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Comic Book / Les Lumières de l'Amalou

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Les Lumières de l'Amalou is a five-part comic series written by Christophe Gibelin and drawn by Claire Wendling. Andréa and Elwood, two anthropomorphic ferrets, are flying in an old plane when imprudence makes them crash on an island amidst a river, populated by ferrets (like themselves) and the human-like "Transparents." First caught in the feud between the two species, the two friends soon get involved in problems that go as deep as the origins of the world itself.

The series consists of:

  • Théo (1990)
  • Le Pantin (1991)
  • Le Village Tordu (1992)
  • Gouals (1994)
  • Cendres (1996)

… along with a compilation of all five books in one, published in 1997.

This series provides examples of:

  • Art Evolution: the art evolves slowly between issues 1 and 3, then becomes good in issue 4 and awesomely good in issue 5…
    • … which unfortunately lead to a few characters not looking the same after book 4 begun. Rouche went from looking lean and bespectacled to looking like a muscle-bound (and glass-free) brute. Arthus went from scruffy-looking to regal-looking. Yz went from looking like a prepubescent kid to looking like a teen (mostly visible because she acquires breasts in addition to looking taller). Orane's originally small breasts became a lot more noticeable. Pierre went from light-brown-haired kid to black-haired teenager. Keep in mind, the timeframe of the whole story covers a few weeks at most.
  • Attempted Rape: two instances in the final chapter, Théo on Orane and Rouche on Léna.
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  • Badass Bookworm: Andréa, definitely.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Elwood isn't as harmless as you'd think. Also, Judith (see Groin Attack below).
  • Bittersweet Ending: both Creator Gods are dead, but the powers of the Great Oak still exist in Ubu, ensuring the survival of the world around him. Most of the Transparents have died, but the ferrets have learnt to care about the survivors, while the bigops (see Death Is Cheap) of the dead ones are awaiting resurrection. Andréa, Elwood, Orane and Yz are stuck in the Human World, but Ubu/Oak promises to let them back once Yz loses her murderous behavior.
  • Break the Cutie: Yz was always the more innocent of the two hybrids and managed to avoid sharing most of her brother's murderous/destructive tendencies. Near the end of the series, his death made her snap and become a savage beast.
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  • Curb-Stomp Battle: In book 5, Andréa vs. Théo. While the latter didn't even break a sweat, Andréa was left with a bloody muzzle, dazed and unable to move for several minutes.
  • Death Is Cheap: a variation with the Transparents. Should they suffer a premature death, their bodies will dissolve into many small creatures named bigops. Bigops are obsessed with trying to reach the Great Oak's Lake. Provided they all survive the trip, they will fuse back into the original Transparent by plunging into the lake.
  • Died During Production: in-universe, something to avoid at all costs. If the Oak dies, all of its creations (and Théo) die.
  • The Empath: a variation, again. The hybrids Yz and Meth's behavior mirrors the relationship between the Transparents and the ferrets. If the two species behave, the children sport an innocent personality and a pure white fur. The higher the hate between both species, the more the two hybrid syblings turn into murderous monsters while their fur turns dark by patches (especially Meth, who has become a completely dark-furred villain by the second book he appears in).
  • Empathic Environment: the World of the Oak. Originally an agreeable temperate forrest, it reacts to hate by getting colder and colder while the vegetation starts dying. And since the ferrets and Transparents first arrived to the World in the midst of the former trying to commit genocide against the latter…
  • Fantastic Racism: the island ferrets and the Transparents aren't very friendly to each other. The outside ferrets quickly split into the (few) pro-Transparents and the rabidly anti-Transparent side.
  • Fang Thpeak: Due to his huge fangs, the cafou has a heavy lisp, Fo all of hiF dialogue iF written ViF way.
  • Funny Animal: the anthropomorphic ferrets. In the backstory, many of the animals were this at the beginning of the world.
  • Gambit Pileup: Everyone's trying to cross everyone else at one point…
  • Groin Attack: Judith delivers a majestic, really painful-looking one on one of the armed goons Rouche left to guard her when she realizes that Rouche is comitting genocide against the Transparents.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: close enough. The twins Yz and Meth were born of a male ferret and a female Transparent.
  • Half-human Popsicle: the Great Oak once integrated the hybrids into his own body to protect them from the hate that might corrupt them. A side effect is that they haven't aged a day during those long years. When the tree tries to do that again, Meth successfully excapes and eventually uses fire to free Yz from her wooden prison.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: the Great Oak immolates itself to give the Transparents a chance to escape genocide at the hands of the ferrets.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Andréa and Elwood, Pierre and Ubu.
  • Human Aliens: the Transparents aren't human, despite looking all the same. For instance, as their name implies, they become increasingly transparent as the light weakens (though they will die if left invisible for too long). And they have a way to ressuscitate if they ever suffer premature death.
  • Interspecies Romance: Elwood has a serious crush on Orane. A similar relationship between a ferret and a Transparent is the origin of the hybrids and the reason for the exile of both species.
  • Jerkass: everyone has moments of this, especially Andréa in books 2 to 4 and Arthus all the freaking time.
  • Kill It with Fire: in the case of Meth, it's more "weaken the Oak with fire so it'll release Yz".
  • Like Reality, Unless Noted: The parts of the story dealing with humans strongly indicate Southern France in the mid-twentieth century, with both the Ferret and Transparent communities doing their best to avoid being noticed by humanity at large.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: The ferrets, after realizing that their slaughtering of the Transparents to near-extinction has turned the whole land against them.
  • Poisonous Person: In book five, Theo reveals that the hybrids have accumulated so much hate, they could kill a Transparent just by touching them. Moments later, he gets pounced by Meth, causing the both of them to disintegrate in a flash of light. Elwood then narrowly saves Orane from suffering the same fate at the hands of Yz.
  • Physical God: Théo and the Great Oak together hold the title of Creator God. The first imagined creatures that the second would then bring to life.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Arguably, Arthus. He got killed after saving Léna from Attempted Rape, but the motivation of his act was unknown: genuine care for her, or just jealousy towards the would-be rapist.
  • The Reveal: Théo's plan was to kill the Great Oak, not protect it.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Ubu was integrated into the Great Oak to give it back the ability of speech. While the measure was supposed to be temporary, it becomes definitely permanent after the Great Oak's self-sacrifice.
  • Speaking Simlish: Ubu. Only Pierre understands his speech, all the other characters only hear bubbles.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: justified for the passages between the Human and Oak worlds (at least when they're active): they are filled with magical water that anyone can breathe. Many characters still describe an inevitable and very disagreeable sensation of drowning, and some, like Elwood, genuinely have difficulty breathing.
  • Talking Animal: the Cafou is a big, sabertoothed, quadrupedal cat with an adorable lisp.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Orane. To be fair, all of the Transparents have this ability.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Théo has an impressive, violent one when his plans suddenly crumble around him. Aw man, Andréa felt that one pass.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Many ferret children appear in the first three books. By book five, there's no trace of them anywhere. You could almost think that all that was left of the ferrets was two women and a bunch of adult males.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Andréa punched Elwood in the face to obtain Orane's diary, then sacrificed Ubu so the Great Oak could gain back its ability to speak.
  • Women Are Wiser:
    • The hate between the ferrets and the Transparents is turning the hybrid children into murderous monsters, but the transformation happens far more quickly in Meth (who shows signs of violence within minutes of being freed from the Oak) than in his sister (who doesn't become violent until she sees him die three books later).
    • Among the outside ferrets, only two women are depicted, and both join the pro-Transparent side, to the point of clandestinely bringing supplies to the survivors of the later massacre.
  • Woman Scorned: Averted with Judith. When Elwood stops being interested in her due to his crush on Orane, she just shouts for a while, but remains an ally of the Transparents.