Spirou's Origin Myth and Family Romances

The Domestication of Adventure in the New Adventure Comic

in European Comic Art
Cristina Álvares University of Minho, Portugal calvares@ilch.uminho.pt

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This article focuses on the narratives of Spirou's origins and backstory from Rob-Vel to Feroumont and Bravo, examining his progressive departure from the Tintinesque adventure paradigm. The Freudian notion of family romance, developed by Marthe Robert into the figures of the foundling and the bastard, is key, as it thematises the hero's origins and early life in a domestic sphere. This motif, absent in Tintin, occurs in Spirou as Rob-Vel's artistic creation becomes origin myth, and post-Franquin ‘naturalised’ conceptions give the character a family, a childhood, and related memories. The article examines how Spirou's family romances, however small and allusive, create a connection between adventure and the domestic sphere and how this contributes to reinventing the Tintinesque model of adventure in contemporary bande dessinée.

Contributor Notes

Cristina Álvares holds a PhD in medieval narrative literature (the gaze in the courtly roman, 1180–1250), and is Associate Professor of French Literature at the University of Minho. Her research has been developed at CEHUM since 1986. She has authored two books and a large number of papers on medieval and contemporary French/Francophone literature. She is a co-editor of the series Literature, Cinema, Comics published in the Húmus/Hespérides collection, and national delegate of the COST Action management committee iCon-MICS (Investigation on Comics and Graphic Novels in the Iberian Cultural Area) CA 19119. Orcid: 0000-0001-5968-4724. calvares@ilch.uminho.pt.

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