“This morning we all arrived at school very happy, because they are going to take a photo of the class”. This is how ‘Little Nicolás’ begins, one of the best books (well, without adding that horrible apostille that is “childish”) in history. And behind Nicolás, Alcestes, Clotaire, Agnan and company was a cartoonist who designed and put in order the imaginary of Goscinny (‘Asterix’): the great Jean-Jacques Sempé, who passed away today at the age of 89 leaving behind an immortal legacy.
look me in the eye
Little is known, but ‘Little Nicholas’ began as a comic strip before moving, in 1959, to prose. Despite their stories, as fun and white as they are timeless, to which Sempé’s unique drawing was added, it seemed impossible to make a good audiovisual adaptation. Nevertheless, it wasn’t for lack of trying.
In 2009, fifty years after its first publication, ‘Little Nicolás’ made it to film and television, first with a 3D series that faithfully adapted the novels and later with the even more difficult: a version with real actors that does not hit everything but has a perfect tone. It had, by the way, two sequels, the last one last year and finished that way.
Interestingly, a perfect testament for Sempé will be released in October: a film in which both he and Goscinny (played by actors, of course) will remember with Little Nicolás their friendship, career and childhood. Sempé has been, is and will be a benchmark of humor, kindness and human candor. Rest in peace.