The wolves, the Barbarians of the East, are in the last pages characterised as inherently bad. Il y a parfois chez nous des animaux qui naissent sans pattes ou sans oreilles et nous les trouvons anormaux. Therefore what happened during the Second World War was to the French only a confirmation of the already constructed image of the Germans.
The stereotypical representation of the Germans as militaristic Prussians implied on the other hand also assumptions and claims about the own French identity, which was almost by definition very different from that of its enemy. Goscinny and Uderzo use the existing stereotypes of mid 20 th century, prejudices which were not only shared among French people but also among people from other nations. Stereotypes as the militaristic German, the stiff Englishmen or the hot-tempered Spaniard are indeed quite widespread in Europe.
In this comics series the Gauls are often collaborating with other occupied tribes against the Romans, which may indicate some kind of support to the idea European collaboration. On the other hand some tribes as the Normans or the Goths remain enemies of the Gauls. The eastern Goths speak with an eastern German tongue and their texts are set in red.
Uderzo was the son of Italian immigrants in France and Goscinny, despite being born in Paris, descended from Polish-Ukrainian Jews and spent the first decades of his life in Argentina and the United States of America. The Dutch psychologist Jaap van Ginneken , p. Go, I have faith in you! Such forgiveness is, on the contrary, rather absent in Francophone comics of that period. The various European car constructors come together and decide to form one big team to give a proper European answer to a Cold War challenge between the Americans and the Russians.
The two superpowers want to demonstrate the superiority of their automobile industry by defying each other in a great car race. The European team consists of French, Belgian, British, German and Italian racers, which means that some of the former enemies of the Second World War are collaborating to take up the gage of the two superpowers. Anyhow, the European perspective is remarkable; this story was published two years after the signing in of The Treaty of Rome and the creation of the European Economic Community EEC , whereby the signatory States France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg, Italy and the Federal Republic of Germany laid the foundations of an even closer union among the peoples of Europe.
So, it is mostly in the context of the Cold War that this sports comic affirms the special place and identity of a Europe that needs to unite if it wants to compete with the USA and the USSR. This Michel Vaillant comic seems to be the only explicit example of such an idea in a French or Belgium comic up to For the rest only small references to the European collaboration can be detected. Generally Flemish comics depict a more satirical view of the communist world than the French comics.
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While starved looking workers dressed in rags pity some Westerners: No, then We free workers are a lot happier! Later, in a fake trial the translator wilfully distorts the testimonials of the Westerners and they are condemned to five year forced labour. In French comics till the references to Eastern European countries are seldom so explicitly expressed, but rather vaguely suggested. For instance in the Blake and Mortimer -story, S. Meteors, ] a hostile state — supposedly East European — uses a system for weather control to provoke storms, floods and other climate disasters in West European countries.
The war had various repercussions in those comics: On the other hand, in the context of the Cold War and the first political steps in European unification, a few comics demonstrated the positive effects of reconciliation with former enemies or of European cooperation: Despite these quite speaking examples the idea of a European communion remained nevertheless largely absent from the French and Belgian comics pages, instead they rather clung to older stereotypes of other European people.
Paradoxically in the real world political leaders of France and Belgium were in the same period advocating European collaboration, but this official policy did not permeate decisively through the comics. To what extent such comics influenced their readers or played an efficient role in the construction of social representations may remain difficult to measure objectively, but this analysis has, hopefully, shown that these popular culture products offered a particular but not always consistent view on national identities in the post-war period.
Making Sense of Cultural Studies. Central Problems and Critical Debates. History of the Low Countries. World war I in cartoons.
BIBLIOGRAPHIE - AIPCF
Der erste Weltkrieg in der internationalen Karikatur. Comics made in Germany. Harrassowitz Verlag, , p. Presses Universitaires de France, Le Dictionnaire des Sciences Humaines. The Construction of Nationhood. Ethnicity, Religion and Nationalism , Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Welt Online [online], 22 March [retrieved 8 September ]. International Journal of Comic Art. Museum Tusculanum at the University of Copenhagen, , p. International Journal of Comic Art , vol. The Child in French and Francophone Literature. Comic Books and America, University of Oklahoma Press, Myths and Memories of the Nation.
Oxford University Press, The Antiquity of Nations.
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