Yakari, a young Sioux Indian drawn in Switzerland, is a low-key success story. With its caring universe and its talking animals, it has sold five million comics in the last 50 years and on Wednesday it hits the big screen in France. The young Sioux and his pony ‘Little Lightning’, whose adventures through the mythical landscapes of the American West take place in vignettes with plenty of space and simple dialogues, accompany thousands of children each year in their first steps in reading. It has been translated into 19 languages.
“Yakari and the White Bison”, “Yakari and the Beavers”, “In the Land of Wolves”. In each of his comic strips, often mixed with magic, the little Indian discovers a new animal, a reflection of his environmental concerns.
A success that dates back to the 50s of last century, under the pen of two Swiss, figures of the classic French comics: Derib, the cartoonist, and Job, the screenwriter. The latter, a nonagenarian, passed the witness recently. At the age of 75, Derib (Claude de Ribaupierre), living in the middle of nature in his birthplace in La Tour-de-Peilz, on the shores of Lake Geneva, continues to take care of Yakari. He has supervised its cartoon adaptation for the cinema, ‘Yakari, the great adventure’, and drew volume 41, scheduled for the end of the year.
“This world has been with me for 50 years,” he explained to AFP, and confesses that he is not a great traveler and that he has never visited the United States. A fan of western movies, he fell in love with the Amerindians, in whom he continues to be inspired to draw, between six and eight hours a day, at home.