Jun 052017
 
Journal de Spirou #4127 cover, 'Spirou et l'affaire du pingouin' ("Spirou and the Case of the Missing Penguin"; ill. Pascal Jousselin; Copyright (c) 2017 Dupuis and the artist; image from izneo.com)

Journal de Spirou #4127 cover, with pictures showing Oceane and her missing penguin as well as the six suspects. By Pascal Jousselin (2017)

A few weeks ago, the Journal de Spirou did a special concept issue (#4127) devoted almost entirely to Pascal Jousselin’s Spirou et l’affaire du pingouin, which might be called something like “Spirou and the Case of the Missing Penguin” in English. Let’s have a look!

(Actually, pingouin doesn’t mean “penguin” in French, but refers rather to the Arctic auk. However, the words are often confused, which is a plot point in the story).

From Journal de Spirou #4127, 'Spirou et l'affaire du pingouin' p. 1 ("Spirou and the Case of the Missing Penguin"; ill. Pascal Jousselin; Copyright (c) 2017 Dupuis and the artist; SR scanlation)
From Journal de Spirou #4127, 'Spirou et l'affaire du pingouin' p. 2 ("Spirou and the Case of the Missing Penguin"; ill. Pascal Jousselin; Copyright (c) 2017 Dupuis and the artist; SR scanlation)

Just after Spirou and Seccotine arrive on the island, Miss Oceane’s pet penguin is kidnapped, and all the other guests and staff members – six eccentric characters – are suspects. Soon, Spirou, Fantasio and Seccotine split up to follow individual investigations, in short “chapters” written by Jousselin and drawn by various artists. There are also “flashback” stories about the six different suspects, which show that they all had a motive for the crime.

From Journal de Spirou #4127, 'Spirou et l'affaire du pingouin: Seccotine mène l'enquête' p. 1a ("Spirou and the Case of the Missing Penguin: Seccotine Investigates"; ill. Thierry Martin & Pascal Jousselin; Copyright (c) 2017 Dupuis and the artist; SR scanlation)

The start of Seccotine’s investigation. By Pascal Jousselin & Thierry Martin.

From Journal de Spirou #4127, 'Spirou et l'affaire du pingouin: L'abonné de la semaine' ("Spirou and the Case of the Missing Penguin: The Subscriber of the Week"; written by Pascal Jousselin; Copyright (c) 2017 Dupuis and the artist)

The “subscriber of the week” column has been commandeered, presenting an interview with one of the suspects and offering part of a clue.

What really takes the concept to another level, though, is that the mystery is woven into every other part of the magazine as well: all the other magazine comics set in the present day feature a guest appearance by one of the suspects, or some other clue. For example, in Les Psy (“The Shrinks”) by Bédu & Cauvin, we learn that “the Colonel” has a crippling fear of heights. Further clues – some important, others red herrings – are spread around the letter pages, the games page, gags in the margin, even the ad for magazine subscriptions. With all the clues, it is possible to deduce who the kidnapper must be by eliminating all other suspects. The solution is revealed in the next week’s issue, which concludes the mystery in 8 additional pages. Mysteries and “challenges to the reader” can be tricky to get right, but this strikes a nice balance, with a solution that makes sense, plays fair with the clues available to readers, and requires close attention and the ability to draw connections to solve.

It’s an ambitious concept, which came from the reader Nathalie Collet in response to round 10 in the 2014 Spirou Challenge, and it’s carried off with great success by Jousselin and the rest of the Journal crew.

To present it in full would require translating the whole magazine, so this sample will have to do.

  One Response to “Scanlation Sample: The Case of the Missing Penguin”

  1.  

    Seems like the most correct translation of penguin in French is “manchot”, although constant mixups and impact from English possibly might change that in the future.

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