Yoko Tsuno

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This article is about the comic album series. For the character in the series, see Yoko Tsuno (character).
Yoko Tsuno
Publication information
Publisher Dupuis (French and Dutch)
Cinebook (English)
Format Comics album
Genre Science fiction
Number of issues 26 (in Dutch and French)
9 (in English)
Creative team
Creator(s) Roger Leloup

Yoko Tsuno is a comics album series created by the Belgian writer Roger Leloup published by Dupuis in Spirou magazine since its debut in 1970. Through twenty-six volumes, the series tell the adventures of Yoko Tsuno, a female electrical engineer of Japanese origin surrounded by her close friends, Vic Video and Pol Pitron (see Yoko Tsuno characters). Their adventures bring them to, among other places, Belgium (Bruges), Germany, Scotland, Japan, Hong Kong, Indonesia and also into outer space. The stories are heavily technology driven, with concepts like robot dragons (Le Dragon de Hong Kong), suspended animation (La Frontière de la vie), time travel (La Spirale du temps and others), and even an alien species called the Vineans. Despite the often exotic settings and science-fiction plot lines, the stories generally remain realistic on the personal level between the characters and friendship, love and spirituality are some of the key themes of the series. The art is drawn in Ligne claire style. When depiciting real-world settings, Leloup aspires to be as true to reality as possible, with places like Burg Katz or Rothenburg ob der Tauber depicted with almost photographic skill.

Publication history[edit]

Yoko Tsuno first appeared in the Franco-Belgian comics magazine Spirou on September 24, 1970 with the 8 page short Hold–up en hi–fi.[1] This and the following two shorter works La belle et la bête and Cap 351 served as precursors for the first full-length Yoko Tsuno adventure, Le trio de l’étrange serialised in Spirou from May 13, 1971.[2] Staying with Spirou for the following 30 years, the series still appears in the magazine to date. Accumulating 26 albums with three integral compilations, the fourth, Vinéa en péril, is announced to be released on October 3, 2007.[3]

Main characters[edit]

Main article: Yoko Tsuno characters

Yoko Tsuno[edit]

Yoko Tsuno is an electrical engineer, who was raised in Japan but now lives in Belgium. She is quite compassionate and has a knack for making friends. Yoko is also a skilled scuba diver, holds a black belt in aikido, and can pilot both gliders and helicopters. This wide range of competences, together with her near-flawless behaviour, makes Yoko fall into the classic category of a competent woman. The flaw she does admit to having is the typically Japanese trait of valuing personal honour highly, which leads her at times to be trusting to the point of blindness. Yoko Tsuno's first name was inspired by Japanese actress Yoko Tani.[4]

Vic Video[edit]

Vic Video (Dutch: Ben Beeld, but sometimes also referred to as Max): He has a strong personality, and is a close friend of Yoko (whom he seems to be in love with, though this is only hinted at). Before meeting Yoko, he directed live TV shows. He is often the voice of reason and prudence moderating Yoko's impulsiveness. Vic appears in all albums except Aventures électroniques, L'Or du Rhin and La Pagode des brumes.

Pol Pitron[edit]

Pol Pitron (Dutch: Paul Pola, German: Knut Knolle) is the comic relief of the trio. His name comes from French "pitre", literally "clown". Before meeting Yoko, he worked as a camera operator under direction of Vic. Pol is often lazy and grumpy, as well as a real gourmet. He is also playful and thus quite fond of children. Pol appears in all albums except La Pagode des brumes, although he appears in only two stories of Aventures électroniques. Where almost all other characters in the comics are drawn realistically anatomically speaking, in the early albums, Pol's nose and eyes are cartoonishly large and round.

Khany[edit]

Khany is a member of the extraterrestrial race of Vineans. As of the end of La Forge de Vulcain and the fall of Karpan's leadership, she is also their undeclared leader who directs the return of the Vineans from Earth to Vinea. She is also undertaking expeditions to find lost Vinean colonies. Like Vic, she is quite careful in her actions. Khany appears in Le Trio de l'étrange, La Forge de Vulcain, Les Trois soleils de Vinéa, Les Titans, La Lumière d'Ixo, Les Archanges de Vinéa, Les Exilés de Kifa and La Porte des âmes.

Rosée du matin[edit]

Rosée du matin (Morning Dew; Dutch: Roosje; German: Morgentau) is Yoko's adopted Chinese daughter, as of Le Dragon de Hong Kong. The child of two biologists who experimented with the artificial enlargement of animals, she was orphaned when her parents perished in a storm. She had been raised by her grandfather, but due to his deteriorating health, he entrusted guardianship to Yoko. She has so far also participated in Yoko's time travel exploits and her trips into outer space. Rosée appears in all albums from Le Dragon de Hong Kong onwards. She was inspired by Leloup's daughter, adopted from Korea.

Monya[edit]

Monya is a fourteen-year old time traveler from 3872, whom Yoko meets during the events described in La Spirale du temps. After changing history during this adventure, Monya is unable to return to her native time. She is adopted by Yoko's cousin and the two girls become fast friends. With the help of Monya's time machine, the translateur, Yoko and her friends undertake several time-travelling adventures.

Synopsis[edit]

Yoko Tsuno first meets Vic and Pol when they catch her trying to break into a laboratory, in Le Trio de l'étrange. The moment the men confront her, the owner of the laboratory explains that he hired the Japanese girl to test a burglar alarm system. Vic, intrigued by Yoko's knowledge in electrical engineering and planning to do an independent television production with Pol as the cameraman, asks Yoko to come along.

The main characters are based in Belgium, although adventures take place around the world and even in the Vinean solar system, 2,500,000 light years away. When the stories are Earth-based, they mostly take place in existing settings, such as the German locations Burg Katz and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, the Chinese city of Hong Kong, or the Belgian city of Bruges.

Books[edit]

Albums[edit]

# Title Year Synopsis ISBN
1 Le Trio de l'étrange (The Curious Trio) 1972 Vic and Pol discover Yuko as she is testing an alarm system. While making a documentary about a river, the three are sucked down a grill and captured by the Vineans. Alongside the Vinean Khany, the trio must battle the mad Vinean security chief Karpan. 2-8001-0666-2
2 L'Orgue du Diable (The Devil's Organ) 1973 While traveling the Rhine River, Yoko and Pol rescue an organist named Ingrid Hallberg. Through her, they learn of the destructive infrasonic instrument named the Devil's Organ. 2-8001-0667-0
3 La Forge de Vulcain (Vulcan's Forge) 1973 Yoko travels to Martinique to investigate a strange magnetic ore that turns out to be part of magma pipeline, again part of the mechanations of the Vinean Karpan. 2-8001-0668-9
4 Aventures électroniques (Electronic Adventures) 1974 A series of short stories, several of which involve stereo equipment. Includes Hold -up in hi-fi, L'ange de Noël, La belle et la bête, Cap 351, Du miel pour Yoko and L'araignée qui volait 2-8001-0669-7
5 Message pour l'éternité (Message for Eternity) 1975 After a radio antenna in Pleumeur-Bodou picks up the signal of a long-disappeared Handley "Heracles" aeroplane, Yoko travels to a crater on the Soviet-Afghanistan border. 2-8001-0670-0
6 Les Trois soleils de Vinéa (The Three Suns of Vinea) 1976 Yoko, Vic and Pol travel to Vimea with Khany to investigative the habitability of the planet, now governed by corrupted artificial intelligence. 2-8001-0671-9
7 La Frontière de la vie (On the Edge of Life) 1977 Yoko investigates a vampire-like apparition that has stricken her friend Ingrid with a strange disease. 2-8001-0672-7
8 Les Titans (The Titans) 1978 Yoko, Khany and their friends are prompted to investigate a swamp region on Vinea where a giant insectoid race using artificial exoskeletons dwells. 2-8001-0592-5
9 La Fille du vent (The Daughter of the Wind) 1979 Yoko goes to Japan to visit her father, who is researching the creation of artificial tornadoes but is being threatened by his rival Kazuky, who wants to use the tornado machine as a weapon. 2-8001-0633-6
10 La Lumière d'Ixo (The Light of Ixo) 1980 Yoko investigates a mysterious light that appears on Ixo every four years, a light that the Vinean Sikhan wants to use for his own ends. 2-8001-0687-5
11 La Spirale du temps (The Time Spiral) 1981 When visiting her cousin in Borneo, Yoko finds a girl from the distant future who has traveled back in time to stop the discovery of antimatter 2-8001-0744-8
12 La Proie et l'ombre (The Prey and the Ghost) 1982 While in Scotland, Yoko runs into Cecilia, who is being tormented by her stepfather and uncle using a body double and a holograph. 2-8001-0908-4
13 Les Archanges de Vinéa (The Archangels of Vinea) 1983 Yoko and Poky discover a submerged Vinean city run by a despotic queen. 2-8001-0971-8
14 Le Feu de Wotan (Wotan's Fire) 1984 Yoko investigates Ingirid's discovery of a fearsome lightning-based weapon. 2-8001-1029-5
15 Le Canon de Kra (The Cannon of Kra) 1985 Yoku must find siege cannon shells meant for German railway cannon before a madman uses them on the government of Kampong. 2-8001-1092-9
16 Le Dragon de Hong Kong (The Dragon of Hong Kong) 1986 Yoko and her new young friend Morning Dew must deal both with a giant lizard harnessed for a movie and a giant mechanical dragon attacking Hong Kong 2-8001-1378-2
17 Le Matin du monde (The Morning of the World) 1988 Yoko and Monya must deal with the aftermath of a time-travelling expedition that nets an Indonesian artifact while causing a temple dancer to be sentenced to death. 2-8001-1585-8
18 Les Exilés de Kifa (The Refugees of Kifa) 1991 With the help of the android Myna, Yoko must stop the satellite Kifa from being destroyed or colliding with Vinea. 2-8001-1748-6
19 L'Or du Rhin (The Rhine Gold) 1993 Yoko is employed as a secretary in Kazuky, where a deal is struck with German businessmen, androids, the luxury train Rheingold Express, and nuclear warheads. 2-8001-1999-3
20 L'Astrologue de Bruges (The Astrologer of Bruges) 1994 Yoko, Monya, Morning Dew and company travel to the 16th century to discover the mystery of an ancient painting depicting Yoko and Monya. 2-8001-2101-7
21 La Porte des âmes (The Gate of Souls) 1996 Yoko and friends discover the remain of the Vinean colony Ultima, now inhabited by a race who believes in technologically-forced reincarnation. 2-8001-2340-0
22 La Jonque céleste (The Celestial Barge) 1998 During a visit to China, Yoko uses archaeological finds to discover the tomb of the wife of Emperor Chen Tsong, a young girl who bears many similarities to Rosée. 2-8001-2587-X
23 La Pagode des brumes (The Pagoda of the Mists) 2001 In a continuation of the events of La Jonque céleste, Sin-Yi, now living in the present, pines for her servant girl Mei-Li, causing Monya to go back in time against Yoko's wishes. 2-8001-2948-4
24 Le Septième Code (The Seventh Code) 2005 While traveling in the Amazon, Yoko avoids a near-plane crashed while dealing with Krüger and Comtesse Olga, Germans who need a chess riddle solved to unlock a missile silo. 2-8001-3762-2
25 La Servante de Lucifer (The Servant of Lucifer) 2010 Yoko reveals the existence of Vinéa to Emilia ... Yoko signs a pact with a machine of the thirteenth century who takes them to the Center of the Earth ... to meet his master, Lucifer! 978-2-8001-4775-8 (FR)
978-90-314-3090-1 (NL)
26 Le Maléfice de l'améthyste (The Amethyst Hex) 2012 978-2800148625 (FR)

L'Écume de l'aube[edit]

Roger Leloup also wrote a novel with Yoko as the heroine, published in 1991: L'Écume de l'aube (The Foam of the Dawn) (ISBN 2-203-38033-0), which relates the childhood and youth of Yoko Tsuno.

Translations[edit]

Books from the Yoko Tsuno series have been translated from French to sixteen languages: Basque,[5] Catalan,[6] Chinese, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, German, Greek, Icelandic, Indonesian, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish.

English translations[edit]

As of 2012, only a limited number of Yoko Tsuno comics have been translated to English. Books #3 and 6 (La Forge de Vulcain and Les Trois soleils de Vinéa) were released in English in 1989 under the series title, The Adventures of Yoko, Vic and Paul by Catalan Communications under their "Comcat" line. Some liberties were taken in the translation to English. For example, Yoko's last name was changed to "Suno", Khany was renamed "Kani" and the Vineans became "Vinans" from the planet "Vina". Comcat planned next on reprinting books #8, 10, 13, and possibly #17, but the company went under.

Seven books have been translated into English and published by Cinebook Ltd:[7]

Chinese translations[edit]

The Hong Kong-based Bayard Press Asia–Le Grain de Seneve Publishing Co. Ltd has published two Yoko stories in Chinese:

  • Le Dragon de Hong Kong to 大龍的秘密 (The Secret of Great Dragon), and
  • Le Matin du monde to 巴里島時光歷險 (Time-venture of Bali) in the 90's.

The series title for these albums was changed to 海羽傳奇 (The Legacy of Yoko Tsuno).

Sources[edit]

Footnotes
  1. ^ BDoubliées. "Spirou année 1970" (in French). 
  2. ^ BDoubliées. "Spirou année 1971" (in French). 
  3. ^ Yoko Tsuno official site. "Les albums de Yoko Tsuno" (in French). 
  4. ^ Un monde de bulles, Roger Leloup (TV Show). Public Sénat TV channel. 2007. 
  5. ^ Zeruko Junkoa (La Jonque céleste)
  6. ^ El Trio de l'estrany (Le Trio de l'étrange)
  7. ^ Cinebook: The 9th Art Publisher. "Cinebook catalogue - Yoko Tsuno". Retrieved 2011-03-24. 

External links[edit]