Earth-Français is an interesting world for several reasons. The fact that it contains counterparts of the characters from the Hergé Tintin stories serves as its most prominent feature, but also fascinating is that this alternate Earth only appeared canonically in a post-Crisis story: Teen Titans Spotlight #11 (June 1987), written by Jean-Marc Lofficier. 253 C.E. ('CCLIII A.D.') ======================== The Superman of Earth-1 (or else some counterpart such as Yordi or Marc Costa, the Modern Hercules) accompanied by Jimmy Olsen travels back in time (or across dimensions) where a super-Gaul keeps a province free from the Romans, and encounters characters called Columnix, Flipmybix, Mikimus, Picturix, Rockix, Bulwinkelmus, Prolifix, and Myopix. The story leaves off with Superman saying "Rome fell a century ago. The former Roman empire is now run by Gauls, out of Lutetia [now Paris]. You have no reason to fight! You're no longer enemies! Now you're one and the same people!". This took place in Action Comics #579, by J. M. Lofficier and Keith Giffen, which referenced the French comic strip Asterix. Asterix is set in 50 BCE, telling the story of Gauls who use druidic magic that confers superhuman strength to keep one patch of Gaul from being claimed by the Romans. Gaul, of course, was both the name of the place now called France before the Roman conquest and the name of the Celts who lived in that area, but who were eventually defeated by the Romans. (France, incidentally, comes from the phrase "Frank Reich", referring to the German tribe that conquered the area after the Roman Empire faded away.) Asterix is the clever, but short, leader of the Gauls, with his large, but foolish, Obelix. On a later occasion, it is likely that the Gauls in the story encountered the ancestors of a pair of detectives Dupond & Dupont (in English: Thomson & Thompson) whose paths would repeatedly intercept Tintin in the 20th century, as related in Asterix in Belgium. As related in Asterix and the Falling Sky, the Gallic village gets the visit of aliens who, apparently, come not only from outer space but also from a far future, as they use for their defense an army of "superclones", i. e. Superman clones (Vincent Mollet informs me that, except that they wear a star on their chest and not an S, they definitely look like Superman clones ... ). 1626-27 ======================= The events of Alexandre Dumas' The Three Musketeers, as related in DC Special #22. 1789-90's ============================ The events of Mary Shelly's novel Frankenstein. The monster takes the name Gouroull and traverses Europe from the late 1800's to the 1920's. In Revolutionary France, returning soldier Bruce Wayne must choose between the brutal Revolution supported by his father and his own conscience. But when Bruce's wife's parents face a brutal death by guillotine, his decision launches the adventure of a lifetime. (Batman: Reign of Terror) In the dark, dark days of the French Revolution, the citizens of Paris look desperately for a champion to save them from the tyranny of King Louis XVI and his Bourbon Battalion. Will Lord William DeMagnus and his astounding Metal Men succeed where Napoleon Bonaparte failed? (Elseworlds 80-Page Giant) 1887 ============================ Sherlock Holmes becomes a consulting detective based out of London. 1890's ============================= Batman (doubtless a descendent of the 18th century Batman of Revolutionary France) investigates a series of crimes at the Opera House in Paris, which leads him to the horribly disfigured Harvey Dent. [Batman: Masque] 1913 ============================ Cornélius Kramm, a brilliant surgeon and mad scientist, rules an international crime empire called the "Red Hand." He is eventually defeated by a vast alliance of heroes after a world-spanning battle, chief among them Prosper Bondonnat, also a brilliant scientist and "easygoing plant-lover," as detailed in the novel Le Mystérieux Dr. Cornélius. [note from Mikel Midnight: the French novel featuring this character is included because he also appeared in 1987 in issues of THE BLUE BEETLE. I speculate Dr. Cornélius may have reappeared earlier on Earth-Français to bedevil the Steel Phantom.] Sir Denis Nayland Smith and Dr. Petrie first cross paths with Dr. Fu Manchu, as reported in The Master of the World. [note from Mikel Midnight: the French comics featuring this character are included because he also appeared in the 40's in a strip in DETECTIVE COMICS.] 1940 ======================= On an alternate possible Earth, Flash Gordon has adventures on the planet Mongo, as reported in issues of Bravo. 1941 ======================= The Steel Phantom has first public case. These 'adventures' were doctored French reprints of the Superman and Blue Beetle comic books, published by Sage, that melded the two characters into one. (The Blue Beetle's costume at this time resembled the Phantom's costume, and Superman has been referred to as the Man of Steel, hence "The Steel Phantom".) [note from Jean-Marc Lofficier: I do know for a fact that in 1941, HURRAH published a recolored (red) version of the Golden Age Blue Beetle under the name "Fantome d'Acier" (Steel Phantom) because that way, he looked more similar to the Phantom (whose suit was colored red in France too) which was a more popular character. I also know for a fact that in 1939, AVENTURES started publishing Superman, retitled Yordi, until 1941 in issues #10-38 (he also appeared in LES DESSINS ANIM-YORDI from 1939-1940). In Belgium, it appeared in SPIROU, also in 1939, as Marc Costa, Hercule Moderne. I don't know if HURRAH published any Superman strips under the Steel Phantom name.] 1950 ======================== On Earth-S, Captain Marvel Junior battles Dr. Satanis, as reported in issues of Bravo. 1951 ======================== China invades Tibet. (Date based on historical accounts.) 1952 ======================== Tintin, Snowy, and Captain Haddock travel to meet Professor Calculus in the Sprodj Atomic Research Center in Syldavia. The Professor is planning a revolutionary new space rocket. Under the direction of Professor Calculus, they make it to the moon. (Destination Moon [Objectif Lune] and Explorers on the Moon [On A Marche Sur La Lune] by Hergé, referred to in TTS #11. Note that TTS #11 states that the country that hosted Tintin's trip to the moon was western European-presumably Spain or Portugal-yet, in the original stories, Hergé clearly had Yugoslavia in mind, since the countries had signs in the Cyrillic alphabet, an alphabet only used in Eastern European countries.) [note from Jean-Marc Lofficier: Interesting! A cultural glitch! In the 50s and 60s, we Europeans would think of "western" in the political, not geographical sense. So Austria would be a "western" country, and Czechoslovakia an Eastern one. So to me Syldavia *was* a western country, *the* western country meant to in TTS #11.] 1953 ======================== Jacques Bertrand, reporter of the daily London Planet, fights crime as The Cat. His main foe is the mysterious crime syndicate boss "Number 1" (this counterpart to Ted Grant, Wildcat, had 26 episodes serialized in the magazine Heroic Albums). [note from Mikel Midnight: thanks to Al Schroeder for pointing me to this link on Jean-Marc Lofficier's page.] 1954-1955 ======================== Warsaw Pact Bardurians kidnap Professor Calculus. Tintin, Snowy, and Captain Haddock try to recover him and his invention, now deep in the forest of Bakhine. (Calculus Affair [L'Affaire Tournesol] by Hergé, referred to in TTS #11. Note: Yugoslavia, although a Communist country, was not a member of the Warsaw Pact, practicing a peculiar, relatively humane form of Communism that caused the Soviet dominated Communist satellites to reject Tito, Yugoslavia's dictator. Hence, the reason the Bardurians kidnapped Professor Calculus, since the Tito analog would have shared the information with them.) [note from Jean-Marc Lofficier: The analogy doesn't quite work that way, even in Hergé's universe. Syldavia is like Greece or Macedonia (non- communist) while Borduria is meant to be Ceaucescu's Rumania or Bulgaria.] At some point after this, the Western capitalist countries threatened to utilize satellite lasers against the People's Republic of China should they not pull out of Tibet. [note from Jean-Marc Lofficier: I'm making the point here that in Tintin in Tibet, unlike in our universe, Tibet is not under Red China's control.] 1958 ======================== Super Boy has adventures. 1966 ======================== Bound to an Astronomical Congress in Australia, Tintin, Captain Haddock, and Professor Calculus travel in the jet of millionaire Laszlo Carreidas. The plane was hijacked, the passengers forced onto a pacific island by Tintin's enemy Rastapopoulos. Rastapopoulos was a crooked "millionaire film tycoon, king of Cosmos Pictures". Using a truth drug on Carreidas, Rastapopoulos attempts to acquire the Swiss bank account access code of the millionaire. At the end of the adventure, Rastapopoulos gets abducted by an UFO. (Flight 714 [Vol 714 Pour Sydney], referred to in Clown Prince, information on Rastapopolous from Cigars of the Pharaoh [Tintin en Orient/Les Cigares du Pharaon].) Also that year, Americans land on Mars. (TTS #11) 1970's to 1980's ======================== The consequences of such relatively highly advanced space travel as Tintin's trip to the moon and the trip to Mars in a world where the Cold War was still strong proved disastrous. It served to exacerbate tensions between the east and west. Nuclear war crept up on the world ... In the South American nation of San Theodoros, General Tapioca enacts a successful coup against the ruling General Alcazar. Alacazar goes under- ground with a band of partisans who call themselves the Picaros, and who receive the backing of the International Banana Company. Tintin, Captain Haddock, and Professor Calculus travel to San Theodoros and assist Alcazar in deposing General Tapioca (Tintin and the Picaros). Tintin travels to Gotham City and, after an initial confrontation with Batman (doubtless a descendent of the 18th century Batman of Revolutionary France) and Batgirl, teams up with the Dark Knight to rescue Snowy from kidnappers, as reported in Tintin vs. Batman. At some point, Roberto Rastopoulos returns to Earth. [note from Jean-Marc Lofficier: Actually at the end of FLIGHT 714 that return is sort of mentioned -- the other villain, Dr. Krollspell, is returned so presumably was Rastapopoulos.] [speculation] Roberto Rastopoulos allies himself with the Joker to kidnap leading rocket scientists, forcing them to build long-distance rockets, fired at ships which pass by the homebase of the conspirators, the Isle of Black Pearls. The rockets are filled with a non-lethal version of the laughing gas used by the Joker, and, upon hitting their targets, release the gas, incapacitating the ship's crew and leaving them vulnerable for plundering. Tintin challenges the criminals after Professor Calculus is kidnapped, while the attack on Wayne Shipping boats brings in the Batman of this world. (The dating of this story is a bit conjectural, but based on the fact that the story refers to Rastopoulos' abduction by a UFO earlier, explaining how he returned to Earth, as well as knowledge about subsequent events on Earth-Français. It seems fitting to place it here. Also, the style of the way the Batman is handled suggests the Bronze Age version. Clown Prince purportedly came about due to Steven Spielberg produced animated adaptations of the Tintin stories for Canadian TV in the early 1990's, which I remember seeing on cable some time ago. Dreamworks Studo permitted a crossover to be made as a part of this series where the Batman characters appeared. Although the Hergé foundation objected, a tie-in comic book was released.) [note from Jean-Marc Lofficier: I am reasonably certain that book does not actually exist. This is all a lie, basically. A farce designed by some clever Canadian.] After the events of his alliance with the Joker, Rastopoulos, under the codename Minos (he went by several other aliases during his criminal career), kidnapped Professor Calculus, and allying himself with a group of generals and corporate bigwigs, forces him to build a space ark. Rastopoulos and his confederates intended to use it to flee Earth, fearing nuclear war. Nuclear War did indeed come after a flare-up in a conflict between the Western democracies and the Communist nations in a "CIA-sponsored banana conglomerate" in San Theodoros. Horrific mutations resulted, and the conflict ignited the nuclear stockpiles, turning the world into a slow- burning powderkeg. Tintin, now called Tin, forms a group of survivors called the Second Chance, who intended to reacquire the kidnapped Professor, as well as using Minos' rocket to find a new world for humanity. Minos and his followers are secure, having survived in a specially constructed fortress. (TTS #11) 1987 ======================== Dr. Mist, Belphegor and Andre Chavard send an unwitting Brotherhood of Evil from Earth-1. Joining forces with Tin, they storm Minos' fortress, with Monsieur Mallah shooting Minos. Afterword: Tintin is of course the famous Belgian comic strip about a boy reporter created by the cartoonist Hergé. Tintin first appeared in 1929, with 23 Tintin graphic novels having been translated into 30 languages. Tintin is read by many young people in France and Belgium. More info on Tintin can be found in Jeff Rovin's Adventure Heroes. More info on any French comics character who ever existed can be found at JM Lofficier's Cool French Comics site.
Article by John McDonagh