Australian Journal of French Studies

Mieux vaut en rire qu'en pleurer: Spirou à la rescousse du plat pays

Australian Journal of French Studies (2014), 51, (1), 7–21.

Abstract

On July 20, 2011—on the eve of the Belgian national day—the weekly bande dessinée magazine Spirou published an issue whose sales figures were two and three and a half times higher than usual in France and Belgium respectively.1 It was a "Save Belgium" special issue, in which, aside from the series underway, the magazine literally bears the Belgian standard and broaches the topic of the crisis.2 If the authors of Spirou offered solutions that are as extreme as they are off the wall, it is because the situation itself had taken on extraordinary proportions. Indeed, Belgium already held the record of "the longest-running government formation in living memory".3 What is the source of the problem? What are the solutions? What is the king doing? These are three recurring preoccupations in the short stories created by Dugomier and Ers ("Exorcisme communautaire"), Dal and Bercovici ("Plus belge la vie") and Feroumont (Le Royaume).4 After exploring the main lines of what constituted this Belgian crisis and the extent of the Belgianness of this issue of Spirou, I will turn to the recurring preoccupations of the three short stories offered by these authors. Finally, I will consider the use of humour to save Belgium in this issue of Spirou.5

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Author details

Pellegrin, Annick