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Comic Book / Blueberry

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Blueberry is a Franco-Belgian Western comic series originally written by Jean-Michel Charlier and illustrated by Jean Giraud (a.k.a. Mbius but here frequently credited as "Gir"). The title character is a veteran of the The American Civil War who was later sent to the Wild West. Born Michael Steven Donovan, he later changed his name to evade prosecution for a crime he was framed for.

When creating the series, Giraud was inspired by the time he had spent in the American West in the 1950s. The physical appearance of the character himself is based on French actor Jean-Paul Belmondo. Already fairly realistic in the first episodes, the series took advantage of loosened censorship laws in 1968 to get Darker and Edgier, with more overt depictions of violence and sexuality. In 1973, Giraud decided to redefine himself as Moebius, leaving the series to Colin Wilson (the New Zealander who worked on 2000 AD, not the British prose writer), who then passed it on to Michel Blanc-Dumont. Giraud later came back to Blueberry as a scenarist, and after Charlier's death in 1989, took over writing duties until his own death in 2012.

A film adaptation was directed by Jan Kounen in 2004, focusing on Blueberry's experimentation with Native American shamanism and trance-inducing drugs. He was played by Vincent Cassel.

Not to be confused with The Blueberry, a Nenets fairy tale.

Blueberry provides examples of:

  • All for Nothing: In "The Trail Of The Sioux" Blueberry and General Dodge finally manage to mediate a peace treaty between the Sioux, the Union Pacific workers and the Army. Unfortunately, this peace is doomed as the man ordered by Washington to deal with the problem is none other than General Allister, an ambitious, bigoted, opportunistic and ruthless man who immediately shatters the peace that Blueberry worked so hard to obtain by violating the truce and attacking the Sioux and Cheyenne.
  • Alternate History: Is put firmly in this column with the two assassination attempts against President Ulysses S. Grant. In reality, there were no assassination attempts against Grant, and indeed there were no assassination attempts against US presidents between Abraham Lincoln's assassination in 1865 and the assassination of James A. Garfield in 1881.
  • Animal Assassin: Interesting case. When Luckner is captured by Walley Blunt, and forced to find his gold since Walley withholds water from him, he eventually uses a concealed, live rattlesnake to kill him, and since he was unarmed, and Walley had extreme (justified) distrust of him, this was actually the only viable option to prevent his own death. Not a Complexity Addiction this time.
  • Art Evolution: One can trace the gradual evolution of Giraud's style across the series. Blueberry himself also evolves from, basically, a true-to-life Jean-Paul Belmondo in the Fort Navajo stories to a more distinctively unique individual.
  • Artistic License History: The album Trois Hommes Pour Atlanta features a monk. Seriously.
  • Bantering Baddie Buddies: Cole Timbley and Walley Blunt, two secondary villains from The Lost Dutchman's Mine, and The Ghost Fires Golden Bullets, repeatedly interspeak with each other during conversations, finish each others' sentences, and ask each others' opinions. However, when Blueberry shoots Cole in self-defense, Walley steps into action as a much more competent villain, actually matching Luckner, although eventually getting killed by him.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Subverted with the appropriately-named Angel Face, a Pretty Boy Psycho for Hire. In a case of Laser-Guided Karma, he ends up disfigured.
  • Blond, Brunette, Redhead: Red, Blueberry and Jimmy respectively. Mike's is dark enough to be black, and Red's slowly fades to white over the course of the series, but the core of this trope is respected (and it lets you tell the physically-similar Mike and Red apart at a glance.)
  • Clear My Name: At least he gets blamed for crimes more than once...
  • Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: The early version of the character quite simply is Jean-Paul Belmondo, starring in the Western the real Belmondo never made. In later stories, Blueberry became a more unique individual, though he never quite stopped resembling Belmondo.
  • Crossover: Blueberry makes a guest appearance in another Charlier-written album, Gringos.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: The comic takes a dark turn, and our hero loses his charmingly curling locks.
  • Gambit Pileup: Frequently, particularly in the Confederate Gold saga, which makes The Good, the Bad and the Ugly's serial backstabbing seem simple.
  • General Failure: Blueberry usually has to deal with one of these every so often, often trying to make sure they don't end up riling up the Native Americans for no damn reason.
    • General Allister declares war on the Cheyenne and Sioux, right after Blueberry had signed a peace treaty. His army would have been completely annihilated by said Indian tribes had it not been for Blueberry's actions. Blueberry won Allister's undying hatred for this "humiliation" and made a very dangerous enemy for himself in the process.
  • Line-of-Sight Name: Blueberry's choice of assumed name came on the spur of the moment.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Rattlesnakes turn up from time to time in the main series, each time screwing everything up even more for the heroes. Shall we sum it up?
    • In Fort Navajo, probably the straightest example to date, a rattlesnake turns up for less than half a page, but kills Colonel Dickson, after which the racist Major Bascom ends up in charge of the peace negotiations with the natives, causing him to betray them and try to capture the chieftains, after which the Apache declare statewide war against the Americans, leading the Mexican governor of Chihuahua to supply them with weapons, in order to drive the Americans out of Texas and re-conquer it for Mexico to become Mexican president. Yes, had it not been for that snake, all of this would never had happened.
    • A rattlesnake turns up again to be used as the above Animal Assassin, used against Walley by Luckner.
    • And again, Governor Emiliano Lopez from Chihuahua, uses tied up snakes pursuing captives from horseback as a torture method, used against Blueberry.
  • Rollercoaster Mine: In "La Piste des Navajos", Blueberry and McClure ride a chariot out of a collapsing mine.
  • Shout-Out: Corporal Blutch and Sergeant Chesterfield of Les Tuniques Bleues make an appearance in one album. Blueberry also received one from Derib, author of Buddy Longway, with McClure making a cameo appearance in that series.
  • Spinoff Babies: A separate series relates Blueberry's years as a young soldier during the The American Civil War.
  • Theme Naming: in universe, Eggskull names his dogs after biblical figures of evil. The first two are named Gog and Magog, the third one is named Baal.
  • Trippy Finale Syndrome: The film adaptation climaxes with a drug-induced trance.