Jun 202014
 

'Go Champignac!' (ill. Nic Broca & Alain de Kuyssche; (c) Dupuis and the artists; SR scanlation)

“It’s the perfect time! A football story for the World Cup! And when else would we run it?” That’s more or less the logic for posting the 1981 adventure Go Champignac! as a scanlation in four parts now. It’s certainly not for its high quality or because it holds any other interest, except perhaps as arguably the worst Spirou story ever made…

In 1981, Nic Broca had been picked to take over the series from Fournier, against the wishes of the magazine’s editor, Alain de Kuyssche. He had already done one short adventure, Le Fantacoptère solaire (“The Solar Fantacopter”), written by de Kuyssche under a pseudonym. Given the controversy within the company and the lack of a permanent writer for the series, the Journal announced a contest to let readers write a manuscript. Unfortunately, none of the entries were deemed usable, and de Kuyssche had to write Allez Champignac! (“Go Champignac!”) himself at the last minute, commenting with irony: “I had to concoct the story in a just over a day and a night, which accounts for its immense originality and undeniably high caliber.” It was published without credit in the special issue Spirou Festival Estival, and was never reprinted or collected anywhere until the Nic & Cauvin Spirou intégrale vol. 12 in 2012, where these scans are from.


The story is 27 pages in total, and the plan is to divide it into four parts of 6-7 pages each. The thrilling continuation of the adventure should hopefully be up at the end of the week.

  14 Responses to “Scanlation Someday: Go Champignac! (Part 1)”

  1.  

    I feel like I need to get a few things off my chest about this story. So first of all, the drawing is pretty poor. Nic has an OK grasp of Spirou and Spip, but his Fantasio looks almost deformed and has nearly constant “Snork eyes” (check out his sulking on p. 5, for example). The secondary characters fare even worse, with the Count and Mayor frequently looking off-model (some of the worst examples are yet to come) and the new characters having dull designs.

    And then there’s the writing. Hoo boy! Three big things stand out. First is the amount of padding. Half a page devoted to Spirou & Fantasio remembering to close the door as they leave the house. Nearly two pages about the Mayor having bought the team new uniforms. This whole installment could easily be boiled to three pages, simply by cutting out pointless digressions.

    Which brings us to the second criticism: How completely random and illogical so much of it is. Spip is annoyed because… Spirou and Fantasio are singing while putting up wallpaper? How much noise could they be making? And why is he so shocked that there’s someone at the door? Then again, why would the Count be sending them a telegram instead of just calling? It makes no sense! And Spirou decides that this means they must drop everything they’re doing and leave this very minute, not even letting Fantasio wash his hands? (Spirou is being kind of a dick here, as are many of the characters in this story.) And now suddenly Spip is taking a bath? WTF?

    Of course, it turns out that there was no emergency at all, and all of it was just a ruse to get them to train the football team. Rather a whole charade than simply asking. (It’s unclear from the story whether the telegram was in fact sent by the Count or by the Mayor, but apparently they both knew about it.) Also, keep in mind that S&F have not ever before shown any particular expertise in football, and no reason is ever given why they would be considered qualified for this task. Let’s not even get into how the whole “Fandangle Cup”, a European trophy, as the Count pointlessly specifies, is apparently decided by a single match between two entirely obscure teams. Finally, the whole bit with the uniforms is just bizarre: I made Spip’s comment sarcastic, even though in the French version as far as I can tell he genuinely admires them, because (a) they are in fact hideous (possibly a 1980s fashion symptom), and (b) if the uniforms are supposed to be nice, where is the joke?!

    The third point that stands out is just how derivative the whole thing is. Spip’s annoyance over the noise rips off the beginning of QRN sur Bretzelburg (“QRN Over Bretzelburg”), the distress call from Champignac and the telegram business echoes La Peur au bout du fil (“Fear at the End of the Line”) and Les Pirates du silence (“The Pirates of Silence”). The lurking shadow has a number of precedents, including in Le Prisonnier du Bouddha (“Prisoner of the Buddha”), Panade à Champignac (“Chaos in Champignac”), and Du Cidre pour les étoiles (“Cider for the Stars”). Later on there are bits lifted from La Repaire de la murène (“The Lair of the Moray”). Needless to say, all these elements worked much better and made more sense in the original stories.

    I have sympathy for de Kuyssche and Broca, who I’m sure did the best they could in a difficult position under lots of time pressure, but they were the wrong people for the job, and the results are woeful.

  2.  

    Commitment to brevity and economy of expression! Word!

  3.  

    Btw, I see that De Kuysche and Nic Broca are using many secondary characters here, including the Mayor and Count Champignac. I heard that, for some reason, Cauvin and Broca weren’t allowed to use any secondary characters during their run, and that was another reason their work seemed so sub-par.

  4.  

    Also, anachronist nitpick – “Wake me up before you go-go” wasn’t released before 1984, 3 years after this story was made…

    (It had to be said.)

    •  

      Close enough! The alternatives were even more contemporary (someone suggested “Call Me Maybe”), and in any case I don’t consider historical accuracy a top priority here. I’ve seen a scanlation of QRN sur Bretzelburg that uses a bunch of modern tunes for the annoying songs on the Marsupilami’s transistor radio (“Mambo no. 5”, “What Is Love (Baby Don’t Hurt Me)” etc.), and as long as it’s funny I think it works well.

  5.  

    […] So, here we have part 2 (of 4) of Nic Broca & Alain de Kuyssche’s Go Champignac! (Allez Champignac!) Part 1 here. […]

  6.  

    […] Nic & de Kuyssche’s football opus (which still hasn’t featured any football). (See Part 1, Part […]

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