CRITIQUE – The fourth return of the youth magazine released this Wednesday, December 16 does not bring new blood to the mythical newspaper of the 70s and 80s. It even smells a little of fir …
The return to newsstands on December 16 of the new formula of the legendary magazine Pif Gadget, renamed Pif Le Mag, announced with much publicity had raised many hopes.
It must be admitted, the disappointment is up to expectations. Despite all the good will of its director of publication, the former sarkozyste Frédéric Lefebvre, this fourth comeback does not really show originality, nor unfortunately a great modernity.
To be honest, this “rebirth” smacks of recycling. So yes, the Pif Gadget 2020 is explicitly meant to be green. On the cover of this first issue intended “To super-young people from 6 to 120 years old”, we see a falsely taped green logo on which we see “100% green”. The word will be printed twice more on the cover: about the “3 eco-friendly gadgets”, then about a “green goose game” …
In case the children have not yet understood, there is also a report on Tara Ocean, the sailboat that saves the planet. As for the slogan of the publication, it still hammers its commitment: “Pif le Mag, sustainable and connected”. Too much green to be honest?
Inside, an editorial signed “Pif the dog” explains that the heroes of this magazine will “Wander around to explore biodiversity, save our oceans, and protect the planet … Without forgetting our savvy green gadget (P.25)”
Of the ten comics featured in the magazine, six are unpublished. The rest ? Repeats. From the recovery of old pages of Pif Gadget years 70-80. Nostalgia when you hold us, you apparently don’t let go.
The character of Pif the dog created by Arnal is taken up by a young colorist of 31 years, Levadoux. We would have liked so much that he had the talent of his illustrious elder. On a scenario ofEiffel, the first story takes place on Pifou’s birthday. The title “Anniv in plastoc!” immediately announces the color. Our apartment “Sore heroes” is located on the top floor of a Haussmannian building, in Paris, not far from the Eiffel Tower (which can be seen elsewhere). It stages the preparations of the cat Hercules (with his adhesive plaster on his muzzle) to celebrate Pifou’s birthday. Hercules does all the wrong things, multi-colored plastic balloons, plastic plates, plastic cups and straws, etc. Fortunately Pif, good dog, arrives and brings everyone back on the right track. Always wearing a green backpack (in the style of Dora the Explorer), the famous canine goes to an organic store and buys all the bamboo, starch and wood supplies …
The gadget that is offered in this first issue called “collector” is a “sapif” wrapped in … plastic and not plastic! Like the newspaper for that matter. We are not close to a contradiction.
The heart tree
This gadget is far from an original idea, and has its roots in the newspaper’s editorial past. In 1975, in issue 347 of Pif Gadget, the weekly offered a “sapif”, a tree to plant yourself in the garden just before Christmas. Some former readers testify in the pages of Pif le Mag what became of these small fir branches, with supporting photos. The magazine republished the initiative in issue 714 published in December 1982.
We point out that during this Christmas period, many trees are cut to decorate our homes. It’s not good. So, with an appropriate slogan “A tree cut, a tree planted”, the newspaper encourages children to plant a tree cutting, all in partnership with Jardiland. The name of this operation? “Operation Pif and the heart tree plantation”.
The six unpublished pages of Rahan are in reality only a “game book” designed in 1979 by the designer of the “son of savage ages” André Chéret. Alas, the quality of reprography is quite bad. And these pages smell of old paper, doing absolutely no justice to the talent of Chéret, or that of his screenwriter Roger Lecureux.
The return of Placid and Muzo is due to the young designer Clem, a comic and animation graduate. She orchestrates an unprecedented adventure where the heroes fly to the aid of mistreated animals, by launching an association “SOS Animo”.
The only good thing about this issue will be the gag on page 69 signed Lie down featuring the Masked Cucumber on “the end of the beans”. The masked hero collects himself in front of two tombstones, with his lifelong accomplice Sprout, teary eyed, uttering a sentence: “It’s sad …”
Yes, this magazine is sad. And terribly contradictory. It flaunts its militant ecology, but it’s wrapped in plastic. It is meant to be connected, digital, with an app to download, a dedicated site on the Net, and a QR code which allows you to complete the reading. But it comes out in newsstands, on paper (well, is it really recyclable?), Printed in 120,000 copies.
It wants to appeal to the younger generations, but it offers a lot of reissues. Like the story of Pierre Richard who accidentally broke 17 eggs to test Pif’s “square egg machine”. This return, which looks a little too easily towards the 70s and 80s, has at least one virtue. It will have helped to realize that this magazine was an incredible treasure, source of joy and emotion for many generations of children who grew up when Pif was really in the wind.