Superdupont Cover Header Image

Superdupont, v1: “Revival”

Le Superhero

A splash page of Superdupont and his son

The French are not superhero crazy like Americans.

Superdupont is a French parody of superheroes, starring the Frenchest of all possible French superheroes.  He’s so French you half expect him to carry a bottle of red wine and a To Go order of escargot while screaming “Ooh La La” and whatever other stereotypes you can imagine.

This website having an audience of superhero readers who likely have read lots of Chris Claremont “X-Men” comics, you’re likely thinking “Mon Dieu” would be heard a lot in this comic.  Sadly, it is not.

The character of Superdupont originated in the 1970s, but didn’t last all that long. Now, forty years later, the original writer, Gotlib, has teamed up with famed artist Francois Boucq and co-writer Karim Belkrouf to bring the character back for an album’s worth of stories of various lengths.

If that Boucq name sounds familiar, by the way, he also drew the “Bouncer” albums, as they are called in America.  I reviewed them for Pipeline 14 years ago.

 

The “Plot”

Mrs. Superdupont is having his baby.  The baby comes out immediately superpowered and ready to go, causing Superdupont to spend some time alone with the newborn while mom recovers.

The two go on a series of misadventures, from diaper changing to run-ins with airplanes in potato clouds (it gets surreal, folks) to a Mole Man-style villain kidnapping the baby and the prerequisite fight scene that results. There’s also a great self-contained short which is a takeoff on Daredevil’s origin story, as Superdupont saves a blind man and his dog from a truck presumably full of chemicals.

A sequence in which Superdupont parodies the Daredevil origin

The best part of the book is the one crazy over-the-top short story where Superdupont takes a moment to turn off a forgotten stove’s burner, lest a series of mishaps occur that would no doubt create mass chaos and casualties.  It’s a series of small, but escalating events that add up to tremendous carnage.  It’s nicely done.

Superdupont Chain Reaction

It only gets worse from here, folks. The French soccer team doesn’t fare particularly long. Then the zombies come…

Though the two-pager where he changes his son’s diaper is pretty entertaining, too..

Superdupont changes his son's diaper

Cheater.

While the stories succeed to different degrees depending on the reader’s tastes, the art by Boucq is beautiful. He draws Superdupont as a bit of a doofus, then treats him like the big lug he is, melodramatic and prone to histrionics.

He also does wide scale grandeur well, from flying amongst the clouds to soaring between tall buildings.  Then he can pull back for an even wider shot with Paris in the background and the setting sun backlighting everything beautifully.

The coloring works perfectly with the art, keeping the art front and center, while relying on more primary and bolder colors than usual to help fit the superhero motif.
 

Sense of Humor

Superdupont feeds his son milk. From a cow.

The stories are wonderfully strange, self-aware, well-told, and occasionally juvenile.  The style of humor varies throughout the book.

There’s the more gross-out element of Superdupont changing his son’s diaper, or the issues related to breast-feeding a superpower baby leading to a visual gag you’ll never seen in American superhero comics.  (Maybe if Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner were writing it, but that’s the best I can imagine.)

Superdupont versus sound effects

Then there’s the straight-up superhero comic parody in the back half, where Gotlib and Boucq channel their inner Will Eisners and Harvey Kurtzmans.  Superdupont fights off sound effects lettering, amongst other craziness.

Yes, this is a book that milks (punt intended) humor out of baby poop and breast feeding. The visuals are quite, uhm, graphic.

Recommended?

Superhero parodies are not new.  This one isn’t entirely new, either.

There’s a lot to recommend it, particularly in the art and in the more creative fourth-wall breaking of a superhero being aware of the superhero world he lives in.

Sound effects fight back against Superdupont!

The book is, ultimately, a one creative team anthology, with different kinds of stories that’ll land differently for everyone.  And those directions are scattered, from parenting to superheroic fights to many of the traits of superhero comics.

If it’s on sale for a couple of bucks, I’d recommend it. At full price, though, I’m afraid you might not get your full money’s worth.

And if you’re sensitive away from poop humor or breast feeding humor, this is likely a skip.

(This is Pipeline BD 100 review #7 of 100 for 2017.)

 

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3 Comments

  • JC Lebourdais January 23, 2017 at 9:42 am

    in the early eighties there was a short story where Superdupont meets thinly veiled parodies of Superman and Wonder Woman, drawn by the great Neal Adams (and probably inked by the Continuity crew). Marcel Gotlib perfectly captured the feel of both French BD and US Comics, which, for a lover of both genres, was supremely delightful. This appeared in French Magazine L’ECHO DES SAVANES, not sure if it was ever collected in album form.
    Come to think of it, I find myself enjoying your blog posts more and more, as I get to revisit some of my teenage years through your reading. It’s a nice evolution from writing about the Smurfs extensively (never really got into that crowd — a bit too childish for me, even back then) that you seemed to revel in for a long time.

    Reply
  • 8 Most Wanted Bamboo Translations - Pipeline Comics October 25, 2017 at 11:00 am

    […] more superheroic setting. You don’t get too many superheroes in French comics (hello, “Superdupont“), so I’d be curious how this one […]

    Reply

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