Marsupilami bounces along

Beginning BD: How Did Marsupilami Get His Name?

A Marsupilami is an animal from the jungle land of the fictional South American country of Palombia.  He has a really long prehensile tail.  He’s married with three kids.

He’s also adorable, yellow, and speaks very little.  Variations of “Hoobah!” is all he ever says.

Marsupilami talking at night

Just a reminder: Franquin established the “Hoobah” thing decades before “I am Groot.”

Marsupilami was created by Andre Franquin for a Spirou story back in 1952.  (That would be in “Spirou et Les Héritiers”.)

When Franquin stopped drawing Spirou stories, Marsupilami basically left with him.  Eventually, Franquin started his own publishing effort in the late 1980s. He started a very profitable Marsupilami title with Batem & Greg there. That’s the series that Cinebook is currently reprinting.  I’ll have a review of their first volume later tonight.


Origin of the Name

The Marsupilami gets its name from a combination of three things:

First, the word “Marsupial.” You know, creatures with pouches that we usually think of as living in Australia.  Kangaroos.  Koalas.  Wallabies.  Tasmanian devils.

Cute koala bear in the tree picture

I’ll take any excuse to run a koala bear picture.  They’re adorable.


Second comes Eugene the Jeep.  Who’s that?

He was the yellow creature with a darker round nose, spotted first, and a tail in the classic Popeye comic strips. For example:

Wait, here, have a color image:

Eugene the Jeep from Popeye in colorEugene the Jeep from the old Popeye comics inspired Marsupilami

You can see the resemblance.

How does Eugene the Jeep fit into Marsupilami’s name, though?

In France, they called the character “Pilou-Pilou.” That gives you the “pil” sound in the middle of “Marsupilami,” basically.

Finally, the French word for friend is “ami“.

Put those three things together with a little massaging and you get “Marsupilami.”

By the way, Marsupilami’s country’s name, Palombia, is a similar smashing together of the countries Paraguay and Colombia.


Fun, Unrelated Fact

There’s a series of statues in Chester, Illinois of the Popeye comic strip characters. Yes, Eugene the Jeep is included.  He shares his statue with Olive Oil and Swee’ Pea.


  • JC LEBOURDAIS February 1, 2018 at 3:45 pm

    Fun BD factoids for the whole family. I like this!

    • Augie February 1, 2018 at 8:07 pm

      Thanks, and this one just happened to fit in with tonight’s review. I have a few more small ideas and a couple of bigger article ideas… We’ll see what comes of all this. Oh, and some bonus Asterix Agenda articles are in the works, too. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go put the graphics together for that Marsupilami review…


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