For 18 months during the Nazi occupation of France, French cartoonists published a youth magazine unprecedented in its collaboration with the Nazis. Some of the best known French cartoonists were involved in Le TÃ©mÃ©raire (The Bold) and four of them went on to later found a magazine called Pilote which eventually spawned the famous Asterix and Obelisk comics.
The magazine’s most common target, however, was Europe’s Jewish population. The comic strip Journey To Unknown Worlds, drawn by Auguste Liquois and his successor Raymond PoÃ¯vet, pitted a stereo typically Aryan character, Norbert, against a variety of Semitic caricatures who wore helmets emblazoned with the star of David. Their lair was â€œthe Kingdom of the Maraisâ€, the Marais being an area of Paris known for its Jewish population.
Glasgow University scholar Dr Laurence Grove is bringing these comic books to light in an upcoming book. “Academics believe it sheds new light on the willingness with which some sections of French society collaborated in promoting Nazi ideas and goals.” Read by 500,000 children per issue, some have said that its effects can be felt to this day.