Tightrope Walker During the Occupation – Part 1/4
by Antoine Sausverd
Translated by Annick Pellegrin
Edited by Harriet Earle
Original publication: Sausverd, Antoine. « Les Aventures du professeur Nimbus : Funambule sous l’occupation. » La Crypte tonique septembre – octobre 2013: 12-18. Print.
Before World War II broke out, in France Les Aventures du professeur Nimbus were one of the most popular bandes dessinées of the 1930s. The gags of this strip feature an always elegant, glassed scientist, whose distinguishing feature is his sole hair, raised as question mark on his bald head. His absent-mindedness, which is nowadays legendary, was the source of many misadventures that made many readers laugh.
The history of bande dessinée would retain that it was the first French mute newspaper strip. It also marks one of its darkest moments. The German occupation that followed the defeat of 1940 would reshuffle the cards of the game in which professeur Nimbus was at stake. Broadly speaking, we know our history but today, it is possible, thanks to the various sources kept in the national archives, to bring to light the then tumultuous relationships between the different actors at the origins of Les Aventures du professeur Nimbus: the press agency Opera Mundi, the artist André Daix and Le Journal, the first daily to welcome the strip in its pages.
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