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Comic Book / Marsupilami

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This article is about the Franco-Belgian Comics titled Marsupilami and their Animated Adaptations. For the series they originated from, see Spirou & Fantasio. For the Disney cartoon, see Marsupilami. For the character himself and his franchise, see Marsupilami.

In 1987, Franquin, creator of the Marsupilami, decided to found his own publishing company, Marsu Production, and launched a spin-off comic about a family of marsupilamis, unrelated to Spirou's pet. They too started in Spirou and Fantasio, being the subject of a documentary within the series in the album Le Nid des Marsupilamis (The Marsupilamis' Nest). Mainly drawn by Franquin's assistant, Batem (Luc Collin), the series counts 31 albums in 2017 and is geared toward a younger readership than Spirou and Fantasio.

In 2000, an Animated Adaptation was made by Marathon Media, a French production company. Much closer to the original than the Disney one in the first season, it was rechristened My Friend Marsupilami for the second season and centered upon a French human family that came to live in the middle of the Amazonian forest to study the marsupilamis. Another two animated adaptations came out years later, Houba Houba Hop! in 2009 and Our Neighbors the Marsupilamis in 2012.

Tropes specific to the Marsupilami comics and the French cartoons:

  • Animal Talk: Very rare in the earlier albums — in Franquin's short comics, he would occasionally have animals make comments to one another for the sake of a gag, but this tendency was heavily toned down in the album series proper, and for the first twenty-odd albums it stayed that way (bar the odd parrot). In more recent albums, though, animals get a lot more dialogue, though the Marsupilamis are an exception: They're clearly communicating and usually you can get the general gist of what they're saying from context and body language, but their "houba" cries are never directly translated (though in the first album it is "subtitled" on a couple of occasions).
  • Ascended Extra:
    • To some degree, the Marsupilami family themselves, since these particular Marsupilamis only appeared in one Spirou story, mainly to show that Spirou and Fantasio's Marsupilami wasn't the only one in existence. One recent Marsupilami comic reveals that Spirou and Fantasio's Marsupilami is in fact the brother of the Marsupilami from this comic.
    • Noé, the clown and animal tamer, was a one-shot character from a Spirou story who went on to be a recurring character in this comic.
  • The Chew Toy: Bring M. Backalive
  • Expy:
    • Colin and Remi, the two journalists who house the Marsupilami family for a few albums, are pretty much Spirou and Fantasio with different looks and names.
    • Bring M. Backalive could aptly be described as a South American Gargamel if he were a wannabe-Great White Hunter instead of a wannabe-sorcerer.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Noé, the clown/animal tamer. While he isn't great dealing with people he gets along famously with any and all animals.
  • Great White Hunter: Backalive only wishes he could be one.
  • Jungle Japes: The deep Palombian jungle where the Marsupilamis live.
  • Just Giving Orders: Mrs. Oldskin's henchman tells her that he didn't do anything to hurt the heroes (after locking them in a slowly-flooding room in a Mayincatec pyramid), he just closed the door when they went inside. She whistles admiringly at the ease with which he clears his conscience.
  • Lemony Narrator: Varies from album to album, but the narrative captions tend to add a lot of personality and humor to the scenes that don't feature any humans. Especially in the first album, the narrator switches between overly-dramatic speeches about how dangerous the jungle is, astonished squeeing at how amazing the Marsupilamis are, and the occasional snarky comment about the human characters like Bring M. Backalive.
  • Meaningful Name: Bring M. Backalive is a hunter whose obsession is to capture a living marsupilami. Counts as a Bilingual Bonus as well, for its French readers.
  • Mimic Species: An example that's mostly played for laugh: the Palombian Imalipusram is a thin and lengthy snake colored yellow and black, already looking like the long tail of a Marsupilami. When attacked by a predator such as a jaguar, it inflates a sack at the extremity of its tail, which takes the shape of a Marsupilami's body. Most predators are wary of tangling with an adult Marsupilami, and will be scared away from eating the snake.
    Narrator: Don't laugh, it took thousand years of evolution to reach this result.
  • One-Word Vocabulary: The Marsupilami can only say "houba".
  • Papa Wolf: You do not wanna touch Marsu's babies. In fact, harming babies of any species, including human children, is a bad idea when he's around.
  • Piranha Problem: The Palombian rivers are full of piranhas, but they're not a huge problem to the Marsupilamis themselves, as they eat them.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: The baby marsupilamis, Bibu, Bibi and Bobo, especially in the animated series.
  • Spin-Off: From the André Franquin period of Spirou & Fantasio, with Le Nid des Marsupilamis as a Poorly Disguised Pilot.
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Bring M. Backalive, in his stories, swings between this and Villain Protagonist.