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Comic Book / Cubitus

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Cubitus (Dommel in Dutch, Wowser in English) is a Belgian comic books series, created by Dupa (1945-2000) in 1968. It's a surreal gag comic strip about a huge white and obese dog and his frequent run-ins with his Absent-Minded Professor boss Sémaphore ("Semafoor" in Dutch, "Professor Dingy" in English) and cat neighbour, Sénéchal ("Balthasar" in Dutch, "Ratso Catso" in English).

The series debuted in the magazine "Tintin" near the end of the 1960s and quickly became one of their most popular features. Most episodes were gag comics consisting of one page. Some were much longer stories. Frequent running gags had Sémaphore trying to make Cubitus behave more like a normal dog or get into the bath tub for a wash. The dog also tried to steal food on the sly, sometimes succeeding, often failing. The most frequent situation had Cubitus and Sénéchal trying to insult, fight or fool each other. As the series went on the gags often bordered to the surreal, with many big lipped alligator moments.

In the 1980s the comic strip series was adapted into in an anime series called Wowser. This increased the comic strip's notability and popularity and even inspired a short-lived magazine. The Animated Adaptation (produced by Ellipse Animation) added two extra characters who didn't appear in the comic strip at all, Beatrice — an old woman with glasses- and Linda Lovely — an attractive young blonde. Compared to the original however, the cartoon series was pretty much straightforward kids' entertainment, while the comic strip has a very peculiar eccentric and often surreal style that most younger kids wouldn't really understand at times.

Cubitus provides examples of:

  • Absent-Minded Professor: Sémaphore (Professor Dingy, Semafoor).
  • Amusing Injuries: Violent slapstick is a hallmark of the series.
  • Animal Jingoism: With Animal Stereotypes. Cubitus and Sénéchal are rivals because they're a dog and a cat. Cubitus enjoys digging up and digging away bones.
  • Anthropomorphic Shift: Started as more like a regular dog walking on all fours and treated as such, ended up walking upright all the time and interacting with people as if he was a human.
  • Big Eater: Cubitus.
  • Bigger on the Inside: Cubitus walks through several chambers of an opulent palace... and eventually emerges from his ordinary doghouse.
    • This gets even more ridiculous when he shows off the insides of it to the skeptical Sénéchal, as it also includes 12 floors (since Cubitus is superstitious) and a pathway leading to Niagara Falls.
  • Cartoon Bug-Sprayer: In one gag Sémaphore's bug sprayer makes parts of the body invisible.
  • Cats Are Mean: Sénéchal is often depicted as mischievous, though Cubitus himself also enjoys beating the cat up for no particular reason than his own pleasure.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Cubitus' boss used to be a little boy, but he was Put on a Bus at one point and replaced by Sémaphone.
  • Continuity Nod: One gag featured in Tu te la coules douce... has Cubitus list to Sénéchal all the times the latter has humiliated him in some fashion, while numbering the amount of times specific incidents were inflicted. This goes on for several panels.
  • Creator Cameo: Dupa is often visited by the characters. Or sometimes appears to provide explanations to the story.
  • Dogs Are Dumb: Cubitus is smart, though can be lured into traps by Sénéchal or Sémaphore too.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The early Cubitus comic strips depict Cubitus more like a real bobtail by having him walk around on all fours. Also, his hair hung in front of his eyes.
  • Exposed Animal Belly Button: Both Sémaphore and Sénéchal have them.
  • Funny Animal Anatomy: Cubitus and Sénéchal walk on their hind feet. Cubitus has a fluffy yellow tail not seen on any bobtail.
  • Gag Nose: Cubitus' nose is a frequent target.
  • The Ghost: One story arc was about Cubitus desperately wanting to see a popular but mysterious man called "Isidore", but his face was never shown (except when he was in a hazmat suit).
  • Humanlike Foot Anatomy: With Humanlike Hand Anatomy. Sénéchal and Cubitus both have no problems walking upright on two legs and they are also capable of using their front paws as hands.
  • Impossible Task: In one gag Cubitus engages Sénéchal in a battle of knowledge. He asks him several increasingly difficult questions, but to his frustration Sénéchal knows the answer to each one of them. Finally Cubitus gets fed up with this and asks the cat whether he is able to count to five in three seconds (uttered in such a small voice it is doubtful Sénéchal could hear it)? Sénéchal tries, but fails, to which Cubitus shouts: Too late!! and smashes his head in with a sledge hammer appearing out of nowhere. Then he says: He couldn't possibly know EVERYTHING!.
  • Inter Species Friendship: Cubitus the dog and Sémaphore, a human.
  • Mad Scientist: Sémaphore
  • Mona Lisa Smile: One gag has Cubitus change a painting Sémaphore made of The Mona Lisa by drawing his own face on it.
  • The Rival: Sénéchal and Cubitus.
  • Running Gag: Sénéchal and Cubitus trying to trick each other or beat each other up.
  • Shout-Out: Dupa enjoyed making shout-outs to history, comic strips, old movies,... and a lot of stuff his youtful target audience wouldn't get, including The Beatles, The Marx Brothers, Tintin, Blake and Mortimer, Popeye, Bécassine, Georges Méliès, King Kong, history... the list goes on. For example, one gag features Cubitus in the role of Michelangelo Buonarroti, trying to think up new things to paint, and one of them is Tintin.
  • Talking Animal: All animals talk and walk on two feet in this comic strip.
  • Through a Face Full of Fur: Cubitus, in his earliest appearances.
  • Toon Physics: Used often.