Jour J is an French Alternate History graphic novel series co-authored by Jean-Pierre Pécau, Fred Duval and Fred Blanchard. Each volume is stand-alone and explores a different counterfactual scenario, depicting how history could have turned out some years after the point of divergence.
Volume 1, Les Russes sur la Lune ! (Russians on the Moon!) shows the state of the space race ten years after the crash of the Eagle US moon module in 1969, and the subsequent successful Soviet lunar mission.
Volume 2, Paris, Secteur Soviétique (Paris, Soviet Sector) takes place in 1951, seven years after the failed D-Day Normandy invasion: The Red Army has made it all the way to Northern France, and Paris is divided between an Anglo-American and a Soviet sectors.
Volumes 3 and 4, Septembre Rouge (Red September) and Octobre Noir (Black October) are a two-part story in a setting where the French failed to stop the 1914 German offensive, Paris was taken, and the French government evacuated to Algeria. In Russia, Because of the involvement of French agents, the Bolshevik revolution is aborted, and the Anarchists take over instead.
Volume 5, Qui a tué le Président ? (Who killed the President?) takes place in 1973, 13 years after Richard Nixon won the presidential election against John Kennedy and is beginning his fourth term.
Volume 6, L'Imagination au pouvoir ? (Power to imagination?) also takes place in 1973, but in this timeline the point of divergence is Charles de Gaulle's death at the height of the student uprisings in May 1968. The situation escalates into civil war, and a utopian Paris Commune is set up.
Volume 7, Vive l'Empereur ! is set in 1925. Thanks to a more enduring peace between France and Britain in the Napoleonic era, the French Empire was able to expand throughout Europe and all the way to central Asia.
Additional volumes have subsequently been released, the scenarios portrayed ranging from a world where the Ottoman Empire adopts Leonardo Da Vinci's designs (Le Lion d'Égypte), to one where Barrabas was crucified instead of Jesus (La Secte de Nazareth), to one where the Cold War went hot during the Cuban Missile Crisis (Apocalypse sur le Texas).
Jour J provides examples of the following tropes:
- After the End: Apocalypse sur le Texas, which is largely set in a post-apocalyptic America during The '60s after the Cuban missile crisis resulted in the USSR and US nuking each other (unaware the US had thrice as many warheads as the Soviets).
- All for Nothing: Apocalypse sur le Texas involves preventing fundamentalist Southerners from launching the last nuclear missiles in the US. It turns out the people living on the base had siphoned off the rocket's fuel for more mundane purposes ages ago.
- As You Know: Sometimes the recapping is fairly obvious.
- Covers Always Lie: Dragon Rouge depicts a mushroom cloud and the blurb reads "An American nuclear strike saves France at Dien Ben Phu". While entirely correct (and preventing the Vietnam War), this is only the first few pages of the book, which is actually a Detective Noir story in which Nixon was in cahoots with a heroin smuggler and Reagan orders whistleblowers beaten to death as part of his electoral campaign, and the US still gets its land war in Asia- with China. France doesn't appear in the rest of the book.
- Creator Provincialism: Most books involve France or historical French characters in some way, with various degrees of plausibility (such as Napoleon being Washington's adoptive son).
- For Want of a Nail:
- The Battle of the Marne was just barely won by the Germans, capturing Paris and causing the French government to send assassins to kill the Tsar on learning he intends to pull Russia out of the war.
- A little boy named Maxime out stargazing happens to spot the iceberg, saving the Titanic. He becomes a journalist working for the New York Star, and ends up preventing Prohibition by capturing a meeting of gangsters working out their bootlegging plans. WW 2 doesn't happen after Einstein and Hitler die on the Titanic when it hits an iceberg for good in 1936. The Wall Street crash still happens, but Maxime builds up his empire slowly, branching out into food production that prevents the Ukraine famine and most world hunger problems, causing Stalin to be deposed and tried. Unfortunately, he falls into a Utopia Justifies the Means and ends up turning the world into a dictatorship with forced euthanizing of anyone over 100 (to his credit, he does go through it himself).
- If Jesus had lived, he would have turned Christians into a fanatical sect using Greek fire and suicidal madmen to combat the Romans, dying for good when the Vesuvius erupts and buries Pompeii.
- Spartacus' revolt manages to escape to Sicily, as the pirate commanding the evacuation fleet was among those who escaped Caesar's revenge. Caesar doesn't go to Gaul and conquers Sicily instead, defeating the slaves (despite their fleet-burning Archimedes mirrors) but ends up blinded by Spartacus' children operating one of the mirrors.
- Historical-Domain Character: A host of them, with some... changes.
- Napoleon Washington: Napoleon's father emigrates to the Colonies after killing a man and ends up Taking the Bullet for Washington. Washington ends up adopting Napoleon as his son.
- Napoleon reappears in La Nuit des Tuileries as a mercenary general and Anne of Austria's lover.
- Colomb Pacha: As the Iberian peninsula is still a Muslim territory, Columbus ends up bringing a motley collection of Muslims, Christians and a Jewish doctor on his voyage. They land much further to the north, where they meet a native princess named Pocahontas and fight against the descendants of Viking colonists.
- Hitler's Time Travel Exemption Act: Repealed, though the consequences vary: sometimes WW 2 is prevented (when he drowned after killing Einstein when the Titanic hits an iceberg in 1936), sometimes it still happens with different protagonists (the Omega trilogy has a fascist France face off against the UK and French resistance via sub-launched missiles, with the US pointedly not warning the UK about it, after Hitler's attempt at remilitarizing the Rhine is met with the complete destruction of Stuttgart).
- In Medias Res: The stories often start some time after the divergence from the historical timeline, leading to some recapping later.
- In Spite of a Nail:
- The ending of Vive l'Empereur ! Where the Emperor's death results in France and Britain fighting a much bloodier version of World War I.
- Le Lion d'Égypte ends with the Papacy seizing Da Vinci's special designs for their own quest for power, restoring something akin to Renaissance history as we know it.
- As noted above, killing Hitler is no guarantee of preventing WW 2.
- Le Gang Kennedy: The French winning the French and Indian War means a huge swathe of the American continent is still culturally French, and the US is limited to the original 13 colonies. Doesn't stop Prohibition bootlegging from being the main source of income for many gangsters, including the Kennedys.
- Paris Secteur Sovietique: The D-Day landings fail, meaning the Soviets get a lot further than Berlin and making Paris the midpoint between the Soviet and American blocs.
- Les Russes sur la Lune: The Soviets getting a man on the moon first ends up causing their collapse ten years early.
- Dragon Rouge: Nuking the Vietnamese when it's still the Indochina war means no Vietnam war... but a China war instead.
- Invaded States of America: Played with in Apocalyse sur le Texas. A joint Anglo-French campaign is launched on American soil in 1967. It's soon revealed that due to the Cuban Missile Crisis escalating to nuclear war in 1962, there technically isn't an America anymore. And the British/French soldiers are the good guys.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Julius Caesar was captured by pirates and swore he'd have them killed once free. He did so (both in the story and Real Life), and one of the survivors is all too happy to lend his fleet to Spartacus so they can escape the Romans led by Caesar.
- Retraux: The covers are all reminiscent of old-school Life Magazine ones.
- The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: In Septembre Rouge, a ruthless Bolshevik named Joseph Stalin engages in gratuitous violence in the name of the revolution. It gets him killed along with Lenin by the French agents there to assassinate the Tsar, disgusted by his methods.
- Richard Nixon the Used Car Salesman:
- Adolf Hitler is a hit man for an Austrian secret society in Vive l'Empereur !.
- Vladimir Lenin is a French agent.
- In Apocalypse sur le Texas, Charlton Heston is the fundamentalist leader of the neo-Confederacy, which allies fire-and-brimstone preaching with The Klan. In Qui a tué le President, he's mentioned as a vice-president.
- In Apocalypse sur le Texas, Nixon is the governor of California, and mentioned to be thinking of seceding.
- The '70s: An even more hedonistic version is depicted in L'Imagination au pouvoir ?
- The Thermidor: Heavily implied to be imminent in L'Imagination au pouvoir?
- We ARE Struggling Together: France and the UK forge a close if strained alliance in Apocalypse sur le Texas, the nuclear war between the US and USSR making them the world's leading (and only nuke-holding) superpowers.
- Zeppelins from Another World:
- Prominently displayed in Vive l'Empereur !
- La Nuit des Tuileries: The French royal family escapes in the Montgolfier's ballon. Fat lot of good it does Louis XVI, who gets a bullet during their escape.