In the French speaking world, a character known as Titeuf is as well known as Bart Simpson or Dennis the Menace here. He’s a mischievous 8-year-old with a huge cowlick, created by the Swiss cartoonist Zep. Instantly recognizable in Europe, Titeuf is not as well known here — something about his adventures and humor not quite translating. But his 14 Editions Glénat albums have sold over 20 million copies worldwide—and his latest collection had a first printing of half a million copies, with a second printing alerted ordered. It’s the second biggest selling book in France after the new Millennium mystery.
As the growing refugee crisis in Europe has shocked people worldwide, Zep posted the following strip on his blog in Le Monde, France’s #1 newspaper. It was the first comic strip ever to appear on the front page and “WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD,” became a media phenomenon, with over 1.3 million views in just hours. The French government even posted it on their website.
Edition Glenat, Titeuf’s publisher, has released an English version of this 42 panel strip to help spread its message. As I said, imagine Charle Brown or Bart Simpson as the main character of this strip and you’ll see why at times comics are still able to send a message where prose can’t. And hope that wise people can find a way to stop all this senseless violence that destroys the most innocent.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.