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Comic Book / Le Petit Spirou

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Le Petit Spirou is a Belgian Comic series that started off as a spin-off to the iconic Spirou and Fantasio comic book series. It is drawn by Tome and Janry, the same duo who drew Spirou & Fantasio around that time.

At first glance Le Petit Spirou appears to a typical baby knock-off of a franchise built around adult characters. Spirou in this series is a little boy in elementary school and all the stuff that happens to him is typical everyday pre-highschool kids' stuff: doing homework, suffering through class, playing on the playground or outside. The difference, however, is that, apart from Little Spirou himself, no other characters from Spirou and Fantasio appear here in child versions. It's not even entirely clear whether Spirou is actually the younger version of the adult Spirou, or really his son. Most stories seem to imply the former, since Spirou's adventures have some very outdated elements, such as a Catholic priest trying to teach them morals. On the other hand modern facilities such as television and video games do seem to exist, so it keeps people wondering...


Another huge difference is that the series is not an adventure comic series. It's a Gag Comic with one gag per page. But most of all, and this is the reason for the series' popularity, many jokes revolve around Bawdy Comedy and sexual innuendos; stuff that would outright not be child-friendly. Though never obscene, it's still far more naughty and subversive than the original Spirou and Fantasio. To give another example, the aforementioned Catholic priest is often depicted as being a hypocrite who doesn't really shy away from looking at sexy women on the sly (and is even implied to have an illegitimate son), all the while attempting to catch the kids in what he considers heinous acts (some of which, he's right on the money on).

The comic was adapted into a 78 episode animated series. There is also a live-action movie adaptation that was released in the fall of 2017, starring Sacha Pinault as Spirou and Pierre Richard as his grandpa.


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Le Petit Spirou provides examples of:

     The Comic Book 

  • Abhorrent Admirer:
    • The school librarian is head-over-heels in love with Mr. Mégot, but he's completely oblivious to it.
    • One strip shows that he can apparently attract all sorts of hideous women (a Brawn Hilda biker, a dessicated old huntress...) by belching loudly.
  • Adults Dressed as Children:
    • One strip has Spirou's grandfather dressed in Spirou's clothes acting like a kid with a bad report card while Spirou chews him out. Then it turns out it was to help Spirou rehearse for the same experience.
    • Another had a bunch of cops in clothes fifteen sizes too small at a birthday party to ambush Vertignasse's father (a burglar).
  • All Love Is Unrequited: The woodshop teacher, a hunky blond Adonis, is desperately in love with the hideous school librarian. Who rejects his advances, being herself in love with the utterly repulsive gym teacher who's unaware of her affections, and is, somehow, in an occasional relationship with an incredibly attractive woman.
  • All Men Are Perverts: One strip has the school staff have an "innocent hand" decide on the school's next sexual education teacher, a bombshell or a frumpy Moral Guardian. Spirou chooses the former, and when the teacher asks the class if there are any questions, the principal, sports teacher and the priest are all outside raising their hand.
  • All Women Are Lustful: The comic swings between this an All Women Are Prudes, depending on what's funnier at the moment. It's most obvious with Suzette, who sometimes finds Spirou's dirty mind appalling and sometimes is even more dirty-minded than he is.
  • Apathetic Teacher: Mr. Mégot the gym teacher does try to have the class play sports, but he's hopelessly bad at it.
    The intelligent sportsman avoids pointless exertion.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Cassius' (the black kid) father is the school cook, and once shows up in Savage Piercings, a banana-leaf-belt and a huge cast-iron pot, asking who wants more missionary stew.
  • Arch-Enemy: Spirou's gym teacher, who is a sleazy, cynical, unhealthy asshole.
  • The Artifact: Spirou, his parents and grandfather all wear a hotel groom costume, even though there doesn't seem to be a hotel near them. One strip shows that a family ancestor wore it before he became a groom, and in fact inspired the uniform. In one comic, we see Spirou's birth, and not only did his mother wear the uniform while giving birth, Spirou was born with a hotel groom hat. (Of course, this scene turns out to have been narrated by Spirou's grandfather, who was probably just messing with Spiriou).
  • Badass Biker: Completely averted by Mégot, who always seems to run into these.
  • Big Friendly Dog: Spirou has one, which occasionally leads to trouble.
  • The Cameo: Apart from Spirou himself, three Spirou and Fantasio have made brief cameos. Zorglub and Zantafio appeared (though we only saw Zorglub's shadow) in a Flash Forward sequence when Spirou visits a fortune-teller, and Spip (or squirrels that look like him) appears a few times, including once as a stuffed toy squirrel.
  • Childhood Brain Damage: Several strips have Spirou as a baby smashing his head into various objects, but showing no real trauma. In one case, he knocked skulls with a dog in an oncoming car. Spirou has a Cranial Eruption, the dog now thinks it's a chicken.
  • Comic-Book Time: An interesting variation: when the Spirou series started out, Le Petit Spirou was supposed to be about Spirou's youth, thus the nostalgic atmosphere (Spirou's grandfather having fought in World War I, for starters), but as the series went on, modern elements (one strip features cellphones that were decades ahead of what the early series could have dreamed of but laughably outdated by today's standards) kept finding their way in.
  • Comic Sutra: Spirou's parents are once seen in a very agitated bed playing some variant of "hide the banana", with his mother implying there were several that time.
  • Cool Old Guy: Spirou's grandfather.
  • Corrupt Church: The local priest is hardly an admirable example for the youth (He's no Pedophile Priest, though, thankfully, but generally opposed to most things they find fun).
  • Demoted to Extra: Spirou's "second best friend" Nicolas Ponchelot (the resident Big Eater and mostly the butt of a lot of fat jokes) was a lot more prominent in the comic's early years, but later on he has a drastically reduced role, and when he appears it's most often just as one in the crowd. His role as "third friend" seems to have been taken over by Cassius.
  • Dirty Kid:
    • All the children are very interested in sex and nudity for kids their age. Spirou in particular goes to a magazine store to buy adult magazines and is in love with his math teacher. Hell, even just looking at the front art gives you a brief indication that he's sexually attracted to older women.
    • A repeated gag is the kids trying ogle naked women, from buying porn mags to Vertignasse's older sister in the shower or the teacher skinny-dipping.
  • Dirty Old Man: Spirou's grandfather has quite the Porn Stash, though his current paramour is his age and jealously guarded by her own children.
    • Several strips feature both Spirou and his grandfather trying to get at the Porn Stash without being found out by the parents.
  • Disappeared Dad: Vertignasse's father is a burglar, and rarely has time to see his kid, though he seems friendly enough.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • At the beginning of the first book, the narrator, adult Spirou, says that he doesn't remember his clothes from when he was a child, which is why the young Spirou is depicted with the same bellboy outfit as his adult self. Later books establish that Spirou really did wear his trademark bellboy outfit as a child, since some strips rely on this for a joke.
    • In Mégot's first appearance, he was married.
  • Everyone Went to School Together: Averted. Spirou is the only regular character from the original series.
  • Expanded Universe: Le Petit Spirou could also arguably be considered a prequel to Spirou — some gags acknowledging his heroic destiny — but other than that there are no references nor even cameos between the two comics.
  • The Faceless: We never see Spirou's father's face, it's always just out of frame or hidden by scenery. Though one strip indicates he has a gigantic mustache.
  • Fake Boobs: Little Suzette is once seen fitting tangerines in her tank top in a ladies' bathroom to see how she'll look when she's all grown up.
  • Foil: Mr. Mégot the inept gym teacher has Mr. Deltoïde, the bodybuilder-esque gym school inspector.
  • Future Badass:
    • One strip has a sequence where Spirou imagines himself growing up to be an absolute monster so he can beat up a childhood bully.
    • Another has Mégot fall asleep while "supervising" the class weightlifting, dreaming of himself as a wheelchair-confined old wreck approached by Spirou and Vertignasse, now enormously muscled and scarred and looking for revenge. He wakes up and reschedules the day's activity to naptime.
    • Combined with Future Me Scares Me and Freudian Excuse when one kid imagines himself as a General Ripper, dictator or even Sith Lord]... before Spirou gives him back his teddy bear, stolen by the local bully.
  • Gag Nose: In an effort to get Spirou to come quietly to get a wart removed, his grandfather tells him he has a wart so big everyone thinks it's his nose. In retaliation, Spirou loudly asks if the doctor can cure "the two giant warts on that lady".
  • Gag Penis: We don't actually get to see it, but Masseur apparently has one.
  • Generation Xerox:
    • It turns out Spirou's family have always worn the same clothing, until one had the fateful idea to work as a hotel groom.
    • The school inspector's kid dresses exactly like his father.
  • Glamorous Wartime Singer: Spirou's grandmother apparently was one of these, and performed in Stripperific gear.
  • Going Commando: Done by a nun of all people.
  • Gone Swimming, Clothes Stolen: One short has the girls stealing Spirou and Vertignasse's clothes as they are bathing in the river. They are able to escape some time later by stealing Abbott Langelusse's clothes (which they thought belonged to a scarecrow) while he was swimming elsewhere.
  • Grandfather Clause: We find out that Spirou already wore a bellhop uniform when he was a small child, and his mom, dad, and grandpa wear it too, and even his teddy bear and fish, though the reason for this family tradition is never really explained.
  • Gym Class Hell: The comic has a lot of gags about this. The main cast is a bunch of 6-year-old kids, and gym classes are held by a miserable, alcoholic, chain-smoking wreck of a man who sports a blossoming drinker's mound, hates children, and likes to think of himself as an irresistible ladies' man. A variety of sound effects follows him where ever he goes and whatever he does to illustrate how his physique is practically breaking apart. A typical gym class by him is something completely age-inappropriate (chin-pulls, marathons, assault course), or are tricks to allow him beer and checking out women (any "theory" class about equestrianism, beach volleyball, tennis...).
  • Handsome Lech: The woodshop teacher is called one by the (incredibly ugly) recipient of his Single-Target Sexuality.
    Cease harassing me, you libidinous dandy! My heart is set on another!
  • Hot for Teacher:
  • Hot Librarian: Subverted. The school librarian is a hideous old crone, hopelessly in love with the equally repulsive gym teacher Mr. Mégot. Somehow, the hunky shop teacher is insanely in love with her, but she refuses his advances.
    Shop Teacher (begging on his knees): Aphrodite, looks aren't everything! Only the depths of my feelings count!
    Librarian (not even looking at him as she spies on Mégot): Cease harassing me, you libidinous dandy! My heart is set on another!
  • Hot Teacher:
    • Miss Claudia Chiffre, a buxom woman with a tendency to wear miniskirts.
    • One strip shows that nearly every teacher in the school is one of these, with Spirou getting excellent grades in every subject taught by one of them (except gym class, obviously). And even he gets replaced once by a Hot Teacher.
  • Hunk: The woodshop teacher.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Every book is titled after a different Stock Phrase of parents everywhere (You'll understand when you're older, Can't you act your age, It's for your own good, etc.).
  • Implausible Deniability: Spirou is bad at thinking up spur-of-the-moment explanations. He once entered the women's restroom with shades and a cane claiming he was looking for the subway.
  • The Inspector Is Coming: One strip has the school inspector quiz the students on incredibly obscure facts, but they answer with ease. The final panel reveals the inspector's son gave the kids the answers to the questions in exchange for a piece of the take (a large amount of candy paid by the teacher).
  • Male Restroom Etiquette: One one-page gag was dedicated to this and its violation by Masseur.
  • Meaningful Name: Monsieur Mégot (cigarette butt) the heavy smoker, Miss Chiffre (number) the math teacher, Langelusse (a church bell) the local priest...
  • Ms. Fanservice: Damn near every woman in the series, from Spirou's mother to the teachers (especially Miss Claudia who is the main source of fanservice).
  • My Beloved Smother: The school principal has one who treats him like a small child.
  • Naked People Are Funny: Many strips feature nudity, with strategic censoring.
  • No Accounting for Taste: Miss Chiffre's fiancé is a tiny accountant-looking man, while the ridiculously handsome woodshop teacher has the hots for an incredibly ugly librarian (herself Mégot's Abhorrent Admirer). Mégot himself occasionally goes on dates with a supermodelesque lady only to screw it up somehow, yet she keeps going out with him.
  • Nostalgia Filter: The film has a very enjoyable nostalgic feel to it, down to the local Catholic priest (the vestments he wears haven't been generally used since the 60's) and Spirou's grandfather who actually is a veteran of the First World War.
  • The Peeping Tom: A repeated gag is about Spirou and his friends trying ogle naked women.
  • Porn Stash: Spirou's grandfather keeps one, which Spirou keeps trying to get access to, by thievery or blackmail.
  • Primal Scene: Subverted: One strip has Spirou under his parents' bed as they're playing "hide the banana", but he isn't affected.
  • Punny Name:
    • Masseur. In French "Masseur" sounds like "ma soeur", "My sister". This allows Suzette to trade photos of the naked Masseur for treats, as people understand "Je te donnerai une photo de masseur nue" ("I'll give you a nude photo of Masseur") as "I'll give you a nude photo of my sister".
    • Abbot Langelusse. His name is a pun on "angelus".
  • Puppy Love: Spirou and Suzette have a bit of a Slap-Slap-Kiss Dirty Kid variant of this going on. They swing between flirting and fighting, trying to reenact what they've seen adults in relationships do, and attempt (usually unsuccessfully) to see each other naked.
  • Running Gag:
    • In strips about sports class:
    Mégot: Who said [snarky comment about the day's activity]?
    -Everyone points to Spirou
    -Mégot gives him detention with a snark of his own.-
    • Spirou tells a story about something traumatic that happened to him while he was a baby, treating it more like an old war story (sometimes with an "and I still have the scars" comment at the end).
  • Sinister Schnoz: Monsieur Mégot, the sport teacher has a large nose due to his drinking.
  • Spinoff Babies: Apart from Spirou there are no younger versions of the other characters from the original to see.
    • Several strips are of the kids as babies, usually to explain why they no longer do some activity.
  • Stop Copying Me: On several occasions: once when Spirou does it to get his grandfather to buy him ice cream, only for the grandfather to start copying him. In another he does the "copy voice and movements" to one of his friends, until said friend punches himself in the jaw. Spirou declares that the curse that forced him to copy other people has been lifted thanks to his friend's sacrifice.
  • Stripping the Scarecrow: Invoked in one short that has the girls stealing Spirou and Vertignasse's clothes as they are bathing in the river. They are able to escape some time later by stealing Abbott Langelusse's clothes (which they thought belonged to a scarecrow) while he was swimming elsewhere.
  • Strip Poker: In one strip, Spirou is running around the house wearing around fifteen layers of clothing, looking for a deck of cards. His grandfather asks him what the hell he's doing, to which Spirou answers he's going to play the game Gramps taught him. Gramps gets angry and forbids him to play for money, at which point Spirou asks why he'd want to play for money, and we cut to Spirou's similarly attired friends and Suzette in a bathing suit.
  • The Talk: One strip has the kids go around asking how babies are made. Unfortunately, they ask the teachers. Miss Chiffre gives a hopelessly romantic version involving her fiancé, the math teacher puts a pencil in a cup, and Mégot turns it into a sports metaphor.
  • Tap on the Head: While on a car trip, Spirou was holding his head out the window, while a dog was doing the same thing in an oncoming car. Spirou recovered, the dog still thinks it's a chicken.
  • Totem Pole Trench: Occasionally used by the kids for a prank, sometimes disguised as women.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife:
    • Mr. Mégot is occasionally seen with a stunning South American woman.
    • Ms. Chiffre is in love with a tiny, balding, cripplingly shy teacher.
  • War Is Hell: One strip has Spirou going for a walk with his grandfather with a toy gun, asking him about the war. His grandfather starts telling him about his buddies in the trenches. By the end of the strip the gun is lying forgotten on the ground.
    So did you win?
    Those across lost the war. We lost [lists all the buddies he was talking about].
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: The kids have occasionally dressed as women for get-rich-quick schemes or pranks.

     The Animated Series 
  • Bowdlerise: Unlike the comic strips (which looks like it's made for kids, but isn't as it contains nudity and adult humor), this show is for kids, and has very little of the comics' trademark adult humor, relying instead of the misadventures of Spirou and his friends.
  • Censor Suds: It's initially used in "How to survive when you're totally naked" when Spirou locks himself outside after trying to shut the bathroom window. Then he sneezes... and it all falls off of him.
  • Cool Old Guy: Spirou's grandfather, who, among other things, plays Tennis and Wii-Tennis, apparently having agility for someone probably 50 years younger than him.
  • Compete for the Maiden's Hand: The premise of "How to survive a love interest", which has Spirou try to woo Suzette away from Leopold. After both failing initially, the thing that wins Suzette over is Spirou giving him his hat (something he never takes off).
  • Does Not Like Spam:
    • In "How to survive rice pudding", It is revealed Mancholat eats anything... except rice pudding. Similarly, Spirou's mum doesn't like Chestnut pie.
    • None of Spirou's or his friends like Brussel Sprouts in "How to survive Brussel Sprouts".
  • Enfant Terrible: "How to survive a terrible little brother" is all about this. Leads onto Badly Battered Babysitter near the end of the episode.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: The gym teacher. He actively enjoys his students' pain when they throw a volleyball at each other, until he gets hit himself that is.
  • The Complainer Is Always Wrong: Spirou's mum tries making both Spirou and his grandfather eat rice pudding, a pudding that everyone in the episode, except her, hates. When Spirou get's splatted in the face with the stuff at the end of the episode, he turns out to like it.
  • Extreme Omnivore: Mancholat is apparently known for eating pretty much anything, but even he draws the line at rice pudding. When Spirou get's splatted in the face with Rice pudding, he licks some, and likes it.
  • First Kiss: The end of "How to survive a love interest" has Suzette kissing Spirou. His second kiss from her is not even ten seconds later when it Gilligan cuts to the two in the cinema.
  • Hand-or-Object Underwear: Happens to Spirou after being locked out of the house in "How to survive when you're totally naked". A portion of the episode has Spirou trying to cover his privates with various items found in the shed. This includes an ant-infested hat, some windchimes, and a flower in a flower pot.
  • Homemade Sweater from Hell: The premise of "How to survive the pullover Mamy knitted" is Spirou trying to avoid wearing the pullover while Mamy is visiting. He tries getting it dirty (It cleans out immediately), leaving it in the Park (someone notices his name tag sewn into it and gives it back to him), and when he bins in and the bin compactor tries to swallow it, the compactor malfunctions, and he gets rubbish and refuse spewed onto him.
  • Imagine Spot: Each episode has one, normnally thought up by Spirou.
  • In Which a Trope Is Described: The naming convention of the animated series is: "How to survive X." For an examples, there's "How to survive rice pudding" or "How to survive red hair."
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: Ruining a pullover with Jam, Flour, Mustard and... a Carrot.
  • Love Interest: Suzette is this for Spirou. It's a central theme in a few episodes.
  • Loophole Abuse: In "How to survive a love interest", After striking a deal with Leopold in that he'll lay off Suzette if Spirou does his homework, he realises mid-gym session that Leopold never said anything about doing the homework ''correctly''. It doesn't work, as he immediately goes back on his word, but because the homework was incorrect, he get's more homework to do.
  • Love Potion: In "How to survive a love interest", Spirou and friends to to make one out of water, squash, a chicken drumstick, and chocolate pudding. It apparently only works if you stand on one leg and concentrate on your love interest (Suzette in Spirou's case). They try it on Mancholat wooing Elanor, who immediately throws up after consuming it.
  • Naked People Trapped Outside: Happens to Spirou in the handily-named episode "How to survive when you're totally naked", after he locks himself out of the house after trying to shut a window so he could bathe in peace.
  • Puppy Love: Between Spirou and Suzette.
  • Scenery Censor: Used extensively in the obviously named "How to survive when you're totally naked", which involved Spirou hiding behind bushes and flowers etc.
  • The Diaper Change: Spirou has to do one for Maesther's little brother.
  • Totem Pole Trench: Invoked in an Imagine Spot by Spirou in "How to survive playing board games with Mamy", where he and one of his friends pose as a fictional board games agency in an attempt to stop playing Mamy's favorite game: Two little horses. Spirou considers the idea not good enough.