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Comic Book / La Ribambelle

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La Ribambelle ("Ribambelle" is a French word for "Flock") is a Belgian comic series created by Jean Roba in 1962. In Dutch this series was translated as De Sliert.

Inspired by The Rinkydinks, the series is centered of the adventures of a team of six kids: Phil (the leader), Dizzy (a black trumpetist), Archibald (a Scottish genius), Atchi and Atcha (Japanese twins, black belts in judo) and Grenadine (the girl). The only reoccurring adult is James, Archibald's butler, who can count as the seventh member of the team. Their main opponents are the Caimans, three little punks who want to make their lives miserable.

The stories are:

  • La Ribambelle gagne du terrain (The Ribambelle gains ground): When they learn that the yard they use as a playground is to be sold, the Ribambelle set about trying to get the money to buy it themselves, with advice from a mysterious tramp who has moved into their HQ. But a shady businessman, Grofilou ("Bigrascal"), is also after the ground and employs the Caïmans to deal with the competition.
  • La Ribambelle en Ecosse (The Ribambelle in Scotland): When the Golden Thistle, his family's emblem, is stolen by a rival clan, Archibald is summoned to Scotland by his Uncle Angus to recover it and takes his friends with him. But they soon discover that resolving a centuries-old feud is somewhat easier said than done.
  • La Ribambelle s’envole (The Ribambelle takes off): There is to be a competition in which the aim is to build a plane which is powered by its pilot. With great excitement, Archibald gets down to the design — even if Dizzy is not too keen on being the flyer. But the Caïmans are also out to build a plane, with no regard for rules or fair play.
  • La Ribambelle engage du monde (The Ribambelle recruits): Having failed to take over the Ribambelle's yard due to the traps, the Caïmans decide on a new strategy: "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em — then beat 'em". But they've not counted on the Ribambelle's membership tests.
  • La Ribambelle au bassin (The Ribambelle at the pond): While pursued by police through the park, a man throws something into the pond. This inspires the curiosity of the Ribambelle, but also the Caïmans.
  • La Ribambelle aux Galopingos (The Ribambelle at the Galopingos Islands): Having won a competition to the Galopingos Islands in the Caribbean, the gang discovers that it is only for one person and thus give it to their friend Mister Berlingaud, sweet shop owner and amateur scientist who has never so much as seen the sea. But then Mister Berlingaud mysteriously disappears and so they hurry off to find him. However, an island which includes hostile natives and dragons is not the ideal place for a search.
  • La Ribambelle enquête (The Ribambelle investigates): A dealer in second-hand goods tries to discreetly break into the Ribambelle's yard only to fall foul of the traps and is forced to retreat. So when Archibald appears in his shop in order to buy a present for James, the dealer does not hesitate to lock him into a storehouse in order to get the details of the traps' locations. But he's counted without the concern and loyalty of Archibald's friends and the devoted James.
  • La Ribambelle contre–attaque (The Ribambelle strikes back): The gang's old enemy, Grofilou, has discovered the reason for Archibald's recent abduction and intends to put it to his own advantage with the help of the Caïmans. This however is the least of the worries of the re-united Ribambelle, especially after Dizzy's quip about Scottish cuisine.
  • La Ribambelle reprend du service (The Ribambelle Gets Back to Business): Upon their return from the holidays, the Ribambelle find their old bus in a terrible state and decide that it will have to be disposed of - but James overhears them and gets the wrong idea. Meanwhile, Tatane unleashes his ultimate weapon against the gang: his sister.
  • La Ribambelle au Japon (La Ribambelle in Japan): Atchi and Atcha receive in invitation from their aunt in Japan. The brothers and the gang in tow leave for a new adventure while Tatane and the Caimans plan their next move.

The series ended in 1975 because Roba had to focus on Billy & Buddy.

In 2011, Zidrou and Jean-Marc Krings launched back the series.

La Ribambelle provides examples of:

  • All Asians Know Martial Arts: Atchi and Atcha are two Japanese children who happen to know martial arts.
  • All Bikers are Hells Angels: The Caimans. They wear leather jackets and are nothing but hooligans causing trouble wherever they go, although they only have one motorcycle for three.
  • All Men Are Perverts: When Valentine's skirt is ripped, Grenadine offers to sew it back in shape. Valentine replies that it won't be necessary while all the boys urge her to take it off.
  • Always Identical Twins and Single-Minded Twins: Atchi and Atcha often talk and move in unison.
  • Art Evolution: The series was first made in the '60s. The latest albums gave a modern look on all the characters.
    • Within the older albums, the time gap between the first few is pretty obvious, due to Roba's style refinement.
  • Amusing Injuries: Anyone who get caught in the booby traps.
  • Badass Adorable: Atchi and Atcha.
  • Berserk Button:
  • Beware the Nice Ones:
  • Bizarre Taste in Food: Archiblad likes eating anchovies in cakes and uses them for condiments for just about any dish, much to everyone's disgust.
  • Bland-Name Product: Grosfilou promises the Caimans a Ronda motorcycle if they perform a job for him. Ronda is of course a spoof of Honda.
  • Booby Trap: The kids just love to lay them in their hangout place.
  • Brains and Brawn: Tatane is the brain while Rodolphe and Alphonse are the grunts.
  • The Cameo:
    • Bill makes a small appearance when James accidentally crash on his favorite lamppost.
    • Obelix, Spirou & Fantasio all make a cameo when La Ribambelle goes to Japan.
  • Comic-Book Time: Played with to silly levels in the newer albums. The kids do seem to have gotten a few years older, yet the setting's level of technology has jumped ahead several decades, including the existence of portable video games and the modern Internet.
  • Cool Old Guy: James.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Grofilou.
  • Delinquents: Without much surprise, the Caimans. The three are all school dropouts, terrorize the neighborhood, steal and basically do whatever they want, anywhere they want. Except for La Ribambelle's turf which Tatane obsessively tries to take over.
  • Didn't Think This Through:
  • Dumb Muscle: While Tatane is the brain of the Caimans, Rodolphe and Alphonse are the grunts sucking up to him.
  • Everything's Louder with Bagpipes: Every now and then, Archibald will play his bagpipe much to the annoyance of his friends. On the other hand, James appreciates the music played by the boy.
  • Fat and Skinny: Rodolphe is the skinny one while Alphonse is the fat one.
  • Fiery Redhead: Grenadine. She has red hair and can easily be irritated if something ticks her off.
  • Five-Token Band: Phil is the white boy, Grenadine the token girl, Atchi and Atcha are Asian twins, Archibald is a geek and Dizzy is black.
  • Grammar Correction Gag: While reading the Caimans' threat letter, Archibald is horrified by their awful spelling mistakes.
  • Head-Turning Beauty: All the boys in La Ribambelle fall for Valentine, Rodolphe and Alphonse included. She is Tatane's sister.
  • The Jeeves: James, Archibald's butler.
  • Jerkass: The Caimans, but especially Tatane, their leader.
  • Kid Hero All Grown-Up: In the new books, Phil, Grenadine and Dizzy all grew up into teenagers. Archibald, Atchi and Atcha are still small, though they did gain a few inches in height.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Pretty much everyone. However, the more recent releases tend to avert this trope. James on the other hand, keeps the same clothes since he's a butler.
  • Lonely Rich Kid: Archibald is a nice kid from a wealthy Scottish family, who normally are "economical" enough that sending blank pieces of paper as letters shows that everything's going fine (except when they're colored black). He generally only lives with his butler James since the family's away, but luckily he can count on his friends to stave off the loneliness.
  • Man in a Kilt: Archibald is a kid in a kilt.
  • The Medic: Grenadine has a medikit stashed in the bus in case of injuries.
  • Minion with an F in Evil: Titine is tasked by Tatane to infiltrate La Ribambelle and destroy it from the inside. Titine enjoyed causing discord among La Ribambelle, but she eventually comes to realize that they were not the evil punks that her brother told her about and she even comes to regret her actions.
  • Missing Mom: James mentioned that Archiblad's mother has passed away long ago.
  • Mister Big: Tatane is the shortest of the Caimans, but he's actually the leader.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Phil's modern look make him look like Boule's father, only younger and with blonde hair. Both La Ribambelle and Boule et Bill were written by Roba.
    • Similarly, Tatane resembles a lot like Boule, only with black hair.
  • Name and Name: Atchi and Atcha.
  • Named After Someone Famous: Dizzy, the black kid plays trumpet, an obvious shout-out to jazz legend Dizzy Gillespie.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The Caimans. Sure enough, Dizzy confuses them for actual caimans upon hearing of them.
  • The Napoleon: Tatane's small size and bad temper qualify him for this trope.
  • National Stereotypes: Archibald, the child of Scottish descent has red hair, is polite and wears a kilt. Dizzy is a black kid who enjoys playing trumpet. Atchi and Atcha are very polite Japanese children who happen to be martial arts experts. These remarks aside they are represented as best friends who don't refer to their racial or cultural backgrounds.
  • Nerd Glasses: Archibald.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname:
    • Tatane's real name is "Atanasio", which Rodolphe and Alphonse learned for the first time in the 9th album.
    • Similarly, Tatane's sister Valentine is usually called "Titine".
  • Poirot Speak: Archibald, knowing English as a first language, butchers the French one on a regular basis. Justified, since he is a kid, while the much older James is more eloquent than him.
  • The Power of Friendship: In Japan, Misuko is disqualified before the final match because she doesn't weight enough. The long-running champion, Akilo Tadesushi, is declared winner by default and throw a derogatory comment at Misuko because she wont have to fight a woman. Insulted, Grenadine challenges Tadesushi along with the gang. Their collective weight reach the minimum to be admitted. The gang's chances of winning against Tadesushi are non-existent. However, Tadesushi deliberately lose the match. He had been moved by the children's actions for standing up to Misuko's honor, even thought they didn't had a chance. Tadesushi concede the victory, even if it meant putting an end to his 15 years victory streak.
  • Proper Tights with a Skirt: Grenadine wear red-orange tights with a green skirt. Her more recent look is much different, even breaking away from her Limited Wardrobe.
  • Revenge of the Sequel: La Ribambelle contre-attaque, following up on the events of La Ribambelle enquête. La Ribambelle reprend du service is a more proper example, since it's the first newest story.
  • Rule of Two: Atchi and Atcha are twins.
  • Running Gag: In La Ribambelle in Japan, Phil tries many times to speak Japanese with the help of his dictionary, only to run into perfectly French-fluent Japaneses.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Grofilou. If that doesn't work, he'll break the rules anyway.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: Valentine suggests to Grenadine that she has five boyfriends. Grenadine denies it while her face has a Luminescent Blush.
  • Shorter Means Smarter: Tatane is the leader of the Caimans and the one who call the shots.
  • Single-Minded Twins: Atchi and Atcha.
  • Smart People Wear Glasses: Archibald, the brains of the bunch, wears glasses.
  • Sycophantic Servant: Rodolphe and Alphonse suck up to Tatane and never stand up for themselves.
  • Team Mom: Grenadine sew the boys' clothes, make the gang's lunch and patch-up injuries with her medikit. Valentine calls her out and says she's being exploited by the boys.
  • Theme Twin Naming: Atchi and Atcha.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Grenadine, the only girl of the gang. Valentine also become a member, but she eventually return to her hometown.
  • There Are No Adults: The kids' parents are often mentioned but never appear. Some adults appear and play important roles, but James is the only recurring one. Archibald's mother has passed away, while his father is away on business, leaving James to take care of Archibald. Phil's parents are only seen in one panel, as Phil begs them to be allowed to go on a trip with his friends.
  • This Means War!: After his attempt to bribe Phil fails, Grofilou declares something to this effect. Then the firecracker that Archibald had subtly put into his hat explodes.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: The villains of La Ribambelle aux Galopingos. Even though it's never explicitely stated, they're still Germans and are based on fugitive nazis like Mengele.
  • Underestimating Badassery: To settle an argument with a thug, James goes on a boxing duel against him. The thug think he'll be easy picking because he's just an old man out of his league. Wrong! James is a professional boxer and easily won the fight without receiving any blow.
  • Undying Loyalty: James is very devoted to Archibald and will never abandon him.
  • Weight Woe: The major theme of La Ribambelle in Japan. Grenadine is frustrated about her weight gain while Misuko has been harassed in her youth because of her weight. Misuko became a respected sumo champion, but she sometimes receive insults behind her back. Grenadine's hurtful comments about Misuko's weight cause her to lose her passion for sumo and motivate her to lose weight.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: The gang is been invited in Japan by Atchi and Atcha's aunt, Misuko, a rich sumo champion. In Japan, Grenadine makes several disrespectful comments about sumo wrestling and Misuko's massive weight. Atchi and Atcha calls her out for insulting their aunt and Japan's millennial culture. Since Misuko invited them all and is paying for everyone's expenses, that makes it more aggravating. Misuko dismiss the comments, saying they are beneath her. However, she later look at herself in a mirror and cries.
  • White Male Lead: Phil.
  • Would Hurt a Child: ALL of the adult villains. No exception.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Tatane implores his sister Titine to help him to get even with La Ribambelle whom he accuses of terrorizing the neighborhood and bullying the Caimans. Titine being a decent person wouldn't normally hurt anyone unless her brother is harmed.
  • Youthful Freckles: Valentine has red hair and freckles.