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Comic Book / Freaks' Squeele

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Freaks' Squeele is a French series of comic books created by Florent Maudoux and published by Ankama. The series is unique in its graphic style, mixing manga, American comics and classic FrancoBelgian comics style.

The story follows the adventures of three students in a university for Heroes (the F.E.A.H.), specializing in Bad Guys and Villains. It is fair to say they may not be the brightest element of the classes. The team consists of Chance, an adorable clumsy demon-girl; Ombre de Loup (Wolfshade), a big-hearted lycanthrope stuck in his animal form, and Xiong Mao, who has no superpower whatsoever apart from being a relentless worker.

There are several spinoffs, such as Rouge (about teenage Xiong Mao), Masiko (about her mother) and Funérailles, which is set in a fantasy world and is about the youth of the titular character and his brother Scipio.


Expect slices of college life, sadistic professors and epic brawls. The references to pop culture are pervasive explaining the large number of tropes referenced here.

This comic provides examples of:

  • Apologetic Attacker: Xiong Mao's sister ambushes her with along with a few friends from China, but several of them would rather not fight her.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: The "life expectancy hourglass" handled by Funerailles, is used to "send back demons to the inferior planes".
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  • Author Avatar: The author draws himself as a character from Gremlins. Most of the time he appears between chapters, but when Chance owns a pizza truck he his hired to do some artistic painting on its body.
  • Badass Normal: Xiong Mao got admitted to a hero academy despite having no supernatural abilities whatsoever. She only goes up from there.
  • Beach Episode: The last chapters of the first book ends with a pool.
  • Bears Are Bad News: One has an epic fight with Ombre for territory control.
  • BFS: The one found in the Library, an obvious Shout-Out to Berserk.
  • Big Beautiful Woman: Lynette, when she's wearing her glasses. When She's not she's stunning too, but she's skinny.
  • Bishounen: And with a Cast of Snowflakes you're sure to find your type.
  • Bishie Sparkle: Fei Long in his first appearance.
  • By the Power of Grayskull!: Parodied. Valkyrie says "Par le pouvoir de l'amour ancestral" when transforming. That is litterally the French dubs for "By the Power of Greyskull" (Par le pouvoir du crâne ancestral) except she replaced skull with love.
  • The Cameo: Lots of them. Hugh Laurie as a sadistic professor, Sean Connery as a school director, Quentin Tarantino as a pervert homeowner ...
  • Catfight: The pool outing turns this way, much to the pleasure of the male onlookers.
  • Cast of Snowflakes: All major and minor characters and many of one-shot characters are unique.
  • Cat Girl: There's one in the protagonists' class named Felicia, as well as another one with two heads.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: averted, sort of, with Xiong Mao; her practice of martial arts makes her a competent fighter and stronger than average girl, but according to the test, her strength are still on human level.
  • The Chess Master: Apparently the president of FEAH has a larger plan than just ratings and money, considering one of the illustrations shows the main trio defending him and Funerailles later agrees with his plan.
  • Chinese Girl: Xiong Mao Actually half-Chinese. Her full-blooded relatives never let her forget.
  • Clark Kenting: "The Law of Kent" (how a well-placed accessory can disguise you completely) is actually taught at F.E.A.H. Apparently it's the reason that no one realizes Ombre is a huge wolf-man when he's wearing a hat.
  • Clothing Damage:
    • The Power Trio's costumes get torn up pretty badly during the monster hunting assignment.
    • All of Ombre's clothes are always in tatters (even his underwear) due to spending so much time tromping through the woods. His Care Bear costume also gets sliced up a bit during the battle with St. Ange's students.
  • Cool Sword:
    • Xiong Mao sure can forge pretty cool ones.
    • Most notably, Razorback.
    • And Claidheamor turns into one!
  • Dance Battler: Xiong Mao using Flamendo. Chance learns fencing through tango with Funerailles.
  • Defeat by Modesty: Enforced in the strategy exam, where the students are eliminated once they lose their sarongs.
  • Dominatrix: Amanite to Changelin after discovering his/her real, skinny male form. Actually has him on a leash, blindfolded, with a ball-gag and his arms tied behind his back for their villain project presentation. "Call me Hermione!"
  • Doorstop Baby: Chance, apparently. Her new parents were quite happy to have her, horns and all.
  • Dragons Up the Yin Yang: Wong Fei Long's magic tattoo.
  • Dream Sequence: Ombre and the animals of the forest hold meetings through these.
  • Dynamic Entry: Fei Long literally explodes onto the scene when he first appears at the pool. Everyone's ears are ringing afterward.
  • Eating Lunch Alone: Ombre, in the first book and not just eating alone. He's under the table!
  • Elaborate University High: The F.E.A.H. and the surrounding campus.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Xiong Mao. She takes great care to conceal that her name actually means "Little Panda".
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Alucrade and Gunther. The former is especially popular, as he's an Adorkable Soap Box Sadie.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Xiong Mao and Ombre both have different hairstyles after spending time in the underground forge.
  • Fangirl: Amanite is apparently one for Harry Potter, seeing as she forces Changlin to stay in his skinny male form, wear round glasses, and call her Hermione.
  • Fanservice: Lampshaded. The university even gives classes of Fanservice for heroines.
  • Fastball Special: Used by Chance and Ombre during the tactics exam.
  • Five-Man Band:
  • Gag Penis:
    • Fei Long has an oversized Censor Box when he loses his sarong.
    • Another student has an ability similar to Goku's Super Saiyan mode. During the pool episode, when he transforms another student notices that the transformation happens "down there" as well.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: FEAH itself thanks to scheming between its headmaster and St. Ange's. It doesn't help that their students are skeletons, mafia heirs, werewolves, demons, spider-women, and Amanite.
  • Hot Teacher: One of the transformations of Valkyrie.
  • I Just Want to Be You: Changelin to Chance.
  • Important Haircut: Inverted. Actually, it's important when Xiong Mao decides NOT to cut her hair. She had previously kept it short due to being ashamed of how her curly hair exposed her mixed parentage. Once she accepts it, she wears her hair long.
  • Improvised Golems: Amanite can summon very nice ones out of paper sheets or tennis balls.
  • Kill the Cutie: Ombre's bunny. Once released, he tastes the joy of freedom but gets eaten by a bird of prey.
  • The Klutz: Chance. Ombre might also qualify, as the objects are sometimes unsteady in his gigantic hands/paws.
  • Knife Nut:
    • Xiong Mao, though she only makes knives and doesn't use them.
    • Sablon gets starry-eyed whenever he sees a finely-crafted blade.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: Or rather, the armor itself, who has come to life after its owner has died inside
  • Large Ham: Fei-long. His speech and the fact he does pack an impressive amount of meat has him qualify.
  • Life Meter: Subverted in Chance and "Archangel"'s fight — they can't hurt each other, but they're judged by how popular they are with the spectators. Because this is being televised, there's a mass of suits whose job it is to equalize the score so neither of them "die" too quickly.
  • The Lost Woods: The nature park where Ombre lives draws many of its characteristics, which is quite ironic since the university itself is firmly settled in a french suburban setting.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Played with. Several characters have to lie to Gunther about being his father.
  • MacGuffin: A tapestry which contains secret indications on the way to bring a gingerbread man to life.
  • Mafia Princess: Xiong Mao is basically the next leader of her family but she'd rather be a heroic weapons-smith.
  • Magical Girl: The dream profession of Valkyrie.
  • Mask Power:
    • One of Sablon's teammates is a girl named Venise who always wears masks, though we've yet to see her do anything particularly powerful.
    • That said, Sablon himself, with his face-concealing turban, qualifies.
  • Martial Arts and Crafts: The Flamendo which is supernatural.
  • May–December Romance: Chance and Funerailles, complete with a shout-out to Remus Lupin and Tonks ("Too old, too ugly, and too dangerous").
  • Meaningful Name: Everyone. Most notably Chance whose full name is Chance D'Estaing (Name of an ancient family of Central France, used because it sounds like the French word for "Destiny").
  • Messy Hair: Xiong Mao has wavy/bushy hair, a sign she's not 100% Chinese.
  • Modesty Towel:
    • Everyone (including the camera crew) wears stylized sarongs at the pool that serve this purpose. Then the students are given an assignment to steal each others' sarongs. Chaos (and hilarity) ensues.
    • According to Word of God, early storyboards used regular towels, but they looked like they would fall off too easily and weren't sexy enough, so the sarongs were invented.
  • The Mole: Ombre was sent to the human world to prepare them for actual diplomatic relationships with the Therian council.
  • Mr. Exposition: Sablon explains Flamendo to the reporter and keeps this role pretty much everytime we see him, when he's not busy kicking ass.
  • Mr. Fanservice / Ms. Fanservice: Pretty much everyone in the student cast qualifies, and the author seems to take any occasion to show off his snowflakes. Especially Ombre de loup in his human form.
  • Naked People Are Funny:
    • The Bathhouse battle. On a less savory note, Chance loves walking around nude in her apartment and leaves hair all over. They're not the ones from her head.
    • Chance also tends to suggest "everybody get naked" as the solution to a lot of problems. Sometimes, she's partially right!
    • And then there's Alucrade, Friendly Neighborhood Vampire, who faces the forces of law and order with his fellow students rioteers, all in the nude.
    • Nudity Equals Honesty: Chance sometimes uses this as a justification.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Funerailles, who is actually a pretty nice guy.
  • Our Angels Are Different: St. Ange's is a self-righteous jerkass. "I'm a hero, I'm always right!"
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Despite his impressive height and strength, Ombre is most lovable guy in the campus.
  • Oven Logic: Chance tries the equivalent with two combined pasta dishes. It's not exactly disastrous, but only Ombre is willing to finish his portion.
  • The Power of Love: Literally used as a magic ingredient to bring the gingerbread men to life.
  • Power Trio: Xiong Mao (Ego), Chance (Id), and Ombre (Superego). Later expanded into a Five-Man Band (plus one).
  • Real-Place Background: Some stealth clues (license plates, tramway numbers, maps...) suggest the school is located in Villeurbanne, a university suburb of Lyon, France.
  • Rule of Three: The whole universe seems to run on this rule.
    • Heroes (students and professionals) are always in trios.
    • Even the ones that attained a form of godhood by becoming the Anthropomorphic Personfication of a powerful concept are grouped by three, such as the Grim Reaper, the High Executioner and the Master Raven forming the trio of Death.
  • Sealed Army in a Can: In order to conquer the world (which is a "science project" for the School), the group create an army of gingerbread soldiers. A little bit rebellious, still...
  • Scenery Porn: Various very detailed environment and ambiances.
  • Shout-Out: Lots of them. Many are visual or just name dropping. Many sentences are direct quotes from either French culture or French dubs.
    • In chapter 9, Xiong Mao conjures the Dragon Slayer from Berserk to use in the fight against the Animated Armor Halifax: "Flamendo also applies to giant sword fencing!"
    • Chance's duel against Ange imitates the early tournaments in Dragon Ball when fighting took place in the sky. In particular some of the sports commentator's text seems very similar.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: The handsome but scheming head of FEAH and his disfigured but straight-talking brother Praetorius (or as we know him, Funeraillis).
  • Speaking Simlish: The Gingerbread Warriors say "Ni!" except for Rosebud who says "Nou!".
  • Split Personality: St. Ange student Requiem AKA PSYCHOPORN!!! He just wants more personal freedom.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Alucrade Can you hear me major Tom? Well Played Flaurent, well played.
  • Spy Catsuit: Worn against their will by the female members of the team.
  • Sunglasses at Night: St. Ange's "Archangel".
  • Superhero School:
    • The F.E.A.H. [Faculty of Heroïc Academical Studies]
    • St. Ange, a top-tier superhero university with more money and connections.
  • Theme Naming: The superhero teams' code names will match their theme.
    • Brothers Scipio and Praetorius, aka the head of FEAH and Funerailles.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Xiong Mao, Ombre, Chance, and Fei Long all take one in the months leading up to the duel with Ange, albeit in different ways.
  • Transformation Trinket: Valkyrie can use the ring on her forehead as one.
  • The Triads and the Tongs: Xiong Mao's family.
  • "Truman Show" Plot: Unbeknownst to them, all the students of the school are part of a reality TV show.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Xiong Mao and Ombre.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Ombre can walk around in public just fine so long as he wears a hat. Only dogs, or perhaps animals in general, can see past the hat and realize what he is.
  • Unwanted Assistance: The students cheer Xiong Mao by chanting her name — first the embarrassing translation, then a mangled pronunciation.
  • Valkyries: Valkyrie (but you can call her Val).
    • Later she fights VF-1 Valkyries from the Macross universe.
    • In the Funérailles spinoff, a warrior dies in combat and is supposed to go to Valhalla. A Valkyrie comes to him and she looks exactly like Val.


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