Comics: great reunion with Aya de Yopougon and Spirou and Fantasio

Comic strip: great reunion with Aya de Yopougon and Spirou and Fantasio


It is under the sign of happy reunions that the month of October ends, when readers can finally reconnect with two great series left fallow for several years: Aya de Yopougon and Spirou and Fantasio.

At the start of 2016, the Vehlmann-Yoann duo delivered The Anger of the Marsupilami, 55th album of the series and their 5th and last as buyers. Admittedly, there were a few “One shots” including Pacific Palace, Chez les soviets, La lumière de Bornéo, in addition to the extraordinary tetralogy Hope despite everything by Émile Bravo, but the parent series has remained inactive since. The publisher entrusted the destiny of the mythical series to the trio made up of screenwriters Sophie Guerrive and Benjamin Abitan as well as the illustrator emeritus Olivier Schwartz. 


Despite the announcement of the death of the famous groom in title of the new album – which has aroused many reactions on the web -, the album is part of a desire to return to a certain classicism. 

“It was a request from Dupuis to re-enter the continuity of Franquin's Spirou (…) It is not a question of sulking about everything that has been done in the meantime, but of reconnecting with what Spirou was in these those years: an intelligent way of telling stories that help to tame modernity”, says Abitan at the other end of the keyboard. 

“So it's not a nostalgic, backward-looking movement , but rather an attempt to ensure that Spirou remains relevant, in touch with its time… ”. 

Much more than an attempt, it is a real success that comes the trio. 

Riddled with references to popular culture (Star Wars, The death of Superman) but also to Spirou (< em>The scare on the heels, The bubble men), the album is based on the sublime graphic work of Schwartz, who had previously visited the character in the special editions The verdigris groom and The leopard woman

Driven by an immense respect for André Franquin, he offers a new and most sensual Turbotraction, boards of abundant density and dizzying beauty, while showing a joyful mastery of cutting (see the sequence of the fight in the library full of graphic finds or that of Spip splitting the story at the bottom of the page). 

“It's hard to accept that we can't aspire to the level by Franquin. Spirou is so difficult to draw,” Schwartz humbly admits. “I cringed when I held the album in my hands the first time. » 

This movement, if it materializes among the readership, is undoubtedly due to the hard work of the illustrator, who delivers here his most successful album of his career.

“With this album, we therefore ask the question: does Spirou still have a place, as a hero, in today's world? Where do we need other heroes, other ways of having adventures? Volume 57 will have to answer the question…”, launches the co-writer. 

We will have to wait until the beginning of the year 2024 to find out if it is true that the heroes are immortal . One thing remains: The death of Spirouis a most successful comeback. The king is dead, long live the king!

Also read

Innocent living in Paris (leaving the Michael Jackson style for that of Prince), Albert who finally comes out of the closet, Moussa decorated with a medal by the Ivorian president, Hervé helping Mamadou to find a house, Aya who falls again on her attacker… here is what the authors of the fabulous series Aya from YopougonMarguerite Abouet and Clément Oubrerie left their little paper menagerie in the working-class district of Abidjan at the end of the sixth volume published in 2010. And since then? There was the adaptation into an animated film which was a huge success, 10 volumes of the Akissi children's series from the universe of Aya and many other projects. 


The comic in all this? They are getting back into it to the delight of hundreds of thousands of readers with the same enthusiasm, as if the absence of the last twelve years had slipped away for a few months. “We wanted to get back to it, especially since it's our first comic,” explains the illustrator. “Coming back happened quite naturally. I started from the last page of the previous volume, without rereading anything. It is the characters who guide us, after all,” adds the screenwriter from Abidjan. 

In addition to taking us out of the miserable imagery of the African continent, because “there is no equivalent in its representation” says Oubrerie aptly, the series set in the late 1970s tackles themes of a glaring news. As in the cycle of fat women by Michel Tremblay or the Malaussène saga by Daniel Pennac, this fable, although so local, touches on the universal.

Despite some apprehension, Abouet and Oubrerie instantly reconnected with their readership. 

“We found them with emotion. It is touching to see that we are part of their lives. They have appropriated our universe. When we post images online. Internet users comment, invent dialogues,” says Abouet.


The earthy character of Innocent literally takes flight in this new album . The cheerful young hairdresser braves the harsh Paris climate to start from scratch. Without papers and without shelter, he accumulates shitty jobs. Does it ring a bell for you at the end of the recent provincial elections where immigration sadly made the headlines? Reading this opus helps to soften our perspective – and our preconceptions – on the issue. Universal, I repeat. “Fighting peacefully, that's what we are aiming for by tackling sensitive subjects such as homosexuality, immigration, violence”, concludes the author.

This small village of irreducible humans, it is also ours. We are all Aya. In addition to broadening our perspectives, this extraordinary soap opera swells our hearts. This is the mark of a great work.