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Comic Book / Zipi y Zape

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Don't worry, Mum. You'll only have to buy ONE new pair of shoes. I kick with the right foot and Zipi with the left foot. Lucky, isn't it?
Zipi y Zape are the names of two iconic Spanish comic book characters created by José Escobar Saliente in 1947, and of their eponymous strip. With Mortadelo y Filemón, they are the most popular and most translated Spanish comic books. Their name is derived from the Spanish word zipizape, meaning "turmoil" or "chaos". This word is seriously outdated though and most people under 60/70 will probably think of the comic book if you say it.

Zipi and Zape are young twin brothers who do poorly in school. Mischievous and energetic, they are fans of soccer. They are distinguished solely by their hair color: Zipi is blond, Zape black-haired. Other featured characters are their father, Mr. Pantuflo, a professor of philately and Colombophilia; their mother, the hard-pressed Mrs. Jaimita; Mr. Minervo, their strict teacher; Peloto, the teacher’s pet (and thus the twins’ enemy); Sapientín, their genius cousin, and Toby, their faithful dog. There's also Carpanta, the perpetually-hungry hobo who would do anything for some roast chicken, and his surprisingly-fat-for-a-hobo philosopher friend Protasio.

Their stories are usually short, about one to eight pages long, but occasionally some are longer, about 44 or 48 pages. They are humorous, based on the twins' antics and their effects, since often they backfire spectacularly.


The popularity of Zipi y Zape has prompted the creation of derivative works, like video games, an animated TV series in 2003 — which was wrapped up with Direct to Video animation film Las monstruosas aventuras de Zipi y Zape in 2005 — and three live-action movies, Las Aventuras de Zipi y Zape in 1981, Zipi y Zape y el club de la canica in 2013 and Zipi y Zape y la isla del capitán in 2016.

This comic provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Played for Laughs. Mr. Pantuflo has no trouble in brutally beating the twins or locking them in a mice infested room with no food or water. Even worse is the fact that this is seen as normal.
    • Mr. Pantuflo, in the later Escobar strips (the ones which are mostly available), is a saint in comparison with his incarnation in the older, black and white ones, in which he punished his sons with incredibly brutal and sadistic penalties, such as crushing them with a huge steamroller, tying them to a bed of spikes with a large and scary boulder over their head or abandoning them in the middle of the sea. By far, the most disturbing of all is one strip in which Mr. Pantuflo puts them on a guillotine with a basket at the bottom to collect their severed heads.
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    • The same happened in the first color ones. Punishments included throwing them into a lion-infested room, sending them packed into a satellite to the stratosphere, or fusing both brothers into one, so Pantuflo would always know who did all mischiefs.
  • Adaptation Decay: Bolete, a somewhat overweight kid introduced in the brief Ramis-Cera age of the comic books, suffered of this in the animated series. He was turned into a dumber and fatter version of himself with serious hygiene issues; and on top of that, he was renamed Puag — which in Spanish is an expression of disgust similar to "Yuck" or "Ewww".
  • Adaptation Expansion: The 2003 animated series introduced some of Zipi and Zape's classmates that were never seen in the comics, such as Invi, Evilina or Wanda.
  • Alliterative Name: The twins' full names are Zipi and Zape Zapatilla.
  • Animal Theme Naming: Lechuzo looks a bit like an owl ("Lechuza" in Spanish is "barn owl", but he looks more like a regular owl, "buho")
  • Animated Adaptation: Two episodes can be viewed on Youtube here and here.
  • Annoying Arrows: The twins are attacked with arrows twice in "El tonel del tiempo", during their trips to Ancient Greece and the Middle Ages. These attacks happen when they are already running back to the barrel, and the arrows seem to just disappear when they cross back into the present, which makes them fully healthy again.
  • Art Evolution: Compare this and this.
  • Artistic License – Sports: In "Olimpiadas escolares", during the Brazil vs San Agapito futsal match, as Zipi & Zape's school team is making the comeback, Sapientín plans a 'perfect shot' by calculating a really complicated ball trajectory on the fly. Sapientín scores with this tactic... and the goal is given as legal even though it involved going far off the pitch and then back in.
  • Bad Liar: Evilina in the animated series. Not that it was really her fault: as a result of a failed experiment by Peloto, she suffered mutations of her body every time she lied.
  • Been There, Shaped History: In 'El tonel del tiempo' ("The barrel of time"), the twins timetravel to Ancient Egypt and construct a prosthetic nose for Queen Cleopetra, who is upset on her really ugly nose, inspired on the Great Sphinx of Giza. She then orders the complete destruction of everything that is more beautiful than her new nose, so Zipi and Zape deface the sphinx to prevent it from being completely demolished.
    Zipi: As long as the future generations can appreciate it...!
    Zape: Don't think so, they'll say it was Napoleon.
  • Book Dumb: The twins. They can build a time machine out of a barrel and a broken grandfather's clock, but then they'll struggle to do their homework: calculate 5*13.
  • Bowdlerise: Inverted and downplayed — while Escobar's comics were mostly curse word-free, characters were prone to dropping the occasional mild curse in the Ramis-Cera age.
  • Brick Joke: The "Around the world" 44-page story has one. When the family wins a free trip around the world and they're told that any extra cost will also be covered. Once they finish the trip, they find that the company that gave them the trip is now in bankrupt after paying for all the destruction caused by the twins.
  • Broken Aesop: Several, usually courtesy of the twins' parents. For example: Mr. Pantuflo has promised, several times, that if their twins get an A he will buy them a bike, the object of their desires. They got an A once (they got As quite frequently in fact), not because of any academic prowess, but they got it fairly. So Mr. Pantuflo was obliged to "buy them what they wrote on a piece of paper" they gave him before. The paper was, predictably, full of typos ("We wan a visikle wit too weels") so Mr. Pantuflo said "I don't know what a 'visikle' is, it's not in the dictionary - so I'm not buying it." Kids, don't bother being a good kid: unless your spelling is good, your parents will screw you on a technicality.
  • The Butler Did It: In one number the twins volunteer to investigate who stole from a woman. Their first question is if she has a butler. She has not.
    Well, if you had a butler, solving this would be a lot easier.
  • Child Prodigy: Sapientín.
  • Class Clown: The twins are portrayed this way sometimes.
  • Composite Character: The Peloto from the 2003 animated series was a mixture of the Professional Butt-Kisser Peloto from the comics with Sapientín's Insufferable Genius traits.
  • Continuity Reboot: The series continued briefly after Escobar's death, now in the hands of cartoonists Juan Carlos Ramis and Joaquín Cera, who put the characters forward to the 21st century.
  • Crossover:
  • Delivery Stork: In El tonel del tiempo, the twins use the titular barrel to time-travel to the day they were born. They come out of the barrel as babies, with the stork holding both of them... and have to pull off one of their shenanigans to prevent their own delivery from suffering a last-minute change of destination.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • Sometimes, Zipi and Zape are chastised for really stupid reasons, one notably one is when Mrs. Jaimita punish them to cutting grass in the garden just because they didn't know how to use a flypaper.
    • And Jaimita is by far the nicest one of the parents. Pantuflo, the father, borders on the Abusive Parents trope, as he's able to punish them for things they've clearly done not deliberately just as if they've done that way, and sometimes for things he's actually the one to blame.
  • Doesn't Like Guns: Gendarmes (not policemen as it should be, because of censorship) use sabers instead of guns.
  • Don't Make Me Take My Belt Off!: But using a matress beater, a good ole' spanking or the dreaded "Mice Room"
  • Driven by Envy: Peloto. His attempts to be as famous as Zipi y Zape often backfire quite espectacularly.
  • Food Pills: Parodied. In one story where the twins travel to the future, they're given pills that make them instantly learn their school lesson.
  • Half-Identical Twins: Zipi and Zape look exactly the same... except for their hair color. Lampshaded in one instance when they reveal that they were both born black-haired but Zipi's wearing a blonde wig. Jaimita complains that their revelation might have costed them the job.
    • In one episode, the twins have a sudden crush on their neighbour Lupita, and simultaneously confess to her. When Lupita tells them that she doesn't like blondes, Zipi just dyes his hair black with a marker. He even comments: "It's the end of being two-coloured twins. Now we are identical".
  • Harmless Villain: Manitas de Uranio, resident burglar of the neighborhood, is totally inept and gets owned by the twins every time he tries to steal from their house.
  • Helping Granny Cross the Street: This seems to be the twins' favorite good deed, according to the number of times it appears in the comic.
  • Hypocrite: Mr. Pantuflo.
    • Just to add some examples: one story features him telling Zipi and Zape off because he thought they were smoking cigarettes (they weren't), explaining how unhealthy they are. He doesn't mind that he's almost always smoking himself.
    • Mr. Pantuflo often tells Zipi and Zape off because of their bad marks on school, telling them he always got A. One story, however, revealed he never achieved more than a B. Although whether this is canonical is questionable, the fact is that Pantuflo is always depicted as having trouble at the time of helping Zipi and Zape with their homework.
  • Identical Twin ID Tag: Their hair colours.
  • Informed Flaw: The twins have bad publicity and some stories show the citizens running away in panic from Zipi and Zape as if they were terrorists or horrible monsters. In reality, Zipi and Zape are two of the nicest characters in the comics, and they always want to help people.
    • Besides, their father is always telling off his children how they are going to fail at every possible way in their life. He doesn't seem to realize how incredibly intelligent they are. Come on, in one story they even managed to create a vaporizer able to enlarge or shrink objects!
    • The bad publicity may be due to Characterization Marches On. In earlier stories, the twins were slightly more mischievous and more prone to perform pranks such as tying cans to dog tails. In later stories (the ones that are easier to find and everyone remembers), this trait is dropped, but the citizens' reaction to their pranks isn't.
  • Insufferable Genius: Sapientín.
  • Kick the Dog: Peloto does this a lot. Literally.
  • Manchild: Mr Pantuflo has shades of it, throwing tantrums now and then when things don´t happen the way he wants. One of the best examples is a story where he is trying to get tobacco without success. At the end, seeing that he will not be able to get a cigarette, Mr Pantuflo starts crying and whining like a little child. Zipi and Zape even tell him that they are ashamed of him.
  • Meaningful Name: Zipi and Zape are named from the Spanish word zipizape ("chaos", "turmoil"). Peloto takes his name from one of the meanings of the Spanish word pelota ("suck up"), Sapientín's name obviously comes from sapient, etc.
  • My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels: In Robinsones Zapatilla, with the entire family taking part in a Survivor-like reality show, Pantuflo tries to communicate with a savage tribe. It doesn't end well.
    Jaimita: No, silly... (takes the dictionary from Pantuflo and does an "Oh, Crap!" face) You told him "your father's a complete faggot"!
  • Professional Butt-Kisser: Peloto is built around this trope. Also Lechuzo, Peloto's crony is Peloto's very own but-kisser.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Once in a blue moon, Mr Pantuflo stops being a prick to his sons and actually attempts to provide Zipi and Zape with useful advice and teach them life lessons. For instance, in a story, after the twins get another F, Mr Pantuflo tries to convince them of the importance of hard work and surpassing your limits. Unfortunately, it fails spectacularly because Zipi and Zape ends up assuring that they really work hard... on getting F marks.
  • Rousing Speech: Combined with flashbacks for hilarious effect in the Ramis-Cera age story Olimpiadas escolares. The twins, Peloto, Sapientín and Bolete are in Brazil to play a futsal match against some members of Brazil's national soccer team. At halftime, the Brazilian squad is curb-stomping them 5-0 and Pantuflo decides to step in:
    Pantuflo: You, Bolete, aren't a great goalkeeper, but at the school playground, I've seen you pull off impossible saves... You remember?
    Bolete: That's true! [flashback of Bolete using sheer strength to lean the goal so that the ball won't go in]
    Pantuflo: You, Zape, know how to distract defenders...
    Zape: I sure do... [flashback of Zape distracting a defender with a Playboy centerfold]
    Pantuflo: ...and Peloto knows how to stop an opposing striker... [flashback of Peloto raising his leg during a match so that his loosened boot goes right into the mouth of the opponent]
    I've seen Sapientín do incredible things playing as a defender... [flashback of Sapientín burying himself in the pitch and pulling his hand out so that the opposing striker can't pass]
    ... and I've never seen anyone faster with the ball than Zipi. [flashback of Zipi running for his life after a Broken Glass Penalty]
  • Self-Plagiarism: In the late 80s Escobar started a new series about, wait for it... two twin brothers with different hair color, Terre and Moto (Terremoto, "Earthquake") who, huh, were mischievous but kind and smart and went to school and had adventures. Apparently, Escobar had a falling out with his old publisher but they had the rights to Zipi y Zape so Escobar decided to start a new IP as similar as possible to his old one. The new series wasn't exactly successful and Escobar was back to drawing Zipi y Zape before long.
    • Minor detail: Terre and Moto are not twins. Terre is the older brother, and Moto is two or three years his junior. The pilot story when they are introduced ends with the family celebrating the newborn Moto christening, and Terre is already a toddler able to stand by himself.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: EVERYONE, particularly the Zapatilla family. If they can say "Esteemed and beloved sibling" they won't say "Dear brother".
  • Smug Snake: Peloto, a particularly repulsive one.
  • Stern Teacher / Sadist Teacher: Mr. Minervo.
  • Sticky Situation: Happens often as a result of the twins' mischief.
    • In one instance, Mr. Pantuflo brings a paper cut-out toy house for Zipi and Zape, but won't allow the kids to assemble it until they have finished their homework. As expected, the twins do just a bit of work, then proceed to cut and assemble the house using superglue. When they hear their father is approaching to check on their homework, they put the paper house under the table and hide the glue... under their butts. Mr. Pantuflo soon discovers that that they are glued to the chairs, and leaves them there until they finish their homework.
  • Teacher's Pet: Peloto (although to what extent depends much on the story).
  • Teen Genius: Zipi and Zape actually fit here. Despite having bad marks at school, they are both depicted as extremely intelligent, and always being able to figure out an answer to any problem.
  • Theme Twin Naming: Zipi and Zape. Their father considered Romulus and Remus.
  • The Movie: One in 1981, which almost nobody in Spain remembers today.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: All the story about the time travel machine built in a barrel revolves around this trope. In the first chapter, the twins use it to transform a wall lizard into its evolutionary ancestor (which turns out to be a crocodile). In all the other chapters, the twins use it themselves; it no longer makes anything appear in the present time, but depending on the chapter, it either just takes them to the past, or somehow transforms them in their ancestor (and, somehow, with all the knowledge and remembrances that those ancestors have). In one chapter, when their mother makes an omelette with an egg found in the past, the twins remark that its strange look is due to the fact that the egg had over two hundred years, even though the time travel should have prevented the egg from aging. Finally, in the last chapter, the twins get trapped in the future when their machine gets broken; strangely, in a rare example of a inverted San Dimas Time, it's said that house prices were getting higher because of the twins' absence.
  • Train Problem: Very common, they get those as assignments half the time and one entire long story is set around solving one. They do this when they aren't asked simple multiplication. Which they have trouble with anyway.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Carpanta and his roast chicken. Roast chicken is not rare or expensive at all in Spain today , but it was almost a luxury (a "special occasion" kind of food) in Francoist Spain. Then it just of stuck.
  • Twin Switch: They do this a few times, but end up getting caught.
  • Unexpectedly Obscure Answer: Deliberately set up by the twins in Olimpiadas escolares, when trying to prevent a rival team from winning a sports quiz show. They disguise as the show's secretary and present an envelope to the host containing the question "What is the name of the mother of the Zaire national team's goalkeeper?" Obviously, the rival team fails to figure it out.
  • Walking Disaster Area: In many stories, but especially the "Around the world" story. The twins are sort of famous, too - some people (and animals) recognize them on first sight. And usually run away.
  • You Can't Get Ye Flask: On a game based on the comic books, apparently you had to drop a nail so that your father sits on it and wounds himself with it and drops a patch. The thing is, people tried lots of variations of "drop nail" or "put nail near father" without any progress. It took SEVENTEEN years until someone with programming knowledge hacked the game files and found out that the exact code had to be "throw nail under tree". As if nails had to be thrown, or anything could be put under trees. Let's all play nail throw! You can find the whole thing explained, if you can read Spanish, in here..