Count of Champignac

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Count of Champignac.png
Basics
Name Pacôme Hégésippe Adélard Ladislas
Pancratius Edelhart Ladislas Philippus (Dutch)
Pankratius Hieronymus Ladislaus Adalbert (German)
Other Names Wizard
Hair Color White
Brown (young)
Character Voicing Pierre Baton (French, 1993)
Paul van Gorcum (Dutch, 1993)
Moe Points scientist
From Champignac-en-Cambrousse
Related Characters
Friends: Spirou, Fantasio, Seccotine, Itoh Kata, Schwartz, Nero, Nicolas Nicolaiëvitch Inovskiev, unnamed biologist
Rival: Zorglub
Grandnephew: Aurélien de Champignac
Timber sabre!
— The Count's catchphrase


The Count of Champignac is a character in the Belgian comic book series Spirou & Fantasio.

Introduction

The count of the fictional town of Champignac-en-Cambrousse. He is an eccentric scientist whose experiments mainly involve mushrooms but he is capable of building machines as well. He is friends with Spirou and Fantasio and aids them in most of his adventures, if not getting them involved in them. Some of his inventions include: the X1, an extract that can temporarily enhance physical prowess, the X2, an extract that can advance the age of someone by 70 years and another that can reverse those aging effects, a soporific gas[1]; the Metomol, a gas that can melt metals [2]; the X4, an extract than can temporarily increase one’s mental capabilities [3] [note 1] and an extract that grants cold resistance [4]; he also created a portable Zorgwave based on Zorglub's, and devices that grant immunity to Zorglub's Zorgray and Zorgwave and one that can return those affected by the paralyzing Zorgray back to normal; portable one-man powered submarines and scuba suits that confers easy communication via radio. Most of the weird events at Champignac are usually caused by his inventions or those of his colleagues or rivals, much to the chagrin of the Champignacians, especially the Mayor.

History

Champignac spin-off

The spin-off takes place in the 1940s. It mixes real-life events and persons with the life of the Count. While studying the properties of a mushroom, the Count receives a coded letter. After decoding the letter, he finds out it was written by Professor Black, his friend, who needs his help and wants him to go to London. However as soon as he was leaving his house the count’s castle gets surrounded by the Nazis which take hold of his castle and detain him. He then tried to sneak out with his maid but was intercepted by a soldier and ordered him to open his bag. As he opens it, the soldier finds it was the mushroom the Count was searching at the beginning. As soon as the soldier sniffed the mushroom, he was knocked out; turns out the mushroom spores had soporific properties.

With the help of his maid, who had a cousin who is a fisherman, he managed to escape to London and get to the spot, where he received another coded letter which said to go at a station to take a train to the Town of Bletchley. In the station he meets Blair McKenzie, a linguist and later love interest who is heading in the same place as him and was called to meet there after winning a crossword puzzle on a newspaper. When reaching the place, they meet Professor Black at the Bletchley Park manor. He explains they have to sign the Secrecy Act, a document that procures they never mention what they are about to do to anyone. The mission turns out to be deciphering the German Enigma code. In there, they meet other real-life people such as William Turing, who was part of the group of great minds in deciphering the Enigma code. In the second part, the Count along with McKenzie and Black go on a rescue mission to help their friends Schwartz and Bryunseeleke (a.k.a "the biologist"), who were in Germany after receiving a message from them asking for their help, escape.

It was found that he, Schwartz, Black and Bryunseeleke met at L’académie des Sciences in Brussels as colleagues and became best friends. The Count was accepted there after submitting a mathematical theorem. He came up with that theorem while trying to solve a problem on a test to become a County Hall employee. In the end, he failed the test as he did not finish on time and Duplumier, instead, took that position. In this spin-off he also kidnaps Sprtschk during a party held by a Nazi general and sends him off to London with Black and Schwartz. He finds out through Schwartz that the biologist was being transferred to be an assistant to Hitler’s doctor. Blair then finds out through a newspaper that Hitler and his entourage would be staying at Berghof, his castle in the Bavarian Alps. They managed to escape by using Pervitin (a.k.a a derivative of Meth) commercially developed in Germany that granted energy without sleep or hunger. The count in one instance had the chance of killing Hitler by overdosing him with his injected medication, but he decided not to “So as to not be like them!” [5]

Main series

He first appeared in Il y a un sorcier à Champignac, the second album in the series.

He initially appears entering the town of Champignac in an old car model, passing the red light. The Mayor unlike the others who passed by, did not rebute the Count’s actions, showing the Count as a highly respected figure [note 2]. Spirou and Fantasio went to the town, where the people were terrified by the presence of a "wizard". This wizard created all sorts of anomalies, such as colored pigs and cows that produced undrinkable milk; there was also an instance of a cow that aged on a short span and even died of old age. Initially it was assumed the one responsible was a Romani who just came into the town with his carriage to temporarily stay in the city. The two decided to investigate who this "wizard" was. They thought the castle they were camping nearby was suspicious and decided to investigate it, and turns out their suspicions were true, as they found animals in abnormal sizes and giant mushrooms.

The count then kidnaps Fantasio and uses him as a guinea pig for his X1 formula, he explains Spirou about this to which he responds aggressively and asks what did he do to him. He continues to explain his experiments and accidentally breaks one of his vials containing his sleeping gas knocking out the two for some time. Once they regain consciousness, Spirou aggressively demands him to get to the point and tells him what happened to his friend. The count then finally concedes and takes him to Fantasio, who is still asleep after being injected one of his formulas and needs another to wake him up. The count tries to inject him the formula to wake him up but accidentally injects a couple that makes him change color. Finally with the help of Spirou he finally injects the correct formula and Fantasio wakes up. When he sees his formula worked through him, he is ecstatic and implores Fantasio to stay to show about his discovery but in vain. He then tries the formula on himself and enters on a series of sports competitions to prove his discovery, and he becomes famous due to this. After a thief saw him nearby and recognizes him on the papers where he learned about his miracle formula, he steals it from him to use it to his nefarious deeds. Luckily, the effects of the X1 are temporary, so Spirou and Fantasio were able to stop the thief before he applied another dose of it and was arrested. Some of the thief’s accomplices try to get a hold of the formula as well, only to mistakenly take the X2 and become old men. After this, the count decides to keep the formula to himself and reverses the effects of the X2 did to the thieves affected only to backfire and turning them into kids again, instead of their younger adult selves.

In The Marsupilami Thieves, the count briefly appears to aid Spirou and Fantasio to get into the Circus where the Marsupilami is being kept captive. They coincidentally stumble upon him in Malaga, staying there as a vacation. Spirou and Fantasio greet him and tell him of their situation with the Marsupilami, and ask the Count if he could give them some of his famous X1 formula. Unfortunately, the count has none on him and says it takes a while to make a new batch but he says he has another of his inventions that could aid them. He gives them a stick filled with pills that when consumed changes the skin into different patterns and colors, which they use to make their act and get into the circus.

Trivia

  • Franquin gave the count his name by looking up the silliest saint patrons on the calendar with his wife.
  • In L’ombre du Z, while completely exhausted from working on anti-Zorgray earrings, the Count complained about his wife always asking him to create inventions for her. This does imply that the count is a widow in the main series.

Notes

  1. See “La Peur Au Bout du Fil” in Le voyageur du Mésozoique
  2. Originally the Mayor addresses him by the title of "Baron", but later on in the comic this is changed to "Count".

References

  1. Franquin, A. (1986). Il y a un sorcier à Champignac (Spirou et Fantasio, #2). Dupuis.
  2. Franquin, A. (2017). Le dictateur et le champignon. Editions Dupuis
  3. Franquin, A. (1960). Les Aventures de Spirou et Fantasio 13: Le Voyageur du Mesozoique, (First Edition). Dupuis, Fils et Cie.; Franquin, A. (2010). Spirou et Fantasio - Tome 9 - REPAIRE DE LA MURENE. Dupuis.
  4. Franquin, A. (1960). Les Aventures de Spirou et Fantasio 13: Le Voyageur du Mesozoique, (First Edition). Dupuis, Fils et Cie. ; T., & J. (2016). Virus (Spirou & Fantasio). Cinebook, Ltd.
  5. B., & David, E. (2021). Champignac - Tome 2 - Le patient A (Champignac, 2) (French Edition). DUPUIS.