Le Mafia de Paris!: A French Comic Book

In high school, I was in an honors French class, but it was more silly than it was prestigious. The teacher—an extremely sweet woman who was rumored to be a drunk—was so chill that we spent the majority of class just going question by question through the homework from the night before. We celebrated Mardi Gras with a king cake, and someone brought in escargots for us all to try, and pretty much everyone got an A at the end of the year. Granted, it’s been more than a decade since I was last in French class, but even a year afterward, I retained so little French that I might as well have not have ever known any of it. (I do like saying comme ci, comme ça though. Not that I actually say it. I think about it, though, along with jambon and fromage. In short, I think of so-so ham and cheese.)

(The only time the teacher was not so chill was when she pulled me aside before class one day to ask me, truly concerned, if everything was all right with me. She’d grown concerned when she saw I’d written the lyrics to Silverchair’s “Learn to Hate” in pencil on my desk. “Oh no!” I gasped, astonished I’d alarmed her and amazed anyone had even noticed I’d done anything. I explained it was just for fun or out of boredom or just because. She was like, “Oh.” Then she made me clean it up.)

I forget the objective of the assignment, but there was a group project, and it might’ve involved having to talk in front of the class or something. I was always and still am obsessive about finding ways around having to do any kind of speaking in public, even if that means taking on a more work-intensive option—like drawing and writing a comic book! In French!

I teamed up with a friend who did the translating while I focused on the creative stuff—my bread and butter, y’all. And now I show it to the Internet in its entirety, including teacher edits! It stars characters I had invented and had fun drawing back then: Ben, Stan, and Kegger (who usually had a lampshade on his head). Unfortunately, I don’t have a copy of English translation, so I’m going to do my best to translate what’s going on using my memory of working on this combined with my limited knowledge of the French language! Hey, or take this opportunity to teach yourself French!

Ben is bored; nothing ever happens to him. Kegger agrees and says life would be more interesting if he has money for cars, food, and WOMEN. Stan reminds Kegger if he had money, he’d just waste it, buying a lot of shit.

Ben announces he has to go to his grandma’s and invites the other dudes along. But oh—he’s grabbed the wrong suitcase! He pauses, noting that it seems lighter than before, but oh well—less work for him. The dudes leave.

One of the Pulp Fiction-inspired mafia guys—er, other patrons of the restaurant—comments that the boys who just left have no respect for money. Another tells Ralph—the shiny-headed fellow—to check out the money so they can take it to “Big John” and get paid today. Ralph cracks open the suitcase and lets out a cry of dismay.

Ralph accurately notes that someone made a big mistake. One of the mafia guys notes they can find Ben since his name is on the suitcase, and the other suggests they pay their little friend Ben a visit. Meanwhile, Ben arrives at his grandma’s house, and she offers him cookies to eat while she goes bowling, but he declines, saying he and the guys are going to play video games. While Kegger and Stan start to play, Ben cracks open his suitcase.

Ben notes the surprising contents of the suitcase and calls over the dudes. Kegger happily says that now that they have money, they can buy lots of crap! They bid Grandma adieu (or au revoir, in this case) and start to head out but come to a screeching halt…

…for a good reason.

The mafia men announce that all the money is still accounted for, but Ralph isn’t content with letting the boys off the hook. The bad guys take our money-hungry-but-relatively-innocent protagonists to the docks, where they beg for their lives.

Ralph is having none of this begging-for-mercy shit—time to shoot them!

Who can possibly save them now?!

Why, it’s AVENGER GIRL to the rescue!

Avenger Girl kicks the crap out of the bad guys, who quickly become lhistoire. 

Back at Grandma’s, Grandma apologizes on behalf of the stupid boys and offers Avenger Girl some homemade cookies, but  Avenger Girl is too good for “homemade Oreos.”

Stan and Ben thank Avenger Girl for saving their lives, and Kegger thanks her for saving his beautiful body.

Kegger’s grasp lasts a bit too long, and he releases her, embarrassed: “Okay, I just thought…” She shuts it down: “No.”

Avenger Girl flies away, presumably off to save some other poor saps, and now the guys can get back to video games and their boring lives!

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