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Comic Book / ORPHANIMO!!

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The main characters of the series. From top to bottom, left: Alice, Bruno, Trish, Minky. Right: Vic, Gri Gri, Sharp, Jayjay
ORPHANIMO!! is a Belgian comic book series, consisting of 2 series of 6 albums each. All albums follow a continuing storyline, with each new album starting where the previous one left off.

The main plot is about an orphanage in the center of an unnamed city. It is owned by a lady named Alice Rosebud. After she lost the love of her life, Jim Jim, 30 years ago during a storm at sea (he was an environmentalist who was protesting against the illegal activities of an oil company), she turned her house into an orphanage. At the start of the series, only five orphans are still living with her: Victor, Stephen, Jan Jakob, Patricia and Grimelda (although they nickname themselves Vic, Sharp, Jay Jay, Trish and Gri Gri). They consider the orphanage to be their only true home, and Alice to be their mother. Therefore, they sabotage every attempt of her to find them adoptive parents.

The orphanage is threatened by a rich and powerful industrial named Vallalkozo, who has already demolished almost the entire original city center and replaced all the buildings with skyscrapers. His latest plan is to build a colossal V-shaped building to top it all off, but he needs the ground the orphanage stands on to do so. Alice however wont’ sell her ground and the orphans are not afraid to mock or challenge Vallalkozo. The situation soon escalates, and Vallalkozo has the orphanage isolated from the outside world by digging away all the ground around it (which he already owned, leaving the orphanage on a small pile of ground suspended above a deep pit by the sewer pipes. In a twist of events however, when Vallalkozo and Alice first meet face to face, Vallalkozo instantly falls in love with her. This makes it harder for him to continue his attempts of buying the orphanage. Meanwhile, his assistant Hanz is secretly plotting to take over Vallalkozo's company behind his back.


At the end of the first series, the orphans save the orphanage by attaching it to a giant air balloon (which Vallalkozo ordered in an attempt to move the house without demolishing it in an attempt to get on Alice's good side) and lifting it into the sky, planning to take it to someplace else. They also take Vallalkozo’s dog with them since she has fallen in love with their dog, Bruno. They don’t know however that the microchip containing the blueprints for the V-building is in her collar. Therefor Vallalkozo and Hanz go in pursuit of the fleeing Orphans with the (unwilling) help of the rivaling brothers Orville and Wilbur Blériot and their hot air balloons. The second series is all about the attempts of the orphans to reach an island Vallalkozo has given to Alice. Along the way, Vallalkozo, Hanz and the Blériot brothers crash on a stranded war ship and are presumed dead for a while, and the orphans accidentally end up at the north pole. Once they reach their island, they are confronted with Z-Oil, the oil company that Jimjim was protesting against 30 year ago, and its owner, Douglas Zemeckis. It turns out one of their drilling rigs is near the island. Moreover, there are some illegal activities going on on the drilling rig, as Z-Oil is secretly working on the creation of a luxury resort on the planet Mars, using rockets powered by nuclear waste to get there. Vallalkozo's ex-wife Ursula has a hand in the plan as well.


List of albums:

  1. Inpakken en Weg Wezen! (Get out of Town!)
  2. Oost West, Kluit Best! (Pat Sweet Pat)
  3. Het Witte Album (The White Album)
  4. Te Land, ter Zee en in de Vlucht! (Soil, Sea and Sky)
  5. Steen op Steen, Plank op Plank (Brick on Brick, Planc on Planc)
  6. Bye Bye, Kluit! (Bye Bye, Pat!)
  7. De Wezen van de Wind (Orphans in the Wind)
  8. De Zoon van Vallalkozo (The Son of Vallalkozo)
  9. Banzaï potvis! (Banzaï Whales!)
  10. Nu nog Witter! (Can't Get any Whiter!)
  11. Het Zwarte Album (The Black Album)
  12. Wees de Mijne! (Be Mine!)

Provides examples of:

  • Abnormal Ammo: What about shooting a gun with pencils, dropping wrecking balls out of a bomber plane or shooting a cannon with loaves of bread?
  • Absurdly Long Limousine: And Vallalkozo is proud of it.
  • Adventurer Archaeologist: Uncle Archibald.
  • The Alcoholic: one of the Friends Of The Ocean is permanently drunk.
  • Alphabet Architecture: the V-building, which ultimately never gets build. Other designs seen throughout the series are a U-building (courtesy of Ursula) and a H-building (courtesy of Hanz), neither of which get past the blueprints stage either. One of Vallalkozo's rivals eventually constructs a Y-building.
  • Amusing Injuries for most of the kids' enemies.
  • Animal Talk: the animals in Orphanimo can all talk to each other, but not to humans. Bruno lampshades this in the last album when the talks to a group of gorillas in what he calls “global animal language”.
  • And There Was Much Rejoicing: Ursula's reaction to Vallalkozo's assumed demise? "Champaign!"
  • Artistic License – Geography: Vallalkozo's shareholders are a bunch of National Stereotypes, so it's easy to see where they are from. When it's about midnight in Vallalkozo's city (no place given), it's noon somewhere in Africa, and dawn in Scotland.
  • Attending Your Own Funeral: played with in Banzaï potvis!, when Valllalkozo is assumed dead while he actually crashed on a deserted war ship, and Ursula organizes a "funeral" for him. Vallalkozo does not actually attend it, but he does watch it on a navigation system turned into an improvised TV. Although he is outraged at Ursula's obvious attempt to take over his company (since she knows he is in fact still alive), he is honestly touched when the coffin is lowered into the grave and admits Ursula does have a sense of drama.
  • Ax-Crazy: Roger Harris, the housebreaker.
  • Badass Bookworm: Grimelda spends half the series reading Uncle Archibald's diaries, but she isn't afraid to get into the action either.
  • Bathtub Scene: In the fifth album, there is a two-panel scene of Trish, Minky and Gri Gi in the tub, discussing how Alice refused Vallalkozo's last offer by literally throwing away the Briefcase Full of Money he offered her.
  • Battle Cry: Orphanimo, the title of the series, is also a battle cry used by the orphans. It's an portmanteau of "Geronimo!" (Jimjim's old battlecry) and Orphan.
  • Berserk Button: Don't insult Alice in front of the orphans or vice versa. Don't mock Jimjim in front of Alice.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Praline (mostly Dog in Distress growls at Raspoetin once. Everyone gets scared.
  • Big Bad: Vallalkozo during most of the series, and Douglas Zemeckis during the later part. In the second last album they briefly form a Big Bad Duumvirate, which does not last long.
  • Big Damn Heroes: FOTO and the sea police. They rescue Alice from Z-oil and later on they take over the oil rig. Also Gregorz Vallalkozo to Jimjim.
  • Big Red Button: To launch the rocket to Mars. Unsurprisingly, Ursula gets knocked into it.
  • Blackmail: Ursula blackmails Hanz. And Vallalkozo's parents blackmail Zemeckis.
  • Bold Inflation: the title of the series, since it’s also the Orphans’ battle cry and thus pretty much always shouted when used in-universe.
  • Bound and Gagged: The kids are rather good at doing this. They manage to catch a large part of Zemeckis's crew this way.
  • Cassandra Truth: The orphans need to draw their home at school. When they draw the pat, they have to write lines about not lying to the teacher.
  • Cats Are Mean: Raspoetin, Ursula's cat.
  • Cats Have Nine Lives: Raspoetin counts them. At the end, he only has one left.
  • Chair Entrance for Vallalkozo, though we get to see him even in the first album.
  • Children Are Innocent: When the kids discover a closet full of BDSM gear in Hanz's room, Trish just says "I didn't know he was a lion tamer." Also a bit of Foreshadowing as he uses his whip to defend against an angry dog a few albums later.
  • Christmas Episode: It isn't explicitly stated that it's Christmas, but it snows during 'The white Album' and the kids sing 'Bruno the red-nose reindeer'. It also appeared in December. But the next album in the series is the Halloween Episode...
  • Chromatic Arrangement: the 3 male orphans perfectly fit this trope. Vic dresses in red and frequently takes the lead, Sharp dresses in blue and is The Smart Guy, and Jay Jay dresses in green and (due to his age) is less involved in the action than the others.
  • Civilized Animal: Bruno can cook, clean the house and drive cars. He is unique in this however since other dogs in the series don't show these kind of abilities, and the reason why Bruno can is simply because Alice trained him very well.
  • Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: Agent Andrea is a well-known Flemish actress, who plays a similar role in the series Flikken. And the kids in the orphans' class in the third album are Flemish TV presenters on a kids' channel.
  • Compressed Hair: played with. In the third album, when the kids don't know yet that Alice is actually almost bald and wears wigs, Grigri notices the small hairnet Alice is wearing while making breakfast and wonders out loud how she can possibly fit all her hair underneath that. Her remark makes Alice realize she forgot to put her wig on.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: The villains get sent to Mars in a rocket that was actually designed to send a group of monkeys there as a first test to see if people can survive in the domes Z-Oil is building on Mars. Ursula and Douglas are in one spacesuit and Hanz and Raspoetin in another.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Vallalkozo. Later on, Hanz Zemeckis and his father.
  • Cranial Eruption: Both Orville Bleriot and Hari Vallalkozo get one.
  • Crashing Through the Harem: at the beginning of the first album, Vic, Sharp and Jay Jay do this on purpose in order to escape from a group of angry beach volleybal players that are pursuing them (see The Peeping Tom for the reason why). They run through a changing room where several woman are taking a shower. The 3 kids pass through without trouble, but the women are absolutely not amused about the adult men coming in and make this painfully clear to them.
  • Cut-and-Paste Suburb: In the third album, we get to see the neighborhood where all the people that sold their house to Vallalkozo already ended up as part of the deal; every single house looks exactly the same without even the slightest difference. Hans, who is forced to accept a house here due to being fired (for this story at least), remarks what a poor quality the houses are.
  • Disney Death: Jimjim
  • Door Slam of Rage: Currently provides the page image. In the second album, Alice and the Orphans go to the mayor in hopes that he will help them stop Hari Vallalkozo. Sadly, the Mayor is uninterested since he's a huge supporter of Vallalkozo and his plan to modernize the city, and even shows Alice some large maquettes of the skyscrapers Vallalkozo has already build. Enraged, Alice storms out of his office, slamming the door hard enough to shake the maquettes. Then she comes back in, tells the major that she definately is not going to vote for him, and slams the door even harder. This time, it causes the maquettes to topple over like dominoes, with the largest one falling on top of the mayor.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Quite a few characters, but mostly Bruno.
  • Drowning Pit: in the sixth album, a secret cave underneath the orphanage becomes one for Gri Gri when Hanz has the pit filled with water in an attempt to destroy the pat the Orphanage is standing on.
  • Edible Ammunition: Bruno's bread is used as cannonballs. Though the bread wasn't really edible to begin with...
  • Empathic Environment: When Alice finally decides to sell the orphanage, it immediately starts to rain. And a storm starts just as every character (except Trish and Minky, who seem to have drowned) is on Zemeckis's oil rig.
  • Evil Poacher: the whalers from the album "Banzai Potvis" can be considered this. They look like a bunch of dirty, modern-day pirates, so they are probably not licensed professionals, and they don't hesitate to attack the balloon carrying the orphanage when the orphans try to interfere with their whale hunting.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: the whole series takes place within a time span of, at most, a few weeks, but possibly even only a few days.
  • Fiction 500: Hari Vallalkozo is the richest man in the world, and Douglas Zemeckis the second richest. Their exact fortunes are never given, but in the final album (while deciding if she still wants to Marry Zemeckis or not) Ursula mentions the fourth richest person has only 30 billion dollars.
  • Fiery Redhead: a rare male example; Vic, the red haired orphan, is the most impulsive one of the five kids.
  • Flashback: every album contains flashbacks of Alice's and Jim Jim's live 30 years ago, in reversed order. The first album shows Jim Jim getting lost at sea, and every album following the first one shows a previous moment of their lives together until finally, in the second last album, we get to see how they first met.
  • Foreshadowing: Roger's bombing plane is first discussed by him in the second album, before finally being used in the seventh (face it; it was too cool to not use it).
    • Also, when discussing what to do about Vallalkozo, Grigri suggests they should steal the blueprints of his V-Building, but Trish doubts if Vallalkozo would actually be so foolish as to only have one copy of it. Later we learn that this is indeed the case, and the microchip containing the one copy becomes a MacGuffin during the second story arc.
  • Funny Background Event: every now and then.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Sharp
  • George Jetson Job Security: Vallalkozo fires people for any mistake. Even Hanz is not safe from this, but he manages to get re-hired every time.
  • Gold Digger: Ursula. She married (and divorced) Vallalkozo and tries to marry Zemeckis only for their money. She even complains to her cat that Zemeckis should be spoiling her.
  • Greasy Spoon: Alice briefly ends up working at one of these in the fifth album.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Vallalkozo After he falls in love with Alice, he becomes less and less evil until eventually he is willing to give up everything to be with her
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Roger, twice. First he manages to saw his own truck in half when he wants to scare the police away. Later, when he uses his wrecking ball bomber, he gets hit by his own wrecking balls and crashes on Easter Island.
  • Hollywood Hacking: Averted. Although Sharp is a computer expert and he does manage to hack the controls of the automatic window-cleaning platform on the outside of Vallalkozo's building, he clearly states he cannot hack the main computer of the building itself to shut down security or get insight in Vallalkozo's plans (especially not because he only has a laptop to work with).
  • Honest John's Dealership: Beauregard knowingly sells Vallalkozo a cruiseship that was used to dump nuclear waste and an island that will be blown up by the launch of a spaceship.
  • Human Popsicle: In the tenth album, the orphans end up at the north pole. There they find the frozen body of Alice's ancestor Archibald. When they thaw him out, it turns out he is not dead but was only in suspended animation. Later, he and his pet mammoth fall through the ice again, but the orphans leave him because he didn't like the 21st century.
  • Improbable Age: The orphans seem to be capable of things you wouldn't expect from children their ages (they appear to be somewhere between 8 and 10 years old, although Jay Jay is stated to be 3 years old in the first album).
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: quite a few.
  • Initiation Ceremony: When Jayjay gets accepted in the club, he needs to put his handprint on a roof beam and promise to never leave Alice (and thus help to sabotage every atempt of Alice to find foster parents for them)
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Vallalkozo/Jimjim
  • Like Father, Like Son: Hanz and Douglas Zemeckis are both a Corrupt Corporate Executive without the slightest bit of conscience. They really look like each other, too.
  • Love at First Sight: Bruno and Praline, Vallalkozo for Alice, Jimjim and Alice.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Inverted: it's Ursul who tells Vallalkozo he's his son. Averted later on, as Ursul is just a midget actor.
  • Luminescent Blush: When characters are angry (and they are a lot of the time), they get a luminescent red color around their eyes.
  • Meaningful Name:
  • Male Gaze: The first album starts with the boys using a remote-control zeppelin to spy on showering girls.
  • The Napoleon: Orville Blériot is smaller than Jayjay, but has a terrible temper and a even more terrible ego.
  • Never Found the Body: And as long as they don't, Alice refuses to believe that Jimjim's dead.
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: Vallalkozo has only a single copy of the blueprints for his V-Building, which is on a microchip implanted in his dog. Both Hanz and Ursula criticize him for not having more copies of such an important document.
  • Not the Fall That Kills You…: You can safely jump from a flying house or a skyscraper, as long as you have a rope around your waist, nothing will happen.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Although we learn their real names in the first album, and Alice does call them by their full names most of the time, the orphans only use their nicknames when referring to themselves or each other.
  • Orphanage of Love: The orphanage where the series is set. It’s small and humble compared to the big skyscrapers surrounding it, but to the orphans it’s their only true home.
  • Painting the Medium: You can see how people feel by looking at their text balloons: red means angry, pink irritated, green scared. Also, the text balloons for the animal characters are always yellow rather than white to indicate the fact that they speak in "animal language" which the human characters cannot understand.
  • The Peeping Tom: In the first album, while on the beach, Vic, Sharp and Jay Jay try to spy on some women in the showers with a camera (the images of which are send to Sharp's laptop computer) connected to a remote controlled miniature zeppelin. Unfortunately for them, they accidentally pick the men's shower instead and the beach volleyball players inside are not amused by the kids' antics. They succeed later after having ditched the angry men by deploying the Crashing Through the Harem trope.
  • Perky Goth: Trish wears dark clothes and sleeps in a room decorated with spiders and the like, but she's still a sweet girl.
  • Plot Allergy: Hanz is allergic to cats. Ursula owns one...
  • Pintsized Kid: The kids are roughly half the size of the adult characters, besides clearly being somewhere between 8 to 12 years old.
  • The Power of Love: Vallalkozo's falling in love with Alice marks a turning point in his evil career.
  • Reports About Hari Vallalkozo's Death Were Greatly Exaggerated
  • Robinsonade: The Japanese kamikaze pilot from "Banzaï Potvis!", who spend 60 years trapped on a stranded war ship after crashing his plane. He is finally saved when Vallalkozo, Hanz and the Blériot brothers crash on the same ship.
  • Running Gag:
    • Two smoking cleaning ladies (who don't seem to do much cleaning) that work for Vallalkozo, are constantly talking about a certain 'Irma'. We never get to see Irma or hear more about her than the mere fact the cleaning ladies like to talk about her.
      "Dus ik zeg, Irma, zeg ik, luister goed..."(So I say, Irma, I say, listen well...)
    • As the foundations for the V-building are dug, the Underground that turns out to be there becomes, well, above ground. Every time it goes through the pit, something (nearly) hits it and gets dragged along, be it Vic on a rope, a car/sled,... or something else happens, like the tunnel being closed or the rails gone. At the end of Banzaï Potvis, the tram driver even lampshades it, when the 'thing' is Ursula in a limousine:
      Station master:"Okay, ik heb het door. Hoe noemen ze zoiets? (Okay, I understand. What do you call something like that?)
      Waiting passenger:"Een running gag?"
  • Saving the Orphanage: The main plot for the entire series.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: Averted. Even with the advanced, nuclear powered rockets from Z-Oil, a trip to Mars still takes at least 500 days.
  • Selective Magnetism: When Roger is tasked to get the sewer pipes out of the pit, he uses a giant magnet, but accidentally turns it on while driving through the city towards the pit. As a result, he attracts about all metal, including cars, telephones and street lamps, but when he leaves, only the pipes are on his truck. All other metal things lie in the pit.
  • Series Continuity Error: Considering the fact that each album continues where the previous one left off, the whole series supposedly takes place within a time span of several days to possibly several weeks (see Extremely Short Timespan above). Yet, both the fourth album and the final album take place on October 31, the 30th anniversary of Jimjim's disappearance.
  • Sesquipedalian Smith: Inverted: Grimelda Atamutanmutamor
  • Shouldn't We Be in School Right Now?: averted in the first story arc, in which the orphans do go to school. More played straight in the second arc, when they start traveling the world and nobody seems to care that they are skipping school to do so.
  • Sibling Rivalry: Between Orville and Wilbur Blériot. If you even mention cooperating when they are present, expect a fight.
  • Sleepwalking: Both Bruno and Alice do this at the same time while dreaming of their loved ones. Hilarity Ensues when they run into each other.
  • Soft Water: Happens several times. The risk of drowning is still real, however.
  • The Starscream: Hanz to Vallalkozo. He starts as a rather clumsy sidekick that dreams of one day owning his own company. When Vallalkozo slowly turns into a good guy, Hanz more and more seizes this opportunity to overthrow Vallalkozo and take over his company
  • Swallow the Key: played with in the third album. Vic tries to lure a cop named Andrea to their house so they can prove it really is on a pat suspended on sewer pipes. To force her to come along, he handcuffs himself to her and pretends to swallow the key (which he keeps hidden in his mouth), but in the heat of the action he does accidentally swallow it.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Several times, the dialogue in a panel would take much longer to say than the action shown in the panel would allow. A very noticeable example comes from the eighth album; Vic falls through a hole in the roof (that was made by one of Roger's wrecking balls in the previous album) and passes through his bedroom before finally ending up in the living room downstairs. During his fall, he somehow has plenty of time to notice a roller skate under his bed and make a comment about it, and once downstairs he again has enough time to politely ask if someone would please catch him.
  • Tap on the Head: What causes Jimjim's amnesia, and later changes Vallalkozo back to Jimjim. However, not just any tap is good, as he gets several unconsciousness-inducing taps on the head before the right one happens.
  • Toilet Humor: The series is not above this:
    • Following the Swallow the Key incident mentioned above, Het Witte Album ends with Vic being forced to use the bathroom while still handcuffed to officer Andrea, with the rest of the orphans having the time of their lives mocking him.
    • In De Wezen van de Wind, Hanz and Vallalkozo accidently end up in the septic tank of Orville Bleriot's balloon. They are force to reveal themselves when Orville is about to use the toilet.
  • Toilet Paper Substitute: in the first album, in order to make it clear to Vallalkozo's representative that they don't intend to sell their house, the Orphans show him that they are using the contract he send them earlier as toilet paper.
  • Token Minority: Gri Gri is the only black character among the protagonists.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Chocolate spread for Jayjay, shrimp for Minky.
  • Traveling at the Speed of Plot: Especially in the second story arc, both the heroes and the villains travel around the world at remarkable speed. A few examples: the balloon that carries the orphanage travels from the nameless city to Easter Island in less than a day, and drifts off to the north pole overnight. Vallalkozo is able to travel from the nameless city to his parents in the south seas and back in a matter of hours.
  • Twist Ending: In the final album, it is revealed that Vallalkozo is in fact Jimjim, who has been suffering from amnesia ever since the accident at sea 30 years earlier
  • Vague Age: the orphans. Jayjay is the only one whose age is mentioned; he's 3 years old. The other kids are clearly older, but how much is never stated (Vallalkozo refers to Vic as "9 years old" in the eighth album, but it's unclear if that really is Vic's age or if it's just a guess).
  • Villainous Gentrification: At the start of the series, Vallalkozo has already turned pretty much the entire city from a Victorian style neighborhood into a concrete jungle filled with skyscrapers, and now he has his eyes set on the last remaining house; the Orphanage.
  • Wall Crawl: in the first album, Sharp modifies a vacuum cleaner into a device that allows you to scale vertical surfaces with the help of suction cups. It's even referred to as the Spiderman costume.
  • Walking Techfix: Jayjay is even better with machines than Sharp.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: a few minor plot points are not resolved, most likely because the writers didn't get permission to create a third series, so they had to bring the story to an end sooner than originally expected.