Achille Tallon, 60, of Trauma Brain

Achille Tallon, 60, of Trauma Brain

He wears yellow vests, but he undoubtedly belongs to the bourgeois camp. Conscious, educated and cultured, he is Achille Talon. This highly literary comic book character was in the heyday of the Journal Pilote (that of Asterix). It is celebrated only slightly in this year 2023; However, it marks its 60th anniversary, as “Chechel” – his nickname – was created in 1963 by designer, screenwriter, writer and journalist Michel Greig.

Achille Talon, created by Greg

If the first published collection of his gags is titled “Achille Talon, Brain Shock,” this powerful brain also marks its predecessor by imitation or infection. Michel Regnier, real name (1931-1999), was a very productive creator, working on realistic, science fiction or humorous series. Old-school comics giant, the Franco-Belgian.

Working with Franquin (1), he wrote undoubtedly Spirou and Fantasio’s best albums, the duets “Z comme Zorglub” and “L’ombre du Z”. In the first of these albums, released in 1961, researcher Zorglaub used the full moon as a projection surface for an advertising slogan that could be seen from Earth.

“Devastating”, isn’t it? For the contemporary reader, this story by Gregg is a foreshadowing of new, sometimes crazy space projects: isn’t the Tesla car Elon Musk sent into space to the sound of David Bowie’s “Starman” of the same kind? ?

Tallon has never traveled to space in all of Gregg’s 42 albums. Which will be classified according to two different types. On one side are sets of masks, one or two pages long. On the other hand, full stories, in which Talon is flanked by his neighbor Levonist most of the time – a hat and mustache made of toothbrush bristles, embodying rather a generic persona – are launched into adventures that are sometimes centered around adventures with a scientific order.

Heel against greenwashing

It is often an issue of the environment. because “The fat man with the big nose” It is environmentally friendly. In the gag “Gris d’alarme” (“The King of Sciences”, 1974, a collection of gags) here he is the savior of an asphalt flower pushed into the middle of an anonymous street in the gray city. “Do not tremble in your Corolla, you still fragile little symbol of renewed love and serenity!” Achilles shouted before removing the paving stones holding the flower captive.

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In doing so, he inadvertently erected a barrier that was objectionable to a CRS truck passing nearby. With Lefuneste sharing his eco-friendly gesture, they finish playing the violin: “When it comes to big ideas, there’s no denying it, Talon: you’re the king of the little gray cells.”makes fun of the sad neighbor.

In the same album, a “Green Future” gag sees Talon leading a delegation to a meeting with the minister: “It’s too much not to see anything at all. I’m talking about green, the color of hope that has sadly disappeared as we all risk doing so in the cloud of opaque city dust that cannot blind us.”Talon confirms.

The advisor won: “My decision has been made! We will now vote for the greenest candidate (…). Immediately and without further delay, a green river brimming with tone will flow through our cities.”. The resulting law required all cars to be painted green: today, we call that greenwashing.

From the book “Achille Talon, King of Scientific Presentation.” Click on the panel to see it enlarged. Credit Gregg – Dargaud 2023.

Cloning and flight in the “law of binary”

Various scientific achievements also appear in other albums. There is talk of levitation and cloning in The Double Act (1982). Properties derived by scientist Samson Fo-Bly, a friend of Talon and Levonesti, from extraterrestrial ore extracted from a monolith that fell to Earth (2).

Matter powers the machine to copy anything: from one, it makes two… but it is halved. “Nothing was lost and nothing was created, It is written Fo-Pli. The Bidouble is actually two objects for one, but after a certain stabilization period, the obtained double objects shrink, because the total matter remains equal to that of the prototype.. Greg is certainly not interested in “hard science,” but the souls of Lavoisier and his students will appreciate it.

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Page taken from “La loi du Bidouble”. Click on it to see it larger. Credit Gregg – Dargaud 2023.

The science of dreams is at the heart of the album “Let’s Not Dream!” (1981) in which a rogue dentist leads a gang of blackmailers. Their plot: The doctor uses gas to put his patients to sleep, causing terrible nightmares. “Screams that will telescope your navel and tailbone.”One witness complains of these violations.

Victims are forced to buy fake treatment at high prices, and the nightmares go away on their own in the long run. This idea is the flip side of the use of nitrous oxide, an anesthetic for dentists: this laughing gas was used at exhibitions to make audiences laugh. (3)

At the risk of reaching Talonian proportions, we will stop there when recalling the exploits of Achilles. Clarification, however, to the end, and for those who will be surprised to see Talon celebrated in columns Science and the future. Know that this is not the first time!

In issue 727 of our magazine, issued in September 2007, professor at the College de France, Christian Godino (died in 2018), confessed his boundless love for the hero Greg (4), “My favorite comic book of all time. It’s so intellectual.”The former occupant of the National Monuments Chair explained. Birthday or not, of course, long live Talon! jump! (5)

(1) The creator of Gaston Lagave, of course. There are many connections to be made between Gaston and Achille Talon. They both actually work in the editorial offices of the magazines that host their adventures. Mise en abyme allows us to see Gaston’s work in the editorial office of the Journal di Spiro; Talon works in “Polite,” a barely distorted reflection of Pilote. They both have a taste – anger! – Inventions. Surrounding them is the eternal fiancée, Mademoiselle Jeanne for Gaston, Virgault de Guillemette for Achilles…

(2) This meteorite evokes another memory, that of Tintin’s “Mysterious Star” (1942). And for good reason, Greg was one of Hergé’s collaborators. For a long time he was editor-in-chief of “Journal Tintin,” and also wrote “The Shark Lake,” a 1972 cartoon and original story by the journalist with the powder puff. In the late 1950s, Grieg wrote the screenplay for “Tintin and Termosero,” a project from which Hergé sketched several pages before abandoning it.

(3) One day in 1844, in the United States, during an exhibition, one of the spectators went on stage to inhale the famous gas, and accidentally injured himself in front of everyone, and yet he continued to laugh like a hunchback. American dentist Horace Wells saw among the public the benefit of using this anesthetic gas with his patients. A famous example of serendipity, as we call serendipitous discoveries! There is a great deal of progress when we know that before this, practitioners performed operations without numbing pain.

(4) In an interview with journalists Bernadette Arnault and Dominique Leglou.

(5) “Long live Daddy!” It is also the title of an album published in 1978 in which Achilles’ parents – who play an important role in his adventures – become gangsters in a fictional South American country, Tapasambal.

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