Captain France

by Craig and J.D. Oliver

Strip uploaded on Wednesday, thUTC 11th 1996f September, 1996 (10173 days ago)


News entry for Wednesday, thUTC 11th 1996f September, 1996


'Captain France' was a character I originally made up in high school while bored in French class. I liked French, but I found mastering the language difficult and CF helped to get out my frustrations. His original enemies included Gendrome (who made it difficult to remember what gender nouns were), and the nefarious L'Accent. His nemesis was Guignol (pronounced Gi-nyo), based on a popular children's puppet show. No doubt in France Guignol is a beloved figure, but in my high school imagination he wielded a chainsaw and was more than a match for the underpowered Captain France.

I revisited the concept of Captain France later when I was in college (and studying German). My worldview had changed since I was in high school, and I wondered how a super-hero might behave if he were a Christian. A lot of moral absolutes in comic books suddenly had to be revisited. What is the Bible's view on vigilante justice? What about stopping crimes before they start? The concept of a quiet, normal everyman discovering that he had been given an incredible gift by God and then having to figure out how to use it became increasingly interesting to me. Captain France was becoming less of a joke character and more of a real person to me, and his alter ego of political cartoonist Giome DuBois became a fascination to me. I began sketching him more, and thinking about the world in which he lived. My wife Jenn (who I was dating at the time) was also interested in the good Captain and helped me ask all the right questions.

In 1996, I was a senior at Messiah College and learned that the college newspaper, the Swinging Bridge, was looking for cartoonists for their " Fun Page." What an opportunity! When I pitched the concept of a serial comic about a Christian superhero, the paper was intrigued and gave us the space. Jenn and I would write the stories, I would do the penciling and inking, and Jenn would do the lettering (which is good, because my handwriting is unreadable).

The above comic was the first of the series, published in September of 1996. My artwork was amateur and we were still trying to figure out how to fit all the words into the bubbles (later we realized we had to draw the bubbles after the words), but I didn't care. Captain France was in black-and-white all over campus!

While we won't see Gendrome or the punctuation-toting L' Accent in this series, we do see in this comic the first appearance of Steven, the teenage hoodlum who crosses paths with the Captain several times. For those keeping track, we also discover two of CF's powers: super-strength and damage resistance.

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