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Inspector Canardo is a long running comic series written and drawn by Benoît Sokal. The eponymous protagonist is an antropomorphic duck Defective Detective Anti-Hero, who often treads on the gray areas of justice while trying to cope with the problems of a world populated by Funny Animals.
The first stories were published in the late 1970's. They were short episodes with a loose continuity, published in the comic magazine A Suivre. The comics were satirical in tone and parodied Film Noir detective movies heavily, but gradually Cerebus Syndrome got hold on the series and started shaping it towards its current form.
Sokal started writing longer Canardo stories in 1980's, resulting in the first Canardo albums. They established a more stable continuity and started to focus more on tense plots than parody. Over the course of 30 years, 19 albums of Canardo's (mis)adventures have been published.
Inspector Canardo provides examples of:
- Anti-Hero: Canardo. He is often well-meaning, but is also cynical, greedy and alcoholic.
- Anti-Villain: Most of the one-off bad guys are these. In addition, even Clara has moments where she appears to genuinely care for Canardo, and Rasputin is broken and pathetic instead of evil in Misty Wedding.
- Anyone Can Die: And most of them do die, some more than once.
- Arch Enemy: Canardo vs Rasputin, and to some extent, Canardo vs Clara as well.
- Backup Twin: Or, to be precise, backup son. After Canardo commits suicide, his previously unseen son shows up, inherits his father's possessions and, after a brief misadventure, his entire life.
- Break the Cutie: Happens a lot. Rasputin's daughter in Mark of Rasputin suffers a horrible breakdown when she realizes that her father is a Complete Monster.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: The early stories play Canardo's medium awareness for laughs several times, but the fourth wall has remained mostly intact in the albums.
- Cerebus Syndrome: The early comics meander between a Film Noir parody and a serious detective drama. As the series progressed to albums, the parody was toned down and the series focused on its more dramatic elements with a touch of Dark Comedy.
- Cool Car: Canardo drives a sweet white Cadillac.
- Death Is Cheap: Many characters have survived certain deaths with little or no explanation. Canardo himself has died roughly five times, even lampshading it in one of the A Suivre comics - turns out the "blood" was just tomato soup.
- Driven to Suicide: One A Suivre comic has an aged Canardo commit suicide. The next story features his son's transformation into his image.
- Early Installment Weirdness: The original comics feature humans who apparently are not much unlike us. To them, Canardo and the others are just animals that are acting weird. After the first few albums the humans went missing completely, leaving behind a World of Funny Animals.
- Evil Overlord: Rasputin is this in his debut appearance. He and his men ride through Siberia, killing, looting and raping. After he loses a daughter, loses his eyesight and nearly dies, he does become a bit more sympathetic, but eventually returns to his violent ways.
- Famous-Named Foreigner: Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin.
- Femme Fatale: Clara is a schemer who shifts her allegiances for personal gain and seems to have very little interest for the lives of the others.
- Funny Animal: Most of the characters are these, but sometimes talking but otherwise normal animals and even humans are seen.
- Generation Xerox: Canardo himself commits suicide in one of the earlier stories. He is replaced by his son, and it doesn't take long for fate to make him exactly like his father.
- Laser-Guided Karma: In The Suave Death, a group of soldiers responsible for murdering Bronx's father is killed by none other than Bronx himself. The soldiers were expecting this.
- Mature Animal Story: The stories feature sex, drugs, violence and various grim themes such as suicide, insanity and rape.
- Not So Harmless: Bronx the bear seems harmless despite his huge size, because he is too stupid to get angry at anyone. Except when he hears the song Lili Marleen.
- Oddball in the Series: Misty Wedding. It is the only comic to have any humans as main characters. It also contains paranormalities that are otherwise not present in the series, such as Deal with the Devil and Psychic Powers.
- The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: The revolutionaries in Black Tide resort to terrorism by hijacking an oil tanker and threatening to release the oil if their demands aren't met.
- Second Hand Storytelling: The early comics refer to Un Installment episodes such as "Canardo's resurrection".
- Time Travel: Canardo does this in A Miserable Little Pile of Secrets. He has a pocket-sized time machine, which is the only futuristic device seen in the series so far.