerang hand Grenade, which prove to be useful Chekhov's Gun gadgets.
  • Butch Lesbian: In the rare occasions where lesbian characters appear, they tend to look mannish, usually with short hair and more pronounced facial traits.
  • Butt-Monkey: Both Alan Ford and Bob Rock are subjected to a lot of bad luck, the former usually more for drama than the latter.
  • Captain Obvious: In his stories, the Number One had a tendency to state obvious things, but most notably the priceless advice he gave to Horatio Nelson:
Number One: "Horace, my old boy, I'm too old to assist you in this battle, but remember my advice: if you want to win, then you mustn't lose!"
  • Clothes Make the Superman: In volume 212 The Cursed Idol, Alan is suddenly capable of acts of incredible badassery because, as he lampshades, he's dressing as Indiana Jones.
  • Comically Small Demand: A plot point in Sergeant Gruber: the titular villain has stolen a nuclear missile and is threatening the World, so that the States will finally give in to his request: Because of a mistake when he was in the military, he was never acknowledge as a Sergeant, so he'd like to have his unpaid salary given to him.
  • Continuity Nod: Events from early on in the series are referenced and continued in future stories.
  • Cool Guns: Parodied when Grunf at one point threatens Bob Rock with a mix and match pistol with the handle of a Luger, the middle part of a Revolver and the barrel of a blunderbuss. When Alan tries to use it several volumes later it is promptly smashed to pieces with one slap.
  • Corrupt Politician: Pretty much the entire higher-ups are either this, or sleazy. Most notably the "Three Pigs" ruling New York city are arrogant, obnoxious and only enforce the police if rich people are involved.
  • Crapsack World: As mentioned on the page description, New York city is a dirty place with a massive gap between dirt-poor civilians and jerkassish rich people, the three leaders are corrupt and vain and everyone but our heroes are either jerks or stupid.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Otto von Grunf has always been nothing more than a comic relief, but in Save Us please, Thanks! he actually plays a Big Damn Heroes moment by storming Napoleon's ship, indirectly causing Napoleon's death with one of his inventions and beating the crap out of the entire crew with nothing but fisticuffs and his dreaded whistle.
  • Culture Chop Suey: While the story is set in America, many elements regarding food, politics and dialects are far more rooted in Italian culture rather than American. An entire issue note  revolves entirely around the phoenomenon of the "Paninari", youngsters who rebels against everything "old" and prefers to eat panini (hoagies/sandwiches) to spaghetti.
  • Curse: The titular Curse of the Apple Green Moon, which leads to the apparent death of the entire T.N.T. Group safe for Alan, Clodoveo and Oliver (who was in England). Long ago, the Number One and Alonisius accidentally unearthed the tomb of an ancient persian king, and by touching the Book of Lore within arouse the wrath of the specter Gnuk, the guardian of Lore, who put the curse on them and tries to drag both men to their doom. In a slight variation, Gnuk offers the duo a chance at avoiding the curse through a Secret Test of Character... which Number One fails, causing him and the Group to fall victim to the curse.
  • Dawson Casting: In-Universe and lampshaded in Les Miserables, where Pochita plays Cosette even when she's supposed to be a young girl.
  • A Day in the Limelight: The P-38 Lodge arc has some unusual focus and development on the secondary character Hal Hamburger, portraying him as a shrewd, competent man genuinely loyal to the law.
  • Didn't Think This Through: After Aseptyk reveals his intention to launch a polluting missile which will make Earth uninhabitable and poisonous from the inside out, Alan points out that he too will die in the process. After stumbling a little, Aseptyk answers with the following convincing explanation:
Aseptyk:"I... I won't die, because I'm actually wearing a safety mask on my mouth!"
  • Dinner Deformation: When villains receive their Just Desserts from wild animals, we usually get a discretion shot followed by a shot of the animal now with a much bulkier belly, usually sporting a satisfied face and licking its lips.
  • Disney Villain Death: A common end for most villains who aren't lucky enough to find a swimming pool beneath them. Invoked by Margot in volume 182, where one member of the Terrible Trio stumbles out of a window (he's blind) and she forces the other two at gunpoint to follow him out of the window. Subverted when we see that they survived by landing in an open sewer.
  • Distracted by the Sexy:
    • Lightning-struck: Alan is supposed to bear witness in tribunal against a woman who caused a car crash. Said lady is so beautiful Alan can't move his eyes away from her and ends up declaring his love instead.
    • During the marathon in Flame of Olimpia, the Camp Gay announcer following the race is distracted from his job by looking at Alan's sweaty legs as he's running the track.
    • In Wunderbar, Baroness Von Strascen (who's wearing a transparent nightgown) has to kindly remember her doctor to stop staring at her breasts and do his job.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: In volume 449, opera singer Domitilla lures Alan in a cabin, locks the door and tries to force herself on him; by the time Minuette arrives and blows the door open, she's stark naked and busy ripping open Alan's clothes. It is played seriously as a bad thing, though the only reason why Alan didn't fought back is because he feels bad about hitting a woman.
  • Dramatic Irony: In volume 89 The Benefactor, Sara, the accomplice of the villain, mutters to herself that she wants to murder Big Caesar because he never once noticed the love she harbored for him. In the following volume, at her funeral, Caesar confesses sobbing that he always loved her but was too shy to admit it.
  • Dreadful Musician:
    • Mr Ritt, boss of the "Pentagram's Dozen", believes himself to be an extremely gifted violinist and Paganini reborn. Except that, it's a delusion and he really sucks at playing the violin, but his henchmen don't have the heart to tell him.
    • Pansy and Tiger are former opera singers who still look back fondly at those days and sometimes spontanously burst into song, even at work. The following reaction to a snippet of their singing from Number One should tell you all there's need to know:
    (looking around as he's standing near the beach): "How odd, the wind is bringing me the death moans of a beached whale?"
  • Driven to Suicide: Recurring Extra De Suicidis is an extremely unlucky man trying to commit suicide in various ways, only to be thwarted at each turn. Beside this, suicide is often employed as a way out by many villains, including Sergeant Gruber.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: In Superciuck Strikes Again, Alan does this twice after finding out what happened to two of his love interests.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Drug smugglers and drug users tend to be portrayed in a rather negative light. Most notably, is because of drugs that Alan's love Brenda became a criminal and eventually was killed.
  • Drunk with Power: A recurring theme in the arc which sees Minuette inheriting the Barony of Strascen. Finding herself at the top of a tiny but rich nation surrounded by scheming and treacherous minister puts a lot of stress to Minuette, slowly turning her in some sort of hyperactive, unbearable Knight Templar more than willing to execute her prisoner, a fact not helped by her mental fatigue brought on by the recovery of her powers. It seems to affect not only Minuette, but everyone involved: as soon as she abdicates in favour of Hesse, her court doctor, the new Baroness goes from being teary and thankful to harshly order the execution of Alan and Bob while planning to keep Minuette alive as her pleasure slave.
  • Duel to the Death:
    • Invoked in the climax of Caramba!: dragged in the political struggle between a tyrannical mayor and his equally tyrannical opponent, the Count ultimately suggests a duel with pistols, secretly promising one of them that his opponent's gun is loaded with blanks. Turns out they were both loaded with real bullets, ends in a Mutual Kill and everyone's better off without them.
    • Oh Oh Strabalda ha one between Number One and his sister Strabalda near the end. Subverted, they didn't use real bullets.
  • Dystopia: Some issue featuring Time Travel has future dystopic scenarios, such as one where black people lead by a dark-skinned clone of Bob Rock took over the world and oppress non-blacks, forcing them to live in slums, or an hypothetical 1948 where the American President was a Nazi sympathizer who let them take over the States, with Alan witnessing his friends hired in the Nazi army and the nuke showdown between Stalin and Hitler.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Early on, Cariatide was actually a stern, no-nonsense leader, and in his first appearance Number One looked like a benevolent if senile old goof, though later appearances implies it was because he drank an entire bottle of champagne earlier.
  • Easy Amnesia: Margot suffers one after falling in a cellar and hitting her head. After several episodes revolving around her memories (since she saw the T.N.T.'s hideout they'd had to kill her to preserve the secrecy). Eventually she regains her memories and everything is solved.
  • Edible Theme Naming: The boss of the New Orleans Mafia (and Bob's deadringer) has Mozzarella as family name. We later meet his rival Gorgonzola and his "Salumi" cousins from the Prosciutto (ham), Salame and Salsiccia (sausage) families.
  • Epic Fail: Given the humor of the series, it's not uncommon for both villains and heroes to make terrible blunders. A golden example is Slaszlo from The Secret Message: he tries to kill Number One with a grenade... but he accidentally throws the pin and swallows the bomb, with... predictable results.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: Parodied by the terrorists' hiring announcement in issue 212, which promises plenty of booze, smoke and hot girls to whoever joins the cause, then specifying that homosexuals will receive hot guys instead.
  • Extreme Omnivore: A rich man in Do-Re-Mi buys an extremely expensive Paganini violin only to literally eat it whole in front of the terrfied store owner.
  • Famous Last Words: Another famous running gag is having deceased characters snark or making funny comments as they die, even when it shouldn't be physically possible for them.
  • Fan Disservice: Beppa Josef, a massive and hag-like banditess, in a skimpy bikini.
  • Fat Bastard: Mr Tromb is an obese madman who was bullied for his girth and plans to get his revenge by blowing up the world. Superciuk is quite fat himself, but because he wears a bodice while disguised, this is mostly downplayed. Most rich jerkasses are usually very fat and adipose, such as Otto Meyer, member of Mangia with a comically large belly.
  • Fed to the Beast: The most creative so far being Aseptyk, who coats his henchmen in honey before releasing a swarm of killer bees on them. Also, the Royal Hunchback is fond of tossing people to his piranha pets.
  • Femme Fatale: Margot, the first and main example of this trope before becoming a rather Friendly Enemy. Others not-so-friendly examples include ghost gangster Baby Kate, Betty Prettylegs and opera singer Domitilla Scannagatti (though the latter is pettier and more of a Brainless Beauty with a crush on Alan).
  • Five-Finger Discount: The Count and the group's modus operandi when it comes to procure goods or something to eat. Invoked in a minor discussion in volume 10:
    First Worker: "With 20 cents you could get a sandwich, a drink and see two movies."
    Second Worker: "With 20 cents I get to see four movies, 'cause I'm not paying for 'em."
  • Floorboard Failure: Well, roofboard, volume 29 Circus has the obese hitman Jhonny Guts falling through the roof he was standing on because of his own weight (as he blames the whole pork he had for lunch). Subverted when he walks out of the door below unscathed, if angry.
  • Fly in the Soup: Sport Illicit has the heroes go to the restaurant "The Frog", owned by an incredibly rude jerk. When a customer complains for a fly in his soup... amongst the many that are flying around him, he pulls out a revolver and shoots down all the flies, taking a chunk of the customer's hand with them.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • After being helped by Mr Lamp in dealing with Superciuk, Alan tries to have him enlisted in the Group, but Number One refuses. Much later, Lamp will be officially hired as part of the Los Angeles team.
    • In Make Love to... Minuette and Alan are married so that the former can get a green card, though she genuinely likes him and takes advantage of the marriage for all that's worth. They're eventually married for real in volume 500.
  • Forgot to Pay the Bill: How Doktor Kreuzer is defeated in his first appearance: he forgot to pay the bills for his Island Base and thus was arrested. This is also how Sergeant Gruber is ultimately done is, as he cannot cover all his expenses for his base, army and submarine and opt to suicide rather than live in shame.
  • Funetik Aksent: In the animated adaptation, Grunf speaks with a German accent, while the Count has the typical British accent. In Corsican Christmas, Michelacc speaks with a dialectal accent so think (pretty much using only "u" for all the vocals) that he needs an henchman to translate what he has just said.
  • Fur Against Fang: Vampires strike back, a couple of Werewolves finally make an appearence, though they don't really hate vampires, is that they eat vampires as food, and end up devouring the invading Stanghen vampires attacking Wurdalak.
  • Gay Groom in a White Tux: Gender Flip example in Minuette and Isolde's marriage: while they're declared wife and wife, Minuette wears a dress and a diadem, while the Baroness wears a full groom's tuxedo, to compliment her slightly-more masculine face.
  • Gender-Blender Name: During the Melissa trilogy, the titular, mysterious villain is thought by most to be a girl because of the name, however, as Clodoveo helpfully points out, Melissa originally meant "bee" in Greek. It turns out that the real Melissa is an old bee farmer fell in disgrace, and an acquaintance of Number One himself.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • In a Society Marches On example, early volume "Formulae" made fun at the expenses of the Communists, a subject which, at the time, was a serious no no in Italy. As mentioned in an anecdote in the end of the volume, even communist people who read that story still found it hilarious.
    • Magnus wasn't shy in the pretty girls department, though sometimes they appeared in the nude or topless. Under Perucca, things were pushed even further, especially with the introduction of Pochita, a Brazilian Ms. Fanservice who kept her breasts bared for most of her appearances.
    • In Superciuk Strikes Again, the Nazi-looking director of the clinic where Superciuk was confined makes some... interesting comments about Bob Rock's Gag Nose and black hair.
    • Kidnapped in the Sky, Margot's accomplices are revealed to be two butch women: when she pays them and warn them not to waste all their money on men, they reply that they plan to spend it all in women instead.
    • In the special volume parodying The Betrothed, the character played by Betty subtly hits on Margot's character right after suggesting that she should forget his boyfriend and making some ambiguous comments about showing her her legs.
    "If they're as good as I imagine, our near future could be most enjoyable..."
    • A previous volumes ends with Minuette receiving the advances of a female hostess who has apparently spiked everyone else's drinks so that they can have intimate fun later.
    • Infamously enough, issue 392 did some pretty dark satire against the then recent case of Erika De Nardo note , with even Alan and Bob In-Universe commenting on the bad taste. This one actually kicked up a mess. note 
  • Giant Equals Invincible: Averted in the (anti?) climax of Sun, sky, air and...: when the villain, Gim, dives in the size-increasing powder and emerges from the ocean as a 50 foot tall giant to kill the heroes, but Minuette swiftly kills him with a single shot of an harpoon gun to the heart.
  • Giant Spider: Two-shot villain Arakno is a mutated spider who grew into humanoid size and proportions. Subverted in that he's more goofy than scary and that he dislike being a giant spider and would rather return to his original size if he could.
  • A God Am I: Lucius Getty, grand leader of the P-38 Lodge. When the Femme Fatale du jour, Donna Snake rethorically asks him if after he Take Over the World he's going to try to conquer the moon, he honestly answers that he's not going to stop until all the planets and satellytes of the galaxy are his.
    " I won't stop until I've achieved what's rightfully mine, like a god! No, even better, like God Himself!"
    • Played for laughs when Icskappa tricks Velasca into believing that the machine he made allows him to talk directly to God, who instructs Velasca into being his heir. It's actually an hallucination induced by the machine.
  • Gonk: Some of the characters are draw in an exaggerated style, both men and women. Notable examples are the extremely pudgy Mr Tromb and the pig-like ministers ruling the city.
  • Gratuitous English: Parodied, after the Conspirer's return, the previously named Trius Fantasticus add two more members to their ranks and so are renamed the "Fantastic Faiv" [sic], after the Italian pronunciation of five.
  • Happily Married: Against all odds, Superciuk with Beppa Josef, Mister Duls with Pochita, and eventually Alan Ford with Minuette.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Cirano, the Group's dog, tend to side with villains if they provide him with food. Eventually, Big Caesar as well.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: The Conspirer's face was never shown during the entire run of the comic. The only time he's seemingly unmasked, it's revealed that he was wearing another mask over his usual hood.
  • Historical Jerkass Upgrade: In the tales of Number One, many historical characters such as Julius Caesar, Leonidas, Horation Nelson, Napoleaon and George Armstrong Custer are revealed to be incompetent, cowardly buffoons.
  • Hollywood Cyborg: Cioko-san, who first appeared in Operation Tokio (SIC), was severly wounded by a bullet in the following issue, The Emperor's Stiletto, but in her next appearence to the Count's side she's shown to have been turned into a "bionic woman", which essentially makes her a metal-bodied cyborg able to detatch and re-attach her limbs.
  • Hollywood Voodoo: The Fetish has the group working on the murder of a young singer apparently killed with a voodoo doll. Reality Ensues: she simply had a stroke, the voodoo ritual was a coincidence. Also, an outburst of voodoo magic is how the ugly and massive Beppa Josef became the beautiful Morgana.
  • Homage: The entire volume 150, Kriminalissimo, is one big love letter to Magnus and his other works, with many characters such as Satanik'' making a cameo and interacting with Alan.
  • Horned Hairdo: Played straight by the villainous Doctor Alsar, averted (depending on who you ask) with Number One, who's otherwise bald.
  • Hotter and Sexier: As the series approached number 200, content became more risqué and slightly racier, which includes showing the aftermath of a sexual encounter between the Count and another lady, or having Les Yay moments along the way.
  • How the Mighty Have Fallen: During some of his appearances, Big Ceasar bitterly comments on how the great Emperor of Crime has been reduced to obeying an old geezer. Eventually he tries to rebel, but ends up being dead.
  • Hypno Fool: Hypnos is normally a third-rate music teacher who loves the piano and just wants to make money and polish his art. However, playing or hearing a certain piece of Classical Music will turn him into a ruthless bandit who will use hypnotic powers to mind control people and rob them clean of their goods. In his first appearance, this is put to a good use to finally arrest Gommaflex.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: Linda, Alan's first love, was quite beautiful, but a short and sad marriage turned her into a bitter fat crone, which devastates Alan. Inverted with Beppa Josef, who's turned into the gorgeous Morgana thanks to a freak accident of magic.
  • Identical Stranger: The miniarc following the Mangia arc is kicked off by Bob being, apparently, the perfect deadringer for Charlie Mozzarella, heir of the most dangerous and influential Mafia family in New Orleans. As a result, the Group has to figure out how to save him.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: In Corsican Christmas, Michelacc is able to literally shave his opponent, the Kind Kidnapper, with a double-barreled shotgun with a randomly aimed shot.
  • Incendiary Exponent: Pyromaniac twins Abs and Estos can somehow survive igniting themselves. After swallowing fuel and a lit matchstick to boot!
  • Insistent Terminology: The english nobleman in Giallissimo absolutely refuses to consider the presence of a murderer in his house and claims that all those deaths are "natural deaths" instead. Cue to one of his relatives blowing himself up in his car in front of him.
    Butler: "Another natural death, Sir."
    Lord: "I've still got my eyes to see with, Jeeves..."
  • Interchangeable Asian Cultures: Being a rather old comic, Japanese and Chinese are put in one big confused hodgepodge of mixed facts and stereotypical humor (for example, having a Japanese agent claiming that fried siamese cats are a delicacy), though to be fair, Alan Ford was never meant to be accurate or educative.
  • Jerkass: Pretty much a solid 90% of the population of the World is this.
  • Jerkass with a Heart of Gold: Number One is greedy, tyrannical, rambling, bossy and sometimes mean, but deep down he's a good and decent fellow who deeply cares for the wellbeing of his men.
  • Joker Immunity: Superciuk due to his popularity. Deconstructed with Mr Duls/The Centurion: while he's caught and exposed as a criminal, his sheer wealth and status makes him untoucheable and has always evaded arrest.
  • Just Like Robin Hood: Inverted with Superciuk: he robs the poor and gives to the rich: being a sweeper, he came to loath the poors who always make a mess and dirty everything, and values the riches, who are cleaner. Eventually he becomes disillusioned with both parties and tend to work for himself.
  • Karmic Death: The mysterious shade-wearing madman from Zoo Symphony unleashes the wild beasts of the zoo on the customers, apparently out of spite and vengeance on the modern world. He's ultimately Eaten Alive by a crocodile, though he makes another surprise appearence later.
  • Kick the Dog: Big Caesar killing Brenda in front of Alan, considering that he also cuckolded him with her before and used his feelings for Brenda to have her spy him.
  • Kill It with Water: Wurdalak and his friends are extremely vulnerable to water, and will be Killed Off for Real if they even fell into it. Oddly enough, this weakness extends to snow (which is,technically, solified water).
  • Killed Off for Real: A few characters, excluding one-shot ones. Amongst the fallen we have Aseptyk, Sergeant Gruber, Brenda and Big Caesar.
  • Kiss Me, I'm Virtual: Make Love to... features the titular product, some sort of cassette which, thanks to the appropriate computer equipment, can give the user a realistic simulation of sex with a celebrity of their liking.
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • In Doctor Cancer, the cigarette tycoon who laughed off the titular doctor earlier for his anti-smoke campaign and dismissed his warnings, is given a super-concentrated cigarette, which poisons him to death as he takes a sniff.
    • Pansy and Tiger in vol 508 infiltrates the Number One's house in disguise in order to poison him to death. Unfortunately for them, Geremia and Cariatide's cooking so bad they get food poisoning instead and must be carried away by an ambulance, lampshading the irony.
  • Laughably Evil: While some of the villains can be threatening, most of them come off as funny because of their quirks, shortcomings or misfortunes.
  • Laxative Prank: Volume 16 Hotsprings Cure, the people who drink the "spring water" of the clinic suffers this, except for Big Caesar, somehow. This is also the first time the group can play a prank of the Count.
  • Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: Invoked and subverted in I remember that..., where former Nazi officer Satanassik, after cornering Bob Rock in his villa, offers him a chance to fight back and handles him a rapier. Then Bob comments that he can't use it, with Satanassik replying that it was right what he was counting on.
  • Logic Bomb: In the episodes set on Mars, Minuette gets pasts some obstructive robot nurses by asking them to tell her which is the last number, causing the to calculate to the point that they short-circuit and explode.
  • Loophole Abuse: In issue 531, it's imperative that the Baroness gets married to receive a billion-size heirloom that will save her country. When she chooses Minuette as her bride, she points out that the will doesn't prevent her from marrying a woman, and while it wasn't legal in Strascen it is in Las Vegas where they are. A minor one when Gustav points out that this marriage is only legit if it's consumed and if the couple spend at least two nights together, the Baroness simply locks herself and Minuette in her suit, spending two days playing chess.
  • Lost in Translation: Cariatide is called "Big Boss" in the foreign translation, while in the original his name referred to a statue, for his approach to most problems.
  • Mad Scientist: The series had his share, including:
    • Doktor Kreuzer, former Nazi scientist who was supposed to spend 300 years in prison (298, if you ask him) and is often employed in shady schemes.
    • Aseptyk, and ecologist who secretly wants to destroy the entire world with pollution and turn it into a desolate wasteland.
    • Doctor Cancer, who wants to prove the danger of smoke by forcing his subjects to smoke extremely toxic cigarettes made of concentrated tobacco.
    • The Croc's Head has the Conspirer wanting to pay off and kidnap a nuclear physician to force him to commit evil acts... however, when the Conspirer's agent reveals why he's here, the physician is actually elated, as he always wanted to be a proper Mad Scientist rather than a good guy.
    • Mr Lamp's Evil Twin plans to use his "Computer Man" Kron to create copies of normal people and Take Over the World.
  • Made a Slave: In Would you join me on a Cruise? has the Mutenote  Malaysian revealed to be part of a ring of Malaysian slavers alongside his brother, a Malaysian pirate. He targets cruise ships so that his brother keeps the passengers as slaves and he keeps their belongings.
  • Master of Disguise: Two at the price of one!
    • The first in the series is the charming French thief Arsenic Lupon, who's actually a toothless, bald old midget in disguise who usually appears as a suave mustachioed gentleman.
    • Gommaflex, a bandit whose gum-like face allows him to take the appearance of anyone he likes, even giving himself beast-like faces or change his height slightly.
  • Meaningful Name: Related to the above, Cariatide's real name is Gervasius De Statuis, while the costantly-ill Geremia's surname is "Lettiga" (Gurney). Many other secondary characters have such names, usually with hidden puns, such as the incompetent commissioner Brock (from "Brocco", fool), the one-shot obese villain Mr Trip (where Trip stands for "Trippa", literally "offal" but also a colloquial term for fat) or the judge "Aggio Lynch" (with the former sounding like "got to")
  • Meet the New Boss: The bulk of the Number One's story about the Central-America revolutions, with him dethroning his predecessors and eventually abdicating before the next rebellion kills him. Also, pretty much anyone who gets his backside on the throne of Strascen tend to become a ruthless, power-hungry, unbearable tyrant.
  • Mile-High Club:
    • In issue 212 Terrorism, when the terrorists take over the plane we see an attractive stewardess with an unbuttoned shirt in the pilot's cabin when the terrorist's leader breaks in. When he reappears again, he's holding the stunned (and bare-breasted) girl in his arms. As a Funny Background Event, the still blissfully-confused stewardess walks out of the cabin, only to return in a huff, heavily blushing and panting, her clothes torn to rags and a series of grasping hands poking out of the door.
    • A PG-friendly version happens as a Book-Ends joke in volume 443: halfway through, on the plane Minuette's on, the pilot stumbles into a Japanese stewardess (his girlfriend) making out with a passenger in the hostess compartment, but he's so jealous he tries to kill everyone by crashing the plane to the ground, and tragedy is avoided with much difficulty. At the end, she and Alan ends up picking the same plane, except that now the pilot has fired the former stewardess for a new one, who's sure she won't cheat on him. She plans to, with Minuette, after spiking the drinks of everyone else to give them enough privacy. It's not revealed how she got out of that.
  • Mind Screw:
    • The entire volume 100 The Black Hills of South Dakota: the group visits the grandfather of Number One, whose nearby gold mine is targeted by a shotgun-wielding goon. Inside the mine, the group faces ghosts of their previous enemies, while Number One confronts the shooter, only to suddenly find himself in a traditional western duel, which he wins. Then, everything but his grandad's dilapidated hut vanishes, leaving only a note and the family parrot Clodoveo behind.
    • The issues involving the "Dimension XL", an alternate dimension where Alan is called "Alex Font" and all his friends exist in completely different roles and relationships, dimensions which Alan can seemingly phase through in and out randomly. Later, we learn that there's a second Dimension XL.
    • As the series went on, outlandish stories which may or may not be dreams become far more frequent, sometimes feeling as padding.
    • The volumes 501 and 502 seemingly imply that Alan Ford and Minuette, trapped in a missile by their enemy, Fitzgerald Diamond, end up living on Mars, where they build a robot servant but, for some reason, ends up phasing back and forth across the "two dimensions", the "present" (where they're still on earth) and the "future" where they're on Mars... the following issue implies that everything was just a vivid dream... but a later one has Robby, the robot from the flashforward, appear before the heroes and trying to get them to return home, and in some episode they phase back and forth through the two dimensions.
  • Minion with an F in Evil: A common type of minion employed by the villains. It doesn't help that sometimes the main villains themselves have an F in evil. Deconstructed with Gustav Von Strascen's minions in Wunderbar, where because of a misshap and their incompetence, they accidentally stab through Gustav's chair, killing him instead of his cousin, the Baroness.
  • Monumental Theft: During their second appearence the Trius Fantasticus apparently steals the Statue of Liberty. It turns out, they only covered it with invisible paint.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Quite a fair amount, though usually evil, including:
    • Top example, superspy Margot, who first appear in a cleavage-baring, leg-exposing black gown. Later on though she tend to dress rather modestly.
    • Aptly-named Prettylegs Betty, a seductive lady with long, detailed legs.
    • Brazilian beauty Pochita, who spends most of her introduction wearing nothing but a skirt and showing off her naked boobs for all to see.
    • Morgana A.k.a. an ensorcered Beppa Josef is a gorgeous redhead with a stunning figure who completely charms the Number One the istant he sees her for himself.
    • Minuette Macon is a downplayed example, though she's still rather pretty and wanted in universe by both guys and ladies.
    • Domitilla Scannagatti is very beautiful and tend to dress in revealing outfits showing off her body and not afraid to sleep in the nude.
    • Baroness Von Strascen is a gorgeous woman who gets a couple of shots of Full Frontal Nudity, and even though it was a business scheme, still invokes a bit of Les Yay by marrying Minuette in Las Vegas.
    • Shirley is a piratess who usually wears barely-there shorts and a voluminous leather jacket with a cleavage so big that in almost all the pics she appears in it's clear that she's wearing no bra.
  • Mugging the Monster: In a rare case of The Dog Bites Back too, volume There was once a Bounty... has a barely-disguised Stampel trying to mug both the agents of T.N.T. and Number One of their hardly-gained bounty. Among various things he's clubbed on the head, pelted with bricks and run over by a wheelchair.
  • Mutual Kill: In an early issue, Alan appears chased by two different villains, a man and a woman who form a truce to capture him. When he manages to hide, the two remember that they're rivals and promptly shoot each other to death.
    • In Caramba!, the issue is solved when the Group tricks Don Diego and his rival to perform a Duel to the Death, promising that one of the pistols is loaded with blanks. It wasn't, both die and everyone cheers.
  • My Country Tis of Thee That I Sting: During the P-38 Lodge arc, the villains let out an announcement to find minions, promising incredible wealth, next to no labour involved and plenty of paid vacation. His henchman quickly announce that they got 52 millions of volunteers from Italy alone in record time.note 
  • My God, What Have I Done?: The above-mentioned Hypnos is actually horrified by the evil acts committed under hypnosis, and would rather live honestly if he could. Also, Magician Drake went depressed and rant-prone after accidentally releasing the Ghosts from the binds of time and space.
  • Nausea Fuel: In-Universe, in issue 301, Alan feels like this when he realizes that the clinic holds a secret black market for freshly-exported organs, including a vat full of eyeballs and freshly-amputated legs disposed on a table.
  • Nebulous Evil Organization: The Mangia sect, a global secret organization who ends up being an Arc Villain for some time before being finally disbanded.
  • Never Found the Body: Invoked in A New Day, where the rest of the Group sans Alan, Clodoveo, Oliver and Minuette seemingly drown in a mountain stream, but their bodies are never found. The personal doctor of Number One downright refuse to believe that he's dead until he has seen the corpse in front of him. And he was right.
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: Crocodiles and Alligators make appearances, and in some stories, such as The Croc's Head, Alleged Safari and Fiction they end up playing a pivotal role in the story.
  • Nice Guy: Alan Ford himself is an incredibly nice, shy and naive guy, who alas tend to suffer a lot because of this.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
    • Alan Ford himself is based on Peter O'Toole.
    • Bob Rock and Count Oliver were based on Magnus and Bunker, respectively.
    • Villain Anten-Man is a caricature of notorius Italian politician Silvio Berlusconi.
    • Mauritz Trippazza, the showman, and his Caustic Critc Ingiuria Insulta are thinly veiled parodies of Maurizio Costanzo and Vittorio Sgarbi.
  • Noble Demon: Both Superciuk and Gommaflex are ruthless robbers, but rather affable outside of their crimes and both make a point of never take lives. (Though the latter did try to drown the heroes to death).
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Starting from volume 18 (The Million Dollar Dog), the group adopts the Italian Pointer Cirano. Later on he's joined by the hamster Squitty, the talking parrot Clodoveo, the alcohol-loving python Xeres and finally Pellicus, a tamed pellican. After the 2005 reboot, only Clodoveo was left, along with Prudy, a cat belonging to Number One's sister.
  • Non-Indicative Name: In Bu Bu's Plot, it turns out that the titular lost pet Bu Bu is a cat, not a dog as they thought.
    • The Mute Malaysian can actually speak pretty well, is just that he does it only on Thursday. From that episode on, he's usually called "The Mute-safe-on-Thursday Malaysian".
  • Noodle Incident: The "Lacrima Christi" affair. Whatever it is, it makes the three Pigs quiver in fear and obedient to the Number One's orders.
  • No Accounting for Taste: In Save Us, please, Thank you, it's revealed that Baby Blonde, the Dark Action Girl of the previou volume, works for Napoleon, a self-proclaimed descendant of the historical Bonaparte who's a rather portly, big-nosed man. At the end of the story she reveals that she was genuinely in love with him, and after learning that he died she proceeds to sink the entire ship, killing herself.
  • Odd Couple: Issue 505 introduces the duo Tiger and Pansy (Tigre and Mammolo in the original), a duo of former singers and now thugs for hire consisting in a camp Manly Gay and his tomboyish Butch Lesbian partner. They are kinda Like an Old Married Couple save for the sex, obviously.
  • Off-Model: While the art under Magnus was overall consistent, starting from Piffarerio onward not all the volumes are made by him (as explained by Bunker, his schedule doesn't allow him to work on every single issue and had to leave the work to his assistants), resulting in certain stories (such as Ipnos Suite and Here we Healx) having cruder drawings of a normally unseen quality. Under Dario Perucca, the series has finally found a stable artstyle closer to Magnus's.
  • Oktoberfest: The fictional country of Strascen, ruled by a Baron (when first introduced, the Baroness Isolde Von Strascen) located between Austria and Germany, the title of Baron bestowed by the Emperor of Germany to the only soldier still standing on his feet nearby to have a cushion-state. Before her death, Isolde nominates Minuette her heir as thanks for allowing her to inherit a fortune and become billionaire.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: In When the Heart Goes Tu-tum!, a suddenly healthy and optimistic Geremia is seen with suspicion... because he's an impostor in disguise.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: Baby Kate and her Gang were a criminal band from the 20ies, accidentally brought to life by a spell cast by failed magician Drake, which apparently tore a wall in the dimensions of space and time, rather than through the netherworld. They can interact with solid items, are icy cold and disappear with a ghostly wail whenever someone says "Ghosts" out loud. Averted with the mysterious Idem Idem, who appears to be a ghostly gentleman holding a copy of his own head under his arm, but is actually a hoax, using a special fluorescent paint and a mannequin. Later on we have Gnuk Agnuk, an ancient babylonian wraith who cursed Number One and Alonisius for defiling his crypt and can actually kill anyone he possess.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Baron Wurdalak and his associates are of the Classical Movie Vampire type, can turn into bats, are driven away by garlic, crucifixes, sunlight and even water, which more often than not is used to defeat them or drive them away. Oddly enough, they do not have Super Strength and can still be poisoned or gassed. Vampire expert Alonisius managed to create a serum that make people immune to vampirism and can even cure recently-turned people. Otherwise, Vampires must be either drowned or receive a Wooden Stake to the heart. Vampireid brings forth a new generation, the "Stanghen" Vampires, who are all younger and hippier, wear black leather, can turn people into Stanghen Vampires by biting them on the nose and also turn other Vampires or bats into Stanghen if they bite them. The same issue reveals that Wurdalak and his two associates are the last vampires of their kind, and so they're considered and endangered species and protected.
  • Paid Harem: Many rich extras are often seen with beautiful ladies with them. Beppa Josef provides a Reverse Harem example.
  • Perpetual Poverty: Justified example, the Number One goes to great lenghts to make sure that none of his employees gets too rich, since more often than not they end up losing everything in embarassing ways. Averted for a while when the Count took over the Group.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Referenced when His Highness tells the story of Pyrrhus to his agents: following the Rule of Funny, his infamous "victory" is caused by his own elephants (who, according to his lieutenant, trampled three thousand romans and eighteen thousand of their own soldiers.
  • Police Are Useless: Especially under the lead of bumbling inspector Brok.
  • Psychopatic Manchild: Sem Brandelli is a corrupt blowhard of a businessman who, among various things, forces his employees to lick his feet for money, harasses the wives/lovers of his guests at parties, had his own father locked up in a dungeon and made money by kidnapping young kids and selling them to pedophile clubs. He's also an infantile moron who often wets himself when scared and mentally regresses to infancy when he's scared by lightning.
  • Punny Name: All over the place, such as Inspector Brok (after Brocco, Fool), Stampel (after Stampella, crutch), Superciuk (After ciucco, alkie) and much more.
  • Race Lift: In-Universe and parodied with the magician Zippel, who's a parody of another Italian comic book character, Mandrake: while Mandrake was a white magician assisted by a huge black manservant named Lothar, here Zippel is a Scary Black Man and magician (moonlighting as criminal) served by a small, dimwitted white slave.
  • Right-Hand Attack Dog: Big Caesar is guarded by a trio of dangerous animals: Teddy (a bulldog), Betty (a black panther) and Theodor (a gorilla).
  • Really Gets Around: Pochita often mentions how much she'd like to marry with a handsome husband, has sex with pretty much all the Group (sans Bob, Geremia and Cariatide) and also considers Alan an eligible partner.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Number One was around during the Trojan War, already canute, and at one point he mentions that his earliest acquaintances were Adam and Eve.
  • Rogues Gallery: Becomes a plot point near the end of the first series, when it's revealed that the Number One keeps a series of photoes of the various villains inside his lair.
  • Rogues Gallery Transplant: Baron Wurdalak was a villain in Satanik before.
  • Running Gag:
    • Alan having bad luck with women.
    • Bob Rock getting mad at something, or being pelted with snowballs in winter, or being mocked for his nose/heigth.
    • Count Oliver stealing everything in sight and calling his good friend Bing.
    • Cirano trying to eat Squitty/getting bribed with food by a villain.
    • Grunf making a ridicolous contraption or falling asleep in improbable places.
    • Mr Tromb blowing up a globe with a Cartoon Bomb.
    • The three Pigs mocking the crime-of-the-episode, only to be forced into action when a rich and influent person is targeted.
    • Number One starting to tell stories from his younger days (aka, recounting various events from history and bygone eras, prettying up his involvement), only for agents to fall asleep and him to wake them up in anger. Also his little black book, which contains blackmail on everybody in world.
  • Samurai:
    • In Go Samurai Go!, Number One meets the anachronistic samurai Ikado-du, who's enduring a quest to obtain enough honor to become a full-fledged samurai, and proves to be a useful and loyal companion, skilled in kung fu and sword fighting. Artistic license abound, of course. He returns in a later episode as an international assassin and commits seppuku when he's discovered.
    • In one issue, the Mangia hire a trio of samurai known as the Kamikaze in an attempt to kill Alan, Bob and the Count. They still go around in armor and use swords, as well as dynamite.
  • Satiating Sandwich: As part of the Cultural Chop Suey seen above, the characters are often seen eating the good old "Pane e Salame" (a simple salami sandwich). Up to Eleven in one early volume where the group manage to steal a gigantic six chilogram sandwich the size of a truck tire filled with ham, mustard, pickles, tomato and salad. The baker who made it (for a culinary exposition) is so distraught over its loss that he commits Seppuku with his bread knife.
  • Sauna of Death: In Operation Frankenstein, the villain note  is at one point put in a "sauna box" by his dragon to "lose some weight" before the operation. Sadly, he is forgotten and left there for far too much time, causing him to become skeletal in appearance and eventually die from fear when mistaking himself for the Grim Reaper, much to the shock of his medic/right hand man. In Rich Mission, Mr Trip tries to force Alan and Oliver to talk by putting them in a sauna and, when they don't relent, decides to let them boil to death and eat them with ketchup and mustard.
  • The Scottish Trope: Saying out loud "We could really use... Witchcraft!" can summon the titular witch from the witch dimension, usually to lend a hand to Alan and Minuette.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Doktor Kreuzer becomes paranoid when the Group agents are involved, and is quick to get the hell out of the place to avoid another blunder.
  • Self-Deprecation: Especially during the Magnus era, the authors weren't afraid of insulting each other during their in-story appearances. Reaches the point of Take That, Us in volume 50, where we learn that Alan lost most of his hardly-gained money on two shady businessmen, actually Magnus and Bunker.
  • Serial Killer: Arsenico Lupon, though he tries to pass of his many female victims as mere collateral damage for his robberies, and, in a much more serious and sinister light, "The Redeemer", a mysterious masked man who murders the poor, leaving a paper with a smilie on their corpses.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Most of Alan's love stories before meeting Minuette, especially with Brenda Sterling who ultimately ends up dead in front of him.
    • The surprisingly serious and tense P-38 arc ends with an accomplice of the Big Bad burning the hardly-obtained secret list containing the signatures of all the members of the group.
  • Sham Wedding:
    • In Minuette's introduction, she's required by her husband to marry an american to get the Green Card, and Alan is chosen. However, she genuinely finds him so attractive she drives him to the closest motel as soon as the ceremony is over and eventually falls in love for real with him.
    • In issue 531, the generous offer of a hundred million dollars is enough for Minuette to temporarly divorce Alan to engage in a same-sex marriage with a Baroness. In an unusual case, both women are perfectly aware of the business-only nature of the wedding and are perfectly contet with that.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Big Ceasar's name comes from the movie Little Ceasar.
    • The Royal Hunchback's secret is a portrait he enchanted the same way The Picture of Dorian Gray did, but because of a twist, while his body is still ugly and hunchbacked, his portrait actually keeps growing younger and younger.
    • One issue has two characters from Beetle Bailey appear in the background.
    • Morgana's entrance on the stage before she starts singing (combined with her proportions, red hair and revealing dress) make her resemble Jessica Rabbit
    • Arakno's entire story is one big Shout-Out to Spider-Man, including having him, a normal spider, transformed into a man-spider hybrid after being bitten by a student (he slipped into his sandwich), forced to live in disguise in a hostel run by a certain "Aunt May" and returning to normal by biting the same student, some "Peter Barker" guy.
    • The magic spell Morgana wants to use to contact the witch who instructed her starts with the words " Klaatu Barada Nikto ".
  • Shrouded in Myth: Number One. Nobody ever even learns his true name (and likely nobody save his twin sister knows it). He is an inconvencionably ancient and immortal old man, who was present for more or less every major historical event, and he has dirt on everybody.
  • Sibling Rivalry: Turns out that Number One's sister Strabalda is still alive and kicking, and is a bitter archenemy of the former.
  • Slipping a Mickey
    • Arsenic Lupon's modus operandi when it comes to poisoning his victims. Somehow failed against Gommaflex when the two met.
    • Often used by villains who want to capture the heroes alive, usually taking advantage of their perpetual hunger/thirst.
    • Prettylegs Betty's main resource in her scheme consist in sleeping powder.
    • In a variation, during the closing panels of volume 443 Hollywood Calls has a Bifauxnen flight attendant flirts with Minuette before revealing that the champagne she offered to all the other passengers will make them sleep, so that she can join her later in the hostess compartment so that she can tell and "give" her something.
  • Sizeshifter: The MacGuffin of Sun, sky, air and... consist in two boxes on a sunken ship containing powders, one which makes anything that comes in contact with it tiny and another one with the opposite effect. Unfortunately the crates break and they spill into the ocean, but luckily they soon lose effect and become harmless.
  • Sleazy Politician: Do not expect to see politicians coming off lightly or in a positive light in this series.
  • The Snack Is More Interesting: A common reaction from the perpetually-hungry members of the Group, though sometimes even enemy mooks are not exempt. Examples include Zoo Symphony (a villain decides to eat some peanuts rather than stay on guard) and Mystery at the Farmhouse (the group is distracted by a ham sandwich waved around by Number One).
  • Something Completely Different: After the big turn of 2005, the tone of the story changed entirely, focusing more on Alan and Minuette.
  • Sore Loser: Criminal Rapiner likes to force people to play poker with him, using blank cards so that he can claim he made the biggest score, and gets childishly angry if others try to counter. Later on, a portly gangster by the name of Bombolo Flit loves to play billiard, but will smash the stick on his opponent if they point out he's cheating. In a later volume the two end up playing cards with each other. The latter even asks why can't he just rob him and call it a day.
  • Spy Fiction: A parody of the genre, though some elements are played straight.
  • Stalker with a Crush: In the latest series, billionaire Fitzgerald Diamond for Minuette and Domitilla Scannagatti for Alan Ford. Preceding them both, but only for Alan, there was Baby Kate, the ghost she-bandit.
  • Sticky Fingers: Count Oliver has a knack for stealing everything that's not glued down, and it runs in the family.
  • Stock Ness Monster: One issue has the heroes meet the monster of Lochness... which resembles a green, crested plesiosaur with Beppa Josef's face.
  • Stripped to the Bone: Those who come too close to the area polluted by Aseptyk's bomb meet this fate, including The Conspirer, who somehow manages to reform himself from that!
  • Take That!:
    • Formulae audaciously (for the time) depicts the Comunists as bumbling, guillabe idiots who are easily swayed by Alan and behave quite immaturely.
    • Golpe features a fascist movement as the villains, and they're all depicted as boasting, foolish and secretly cowardly fools.
    • Super Master Race makes fun of Nazi, especially when they mock and demean Bob's quasi-semitic traits... only to do a 180° turn when their machine meant to gauge how much "aryan" someone is considers Bob 100% aryan.
    • The episodes centered around Anten-man are always a good mine of satire and jokes at the expenses of Silvio Berlusconi and other prominent tv people of Italy.
    • In response to the controversy kicked up by the infamous issue 392 and "Erika"'s cameo, Bunker had two issues attacking the so called Moral Guardians who spoke against the comic, depicting the villain (Chamberpot Voyeur) as a moral watchdog who's actually a two-bit, corrupted conman willing to use the accidental death of two of his colleagues to fuel his cause, and in a later volume (which is a more direct parody of the Novi Ligure murder he's openly shown watching over minors... as in, using a telescope to spy on naked, underage girls. The same volume is also a Take That! at the whole mediatic circus who had risen around the case, with journalists and TV show hosts attending the trial being classified as "jackals" and put in a reserved set of seats hosting actual jackals who scowl at their anticipatory joy.
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: Fitting a Spy Fiction parody, this trick is often employed to either drug and kidnap the victim or to fatally silence them. Up to Eleven in Dirty Ploys where Donna Snake gets rid of another henchman who has Outlived His Usefulness by pouring a powder in his coffee which causes him (and the local he's in) to explode.
  • Temporary Bulk Change: In A Surprising Idea, the obese Bombolo Flit escapes the heroes by hiding in a sauna and upping the temperature to the point that he's very skinny upon leaving. However, he's recognized by Cirano and find refuge in a pizzeria, where he decides to have a meal to make up for the sauna. Unfortunatley, he eats so much he ends up becoming fat again and being recognized.
  • Terrible Trio: Bob's three twin brothers Tim, Tom and Tumb. Later on the three villains Alsar, Conspirer and Stampel form one, named the Trio Fantasticus and a mysterious, ragtag trio who's revealed to be composed of Cariatide, Geremia and Grunf left penniless after the presumed death of Number One.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Hic Hic Hurra, issue 200, has the Number One revealing that he faked his death and spends the last half of the issue revealing Big Caesar's plot and calling him out for his callousness and ingratitude, with the man in question wincing and sweating all the way.
  • Those Two Bad Guys: Villains working in couple aren't uncommon in the series, as seen with the german hitmen Franz and Gerda, twins Frit and Frut, queer duo Tiger and Pansy and the inept Brother–Sister Team Hubert and Barbel.
  • Those Two Guys: General War and his right-hand man, Bert, are usually seen together, as well as the duo composed of Professor Icskappa and his inept scullion Scullion.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: Doktor Kreuzer was a former Nazi scientist, as well as his mentor, who's enlisted by the American Governemnt to work for them. A one-shot villain had a secret plan to use the gains of his smugglings to rebuild the Nazi from scratch... because he thought they were fashionable!
  • Threatening Shark: During his fourth appearance, Superciuk apparently dies after being eaten alive by a shark. For several volumes, a talking shark asking people for wine is repeatedly mentioned. Eventually, said shark is hunted and fished, and Superciuk released once more.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Parodied in Mexico Olé: when Bob tries to poke the bull with the saber, the beast just sends him flying with an uppercut gore... only for the saber to fall back blade-first on his neck, killing him.
  • Time Abyss: The Number One (and his twin sister Strabalda). Number One was present for more or less every historic event while still being an ancient old man, including Trojan War. In one issue he mentions being present in Neandhertal Era, and in another he mentions personally knowing Adam and Eve, so it isn't big reach to say he predates recorded history. His grandfather also counts. If they're not exaggerating of course...
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Most mooks employed by the villains tend to fall victim to their own stupidity or being guillable enough to trust notorious Bad Boss types.
    • Mr Tromb, during his first appearance, ends up throwing a tantrum and pressing the Doomsday Device button ahead of time... before realizing what he had just done. He survives though.
    • Alonisius, after figuring out an antidote which not only makes him immune to vampirism but also immortal and decides to just walk in Baron Wurdalak's castle and show him his immunity. Wurdalak ends up locking him into a dungeon for ages, where he's unable to starve or perish, though in the end Alonisius isn't too shaken by the experience.
    • Wurdalak's servants, Kott and Krud, not only angers their masters with their ineptitude, but also mistakenly drink all the blood reserves of the castle, mistaking them for wine, which makes Wurdalak angry enough to feed on them and call it a day.
    • The arab rebels from Foreign Legion fail to realize that they're buying slightly-modified toy guns for their revolution.
  • Twin Threesome Fantasy: Parodied in vol 370: a rich criminal hires three beautiful women for sex, though whey they are alone and the ladies naked, he has them using a series of gym tools to build up some sweat, all while moaning in pleasure to fool listeners, so that he can make his guests believe that he had an orgy by himself without breaking a sweat. One of the ladies even admit he's quite crafty.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Many villains manage to survive to the most improbable accidents (Superciuk being swallowed whole by a shark, the Conspirer stripped to the bone by noxious gases) volumes later. In a surprising case, the madman in black who released the zoo animals against people back in issue 10 makes a surprise return 211 volumes later, after being Eaten Alive by a crocodile.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Per warning of Secchi, the tales of the Number One aren't always meant to be taken seriously.
  • Unscrupulous Hero: Number One, though "hero" may be a little of a stretch. For one, he's ready to use murder to make sure the T.N.T. Group's secrecy is kept.
  • The Un Twist: In-Universe, in Niagara, Alan and the Count istantly recognize Tromb's emblem on the men who are taking them prisoner, so when Tromb shows off in a case of Latex Perfection... they're not surprised the slightest. Tromb becomes childishly angry over this.
  • Villain Decay: Most of the recurring villains tend to become less and less threatening with each new appearance, such as Superciuk, Dr Kreuzer and Wurdalak. The latter in particular blames Bram Stoker and Luciano Secchi for his misfortune, as their works made people too Genre Savvy around Vampires.
  • Villainous Glutton: Since most rich people tend to eat well and be portly, this is a common feature of most bad guys. Most notably Mr Trip from vol 41 Rich Mission, an obese devil-like man who's almost costantly feeding on pastries during the duration of the story.
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend: Minuette is in love with Alan, and is ready to defend him tooth and nail against others women, especially Domitilla.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Female example with the beautiful Pochita, though she eventually wears an almost see-through blouse upon leaving Brazil.
  • Weaksauce Weakness:
    • Superciuk cannot keep up his alcoholic breath if he refrains from drinking bad wine or if he drinks class wine such as champagne or eat sweets. He's also not too fond of water.
    • Wurdalak and his cronies are extremely vulnerable to water, and will perish if submerged.
    • The computer-man Kron can be easily redirected away by poking an electrical caber in his way, forcing him to follow the current.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist:
    • Subverted with Aseptyk: at first he looks very reasonable and sensitive, but eventually his ultimate goal will destroy all life on earth for no clear reason, and he doesn't even have a backup plan to survive the destruction he indends to unleash.
    • The assassin from Cogito Ergo Sum is the kind owner of a pet shop who murdered three people who had been abusive to animals, but is sympathetic enough that the heroes let him go free.
  • White Sheep:
    • Bob Rock is the only member of his family who hasn't become a criminal.
    • General War is actually a member of Mangia, but has always refused to join them.
  • Wicked Witch: Witchcraft was one, and an Asshole Victim of the witch hunts until she came back from beyond the veil. Initially an antagonist, she eventually ends up helping Minuette and Alan.
  • World of Snark: Pretty much everyone has a sarcastic comment ready to be fired. And you can hardly blame them.
  • Worst Aid: The Fetish has a medic trying check the victim's heartbeat (or lack of) by holding the sthetoscope to the side of the victim's boobs, above the chest itself. Also, Running Gag has Bob Rock treating drowned people by jumping up and down on their bellies to make them spit out all the water (though they're appropiately in pain after that).

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