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Comic Book / De Generaal

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The General and the Professor

De Generaal ("The General") is a Dutch comic series created by Peter de Smet.

The comic follows the misadventures of a nameless general, who in each comic tries to conquer a fortress and drive out the Marshal, thus gaining as he calls it "de macht" (the power). He is helped in his efforts by a (also nameless) zany professor and a soldier, and armed with a rather ancient tank. The General's HQ is a preciously guarded tree. To conquer the fortress, the professor usually comes up with complicated plans and inventions, which horribly backfire or fail due to unforeseen circumstances. After a failed attack on the fortress, the General is usually imprisoned in the fortress' prison block.

Another character the General frequently runs into is a police constable named Dreutel, who always tries to arrest or book the General for breaking just about any law or rule the policeman thinks applicable, but his attempts to do so always result in him and/or his motorcycle being completely destroyed.


Especially the older comics followed a pretty strict formula. Later comics started to use more complicated storylines and introduced more characters, like the General's son Junior, his mother, and grandfather, the professor's attractive niece Truus, and a couple of boy scouts and their leader.

Provides examples of:

  • Actually a Doombot: A robotic copy of the General is used to try to assassinate the Marshal in one episode. The plan fails because the Marshal also had a robotic copy of himself made, and the two robots end up repeating their programs in an endless loop.
  • Armies Are Evil: Well, at least the General is. Or tries to be, but he usually doesn't get that far.
  • Bedsheet Ghost: One comic had the General dress up as one.
  • Digging to China: A plan to conquer the fortress with a modified tank that could travel underground resulted in this when the controls failed.
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  • Disappeared Dad: In the comic in which the General's mother makes her debut, the General tells the professor his dad fled the house when mom left the window open one day. They never saw him again.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: The General and the soldier, whenever Truus is around. Whenever the Marshal and Truus are together, he definitely, ahem, appreciates her presence but he's still more of a father figure. Truus is also used once to get another mad professor to hand over his invention, some ultimate weapon, to the General.
  • An Economy Is You: It is shown several times that the local economy somehow greatly thrives from the General's attempts to conquer the fortress, which is one of the reasons they allow him to keep doing so.
  • Faking the Dead: the General did this once in his attempts to conquer the fortress.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Naturally.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Truus.
  • Friendly Enemy: The professor; one panel, he is openly helping the General come up with a new plan to conquer the fortress, but in a later panel we see him talking to the Marshal, as if they're not enemies at all.
  • Head Pet: A little white duck is usually sitting on top of the General's head, but he always manages to fly away in time if the General is about to get hurt.
  • Identical Grandson: In a comic that involved time travel, several ancestors and descendants of the main characters were seen, all looking exactly the same, only differing in their outfit according to the time they're from. The General's own son and grandfather however don't look that much like him.
  • Invisible Streaker: One attempt to conquer the fortress involved an invisibility serum, but it didn't turn clothes invisible.
  • The Mafia: The General's son is a mafia member. And in an earlier comic, the General enlisted the help of a mafia assassin.
  • Mama Bear: The General's mother. In her debut comic, she almost succeeded in single-handedly conquering the fortress when she found out her son was frequently imprisoned there.
  • Meddlesome Patrolman: Dreutel, although he usually doesn't get that much chance to meddle before the General runs him over.
  • No Name Given: Nearly all the main characters and recurring supporting characters are only known by their rank, profession or title, and the ones that do get named are cases of Only One Name such as Police Constable Dreutel and Truus. The General's grandfather is a notable exception, as his name is revealed to be Speedy Donderbal.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: If anyone other than the General tries to conquer the fortress, expect the General to come to the Marshal's aid.
  • Ornamental Weapon: The General always carries a sword, but doesn't use it to fight with.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Most of the General's disguises fall into this category, and as a result hardly anyone ever falls for them.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: The Marshal apparently has a very important position and a lot of influence, but all we ever see him do is just stand on top of his fortress, looking out over the surrounding countryside and waiting for the General.
  • The Professor: The General is assisted by a professor.
  • Psychic Powers: One comic, the General used a helmet that gave him the power to teleport people and objects away.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: Dreutel gets transferred to the garbage collection service for a few episodes when his chief runs out of budget for new motorbikes. The police takes him back when it turns out he racks up even more damage as a garbageman.
  • Running Gag: Too many to list, but most notably Dreutel's motorcycle being destroyed every time and the General ending up in jail at the end of each comic.
  • Smart People Wear Glasses: The professor.
  • Storming the Castle: Well actually, a military fortress, but the idea is the same.
  • Strictly Formula: Especially the earlier comics followed a strict formula: the professor comes up with a new plan to conquer the fortress. The General is first unimpressed but the professor convinces him that this plan will work. On their way to the fortress, they run into police officer Dreutel and crush his motorcycle. Once at the fortress, the plan somehow fails and the General ends up in prison. This strict formula was lampshaded by the General himself in one of the later albums, when the comic started to use more convoluted plots; he complains to his grandfather how things used to be much simpler in the old days. In one case, the Marshal considered the power-grabbing effort so poor that he simply refused to jail the General. Occasionally, the General thinks up a plan of attack himself. This is usually something straightforward, like getting a better tank, a rocket and in one case an entire battleship, with which he intends to blast the fort (and the Marshal) into smithereens. These attempts tend to fail even before the stage of setting up a shot at the fort. In that respect the professor's plans are better. The rocket was bought in installments, with the ignition keys only handed over with the last payment (76 years away). The tank was bought after convincing his scroogey uncle to part with a significant pile of cash. Uncle, fearing damage to his investment, then forcibly prevented the General from actually using it as intended. Now and then Grandpa offers a hand; those plans tend to go better initially than the general's own plans, but fail just the same.
  • Trigger Happy: The sergeant that mans the fortress' machine-gun.
  • Verbal Tic: Whenever the General gets overly excited about a new plan, he starts shouting meaningless phrases and words.
  • Villain Protagonist: The General.
  • Walking Disaster Area: Several people including his chief consider Dreutel to be this in-universe.