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The principal cast. Note how the villain is actually more prominent...
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Tif et Tondu is a Belgian comic book series that counts 45 albums. It was originally created by Fernand Dineur in 1938 in Spirou magazine. The art was eventually handled by Willy "Will" Maltaite, and several writers followed, including the most influential, Maurice Rosy. The series ended with Alain Sikorski (art) and Denis Lapière (writing).

The plot is about two short fat guys called Tif and Tondu, a bald guy and a hairy and bearded guy. In the very beginning, Tif was on his own and a few weeks later, he met Tondu.

The heroes being not much more than Everymen, the series became popular mostly for its main villain: Monsieur Choc (created by Rosy), head of Nebulous Evil Organisation The White Hand, and being the reason the series is still remembered today. Tall and thin, wearing a tuxedo and his head being hidden by a knight's helmet and occasionally smoking with a cigarette holder, he was considered one of the great examples of evil coolness. Albums featuring him as the villain got a re-edit, with him prominently displayed.

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Despite their names, Tif (slang for "hair") is the bald one and Tondu ("shaven") is the hairy and bearded one.

Interestingly enough, the series did get a prequel series, which however revolves around Monsieur Choc. This is little wonder, considering he's one of the most interesting characters in Franco-Belgian comic book history. There sheer number of tropes below that are based on him are proof of this.


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Tropes:

  • Absolute Cleavage: One of Countess' party dress. It doubles as a Sexy Backless Outfit.
  • Alliterative Title: Tif et Tondu.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Transplanting a mechanical heart and a human brain on a gorilla turning him invisible!
  • Awesome, but Impractical: One Mad Scientist created giant armored knights impervious to artillery shells and are 100% obedient. However, they suffer the same problems as Mechas if they were invented in real life. Being knights, they're limited to melee weapons. Their gigantic size mean they are easier to spot and target, not to mention their low speed. In the end, they were finally destroyed with napalm bombs dropped from air bombers, which they have no defense against.
  • Art Evolution: The drawing early in the series is very rough and gets much smoother later on.
  • Breakout Villain: Originally, Monsieur Choc was only created to re-animate the series, which had been mediocre up to that point. His second appearance saw him arrested and de-masked. However, no one could have foreseen his insane popularity, causing him to return quickly. In the end, he became the villain of the series and even got a prequel series for himself.
  • Butt-Monkey: Of the two, Tif is more than often the victim of mockery, humiliation, bad luck, Distress Ball and such.
  • The Chase: When Tif and Tondu escape from a Dumb Muscle, our heroes get chased inside a castle. On five occasions, they shake off their pursuer with clever ways to neutralize him. Of course, all that could have been avoided if Tif or Tondu actually thought of taking the gun from the disabled henchman and turning the tables.
  • Chaste Hero: Through the albums, Tondu has no interest in women, which ironic since he gets married near the end of the series.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Monsieur Choc has no problem double-crossing his associates for greater benefits.
  • Clear My Name: Whenever Monsieur Choc is involved in their adventures, Tif and Tondu must constantly explain themselves to police corps around the world that they've been set up by Choc.
  • Coat, Hat, Mask: Monsieur Choc, with his tuxedo and helmet.
  • Darker and Edgier:
    • The last albums, which tended to more realistic storylines such as Tif and Tondu dealing with a hostage crisis.
    • The prequel series. Let's say it this way: Monsieur Choc can finally show why he's so feared.
  • Dreamwalker: Monsieur Choc is an evil variant of this in The Great Battle. The stuff he does to people in their dreams and threatening to turn them insane unless they comply with his demands is really nasty.
  • Deus ex Machina:
    • In one story, the Big Bad of the day dumped Tif and Tondu in a swimming pool. The holding bars have been removed prior to this and the automated roof closed over our heroes' heads. After a few hours, they were getting tired and it looks like they were about to drown. That is, until a bunch of teenagers decided to have a midnight swim in someone else's pool. They opened the roof, were shocked to find the pair and promptly rescued them.
    • After being framed by Choc, Tif and Tondu couldn't prove their innocence to the American police. A small boy recognized their faces from an old newspaper clip where our duo were heroes in another part of the country. After the boy brought the newspaper to the policemen, they contacted their colleagues in the other side of the country. The police on the other side vouched for our heroes and they were released.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Tif and Tondu assembled a vehicle using mysterious schematics left by a deceased scientist. The result was a revolutionary (for their time anyway) agricultural tractor. However, a man pretending to be the inventor accused them of stealing his invention. When the matter is taken to court, Tif and Tondu counter by asking the man how to operate the vehicle. Not knowing any of the answers, he tried to flee the courtroom only to be arrested.
  • Downer Ending: After trying to solve a mystery, a scientist reveals that he invented an amphibious vehicle that use clean energy. The oil industry didn't like this and has the test pilot killed by sabotaging the vehicle. The scientist wants to recover the body of the pilot, who happened to be his son. Unfortunately, the recovery doesn't go as planned. The scientist dies when the vehicle sinks in the deeper in the depths of the ocean. The oil industry erase all traces of the incident in a big cover-up.
  • Dub Name Change: Interestingly enough the French original calls the bearded one Tondu (translated: "Shaven") and the shaven one Tif (slang for hair). In the Dutch version this was changed around, calling the one with the beard Baard (translated: "Beard") and the bald one Kale (translated: "Bald one"), probably to avoid confusion from the readers (or the translators).
  • The Faceless: Monsieur Choc. At least until the prequel series, which finally shows his face and gives him a name and origin.
  • Fat and Skinny: Tif present his new date, Chiquita, to Tondu. She is lean and beautiful. Tif also present Chiquita's sister, Maria, who's a less mean and much larger.
  • Fountain of Youth: What the Nazis are seeking in Swastika.
  • Fowl-Mouthed Parrot: A theater was looking for a parrot for a play. Tif sold a parrot he acquired. The parrot delivered his dialogue line as planned... followed by a myriad of insults that ruined the play.
  • Giant Spider: Tif has hallucinations of seeing one in A Diabolical Plan.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Monsieur Choc uses a cigarette holder to smoke. Not only is it because he is a snappy villain, but also because it'd be difficult to smoke without it through his knight's helmet.
  • Greed: There's a small group of hotel employees who secretly sell special services. They help people disappear so they can start a new life. However, one of the employees, the ski instructor, goes insane when she saw the huge amount of money a client was carrying. She convinces the others to subdue their clients and steal their money instead. The plan didn't work and they end up killing their clients, disguising them as suicides. Tif and Tondu is hot on their trail and the ski instructor sacrifice her colleague (who ended-up dead) to buy some time and escape with loads of money with her.
  • Humongous Mecha: Monsieur Choc piloting the giant Toar statue in Toar Awakens.
  • Hyper-Competent Sidekick: One-shot character, Jade Flower, serves as Choc's deadly henchwoman. Also a Dragon Lady because of her martial arts prowess and Asian heritage.
  • Improvised Weapon: Several.
    • Tondu uses an underwater cutting torch in Curse of the Lighthouse to repel an attacking diver.
    • In Tif and Tondu against the White Hand, they use a carpet... two times in the same story.
    • The Return of Choc saw them and the crew of a dock use water hoses and instant cement to defeat attacking gangsters.
    • Some mooks under Monsieur Choc's employ had a hard time to neutralize Tif and Tondu. Then one of them comes in with a giant two-handed wrench. Ouch.
  • Ironic Nickname: The hairy one is named bald and vice versa.
  • Killed Off for Real: Monsieur Choc, apparently. On the other hand, we thought so before and were always wrong.
  • Lady Land: Much to his delight, Tif stumble across a tribe of beautiful young Amazons. That is until they force him to repopulate their tribe by continually have sex with them. He eventually escapes... only to run into a another tribe of Amazons.
  • Latex Perfection: When not wearing his helmet, Monsieur Choc wears latex-perfect masks. He has even fooled a whole nation by wearing one under his helmet and being arrested.
  • Lean and Mean: Choc is easily the tallest and slimiest of all the characters, especially compared to Tif and Tondu who are shorter and larger. He's also very evil.
  • No One Could Survive That!: Monsieur Choc goes through these several times. "Choc is never dangerous only when you believe he is alive!"
  • Out with a Bang: When senior old Nazis are captured by Tif and Tondu, the duo deliver them to a bunch of South-American Amazons who are in serious need of men to repopulate their tribe. Tondu hope that they die of a heart attack from overexcess of snu-snu. It fails as we see the Nazis free and on the loose months later.
  • The Peeping Tom: While hiding behind a one-way mirror, Choc spies on Gina when she changes clothes. He doesn't like been interrupted while watching.
  • Police are Useless: Zigzagged. Detective Match is fairly competent, but other police officers are portray as narrow minded, ineffective or stubbornly think Tif and Tondu are criminals.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: The "Cobra", a criminal organization of men in cobra suits who antagonize the Countess.
  • La Résistance: The "Ebauches" ("Stubs") in Magdalena, broken automatons who are denied repair.
  • Ridiculously Human Robots: In Magdalena. Choc's remote-controlled robots in The Villa of the Long Cry at least look like it on the outside.
  • Robot Girl: The eponymous Magdalena. Her creator locked himself in a room for hours with her, supposedly to enjoy her company. Subverted as she is not a sentient robot but a portal to a world populated with Ridiculously Human Robots who dress like a Masquerade Ball.
  • Rubber Man: Tif turns into one in a two-album story arc (The Green Matter and Tif Bounces Back).
  • "Scooby-Doo" Hoax: Exploited by a crook to hide his money counterfeit activities. He dressed up as a ghost to scare off villagers away from an abandoned castle where his operations took place.
  • Suicide, Not Murder: Inverted twice, in two completely different stories. A string of suicides happened in a lighthouse prompting our duo to investigate. It turns out they were a series of murders disguised as suicides. The setting get recycled in a hotel room in the last album of the series.
  • Strip Poker: Tif plays strip-dart-throwing with a woman. At first, she cheats by giving him unbalanced darts, but he gets better... and she's a sore loser.
  • Super Speed: In Choc Treatment, Monsieur Choc uses a special serum that gives super speed. It does come with all the theorized side-effects.
  • Take Over the World: One of Monsieur Choc's most ambitious plan. After mass producing vast amount of uranium-235, he planned to sell it to third parties revolutionaries. This will result in nuclear war with all major powers, destroying civilization. With no left to govern, Choc will subdue any remaining survivors, making him the world leader.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: In Swastika, where very old Nazis are looking for a Fountain of Youth, including one for Adolf Hitler himself who has basically become a vegetable.
  • Threatening Shark: Monsieur Choc about to get eaten by one in the very last panel of Choc 235. Of course he does escape.
  • Traveling Salesman: This has been Tif and Tondu's job early in the series. Unlike many depictions in fiction, they were portrayed as honest when doing their job. Like many depictions in fiction however, they were thrown out of houses and doors were slammed on their faces.
  • The Un-Reveal: A short story was about an agent who managed to get a photograph of Monsieur Choc without his helmet. The end revealed the photograph to be Choc's - useless - baby picture.
  • Villain Protagonist: The prequel series is this, although it can be excused since Monsieur Choc is simply that good of a character.


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