L’Arche de Rantanplan: A Lucky Luke for the animal cause

What is the series lucky Luke ? A western parody. Formerly, this literary and cinematographic genre was an object of adventures even of derision but on condition that one saw there no women, no blacks, no Jews and other subjects who risked “demoralizing the youth. »

On the other hand, we had the right to make fun of the Chinese and the Mexicans, the English dandies, the French cooks and the Texan “Red necks”. Then time did its work. The women ceased to be hideous viragos with the language of carter (poke in Calamity Jane…) and the saloons became a little more than bars where one plays cards and where one smokes (ah, but one does not no longer smokes there today…) A new era had just arrived.

American cinema and even the people who wrote the history of the Far West made myths with characters who were nothing but mobsters and assassins, told Rene Goscinny, or in the case of Billy The Kid, a sick, madman. I made Billy The Kid a thug, which he was. As for Jesse James, the cinema treated him as Robin Hood who stole from the rich to give to the poor. In reality, he was a terrible criminal. It is known that he robbed a lot of the rich, but there is no indication that he ever gave a penny to a poor man.… »

L'Arche de Rantanplan: A Lucky Luke for the animal cause

The recurring process in Goscinny’s work is to attack the cliché, whether it represents Iberians, Corsicans, Belgians or Helvetii. In the western, there was no shortage of clichés and history often serves as a pretext for stories: The Grand Duke, Sarah Bernhard, Freud, Pinkerton… these figures from the American West have been subjected to the sarcasm of this series whose success has not weakened since its creation in 1947.

Since Jul took control of the screenplay with the complicity ofAchdethere is a desire not to avoid the subjects that annoy: The promised land referred to Jewish immigration, and A cowboy in cotton that of racism against African-Americans in the United States. The subject had already been broached, but in general terms, by Goscinny: The 20th Cavalry with regard to indigenous peoples or the question of the supposed purity of race in The Rivals of Painful-Gulch.

With Rantanplan Arch, the animal cause is the central theme. And our good cowboy – whose job, let’s remember, is to lead the animals to the slaughterhouse – will have to defend an individual inspired by Henry Bergh, founder in 1866 of the USPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). Jul couldn’t miss it.

The process is as thick as western rope and we do not avoid putting Rantanplan and Jolly Jumper – in a moving way – in the loop of this story which takes place in a city renamed as it should be “Veggie Town”. …


There is of course a moral at the end of the journey: all extremism leads to authoritarian and liberticidal drift. The fact remains that Jul and the cartoonist Achdé come out here from the destruction of clichés to focus on the political subject. The maneuver is clever but it is not sure that it will age as well as that of its original creators.

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L’Arche de Rantanplan: A Lucky Luke for the animal cause – ActuaBD