Jun 22, 2017

Oumpah-pah and Hubert

Oumpah-pah is a distinctively Belgian comic book, written by René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo of Asterix fame.  After a false start in the early 1950s, it was serialized in Tintin magazine from 1958 to 1963.  Only three albums appeared in 1961, 1962, and 1967 (rather a small number compared to the 36 of Asterix).

They were translated into Spanish, German, Dutch, Greek, and English, but the English editions are very rare and go for hundreds of dollars on Ebay.  There are no plans for re-issues, due to the negative stereotypes of Native Americans as patois-speaking savages.

But on amazon.fr, you can get the French reissues for 10-15 Euros each, or "the complete adventures" used for around 20 Euros.

Why bother, when Asterix is readily available?  Because Oumpah-pah has some advantages that his more famous cousin doesn't.

Oumpah-pah belongs to the Shavashava tribe (based on the Shawnee) during French colonial times.

When French aristocrat Hubert de la Pâte Feuilleté, sent by the king to establish peaceful relations with the natives, is captured, Oumpah-pah rescues him and escorts him back to Fort Petit.  They become "brothers."

In a later adventure, Hubert is captured by the hostile Pied-Plads  (Flat-Foot) Tribe, who use him to lure Oumpah-pah into a trap.

They sail for France to get some horses, and encounter the pirate Brake, who captures Hubert and...

Upon returning to America, they battle Prussians and the evil Foie-Malade (Liver Sick)...

You get the idea.  A lot of captures, a lot of muscles straining at ropes, a lot of nick-of-time rescues and stammered "If it weren't for you, I'd be dead!"

Hubert is scrappy and self-confident, Oumpah-pah muscular, attractive, and dominant, and the countless rescues and walking-into-the-sunset together conclusions provide a much more obvious gay subtext than anything you find in Asterix and Obelix.

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