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Comic Book / Léonard le Génie

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Léonard le Génie is a comic from the Franco-Belgian school by artist Philippe Liegeois and writer Bob de Groot (better known as "Turk & de Groot"). It follows the eponymous character, inventor Léonard le Génie (Leonardo the Genius, loosely based on real world inventor Leonardo da Vinci) and his clumsy "disciple" Basile.

The stories vary in length from one or a few pages up to a whole album. The basic storyline is as follows: Léonard has thought up some new invention, and needs the help of his assistant to build and/or test it. Basile, being a Heavy Sleeper, first needs to be awoken, using another invention, explosives or just plain old cartoon violence. As the building or testing proceeds, Basile suffers Amusing Injuries, either from his sadistic master or through his own incompetence. The story usually ends in one of these ways: Basile goes a step too far in annoying Léonard and is chased by him, Basile finally gets fed up with the abuse and retaliates on Léonard, or the invention fails spectacularly and both Léonard and Basile are chased out of town by an angry mob.


Other characters in the comic are:

  • Raoul the cat, comments on the action and is sometimes seen applying first aid to Basile or repairing the property damage.
  • Bernadette the mouse, comments on the action and is occasionally chased by Raoul in Tom and Jerry style. She has taken over first aid duty from Raoul in the recent stories.
  • Yorrick the talking skull (a reference to Hamlet), comments on the action.
  • Mathurine (Saartje in the Dutch translation) the housekeeper, is sometimes the victim of a failing invention, but also tends to put both Léonard and Basile back in place if they make too big a mess.
  • The Great Albert (a time-travelling Albrecht von Bollstädt), a rival inventor. Although one album is just one long story about a huge battle between the two, in later albums they are shown to be on more or less friendly terms. Comes with a clumsy assistant of his own.
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  • The Villagers: Sometimes seen chasing Léonard and Basile out of town after a failing invention destroys (part of) the village.
  • Mozzarella, (Mozza for short) making her debut in album 48. Léonard's adopted daughter whom he rescued from the streets. Mathurine take a liking to her while Basile dislike her for losing his bedroom to her.

A 20-episode All-CGI Cartoon was made in 2009.


  • Accordion Man: Just one of many ways in which Basile gets mutilated.
  • All Just a Dream: A few gags.
  • Apocalypse How:
    • Played for laughs. When coming back from a conference about astronomy, Léonard explains to Basile that the Earth will be destroyed when the sun will go to different stages before going supernova. Upon hearing this, Basile is incapable of sleeping, while Lénoard wonder if he should have told him that these catastrophes will take place millions of years in the future.
    • Léonard and Basile go to 2012 to check how things are. They find out that according to the Mayan calendar, it will be the end of the world on December 21, 2012. They travel to 2013 to find out that the apocalypse will not happen. They are relieved and return to their own time, except the next page shows a massive asteroid is heading towards the Earth.
  • Amusing Injuries: Basile, either at the hands of Léonard or through his own incompetence. Léonard and the rest of the cast aren't always safe either.
  • Anachronism Stew: Although the stories supposedly take place in the 15th century, Léonard has electricity and modern tools at his disposal, and has built computers and robots, amongst others. Somewhat justified by him being an inventor, but still... Lampshaded at least once; Léonard invents a photo camera and, on having put the film in an envelope, realizes there's nowhere to mail it to. "Do I have to invent everything myself?"
  • Anvil on Head: Léonard has a tendency of whacking Basile with anvils, mallets and other heavy, blunt objects as punishment for various slights.
  • Artistic License – Physics: Léonard and Basile create a hot-air balloon. It goes so high it floats into space, acting the same as if it was in normal air... as Léonard and Basile argue about whether the latter blew too much inside the balloon without any problems.
  • Bad Boss: Léonard physically punish Basile for any mishaps and didn't pay his salary for years. He is not so harsh against Mathurine however.
  • Ballistic Discount: Happens in an unusual way. A man comes ask Léonard to invent a gun for him, and when he has finished building it, the guy immediately threatens him with it.
  • Bare Your Midriff: When Mathurine becomes a beautiful young woman after being subjected to Magic Plastic Surgery, Léonard and Basile are very seduced by her... and comment on how her outfit shows her navel. Raoul then comments on how *his* navel can be seen at all times, and wonders what's so special about it.
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: Almost every time Basile somehow gets accidentally sent out of the Earth.
  • Berserk Button: Do not insult Mathurine by making rude comments about her weight. Or saying that she is not a woman. Bad things will happen to you.
  • BFG: Léonard's blunderbuss, which he keeps in his beard.
  • Bloody Hilarious: Often happens whenever Basile is injured, naturally, which can go as far as dismemberment.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Basile, in those rare moments when he's neither sleeping nor being tormented by his employer, turns out to be a gifted inventor in his own right, and he even builds a single-handedly builds a Saturn V rocket in one strip. Among the more competitive examples of this:
    • While Léonard is inventing the bicycle, he comes up with the motorbike.
    • When Léonard invents the safe and gets a little too arrogant about it, Basile one-ups him by inventing the cutting torch to crack the safe open.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Once more, Léonard insulted Basile for his usual blunder. Except this time, Basile was testing an exoskeleton that increased his strength tenfold. It probably wasn't a good idea to piss him off as Basile threw Léonard straight to the moon.
  • Bungling Inventor: Sometimes, Léonard invents something that fails spectacularly (often destroying the village) or is just plain useless. Don't call him this to his face though, unless you like getting "blunderbussed".
  • The Cameo: Leonard invented television and everything that's being broadcast comes to life in the living room. This ends with the cartoon channel with several toons showing up: Duke, Tweety, Sylvester, Tom and Jerry and several others.
  • Canis Latinicus: Written on the ends of their beds are Léonard's and Basile's Latin names: Maestro Genialis and Disciplus Simplex.
  • Can't Take Criticism: Whenever Basile points out any holes in Leonard's work, the latter will respond with violence.
  • Captured by Cannibals: Several stories.
  • Cartoon Bug-Sprayer
  • Catchphrase:
    • "Je sers la science et c'est ma joie" ("I serve science and it's my joy") note 
    • *sniff* (Basile's trademark reaction to suffering Amusing Injuries)
  • Cats Are Snarkers: Raoul.
  • The Chew Toy: Basile.
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • Leonard wants to prove to his fellow scientists that the Earth is round. He goes on a trip around the world with Basile in tow. After many weeks and many misadventures, they arrive at the back of their house just as predicted by Leonard. An exhausted Basile is glad the trip is finally over. He turns around and begin the journey home in the opposite direction.
    • When Basile and Mathurine explain the concept of procreation to Léonard, they demonstrate it while dressed up as a bee and flower. Léonard takes it to mean that he has to seduce a flower, which he proceeds to attempt.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: Léonard is a master of this, much to Basile's chagrin.
  • Cool, but Inefficient: Ahead of the 20th century, Léonard invents the walkman and have Basile testing it. Basile found it cool that he could listen to his favorite music anywhere he went, but comment that the device was extremely inefficient: the walkman was the size of a chair and had to be carried on his back.
  • Cool Car: Léonard has a pretty cool car, especially for an inventor supposedly living in the 15th century. It can even transform into other vehicles...
  • Corrupt Politician: Fed up with the roads filled with potholes and the corruption of the mayor, Léonard invents his own political party and rally the people to vote for him. The mayor, named Silvio Berlesconi, openly admits his corruption and says he won't tolerate rivals, so he had Léonard and Basile imprisoned.
  • Cranial Eruption: Just one of many types of Amusing Injuries Basile suffers.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Raoul shows traits of this.
    Basile: Testing? That's usually where my misery starts...
    Raoul: Misery? Oh no. You mean catastrophic disasters.
    Basile: *sniff*
  • Dem Bones: Yorrick.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Léonard invents the hybrid car, powered with fossil fuel and electric batteries to make the air cleaner and free of pollution. After a successful test, Basile then ask what will they do with all those batteries when they reach the end of their life? Léonard didn't have an answer and decides to shoot Basile for ruining his day.
  • Digging to China: Léonard intents to in Génie en sous-sol. He has to build a machine as he admits his disciple could not do it with a shovel. However, in a gag, Basile did it with a sprint car and a roof.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: When Mathurine and Mozza go at the market place, the women spoke negatively of Mozza because of her Romani origin. This is still the Renaissance period after all.
  • Duck Season, Rabbit Season: When Basile would prefer to stop testing the anthropomorphing spray....
  • Dumbass Has a Point: Lénoard invents the immortality pill. Basile thinks it's a terrible idea, as if everyone lives forever, the world will run out of food, places to live and living will lose its meaning. Léonard admits he hadn't thought of all those consequences.
  • E = MC Hammer
  • Epic Fail: Basile invents the anonymous letter and sends one to Léonard to criticize him. Except he signed his name at the bottom of the letter. Predictably, this ends badly for Basile.
  • Everyone Chasing You
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!:
    • When Mozza attempts to shoot Basile, she hits the ceiling and a good chunk of debris falls on Basile's head. Basile explains to her that the blunderbuss has a strong recoil and she has to hold it firmly before firing. For the next seconds, Basile thinks hard of what he just said. Before he can react, he receives a volley of bullets in the head.
    • Léonard wants Basile to test his new device: the international emergency call, just dial 112. Basile protests and says he isn't in any distress at the moment. He then realizes what will happen next and start running. Cue Léonard chasing Basile with hostile beasts and torturing devices in hand.
  • Expy:
    • Mathurine is an expy of Miss Partridge and Cunégonde, two similar characters from Clifton and Robin Dubois respectively. The two series were created by the same authors before Leonard Le Génie came around. Miss Partridge is obsessed with cleaning and order, while Cunégonde is physically strong and doesn't tolerate sloppiness, traits that has been transposed to Mathurine.
    • Basile is also an expy of John Haig, the commissioner from Clifton. They are both slow-witted and clumsy.
  • Family-Friendly "Mature" Content: When Basile and Mathurine are about explain how babies are made to Léonard, Basile says they have to warn their editor that the following scene will have "Mature content".
  • Favors for the Sexy: Happens when Léonard turns (surgically) Mathurine into "Jennifer". It was actually a Batman Gambit from her.
  • For Science!
  • Frankenstein's Monster: Albert tries to get rid of Leonard by building a Frankenstein's Monster. Leonard counters this by creating a female Frankenstein's Monster. Both monsters end up falling in love and leave their respective masters. Later, you can see them strolling a carriage with a baby Frankenstein's Monster, much to the horror of the villagers.
  • Funny Background Event:
    • When not commenting on the main action, Raoul and Bernadette are often engaged in their own activities. Especially in the older comics these are small stories by themselves.
    • Once Léonard and Basile were talking and Raoul was in the background reading a Plaboy-like magazine with anthropomorphic female cats. Mathurine snatched the magazine and gave him a Finger Wag while Raoul was grumbling and sulking.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Léonard, the self-proclaimed greatest genius in the universe. To his credit many of his inventions actually work quite well. Sometimes too well....
  • Gamebooks: Leonard invents a live version and naturally Basile gets inevitably screwed whatever choices he makes.
  • Glad I Thought of It: Most of the times Basile has an idea of his own.note 
  • Gone Horribly Right: At one time, Leonard replaces Basile with his nephew who's much smarter and more competent. Unfortunately, Leonard quickly finds out that his nephew has a big ego and doesn't really need his uncle to invent stuff. Worse, Leonard realizes that he misses the times where he could physically punish his old disciple. This prompts him to rehire Basile and ship his nephew to China by mail.
  • Greek Chorus: Raoul, Bernadette and Yorick, depending on the gag.
  • Hairy Hammerspace: Léonard can pull a variety of objects from his beard. Most often seen are mallets, anvils and his trusty blunderbuss.
  • Happily Adopted: Mozza is quick to adapt to her new home. At the end of the album, she calls Léonard her daddy for the first time.
  • Healing Factor: Basile seems to have regenerative abilities on par with Wolverine. Once, after being hit by an anvil, he just pulled on his hair to get his head back in the right shape, and another time he's seen reattaching his own limbs after they have been scattered by an explosion.
  • Heavy Sleeper: Basile, waking him up takes high-yield explosives or similar violence. Most of the stories start with Léonard waking Basile up by some unorthodox means. Basile can also instantly fall asleep at any time.
  • Hilarity Ensues: Basile's clumsiness is often a source of amusement to the rest of the cast, especially Raoul and Bernadette.
  • Historical In-Joke: Léonard wrote Hamlet and repeats it with the help of Basile, Mathurine and a random passerby who speaks in rhymes. After everybody falls asleep during repetitions, Léonard decides his play is worthless, but the passerby likes it and buys the script for a pittance. In the last panel, Léonard looks at the bill of sale...
    It's signed : William Shakespeare.
  • Humongous Mecha: In an Affectionate Parody of mecha-based Anime, Léonard and Albert each build a giant mecha looking like themselves and fight it out. Léonard calls his Leonorak, a Shout-Out to the French-language version of UFO Robo Grendizer, Goldorak. Hilarity Ensues even from the word "go":
    Basile: (waking up groggily) Ah, I see through the hole in the roof that it's dawn already!
    (rotating gears in think bubble)
    Léonard: (from Leonorak) Apprentice, shiver and quake before Leonorak!!
    Basile: (shivering) W-w-w-what d-d-do y-y-you th-think I'm d-doing, m-master?
    Basile: I b-believe th-there c-comes the c-competition, m-master...
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • Basile is upset because Leonard's daughter is now sleeping on his bed, in his bedroom. Léonard tells him to keep it quiet because it's rude to awaken someone's who's asleep.
    • Léonard lend his blunderbuss to Mozza and she use it to shoot Basile. When she wants to use it again, Léonard tells her firearms aren't meant to be played with.
  • Idea Bulb: Sometimes used straight, but often toyed with.
    • When Léonard has a particularly good idea, or a series of ideas, he starts lighting up and making sounds like a Pinball machine or Video Game.
    • Played with once. Léonard needs an idea to make a broken lamp work so he... has one, catches the Idea Bulb and replaces the broken one.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: The title for every album includes the word "Génie" ("Genius"). Partially Lost in Translation, the Dutch titles are sometimes missing the word "Genie".
  • If My Calculations Are Correct
  • Inherently Funny Words: A two-page gag is about it.
  • The Insomniac: In one gag, Léonard and Basile bid themselves good night as they have a lot of work tomorrow. In the middle of the night, Basile is sleepwalking and this prompts Léonard to keep him safe all night without waking him up accidentally. In morning, Basile calls out a completely exhausted Léonard for staying in bed.
  • Instant Bandages: Basile, after suffering Amusing Injuries. Sometimes justified by showing Raoul, or more recently Bernadette applying first aid.
  • Insult Backfire:
    Léonard: Your stupidity sometimes is so rich that I wonder if I shouldn't lock you in a Swiss safe.
    Basile: I'm not touched with flattery.
  • It Will Never Catch On: Léonard invents fashion and has Basile tries out various iconic costumes of Obélix, Tintin and Donald Duck. Basile then invents the tuxedo, which Léonard brushes off as unfashionable.
  • Kids Are Cruel: In one gag, children were making a mess of the whole town by mistreating animals, attacking adults, breaking properties. Léonard invents the playground park, but the kids ignored it and continued wrecking everything around them.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Raoul does this occasionally, such as wondering aloud how Basile manages to heal in between scenes.
  • Levitating Lotus Position: Léonard encounters an entire squadron of monks flying like this. One even shouts mayday because he has a leg cramp, meaning he can't get the landing gear out.
  • Lighter and Softer: The 2009 CGI cartoon made characters look cuter and toned the violence down in comparison to the original comics.
  • Literally Shattered Lives: Happens to Basile every page or so, Tex Avery-style.
  • Literal-Minded: When building a tracked vehicle, Léonard ordered Basile to fetch two caterpillars. He returned with two bugs, not understanding what a caterpillar was. In his defense, Léonard didn't explain what he was building.
  • Mad Scientist: Some of Léonard's inventions are downright wacky, and he also has a tendency to meddle with chemicals and strange reagents, often with explosive results. Don't ever accept a drink from him....
  • Magic Plastic Surgery: One story has Mathurine being subjected to such surgery, becoming a traditionally sexy Proud Beauty. Léonard and Basile go ga-ga over her.
  • Market-Based Title: The comics has been translated into English as Leonardo the Inventor
  • Massive Numbered Siblings: Léonard often seeks for a name in Basile's family to give it to his inventions.
  • Mean Boss: Léonard, although the occasional role reversal shows that Basile would arguably be even worse, given the chance.
  • Medium Awareness: Fed up with Léonard's antics, Basile uses his master's invention, the crossover, to jump into Ric Hochet's universe. Ric warns him that his world is a realistic comic and any grievous injuries can be fatal. After learning this the hard way, Basile goes back to his own comic while Raoul is accidentally stuck in Ric's universe.
  • National Stereotypes: When Léonard went traveling around the world, every foreigner he came across was a national stereotype.
    • Downplayed with the protagonist themselves. While most of the strips could be set anywhere, we find the occasional reference (such as one character being called Mozzarella) to remind that, yes, the protagonists are Italian.
  • Negative Continuity
  • No Fourth Wall: The characters are aware they are in a comic—and Raoul occasionally addresses the reader directly ("Hey, it's our reader! Welcome to a new album!")—not to mention speech bubblesnote  just to name a few.
  • Non-Fatal Explosions: At worst they will burn Basile to ashes or scatter his body parts (bloodlessly) over the room, but he will be alright in the next scene.
  • No OSHA Compliance: Léonard doesn't give a damn about Basile's safety or well-being, so Basile frequently has to do very, very dangerous work.
  • Not Me This Time: Basile is angry because of loud noises outside. He goes to see Léonard and accuses him of keeping him awake. Lénoard denies any responsibility and explained delinquent kids were the ones making all the ruckus.
  • Ocular Gushers: Enough to drown the house when Léonard invents pessimism.
  • Pacing a Trench: A common gag is for Leonard to walk in circles while working away at a problem, usually waist-deep by the time inspiration hits.
  • Parental Abandonment: Mozza's mother is dead and she never met her father.
  • Parental Substitute: Mathurine acts like a surrogate mother toward Mozza.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Léonard and Basile usually refer to each other as "master" and "apprentice", but the master doesn't teach and the apprentice doesn't learn.
  • Print Long-Runners: The series has always gotten one album per year without stopping to this day, since 1977.
  • Putting On My Thinking Cap: Léonard has a number of gadgets to help him concentrate. They usually involve strong coffee, or holding him upside down to improve the blood flow to his brain.
  • The Rival: The Great Albert. The album Genius contra Genius is entirely about a huge battle between the two, but later stories show them to be on more friendly terms.
  • Running Gag: The waking of Basile at the start of a new story and many, many other examples.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: If a situation gets too dangerous or absurd, Raoul tends to be the first one to leave.
  • Shout-Out: The stories occasionally feature elements from other comics. For example, the red-and-white-checkered moon rocket from the Tintin albums Tintin: Destination Moon and Tintin: Explorers on the Moon shows up in a few stories, one of which is titled Genius to the Moon (and appears in the album with the same name).
  • Sore Loser: Léonard invented the cooking contest and came second behind Mathurine who won first prize. Léonard was offended and insulted both Mathurine and the judges.
  • Speech-Bubble Censoring: An amusing inversion where the text is censored by the image. Léonard uses an aerosol spray on the bubbles.
  • Speech-Bubbles Interruption
  • Spoiler Cover / Spoiler Title: The cover of album #48 shows Mozza along the rest of the main characters and the title is "My daddy is a genius!". Obviously, a new character will be introduced and she'll be Lénoard's daughter.
  • Squashed Flat: Yet another common amusing injury, often involving a hydraulic press or similar tool.
  • Street Urchin: Mozza lived on the streets all by herself before Léonard adopts her.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Happens all too frequently, but it's alright, they are all Non-Fatal Explosions.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Léonard never stops complaining about how dumb and clumsy Basile truly is.
  • Sweeping Ashes: The usual result of Basile being hit by Non-Fatal Explosions or X-Ray Sparks.
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Largely averted with Bernadette, who wears gender-neutral clothing and otherwise looks no different than other mice. She sometimes wears feminine clothing, but only for special occasions.
  • The Talk: Mathurine and Basile mocked Léonard for not knowing how to make babies. They proceed to dress in a flower and a bee and made him a demonstration, which Léonard failed to understand as he went outside to seduce flowers.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Basile, when he knows the pain is coming.
  • Time Machine: Léonard has built a few, and some are occasionally used in stories, taking him either to the prehistoric or to modern times (and yes, one of them is actually build into a Cool CarShout-Out, anyone?).
  • To the Pain: When Léonard gets particularly irritated by one of Basile's most recent screw-ups, he rants about everything he will (allegedly) do to make him suffer.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Not only does Basile stay with an abusive master, he simply can't get anything done without seriously injuring himself.
  • Torches and Pitchforks: The villagers sometimes chase Léonard and Basile out of town after one explosion too many.
  • Unprovoked Pervert Payback: When outside for an errand Basile lost his keys again. Not to worry. With Leonard's lastest invention, all he has to do is whistle and the keychain attached to the keys will play a tune. Unfortunately, a woman was passing-by when Basile whistled and she gave him a piece of her mind.
  • Unsound Effect: A variation of this trope used for comedy. Verbs are often used instead of common onomatopoeias, describing the invention being on-work, and Basile hurting himself.
  • Vague Age: Léonard is obviously an old man and Basile obviously a young man, however, at least two different stories have them aged down to children or babies, being the same age, going to school in the same class. Léonard already having white hair, this implies he is Younger Than They Look.
  • Wrong Parachute Gag: Two similar gags:
    • One comic has the disciple open the parachute, only to reveal a sheet of paper from the maid Mathurine, saying the parachute is in laundry.
    • In another comic, a similar joke is made by Léonard accidentally handing Basile the backpack containing their lunch instead of a parachute.
  • X-Ray Sparks: Happens every time Basile has to power on a new invention.