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Comic Book / Inspector Canardo

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Inspector Canardo is a long running comic series written and drawn by BenoƮt Sokal. The eponymous protagonist is an antropomorphic duck Defective Detective Anti-Hero, who often treads on the gray areas of justice while trying to cope with the problems of a world populated by Funny Animals.

The first stories were published in the late 1970's. They were short episodes with a loose continuity, published in the comic magazine A Suivre. The comics were satirical in tone and parodied Film Noir detective movies heavily, but gradually Cerebus Syndrome got hold on the series and started shaping it towards its current form.

Sokal started writing longer Canardo stories in 1980's, resulting in the first Canardo albums. They established a more stable continuity and started to focus more on tense plots than parody. Over the course of 30 years, 19 albums of Canardo's (mis)adventures have been published.

This comic provides examples of:

  • Above Good and Evil: When Rasputin orders his men to burn a village, Canardo asks him to stop because it's bad, Rasputin simply kicks him in the head from his horse and tells him that he is above good and evil.
  • The Alcoholic: Canardo drinks a lot to forget his miserable life.
  • Anti-Hero: Again, Canardo. He is often well-meaning, but is also cynical, greedy and alcoholic.
  • Anti-Villain: Most of the one-off bad guys are these. In addition, even Clara has moments where she appears to genuinely care for Canardo, and Rasputin is broken and pathetic instead of evil in Misty Wedding.
  • Anyone Can Die: And most of them do die, some more than once.
  • Arch-Enemy: Canardo vs Rasputin, and to some extent, Canardo vs Clara as well.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Or at least major assholes.
  • Autopsy Snack Time: Dr. Fatty hasn't been shown eating the treats Canardo bribes him with during the autopsy but he did say that he drinks the alcoholic stomach content of people that are brought to him.
  • Backup Twin: Or, to be precise, backup son. After Canardo commits suicide, his previously unseen son shows up, inherits his father's possessions and, after a brief misadventure, his entire life.
  • Blind Shoulder Toss: Done by Ferdinand in the first book, where he throws a bottle behind him... it proves to not be such a mundane act, because he later learns that this accidentally caused the death of a girl he liked, Gilberte, who had her head smashed with it as she was watching him from the bushes.
  • Break the Cutie: Happens a lot. Rasputin's daughter in Mark of Rasputin suffers a horrible breakdown when she realizes how horrible her father is.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The early stories play Canardo's medium awareness for laughs several times, but the fourth wall has remained mostly intact in the albums.
  • Busman's Holiday: The Sinking Island album has Canardo win a holiday on the eponymous island, only to end up investigating a murder.
  • Car Fu: Canardo pulls this every now and then in the later stories.
  • Cats Are Mean: Rasputin is one of the worst antagonist of the series and a cat.
    Rasputin:I, Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin, declare that this village is no more.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: The early comics meander between a Film Noir parody and a serious detective drama. As the series progressed to albums, the parody was toned down and the series focused on its more dramatic elements with a touch of Dark Comedy.
  • Cool Car: Canardo drives a sweet white Cadillac. It made a hooker he gave a lift to try offering but canardo makes it clear he can't afford her and the car is the only good thing he owns.
    Foreign hooker: So you loser, is that right word?
    Canardo: Yes, me loser.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Garenni's wife. A satellite character trying and failing to commit adultery turned out to be great with guns when push come to shove.
  • Death Is Cheap: Many characters have survived certain deaths with little or no explanation. Canardo himself has died roughly five times, even lampshading it in one of the A Suivre comics - turns out the "blood" was just tomato soup.
  • Death Seeker: Lili Niagara want to die for most of The Suave Death, but she specifically wants a quick death because she can't stand her pain.
  • Defective Detective: Canardo takes pretty much every type of detective work (murder investigation for the police, discovering infidelity for private clients, finding where the dying men hid the gold etc.) with the same bored look on his face. His personal life consists solely of drinking in a bar by himself. While he has a good heart despite being jaded, his investigations rarely end with arrests (either the villain escapes or dies), which doesn't bother him after his fourth drink.
  • Downer Ending: His adventures tend to end on a sour, if not downright tragic, note.
  • Driven to Suicide:
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • The original comics feature humans who apparently are not much unlike us. To them, Canardo and the others are just animals that are acting weird. After the first few albums the humans went missing completely, leaving behind a World of Funny Animals.
    • The first book, Shaggy Dog Story, actually revolves around Ferdinand, not Canardo. The next books focus on Canardo proper.
  • Evil Overlord: Rasputin is this in his debut appearance. He and his men ride through Siberia, killing, looting and raping. After he loses a daughter, loses his eyesight and nearly dies, he does become a bit more sympathetic, but eventually returns to his violent ways.
  • Eye Color Change: Alexandra's orange eyes change to white when she's heartbroken from seeing her father, who she wanted to believe was a good person, execute a village of starving circus people.
  • Eye Scream: Rasputin gets his eyes badly damaged and becomes blind. He gets better.
  • Famous-Named Foreigner: Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin, named after Rasputin the Mad Monk.
  • Fantastic Racism: One of the motivations of the villain in The Channel of Anguish is that she hates ducks and wants to make them disappear.
  • Femme Fatale: Clara is a schemer who shifts her allegiances for personal gain and seems to have very little interest for the lives of the others.
  • Food as Bribe: Coroner Fatty takes a box of chocolates from Canardo in exchange for helping him.
  • Funny Animal: Most of the characters are these, but sometimes talking but otherwise normal animals and even humans are seen. It almost seems like the characters' degree of anthropomorphism depends on who is looking. To Canardo, Rasputin is an enormously fat, humanoid cat, but when humans see him, he is a large, non-humanoid feline somewhere between a tiger and a lynx.
  • Generation Xerox: Canardo himself commits suicide in one of the earlier stories. He is replaced by his son, and it doesn't take long for fate to make him exactly like his father.
  • Girl Of The Album: Canardo picks up a good number of attractive women over the course of the series: even those that are not one-night things will be gone with no explanation by the time of the next album.
  • Hell Hotel: The desert motel in The Girl Who Dreamed of the Horizon doesn't look too bad, aside from being worn-down, but Canardo doesn't take long to figure out that the two owners have been disposing of several visitors to steal their belongings. It turns out they bit off more than they could chew when they killed a member of Rasputin's gang to take the drugs he was transporting.
  • Honey Trap: the title of one story, where Canardo supervises an attempt to blackmail a politician by recording him having brutal sex with a prostitute.
  • Humanoid Female Animal: The female funny animals are drawn even more like humans than the males.
  • Kavorka Man: Canardo himself, though since a majority of men are fairly unattractive too, thanks to the art style, he may very well be considered handsome in-universe.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: In The Suave Death, a group of soldiers responsible for murdering Bronx's parents is killed by none other than Bronx himself. The soldiers were expecting this.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Bronx the bear seems harmless despite his huge size, because he is too stupid to get angry at anyone. Except when he hears the song Lili Marleen.
  • Lions and Tigers and Humans... Oh, My!: In the first album, Canardo and co. were barnyard animals who were perceived by the humans around them as normal animals. The next several albums following that went for a more midway setting with primarily Funny Animal characters surrounded by a few clearly human characters. Eventually, the humans disappeared completely, making Canardo's stories a World of Funny Animals.
  • Mature Animal Story: The stories feature sex, drugs, violence and various grim themes such as suicide, insanity and rape.
  • Mix-and-Match Critter: Shaggy Dog Story has a cat-bird hybrid named Faust. He is likely made by the mad scientist of the story.
  • Named After Someone Famous: Inspector Canardo is an Expy of Columbo, while Rasputin is, of course named after Rasputin the Mad Monk.
  • Oddball in the Series: Misty Wedding. It is the only comic to have any humans as main characters. It also contains paranormalities that are otherwise not present in the series, such as Deal with the Devil and Psychic Powers.
  • Or Are You Just Happy to See Me?: Occurs in The Girl who Dreamt of the Horizon. A seductive lady thinks Canardo is getting "excited", but he says he just has a revolver in his pocket. After they're interrupted by a motorcycle gang's attack, she is surprised to find out he wasn't kidding.
  • Punny Name: Canardo, a pun on the French word canard for duck and Columbonote .
  • Redemption Equals Death: Attempted by the murderers of Bronx's parents but Canardo has none of it.
    Canardo: Bronx packs a mean hook, you won't see death coming, soldiers. When in one of my drunken rant I would bring up this story I will simply say: They were assassins.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: The revolutionaries in Black Tide resort to terrorism by hijacking an oil tanker and threatening to release the oil if their demands aren't met.
  • Secondhand Storytelling: The early comics refer to Un-Installment episodes such as "Canardo's resurrection".
  • Serial Killer Baiting: One story involves a serial killer murdering prostitutes. Canardo's friend (a brothel madam) lets herself be used as bait and is barely rescued in time from the murderer who turns out to be the police commissioner with serious mental issues.
    Canardo: Next time rent a room at the ground floor, I'm not young anymore.
  • Serious Business: Winemaking. Also comic book drawing where the doping is worst than bicycle competition.
  • Shout-Out: Canardo's entire persona is modeled after Lieutenant Columbo from the TV series Columbo.
  • Take That!: L'affaire Belge is about comic drawing, some jabs are made at manga, some at schedule and when Canardo swap the urine test to avoid someone being barred for doping, the tester is glad to see the artist drew the old Belgian way: drunk.
  • Time Travel: Canardo uses a pocket-sized time machine in A Miserable Little Pile of Secrets. This is the only futuristic device seen in the series so far.