Today, Didier Conrad draws Asterix and Yann Le Pennetier has written everything from Lucky Luke and Marsupilami to Sambre and Dent d’ours (“Beartooth”). Yann has three Spirou albums to his name, with a fourth coming out next year; Conrad is expected to start drawing his first at around the same time. You might say they’re as respectable as can be (though Yann in particular still knows how to create controversy). Back in 1980, however, the young duo were outsiders full of rebellion against the establishment and ready to push the boundaries of good taste.
This week brought the announcement that their short-lived series of Journal de Spirou gag cartoons from this period is about to be published in a collected edition, Dans l’enfer des hauts de pages (“In Hell at the Top of the Page”). In those cartoons, the two made a habit of using the Spirou character as a representation of the magazine itself.
That wasn’t their first ongoing collaboration, however, nor the first time they used Spirou in this way. They had already made a splash with another provocative series that eventually got booted from the magazine (although they were able to continue it through other venues): Les innommables (“The Unspeakables”), the story of three American soldiers whose insubordinate attitude fit their own. Here in this one-page promotion for the second Unspeakable adventure, Shukumeï, Yann & Conrad reflect on the supposed impact of the first episode, Matricule triple zéro (“ID Triple Zero”):
If nothing else, this page should make it clear that Conrad is very much capable of drawing Spirou!