Litigation over the return of Andre Franquina “Gaston” as comic culture

A sentence like the silhouette of the Grim Reaper, suddenly he’s on the screen. Offended, accusatory, even threatening: “We haven’t heard from you.” My God. If only the screen could look as sullen and paranoid as the great Franquin’s black-headed gull. It’s about the tangle of the Identity Verification Request on the screen including app-something on the Telefonino. Eh sure, bosses: That’s it so important. But an agonizing word nonetheless, identity verification requirement, which linguistically points the way to hell. So to the office under pandemic home office conditions – full of IT comedy that reliably slides into pure horror.

Today, Gaston, who refused to work, would be more important than ever

But now it is the case that the cruelly humorless accountant Bolte in the Gaston comic since 1957 has become an authenticator app in reality. And that Gaston won’t be resuscitated (so quickly) to stand by our side after all. The office factotum Gaston – actually Gaston Lagaffe from “la gaffe”: the clumsiness, the derailment – would be more important than ever. Along with his cactus, the black-headed gull and an anarchist talent for sabotage and refusal to work. Gaston would destroy the authenticator app in a surreally hilarious way.

Gaston’s comeback, invented by Marsupilami creator André Franquin, will not materialize for the time being. A quarter of a century after Franquin’s death, one of the style-defining illustrators and authors of Franco-Belgian comics, Gaston was supposed to experience a renaissance. Dupuis Verlag, known for comic series such as “Spirou” or “Lucky Luke”, announced this at the Angoulême comic festival. The volume “Le Retour de Lagaffe”, drawn by Canadian Delaf, was originally due to be published on October 19 with an initial print run of 1.2 million copies.

On the other hand, Franquin’s daughter Isabelle fights back. Her father once decreed that Gaston himself had to die after the author’s death. On the other hand, Dupuis boss Stéphane Beaujean points out loudly mirror on clauses from the rights contract that “made a takeover possible”. Nevertheless, the publication of the 22nd Gaston volume is suspended, a court decision is to be awaited. It’s announced for September. Chaos reigns, as the lovable messenger Gaston, who works in the comic in a curious publishing house that seems oddly familiar, could not have been more delightfully instigated.

Hardly any office narrative of post-war modernism is conceivable without Gaston

Isabelle Franquin wants to protect her father’s legacy by refraining from any adaptation; the publisher wants to protect the legacy by continuing it. That all living participants could possibly also be concerned with financial interests: Only the Black-headed Gull could come up with this idea – or Sergeant Knüsel (as he is called for the German translation by Kauka Verlag), who has no heart for illegal parkers.

TV series like “Mad Men”, but also Bernd Stromberg alias Christoph Maria Herbst: Hardly any office narrative of post-war modernity, which thrives on the burgeoning management company and currently on the hot-running data processing company, is conceivable without Gaston as a speech bubble variant of the tragically successful insurance broker Franz Kafka. He deserved a comeback. We need him as a post-heroic slob who retains a moment of self-determination where everything else submits to the identity verification requirement. Or the change manager.

One would like to hear from Gaston again.

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