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Comic Book / Jo, Zette and Jocko

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Jo, Zette and Jocko is a Belgian adventure comic strip series drawn by Hergé between 1935 and 1958. It stars a young boy, Jo, his sister, Zette, and their pet chimpanzee Jocko.

The comic strip was more or less forced on Hergé, because the Catholic publishers of the magazine "Coeurs Vaillants", felt that Tintin wasn't relatable enough to young readers. So they asked him to create a series around an actual family with a father, mother, brother, sister and a pet. While the series did enjoy some success it never reached the same popularity of Tintin or Quick and Flupke. Hergé himself didn't enjoy it that much either. He cancelled the series after only five stories because he felt limited by the cast. The parents always had to be written in the story to look after their children, or at least referenced at regular intervals. He preferred Tintin who at least could do whatever he wanted, without worried parents coming after him. Due to Author Existence Failure the series is cancelled forever.

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Albums

  • The Stratoship H-22 (first published in 1937-1939)
    • "Mr. Pump's Legacy" (first published as an album in 1951)
    • "Destination New York" (first published as an album in 1951)
  • The Secret Ray (first published in 1936-1937)
    • "The Manitoba Doesn't Answer No More" (first published as an album in 1952)
    • "The Eruption of the Karamako" (first published as an album in 1952)
  • "The Valley of the Cobras" (partly published in 1939-1940, first full publication in an album in 1956)
  • "The Thermozéro" (unfinished and unavailable story, with only eight pages sketched out)


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The whole series provides examples of:

  • Alliterative Title: Jo, Zette and Jocko".
  • Badass Family: The Legrands. The son, Jo, can fly a plane or drive an underwater tank. The daughter, Zette, always escapes when she is kidnapped and sometimes she even manages to capture her adult abductors. The father does not hesitate to attack the base of pirates. Yet, the powerhouse of the family is Jocko, the chimp, who fights with the bad guys as soon as he sees them and always has the upper hand. Only the mother does not have any badass trait.
  • Brother-Sister Team: Jo and Zette are brother and sister.
  • Cool Pet: Jo and Zette own a pet chimpanzee.
  • Dub Name Change: In Dutch the characters are named Jo, Suus en Jokko.
  • Every Girl Is Cuter with Hair Decs: Zette with her hair ribbons.
  • Everything Is Better With Monkeys: Jocko, the children's pet chimpanzee.
  • Five-Man Band: The Legrands.
    • Jo is The Leader. He decides to fly the stratoship, he decides to escape from the pirate base with an underwater tank...
    • Zette is The Lancer. She generally follows her brother, but is a bit more careful.
    • Mr Legrand is The Smart Guy. He designs planes, he builds bridges...
    • Jocko is The Big Guy. In spite of his size, he is always ready to fight with the bad guys and always has the upper hand. He is less clever than the other members and he is mute.
    • Mrs Legrand is The Chick. She is not involved in the action, but she cares for the other members.
  • Flat Character: Apart from Jocko, who is a mischievous monkey, the entire main cast is just generic in every other way. Nothing stands out about them.
  • The Full Name Adventures: The Adventures of Jo, Zette and Jocko.
  • The Great Depression: All the stories were created between 1936 and 1939, even if they were published in albums in the 1950's.
  • Housewife: Jo and Zette's mother stays at home.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Jo and Zette are decent and nice children.
  • Kid Hero: Jo and Zette, who are brother and sister.
  • Mischief-Making Monkey: Jocko. His targets are mainly the bad guys, but other characters can suffer his mischief too.
  • Multi-Character Title: This series is often called Jo, Zette and Jocko, even if the full title is The Adventures of Jo, Zette and Jocko.
  • Multi-Part Episode: Only one story, The Valley of the Cobras stands on its own. Their other four albums are both two-parters.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Jocko could be considered this to Jo and Zette.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Mr Legrand is an omnidisciplinary enngineer. In The Stratoship H-22, he designs a plane. In The Secret Ray, he examines an underwater tank. In The Valley of the Cobras, he builds bridges.
  • Pintsized Powerhouse: Jocko always has the upper hand on the bad guys he fights with.
  • Shouldn't We Be in School Right Now?: Jo and Zette are never seen in a classroom.
  • Talking Animal: Jocko is often talking in himself, but it's obviously an inner monologue, because the humans don't understand what he says. In the end of The Secret Ray, he takes a microphone and talks on the radio, but in a monkey language that only the monkeys of the zoo understand.
  • Unusual Pets for Unusual People: Jo and Zette have a pet chimpanzee.
  • The 'Verse: This comic's universe is the same as Tintin's. There are several continuity nods in both series:
    • In Mr. Pump's Legacy, there is a framed picture of Captain Haddock hanging in the Legrands living room.
    • In The Eruption of the Karamako, the new director of Cosmos Pictures tries to talk with Zette to make her sign a contract. Rastapopoulos was the director of Cosmos Pictures in Tintin: Cigars of the Pharaoh.
    • In The Valley of the Cobras, Jo and Zette stay in a fictional ski station named Vargèse, the same where Tintin stays in Tintin - Tintin in Tibet.
    • In Tintin: The Castafiore Emerald, the eponymous Milanese Nightingale mentions that the gossip press once (incorrectly) announced her engagement to the Maharajah of Gopal, who is a major character in The Valley of the Cobras.

The Stratoship H-22 provides examples of:

  • Almost Dead Guy: Werner outlives a car accident just long enough to confess everything.
  • Almost Out of Oxygen: During the test flight, one of the portholes of the stratoship gets loose and Mr Legrand and the pilot are out of oxygen.
  • Banana Peel: Jocko eats many bananas on the S.S. Oceanic and the cook steps and a peel and falls.
  • Big Applesauce: In the end, Jo and Zette arrive in New York.
  • Blackmail: Werner blackmails Varèse so that he sabotages the stratoship, and then Mr Legrand's plane to the North Pole.
  • Bound and Gagged: Zette is bound and gagged in the ambulance. Jo is bound and gagged by the thieves in the living room.
  • Cassandra Truth: Nobody believes Jo when he tells that the airfield will be bombed.
  • Clear Their Name: Jo has to clear his father's name when he is framed up for the sabotage of the C48 plane.
  • Continuity Nod: In Mr. Pump's Legacy, we see a framed picture of Captain Haddock hanging in the Legrands' living room.
  • Cut Phone Lines: Werner and Charlie cut the phone lines between the French and the Belgian custom houses.
  • Damsel out of Distress: Zette is kidnapped by Charlie and Werner, but she manages to escape by herself.
  • Death Equals Redemption: Werner has a car accident and he is going to die. He asks to talk to Mrs Legrand, he confesses everything and he begs her pardon.
  • Deserted Island: Jo and Zette have to land on one with the stratoship because they are out of fuel.
  • Disney Death:
    • Jo is shot at close range. He is seen unconscious on the ground, but he survives.
    • Mr Legrand's plane to the North Pole crashes in the ocean. He is supposed to be dead, but he was actually rescued by fishermen.
  • Eccentric Millionaire: Mr Pump who is a speed freak and who makes a goofy will.
  • Emergency Refuelling: Jo and Zette are out of fuel in the stratoship, so they have to land on a Deserted Island. Later, they are out of fuel again and they land on the ice field of the North Pole.
  • Falling into the Cockpit: Jo falls in the cockpit of the stratoship because he wants to prevent it from being bombed.
  • Follow That Car: Zette asks a taxi to follow Werner's car.
  • Good Samaritan: The Inuit who help Jo and Zette when they are lost on the ice field.
  • He Knows Too Much: Jo is shot because he heard a phone conversation that could clear his father's name.
  • Hero Stole My Bike: Jo steals the caravan of Romani to go to Paris to tell his father about the bombing of the airfield. The caravan is totally destroyed by a train. In the end, Jo brings a brand-new caravan to the Romani.
  • Instant Sedation:
    • The policemen who guard the Legrands' house fall asleep because they smoke tampered cigarettes.
    • Mr Legrand, the pilot and the director fall asleep on the day they have to go to New York with the stratoship, because they drank drugged champagne.
  • Meaningful Name: The greedy nephews of Mr Pump are called Stockrise.
  • Media Scrum: When Jo and Zette arrive in New York, many journalists follow them to ask them questions.
  • Mysterious Note: The director receives a letter which pretends that Mr Legrand is a traitor. Later, he receives another one which tells that the stratoship was sabotaged.
  • Not the Fall That Kills You: Jocko survives a fall from a great height because he lands on a mattress.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: The warden of the Deserted Island. He asks Jo and Zette their permit for landing there.
  • Police are Useless: The policemen who guard the airfield do not believe Jo when he tells them that it will be bombed.
  • Plot-Triggering Death: Mr Pump's death triggers the plot.
  • Punk in the Trunk: Jo hides in the trunk of Charlie's car to tail him.
  • Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony: There is a ceremony for the completion of the stratoship with a champagne bottle breaking.
  • Silly Will: Mr Pump's will: the bulk of his fortune goes to the manufacturer of a plane that can cross the Atlantic Ocean at 1,000 km/h. His nephews get only a timer, unless nobody can build such plane within one year.
  • Tempting Fate: A policeman tells he cannot imagine how the bad guys could reach the stratoship, unless they have wings. The bad guys are actually planing to bomb the airfield with a plane.
  • Tricked Into Signing: Jo and Zette are signing autographs after crossing the Atlantic Ocean, when unbeknownst to them they sign a prewritten confession saying they departed from the Azores instead of Paris.
  • Vehicular Sabotage: A major theme in this story:
    • Mr Legrand's car is sabotaged, so he has an accident.
    • The C48 plane is also sabotaged and Mr Legrand is framed up for this.
    • The stratoship is sabotaged during his test flight: a porthole gets loose.
    • Mr Legrand's ship to the North Pole is sabotaged too: it crashes in the ocean.
  • White Man's Burden: Pr Nielsen helps the Inuit: he teaches French and he treats the sick people.

The Secret Ray provides examples of:

  • Almost Out of Oxygen: Zette in the underwater tank. She has to race back to the surface.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: The technology used by the pirates: the V-ray that stops the engines of the ships, the Knockout Gas and the Agony Beam.
  • Agony Beam: The Mad Scientist has a device that looks like a flashlight. It inflicts pain remotely to the people he targets with it. The underwater tanks are equiped with a similar device.
  • Bad Boss: The Mad Scientist mistreats his henchmmen. He is prompt to use his Agony Beam against them. The captain of the submmarine does not dare to go back to the base without Jo and Zette, because he is afraid that the scientist could kill him.
  • Banana Peel: Tom steps on a banana peel when he is chasing Jocko. Later, he steps on another at the top of stairs. Another pirate steps on the same peel a bit later.
  • Barrier-Busting Blow: Jo and Zette think they are safe behind a reinforced metal door, but the robot easily breaks through it.
  • Big Applesauce: A part of the story is set in New York. The Statue of Liberty is visible in a panel.
  • Binocular Shot: Used when the pirates are looking for Jo and Zette on Aineo Island.
  • Bound and Gagged: Zette when she is kidnapped by two gangsters in New York.
  • Brain Uploading: The Mad Scientist tries to transfer Jo's soul into a robot.
  • Captured by Cannibals: Jo and Zette meet upon a black native cannibal tribe in the Manitoba story, and they are as stereotypical as you'd expect them to be; the only subversion is that they don't intend to boil them in a pot, but roast them on a skewer! This now very offensive portrayal is sometimes confused with Hergé's Tintin - Tintin in the Congo, which is sometimes inaccurately described as having the Black people show some cannibalism.
  • Chased by Angry Natives: Jo and Zette escape from the Cannibal Tribe. They are chased by them and they take refuge in the underwater tank.
  • Chekhov's Volcano: The Karamako already erupts in the third panel that it appears in.
  • Collapsing Lair: The underwater base after the Mad Scientist smashed a porthole. Jo, his father and several sailors have to go out of it before getting drowned. Finally, the base explodes.
  • Continuity Nod: The new director of Cosmos Pictures tries to talk with Zette to make her sign a contract. Rastapopoulos was the director of Cosmos Pictures in Tintin: Cigars of the Pharaoh.
  • Convection Schmonvection: Jo gets really close to the lava when the volcano erupts and he does not suffer from the heat.
  • Creating Life Is Bad: The goal of the big bad is to create living robots. He tries to transfer Jo's soul into the robot.
  • Damsel out of Distress: Zette is kidnapped by two gangsters. Jocko finds her and undoes her bonds. Then she manages to capture her two kidnappers with Jocko's help and she brings them to the police.
  • Deus ex Machina: The escape pod of the underwater base. When Jo is stuck with his father in the base that is filling with water, he suddenly remembers that there is an escape pod, which was not mentioned before.
  • Disney Death: The planes shoots at Zette. She is seen lying unconscious with Jocko crying beside her. Fortunately, she is fine.
  • Dragon with an Agenda: Tom's goal is to get rich. He is not interested in the scientific experiences of his boss. When the scientist gets crazy, he tries to take control of the pirate organization.
  • Dramatic Irony: Zette decides to leave the island with the underwater tank, just as the American planes are approaching. She goes back to the island just moments after the planes have left.
  • Drowning Pit:
    • The pirates try to drown Jo and Zette: they lock them up in a room that is slowly filling with water.
    • Later, Zette is stuck in an underwater tank that is slowly filling with water, because one of its portholes is broken.
    • Finally, Jo, his father and several sailors are stuck in the underwater base that is filling with water after the Mad Scientist broke a porthole.
  • Exploring the Evil Lair: After Jocko opens the door of the cell, Jo explores the underwater base.
  • Fakin' MacGuffin: The pirates think they have stolen gold from the Washington, but when they open the barrels, it appears they only contain iron.
  • Force Feeding: Jo and Zette are force-fed by the cannibals.
  • Giant Squid: One attacks the underwater tank used by Jo and Zette to escape.
  • God Guise: After using the Agony Beam of the underwater tank against them, Jo and Zette are mistaken for gods by the natives of Aineo Island.
  • Hollywood Natives: The natives of Aineo Island are a Cannibal Tribe. Later, they accept Jo and Zette as gods.
  • I Have Your Wife: The Mad Scientist holds Jo prisoner. He tells Mr Legrand not to examine the underwater tank or he will kill Jo. Mr Legrand obeys and sets up another plan to free his son.
  • Island of Mystery: Aineo Island where there is a Cannibal Tribe and a volcano.
  • Knockout Gas: When they attack a ship, the pirates use a gas to make all the passengers sleep.
  • Mad Scientist: One mad, black bearded scientist. He attempts to build a robot and transfer Jo's mind into it.
  • Mad Scientist Laboratory: There is a laboratory in the Underwater Base where the Mad Scientist designs a living robot to Take Over the World.
  • Mechanical Monster: The robot is impossible to stop: he easily breaks through a reinforced metal door.
  • Media Scrum: When Zette arrives in New York, many journalists follow her to ask her questions.
  • Mook–Face Turn: When Tom announces to the mooks that he intends to kill Jo and Zette, one of the them rises up and defends them.
  • Nations of the World Montage: When Zette manages to capture the gangsters who kidnapped her, we see that people around the world are happy to hear the news: Native Americans, Chinese, and Inuit.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Jo and Zette helps the Mad Scientist after he was knocked out by the robot. As soon as the scientist gets better, he starts chasing Jocko.
  • Outside Ride: Performed by Jocko on the car of Zette's kidnappers.
  • Ruthless Modern Pirates: There is nothing romantic about the pirates.
  • Schmuck Bait: The pirates are tricked into attacking the City of Los Angeles, that is supposed to transport precious stones.
  • Self-Destruct Mechanism: The Underwater Base is equiped with one, but the Mad Scientist does not have enough time to use it.
  • Sinister Shades: The Mad Scientist always wears sunglasses.
  • Submarine Pirates: The pirates use a submarine to attack the ships.
  • Supervillain Lair: The Underwater Base of the pirates, which has a submarine base, an underwater tank hangar, a Mad Scientist Laboratory, and a Self-Destruct Mechanism.
  • Take Over the World: The declared goal of the Mad Scientist is to take over the world with an army of robots.
  • Taking You with Me: When he is going to be arrested, the Mad Scientist tries to destroy his Underwater Base and to kill himself, his mooks, Jo, Mr Legrand and the sailors in the process.
  • Tickertape Parade: In the end, Jo, Zette and their parents parade in New York.
  • Underwater Base: The base of the pirates in under the ocean.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: The reader is not informed about the details Mr Legrand's plan to free his son. The plan works.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The cannibals are last seen fleeing from the eruption of the volcano. Did they all die in the eruption?

The Valley of the Cobras provides examples of:

  • Almost Dead Guy: The guide outlives a snake bite just long enough to tell Jo that the bridge is going to explode.
  • Banana Peel: When the convoy crosses the river, the fakir steps on a banana and falls.
  • Brats with Slingshots: The Maharajah borrows Jo's slingshot and plays pranks with it.
  • Cigar-Fuse Lighting: Ramahjuni inadvertently lights the fuse of a stick of dynamite by throwing away his cigarette butt.
  • Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: After being pulled out of a crack by Mr Legrand, the Maharajah complains about a tear in his jacket and says Mr Legrand is clumsy.
  • Conveniently Timed Attack from Behind: Moghadir is going to cane Jo and Zette, when Mr Legrand arrives behind him and takes the cane from his hands.
  • Death Equals Redemption: The guide is biten by a snake and he knows that he is going to die. Just before dying, he tells Jo that the bridge is going to explode.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: The Maharajah wants to cane Jo and Zette because they overtook him on skis. Then he wants to impale them (after caning them) because they threw accidentally a snowball at him.
  • Evil Chancellor: Ramahjuni, the Prime Minister, conspires against the Maharajah.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: Jocko senses that the fakir's accomplice is going the throw rocks on the convoy and he goes after him. He also immediately knows that the fakir is evil and start fighting him.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: The Maharajah says that he trust his Prime Minister Ramahjuni. Even when Mr Legrand denounces him as a traitor, the Maharajah gets angry and orders to arrest Legrand.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: When the Maharajah wants to punish the mountain guide because Mr Legrand had an accident with him. Actually, the guide caused the accident (which the Maharajah does not know), so the punishment is justified.
  • Manchild: The Maharajah of Ghopal who acts very childish if he doesn't get what he wants. He also plays pranks with a slingshot.
  • Mysterious Note: When the Legrands arrive in India, a anonymous note is left in their car. It asks them to go back home.
  • No Honor Among Thieves: The fakir and Ramahjuni unite against the Maharajah, but just after leaving each other, both of them say they intend to get rid of each other later. Again, after making a pact with a mountain-dweller, Ramahjuni says that he will get rid of him later.
  • Noone Could Survive That: The mountain guide assumes that Mr Legrand is dead after he made him fall into a chasm. Of course, he is alive.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: The Valley of the Cobras makes it clear, although the titular cobras are easily dealt with by them just drinking some alcohol and getting drunk.
  • Shaggy Search Technique: Jocko finds how to open the secret door in the cave. He climbs on a stalagmite, which happens to be the door opener.
  • Sherlock Homage: The Maharajah asks for a detective to solve a case. When the man enters he refuses to believe that he is a real detective for he is not dressed up like Holmes, forcing the detective to do so in order to convince him.
  • Sim Sim Salabim: Fakir? Check! Rajah? Check! Snake charmer? Well, the fakir is also a snake charmer. There are also sacred cows.
  • Ski-Resort Episode: The story starts in a ski resort, where the Legrands and the Maharajah of Ghopal are on vacation.
  • Snowball Fight: Jo and Zette throw snowballs at each other in Vargèse.
  • Sunglasses at Night: The Maharajah of Gopal always wears sunglasses, even inside his hotel in Vargèse, for example.
  • Tempting Fate: Played for Laughs very often throughout the book. Here are some examples:
    • The detective says that the sky can fall on him if he is wrong. A large chunk of snow immediately falls on him.
    • The Maharajah says he will break Mr Legrand like the cup he is holding. He throws the cup on the floor, but it bounces and comes back in his face. The cup is made of unbreakable porcelain.
    • When he chases Mr Legrand on skis, the Maharajah says he will force him to go with him, or the earth will swallow him up. Then he falls in a crack.
  • White Man's Burden: Mr Legrand selflessly helps the Maharajah and the people of Gopal to build a bridge.
  • Yes-Man: Badalah, the Maharajah's assistant, obeys all his orders. During his Establishing Character Moment, the Maharajah falls while skiing. He asks Badalah why he did not fall, so the assistant voluntarily falls in the snow.

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