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"Lucky Luke, quicker than his own shadow", the classical series back cover
Sous le Ciel de l'Ouest (1952), cover of an early softcovered issue.


Lucky Luke is a Franco-Belgian comics series created by Belgian cartoonist, Maurice De Bevere better known as Morris, the original artist, and saw its best period written by René Goscinny. Set in the American Old West, it stars the titular character, Lucky Luke, the cowboy known to shoot faster than his shadow.

Along with The Adventures of Tintin and Asterix, Lucky Luke is one of the most popular and best-selling comic-book series in continental Europe,. Popular in Canada, about half of the series' adventures have been translated into English. Lucky Luke comics have been translated into 23 languages, including many European languages, some African and Asian languages.

Publication history

First appearance of Lucky Luke and Jolly Jumper in Arizona 1880 (1946)
Both a tribute to the mythic Old West and an affectionate parody, the comics were created by the Belgian artist Morris who drew Lucky Luke from 1946 until his death in 2001. The first Lucky Luke adventure named Arizona 1880 appeared in the Almanach issue of the comics magazine Le Journal de Spirou on December 7, 1946. After several years of solitary work on the strip, Morris began a collaboration with René Goscinny who became the series' writer for a period that is considered the golden age of the series. This started with the story Des rails sur la Prairie published on August 25, 1955 in Spirou. Ending a long run of serial publications in Spirou, the series shifted to Goscinny's magazine Pilote in 1967 with the story La Diligence, subsequently leaving publisher Dupuis for Dargaud.

After the death of Goscinny in 1977, several writers have tried to fill the role of storyteller, including Vicq, Bob de Groot, Jean Léturgie and Lo Hartog Van Banda. In addition to continuing the series, Morris started the related spin-off series Rantanplan in 1987. At the 1993 Angoulême International Comics Festival, Lucky Luke was given an honorary exhibition.

After Morris' death in 2001, French artist Achdé continued drawing new Lucky Luke stories in collaboration with writer Laurent Gerra.

Lucky Luke comics have been translated into Italian, English, Spanish, Catalan, Portuguese (both in the Brazilian and Portuguese forms), German, Dutch, Afrikaans, Turkish, Polish, Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Serbo-Croatian, Greek, Finnish, Czech, Tamil, Hungarian, Indonesian, Icelandic and Vietnamese.

In India, Euro Books a division of Euro Kids International Ltd. published English versions of 24 Lucky Luke titles in 2009.

The stories

Luke, a wandering cowboy capable of drawing a gun faster than his shadow, fights crime and injustice, most often in the form of the bumbling Dalton brothers, Joe, William, Jack and Averell. He rides Jolly Jumper, "the smartest horse in the world" and is often accompanied by Rantanplan, "the stupidest dog in the universe", a spoof of Rin Tin Tin, usually guarding the Dalton brothers at their jail yet never preventing them from escaping. He refuses to smell Dalton's cloths and acts as a reverse indicator to Dalton's whereabouts

In the albums, Luke meets many factual Western figures like Calamity Jane, Billy the Kid, Judge Roy Bean and Jesse James's gang, and takes part in historical endeavors such as guarding of Wells Fargo stagecoaches, the Pony Express, the building of the first transcontinental telegraph, the Rush into the Unassigned Lands of Oklahomamarker, and a tour by French actress Sarah Bernhardt. Some of the books feature a one-page article offering a historical perspective on the events featured.

The chronology of the albums is deliberately murky. The villains and incidental characters based on real persons lived over most of the mid-to-late 19th century. For example, a young Horace Greeley, cirka 1830, prior to moving to New York, appears in one album. Roy Bean appears in another, taking place some fifty years later. Lucky Luke himself is, of course, always the same age.

"Except for the first album, Lucky Luke has never killed any opponent but still, he seemed to carry along a heavy burden, never committing to anything or anybody, and always riding off into the sunset."

At the end of each story, except the earliest, Lucky Luke rides off alone into the sunset on Jolly Jumper, singing (in English) "I'm a poor lonesome cowboy, and a long way from home...".

Jesse James

In 1969, Morris and writer René Goscinny (co-creator of Asterix) had Lucky Luke confronting Jesse James, his brother Frank James and Cole Younger. The adventure poked fun at the image of Jesse as a new Robin Hood. Although he passes himself off as such and does indeed steal from the rich (who are, logically, the only ones worth stealing from), he and his gang take turns being "poor," thus keeping the loot for themselves. Frank quotes from Shakespeare, and Younger is portrayed as a fun-loving joker, full of good humor. One critic has likened this version of the James brothers as "intellectuals bandits, who won't stop theorising their outlaw activities and hear themselves talk." In the end, the at-first-cowed people of a town fight back against the James gang and send them packing in tar and feathers.- Note the parodic depictions of the Pinkertons.

Smoking

"Lucky Luke's famous cigarette not only identifies a profile but allows the tempo to be modified and extended, expressing a feeling: in Le Pied-tendre (The Tenderfoot), Morris shows Lucky Luke's feelings at the death of a friend in a series of three frames in which the hero rolls and spills a cigarette."

Morris, who has been criticized over Lucky Luke's cigarette for a long time, answered his critics : "the cigarette is part of the character's profile, just like the pipe of Popeye or Maigret". It is claimed that, Maurice was forced to remove cigarettes Luke Luke smokes from his strip and Lucky Luke who "used to be a heavy smoker", had to give up smoking for "commercial reasons", "apparently to gain access to the American market". "On World No Tobacco Day in 1989, the magazine Spirou published a militantly anti-tobacco issue." Morris won an award from the World Health Organization in 1988 when he replaced Luke's omnipresent cigarette with a wisp of straw in 1983, "an anti-cigarette poster today proclaims "Even Lucky Luke can't stand them!" and shows the happy cowboy in a radical reversal of his image".In the 2007 animated film "Tous à l'Ouest: Une aventure de Lucky Luke", Lucky Luke is seen using what appears to be a nicotine patch and mentioned that before that, he had to "chew on a piece of straw for a while" right after he quit smoking.

Stereotypes

Much of the humour in Lucky Luke is based on clichés and stereotypes, including many ethnic stereotypes of "sneaky" Chinese or "lazy" Mexicansmarker, Native American, Irish and Italian as well as "darky" depictions of Afro-Americans. According to the Forbidden Planet correspondent: "They played on the clichés of the genre, with humour that nowadays probably would be considered quite racist (lazy Mexicans, sneaky Chinese), but also with a special sort of being satire, mirroring contemporary social platitudes."

Lucky Luke in other media

French DVD cover for the Terence Hill film

Animation

Four theatrical animated films were created. In 1990, Disney released one of them, The Ballad of the Daltons, on VHS. Three of the movies were part of a trilogy. The first of the films was titled Daisy Town (1971), followed by La Ballade des Dalton (1978) and finished by Les Dalton en cavale (1983), meaning The Daltons on the Loose in English. In addition to the theatrical animated movies, there was also an animated Lucky Luke television series: In 1983, Hanna-Barbera studios and Morris released 26 episodes, and in 1991, 26 more episodes were released. In 2001, Xilam produced a new series of 52 episodes known as Les Nouvelles aventures de Lucky Luke (Lucky Luke's new adventures). It is now available on 8 DVDs with French and English audio tracks.This series also featured colonel Custer, in this incarnation an Indian-hater and a dwarf.Xilam recently produced a theatrical animated film (the fourth film), Tous à l'Ouest: Une aventure de Lucky Luke (Go West: A Lucky Luke Adventure), which was released in France on December 5, 2007.

Live-action film and television

In 1991, two films (Lucky Luke and Lucky Luke 2) and in 1992 a television series (The Adventures of Lucky Luke) starring Terence Hill as Lucky Luke were produced, according to Morris, who helps the director in the making of.

In 2004 a film titled Les Dalton featured Til Schweiger as Lucky Luke.

Yves Marmion and UGC, the producers of Les Dalton, are currently developing a €20 million stand-alone Lucky Luke feature, starring Jean Dujardin as the gunslinger, according to FilmDeCulte.com.

Video games

Over the years, several Lucky Luke video games were released for many platforms, most of them by Infogrames, and only released in Europe (the only ones released for the North American were the Game Boy Color and PlayStation versions).A Lucky Luke game was also developed for mobile phones by The Mighty Troglodytes. Lucky Luke: Go West was released in Europe for the PC, Nintendo Wii and Nintendo DS in the end of 2007.

iPhone

Lucky Luke (l'homme de Washington) has been released on iPhone by Ave!Comics in december 2008. It was the first time ever a French/Belgium comics history appeared on a mobile phone.

Bibliography

By Morris (1949-1958)

Dupuis Publishing



By Morris & Goscinny (1957-1986)

Dupuis Publishing

Dargaud Publishing



By Morris and various writers (1980-2002)

Dargaud Publishing

  • 47. Le Magot des Dalton, 1980, by Vicq (The Daltons' Loot)
  • 48. Le Bandit manchot, 1981, by Bob de Groot (The One-Armed Bandit)
  • 49. Sarah Bernhardt, 1982, by Jean Léturgie and Xavier Fauche
  • 52. Fingers, 1983, by Lo Hartog Van Banda
  • 53. Le Daily Star, 1983, by Jean Léturgie and Xavier Fauche (The Daily Star)
  • 54. La Fiancée de Lucky Luke, 1985, by Guy Vidal (Lucky Luke's Fiancee)
  • 56. Le Ranch maudit, 1986, by Jean Léturgie, Xavier Fauche and Claude Guylouis (The Cursed Ranch)
  • 57. Nitroglycérine, 1987, by Lo Hartog Van Banda
  • 58. L'Alibi, 1987, by Claude Guylouis (The Alibi)
  • 59. Le Pony Express, 1988], by Jean Léturgie and Xavier Fauche (The Pony Express)

Lucky Productions

  • 60. L'Amnésie des Dalton, 1991, by Jean Léturgie and Xavier Fauche (The Daltons' Amnesia)
  • 61. Chasse aux fantômes, 1992, by Lo Hartog Van Banda (Ghosthunt)
  • 62. Les Dalton à la noce, 1993, by Jean Léturgie and Xavier Fauche (The Daltons at a Wedding)
  • 63. Le Pont sur le Mississippi, 1994, by Jean Léturgie and Xavier Fauche (Bridge Over The Mississippi)
  • 64. Belle Star, 1995, by Xavier Fauche
  • 65. Le Klondike, 1996, by Yann and Jean Léturgie (The Klondike)
  • 66. O.K. Corral, 1997, by Eric Adam and Xavier Fauche
  • 67. Marcel Dalton, 1998, by Bob de Groot

Lucky Comics

  • 68. Le Prophète, 2000, by Patrick Nordmann (The Prophet)
  • 69. L'Artiste peintre, 2001, by Bob de Groot (The Painter)
  • 70. La Légende de l'Ouest, 2002, by Patrick Nordmann (The Legend Of The West)


By Achdé & Gerra (2004-2008)

Lucky Comics

  • 71. La Belle Province, 2004 (The Beautiful Country)
  • 72. La Corde au cou, 2006 (The Noose)
  • 73. L'Homme de Washington, 2008 (The man from Washington)


English translations

Apart from the collections mentioned below, Lucky Luke comics were published in British comic book magazines such as Film Fun Comic or Giggle (in 1967). The Giggle version had Luke's name changed to "Buck Bingo".

Brockhampton Press (UK)



Knight Books (UK)



Dargaud USA and Canada

  • The Stage Coach, USA, 1980s
  • The Greenhorn, USA, 1980s
  • Dalton City, USA, 1980s
  • Jesse James, USA, 1980s
  • Western Circus, USA, 1980s
  • Ma Dalton, USA, 1980s
  • The Dalton Brothers' Analyst, Canada, 1982
  • Curing the Daltons, Canada, 1982


Fantasy Flight (US)



Ravette Books (UK)

  • The Dalton Brothers Memory Game, 1991


Glo'worm (UK)



Cinebook Ltd



Eurokids



See also



Lucky Luke characters of non-fiction origin



References



Footnotes
  1. http://forbiddenplanet.co.uk/blog/2009/from-our-continental-correspondent-lucky-luke-is-alive/
  2. Fans de Lucky Luke website." fandeluckyluke.com. (in French)
  3. http://whqlibdoc.who.int/whf/1990/vol11-no1/WHF_1990_11(1)_p14-31.pdf World Health Forum Vol 11 1990 footnote Les cahiers de la bande dessinée. No. 43, 1980, p. 11.
  4. http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/200608/23/eng20060823_295966.html
  5. http://www.thelooniverse.com/strips/luckyluke/luckyluke.html
  6. http://whqlibdoc.who.int/whf/1990/vol11-no1/WHF_1990_11(1)_p14-31.pdf World Health Forum Vol 11 1990
  7. http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2006/08/looney_tunes.html
  8. http://www.tv.com/story/5948.html
  9. http://forbiddenplanet.co.uk/blog/2009/from-our-continental-correspondent-lucky-luke-is-alive/
  10. Lucky Luke as "Buck Bingo" on the Forbidden Planet International Blog Log


Further Reading

  • Lefevre, Pascal. 1998. Lucky Luke, a 'lonesome cowboy' for more than half a century. In The Low Countries, 1998-1999. Rekkem: Stichting Ons Erfdeel.


External links




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