Or the one with the comic workshop for teenagers which I found through a flyer in the public library, where I met kids from really different backgrounds and ventured into areas of the city I had never been to alone before. You see, the flyer didn't make that clear to me then, but looking back I realize that this was actually intended as some social project to prevent "at risk" kids from hanging out on the streets and doing drugs, or something like that. Which was why it was first at this inner city culture center near the central station and later at some slightly run-down youth center that had band practice rooms and billiard tables, a ton of anti-drug posters, and these postings with rules that spelled out that you'd be thrown out if you brought alcohol, drugs or weapons inside, and it was all very strange for me (but hey, it didn't cost anything, unlike "art courses" and things like that). Anyway, despite that the workshop was run by a social worker and an art pedagogue together, they never made it feel like a social project, which I guess is important in that line of work (because which teenager would want that?), and most likely something these people learn in their training for working with teenagers or something. Anyway, despite that slight feeling of being out of place, and the fact that I was also one of the youngest and one of only two girls, I learned a lot during the IIRC almost two years I went there, and I had far more fun there than with, say, my classmates who weren't comic fans. Besides it actually resulted in me finishing some comics, being part of an exhibition at a local comic festival (even if it was as a "youth project thing"), and a zine publication (also I never got my originals back from that exhibition *grrr*).
Other fun moments would be young RatCreature travelling alone for the first time to visit a comic con, listening to public university lectures for the first time because the culture studies department did a lecture series on comic art (I didn't understand half of the stuff these people were talking about, despite actually daring to ask questions), creating comics for the school paper, making stickers from cartoons mocking teachers, and distributing them throughout school (that really helped my popularity quite a bit I think)...
Um yes, actually this post was supposed to have another point, namely that I wanted to talk about the comics I liked well before I started reading superhero comics. There are a ton of those of course, some of which I listed some years ago in a post that was actually part of a discussion involving lists of books and stuff, but this is besides the point as well (all comics on that list are well worth reading btw, even though I don't believe in the value of trying to assemble lists of literary canon or reading lists assigning value that way in general, which is why I have disclaimed that list like mad back then too).
Anyway, I finally come to what was supposed to be the content of this post, i.e. André Franquin. I have actually no idea how famous he is outside of Europe, but considering that he was one of the most influential comic artists of the Franco-Belgian style, that he created the Marsupilami and Gaston Lagaffe I can't imagine that he isn't well known. Despite that, I actually couldn't find an English edition of his Idées Noires in a casual search, and if there truly wasn't one that would be rather sad.
I don't own an edition of the French Idées Noires, only a German translation, so I couldn't show you scans of the original, however if you read French, some of the pages are available on the official Idées Noires site I linked above. The humor in them can be rather bleak, sometimes cynical, and sometimes even depressing, despite being funny. When you read interviews or biographies the question inevitable pops up whether the Idées Noires are an outgrowth of the depression with which Franquin struggled and which caused him to be unable to work for some times during his career, in the same way that people look fo ways in which the depression might show in the Spirou and Fantasio comic QRN sur Bretzelburg (Franquin stopped working on it between 1961 and 1963), or in the ways Gaston got progressively darker.
Originally most of the Idées Noires were published from 1977 to 1982, first in Trombone Illustré (a Spirou magazine supplement) then in Fluide Glacial until his depression caused him to stop drawing. Behind the cut are scans of ten pages I like a lot, with a translation (I can't guarantee for its total faithfulness to the original, seeing how I only have a German translation of the French to go on).
"It's over, now I know:"
"...I will freeze here...and that perhaps..."
"...very close to civilization. ...have to get on top of this hill..."
"...oh yes! I see lights, the lights of a town!"
"No my friend, you won't freeze..."
"... Yes, I've always had an affinity for little things...but I have enough of all the trains, ship and car models..."
"My true passion I've found with bonsai, the Japanese art of cultivating dwarf trees!"
"First you have to prevent the plant from growing... hehehe... as a young plant you put it in too small pots, repots it often..."
"...each time you cut, chop!, with a scissor all those little roots which are trying to grow, snip-snip!"
"...then you rip off almost all the buds and sprouts...you can also pinch then off very slowly with your fingernails.... hehehe..."
"...despite everything there still will be the main sprout and one or two puny twigs... those you fold, twist and bind into abnormal positions with wire, so that they will over time grow into perverse forms..."
"...you force them with hooks to crawl, you can also pen them in between stones... certain grafts are also common... personally I prefer..."
"Hey! Who's interrupting my... damn it!"
"You damn brats! How often have I told you not to climb the trees!"
"We won't do it again..." "...dad!"
"...okay, we have developed into intelligent beings. We've perfected everything....central heating in our houses, lights throughout the night, you get used to these to these things quickly ..."
"But I'm starting to wonder whether whether we can still stp in time?"
"To be honest, I'm afraid with time we're going to make the same mistakes as them..."
"...everybody knows that in the end they've been wiped out by their own fabulous progress. Those idiots!"
"Hey now! No premature insults! Remember that they've left us all those nice cities after all!"
"...you can trust our engineer who developed this technical miracle of modern food industry to show you around..."
"So! We'll follow simply the conveyer, everything is fully automated. First they are plucked. Humor isn't lacking in this work, it's hilarious when they cluck naked ... then their necks are twisted, then they are gutted, and boiled!"
"... stewed with onions and bacon.... with substances to suppress the unpleasant aftertaste they get from their chemical fodder... but let's start at the beginning of the process..."
"...With a single, simple grip the poultry is secured in this clamp... here."
"Oh well! I have to do my news report, it's started... here they're plucked!"
"Ouch! That has to be the neck-twisting machine... Carful now! Woah, that are the wonders of modern technology!"
"...and here they're gutted... uuiie... and cleaned... man, that's heavy stuff. if this will get published? ...oioioi..."
"...Now I'm at the boiling process... fantastic, this zoom...woah"
"Here the canning is happening... the exact ingredients aren't on the label this time...heheheh"
"If you're looking for your engineer... he's probably with the shipping department... Surely I'm allowed to take this can of chicken with me... as a souvenir!"
"...you see, I've always lived around here. Oh yes, here once was the market with the old sycamores around it..."
"...and even earlier there were Gaul villages, haha! The world changes, that's life..."
"This, change?! You can't recognize anything anymore... You know George, this isn't my world anymore..."
"Damn. You nostalgic old-timers are starting to get on my nerves, with all your talk about the good old days..."
"...even though there's nothing worse for your health than the damn environmentalists..."
"...but I just feel unwell in these surroundings..."
"Pfffh! You're feeling a bit down, that's all. C'mon, you're not alone, I'll take you home... here we are already!"
"Have a drink, crash for a bit and dream something nice, okay?!"
"It's happening! The third world war is coming!"
"It's decided. I'll build my own bunker...the neighbors will laugh at me, but not anymore, when everything goes boom..."
"...and one day it will go boom here. It's always here... 1914/1918...and also 1940 to 1945! It went boom on the way there and on the way back..."
"...and in-between, so that we won't feel bored, they sent us the bombers..." "There a huge boulder, looks tough..."
"Sigh! I don't have any illusions anymore..I'm a nobody..."
"I will always be just one number among many others..."
"I just don't understand how some manage to get further..."
"...and faster and higher than others..."
"Huh, where is it, the "proof"? I want to know that they're going to come up with this time..."
"It's getting dark..."
"There! A huge block is coming down..."
"All clear! It's get away if you can now..." "Otherwise...smash"
"Luckily I'm faster than they think..."
"Those bastards have calculated it on a knife's edge...but I'll make it..."
"Shit! Soft asphalt on the last meters..."
"Those tricks have always made me..." "barf..."
"Onward!" "One, two..." "Make room!"
"Move, move, hop!" "Don't push back there!" "A second." "Yesyes, but, hey...?!" "If one only knew where this will end..."
"Hey! Come on, all who like me, follow me!"