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Comic Strip / Bécassine

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Bécassine is a French comic strip created in 1905, written by Jacqueline Rivière and Joseph Pinchon, originally published in a magazine for little girls, La Semaine de Suzette. It is one of the oldest and longest running comic strips in existence, certainly in France, where it's very well known. Bécassine is so ancient that it predates all other Franco-Belgian Comics by several decades (namely Tintin (1929), whose facial expression originally resembled Bécassine's a lot). From 1905 until 1953, Pinchon's death, more than 27 volumes with Bécassine stories were published. After that the series continued with other artists and was kept in syndication until 1995, making it one of the all time Print Long-Runners!

Despite that the comic strip is fairly close to a regular children's book series, because there are no text balloons and the text is written down beneath the illustrations. Bécassine is also notable for being the first comic strip with a female protagonist. The titular character is a young provincial girl from the French region of Bretagne. She wears traditional clothing and is clumsy, yet has a heart of gold.

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A French film adaptation titled Bécassine! came out in 2018, starring Émeline Bayart in the role.


Tropes:

  • Bottle Episode: All action takes place in Bretagne.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Bécassine.
  • Comically Cross-Eyed: Averted with Marie Quillouch, whose cross-eyed nature is not treated as funny.
  • Cool Old Guy: Bécassine's grandfather.
  • Cute Clumsy Girl: Bécassine. Gets especially injured when she's told to do sports by the family's physician.
  • The Ditz: She herself is aware that she is not smart. "It's a well-known fact I am the dumbest one!"
  • Dub Name Change: In Dutch she was named "Toosje Tontel".
  • Fictional Counterpart: Her town of birth is Clocher-les-Bécasses, a Breton village which doesn't exist in real life.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Marie Quillouch, who is very nasty but still hangs with Bécassine a lot when they are kids without too much problems.
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  • Friend to All Living Things: Nice to animals. Especially when she thinks they are transformed fairy tale characters.
  • Gag Nose: Inverted. Her nose was noted as very short when she was born.
  • Iconic Outfit: Bécassine's green dress, white bonnet and clogs.
  • Ironic Nickname: Has been given the "Bécassine" nickname because her nose is very short, unlike a snipe bird's beak. (and in the region, a nose's length was considered proportional to the owner's intelligence)
  • Jerkass: Marie Quillouch, Bécassine's childhood "friend". Selfish, violent, greedy, nasty, manipulative.
  • Kind Hearted Simpleton: Is The Ditz and also a nice, generous person. Accepts an award where she has to say she is the stupidest student to get money, but she only did it to give it to a poor woman.
  • Meaningful Name: "Bécassine" is a type of snipe in French, but also means "fool". This is in line with her clumsiness.
  • Naive Every Girl: Bécassine is very naïve, not to say stupid, but "has a heart of gold".
  • No Mouth: Famously depicted without a mouth.
  • Nostalgia Filter: The stories are all set in rural France around the beginning of the 20th century.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Her real name is Annaïck Labornez. Her given name was considered too common by her grandfather, who suggested a nickname to differentiate her from other Annaïcks in the village.
  • Origin Story: The earliest comic strips depict how she was born and what happened during her youth.
  • Parasol of Prettiness: Bécassine once gets an umbrella to protect herself from the rain, but she doesn't want to damage it so instead uses it like a parasol under the sun.
  • Print Long-Runners: Since 1905.
  • Sinister Schnoz: Marie Quillouch, her cousin. While Bécassine has a short nose and is kind, Marie is nastier and has a much longer nose.
  • Womanchild: Bécassine has a rather Vague Age. Sometimes she seems to be a young woman. Other times she is more like a child. Most of the time she looks huge compared to the other, more realistically drawn characters.


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