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5 Beloved French-language cartoon characters

Known as BD, or bandes dessinées, which translates literally as drawn strips, comics are very popular in the Francophone world.

Started as a means of entertainment and fun for children, BD very quickly caught the attention and imagination of grown-ups and adults alike.

There is a long tradition in French-language comics created by writers and cartoonists from France, Belgium, Switzerland and more. Here are 5 beloved French-language cartoon characters to get you started!

Lucky Luke

Created by Belgian cartoonist Morris in 1946, Lucky Luke is a cowboy known as the “man who shoots faster than his shadow”. By his side are his faithful horse Jolly Jumper and, in many stories, a dog named Rantanplan. In charge of restoring justice to the Old West by chasing down bandits like the Dalton Brothers. This is one of the best-known and best-selling comics series in Europe and has been translated into 23 languages.

Bécassine

Bécassine is a young housemaid from Brittany usually depicted wearing a traditional Breton peasant costume. She is considered the first female protagonist in the history of comics, having first appeared in 1905. A typical provincial girl (in contrast to the refined city people of Paris), she lives in simple ways and often encounters misadventures in her travels. Today, she remains a familiar figure in Brittany, and Bécassine dolls and ornaments are available in tourist shops.

Asterix

The Asterix series follows the exploits of a village of indomitable Gauls as they resist Roman occupation in year 50 BC. They do so through a magic potion brewed by their druid Panoramix (Getafix in the English translations), which temporarily gives the recipient superhuman strength. One of the most internationally successful Franco-Belgian comics, the series has been adapted into several films, and there is even a theme park, Parc Asterix, north of Paris.

Tintin

Blistering barnacles! While not technically French, The Adventures of Tintin, created by Belgian cartoonist Hergé, is a cultural landmark in France, as it is in Europe. Hergé’s signature ligne claire (“clear line”) style is evident in the comic’s clean, expressive drawings, as Tintin, a young Belgian reporter, travels the world solving mysteries, accompanied by his wire fox terrier Milou (Snowy in English). Courageous and with tremendous spirit, Tintin is honest, decent, compassionate, and kind. Pierre Assouline, Editor of Lire, a French literary magazine says, “I would have put Tintin on euro notes.”

French Shopping, Dining & Lifestyle guide in Singapore