Aug 18, 2015

Spirou and Fantasio: The Bellhop and his Boyfriend

The young hunk and his blond, balding but still youthful boyfriend recline cozily on the couch, watching tv, their legs pressed together.  The young hunk places his foot atop his boyfriend's in a gesture of intimacy.

Suddenly the telephone rings.  "It's a woman," the young hunk announces.  "One who has the chutzpah to call us at this hour and say It's me."

His shirt is open, revealing a smooth, buffed chest.  His boyfriend is wearing a lavender t-shirt and a sky-blue jacket, a style that an older gay man might wear.

As his boyfriend takes the call, the young hunk cuddles their pet squirrel, adopting a nurturing, feminine pose. He's wearing extremely  tight pants.  The boyfriend glances over at him, apparently thinking "I'm lucky to have landed such a hot guy."

It's their coworker, Seccotine, asking for a ride to the airport.  "Sorry, tomorrow I'm going to a conference in Bali," the boyfriend says.  Ignoring the young hunk's frantic gestures, he continues: "...But don't worry, my partner will be glad to give you a ride."

A gay comic?  A parody?  A slash fantasy?  No, this is an actual excerpt from Spirou et Fantasio, a Belgian comic strip for children (and college students learning French).

The young hunk Spirou began his career in 1938 as a bellhop engaged in humorous antics.  In 1944, he met intrepid journalist Fantasio, and soon the two were pairing up for investigations, traveling through time and space, confronting gangsters, spies, dictators, mad scientists, and alien invaders, rescuing each other again and again.

 Like Tintin and Captain Haddock, Corentin and Kim,  and Alix and Enak, Spirou and Fantasio became domestic partners, and rather obviously lovers,  Occasionally Fantasio liked a woman (unlike Captain Haddock), but in the end he always returned to his true love.

During the 1990s, the couple was redrawn, becoming more naturalistic, with pleasantly muscular physiques -- and the gay subtext was revved up (it's hard to read them as anything but a modern-day gay couple).

Over fifty albums have been released to date.  Three have been translated into English.