Le poulpe --
Gabriel Lecouvreur
Created by Jean-Bernard Pouy, Patrick Raynal, and Serge Quadruppani
Written by Patrick Raynal, Jean-Gérard Imbar, Marc Villard and others

GABRIEL LECOUVREUR, also known as LE POULPE is, according to co-creator Patrick Raynal "something of an avenger, an outlaw, a Robin Hood and an anarchist...He always looks behind the scenes, to see if what we're told reflects the truth."

He's also the hero of an amazing publishing phenomenom that brings the North American concept of Men's Adventures (Mack Bolan, The Executioner et al) to France. The idea of the series was hatched over a few rounds in a bar by Jean-Bernard Pouy, Patrick Raynal, and Serge Quadruppani. Longing for a return to a "pulpier" style of crime fiction, as opposed to much of the rather literary stuff currently making the rounds in France, and yet not satisfied with the right wing, "almost fascist" bent of much of the pulpier crime fiction that was available, they came up with a left-wing detective as a kind of antidote. Despite its implied reference to the pulps; a poulpe is actually an octopus. They then set about having some of France's best crime writers actually write the books. So far, it's been quite the success.

Each writer must follow the Poulpe "Bible," a four-page outline of the character's life and friends, but is urged to keep his own style, and his own interests. And while the first books were by well-known crime writers (such as Daeninckx, Pouy, G.J. Arnaud, Raynal, Quadruppani), now unpublished writers, journalists, show business personalities, mystery novels critics, essayists (Mesplede), and first time published writers are lining up to take a crack at "le Poulpe."

"It's an exercise in style," said Raynal, who's also written about private eye Phillippe Clerc, and has been editorial director of La Serie Noire since 1991. Close to two hundred le Poulpes were published, as well as several graphic novel adaptations and even a feature film. And the fat lady ain't singing yet.

The books have drawn praise for their covers, as well -- a cut above most in the Men's Adventure genre. All the covers have been done by illustrator Miles Hyman, and they're quite a classy switch from the usual cleavage and guns themes that usually decorate these things.

Alas, such a ballsy idea apparently couldn't last. According to our pal E. Borgers of Hard-Boiled Mysteries, in a January 2005 post to Rara-Avis, the original publisher, Baleine, was bought out by another publisher, Le Seuil, who don't seem very interested by this type of approach and couldn't "handle the heritage. We are now close to two years since the take over and they have published only three more titles. Everybody agrees that it's finished, as "adventurial publishing" of real popular lit. -as launched by JB Pouy with Baleine -- cannot easily be assimilated by a mainstream publishing house."

NOVELS

  • Le poulpe # 1: La petite écuyère a cafté (1995; by Jean-Bernard Pouy)
  • Le poulpe # 2: Saigne sur mer (1995; by Serge Quadruppani)
  • Le poulpe # 4: Arretez le Carrelage (1995; by Patrick Raynal)
  • Le poulpe # 7: Nazis dans le métro (by Didier Daeninckx)
  • Le poulpe # 8: Un travelo nommé désir (by Noël Simsolo)
  • Le poulpe # 9: Un trou dans la zone (by Franck Pavloff)
  • Le poulpe #11: La pieuvre par neuf (by Paul Vecchiali)
  • Le poulpe #12: La cerise sur le gâteux (by Jean-Jacques Reboux)
  • Le poulpe #13: Le cantique des cantines (by Claude Mesplède)
  • Le poulpe #14: Les pis rennais (by Pascal Dessaint)
  • Le poulpe #15: Les pieds de la dame aux clebs (by Olivier Thiébaut)
  • Le poulpe #16: Chili incarné (by Gérard Delteil
  • Le poulpe #17: Les sectes mercenaires (by Bertrand Delcour)
  • Le poulpe #18: Le G.A.L., l'égout (by Roger Martin)
  • Le poulpe #19: Les gens bons bâillonnés (by Jean-Christophe Pinpin)
  • Le poulpe #20: Ouarzazate et mourir (by Hervé Prudon)
  • Le poulpe #21: Le saint des seins (by Guillaume Nicloux
  • Le poulpe #26: Allah recherche l'autan perdu (by Roger Dadoun)
  • Le poulpe #27: Cheryl; Les damnés de l'artère (by Pascale Fonteneau)
  • Le poulpe #28: Cheryl: Comme un coq en plâtre (by Sylvie Granotier)
  • Le poulpe #31: Lundi, c'est sodomie (by Romain Goupil)
  • Le poulpe #32: Bunker menteur (by Olivier Douyère)
  • Le poulpe #34: Chicagone (by François Joly)
  • Le poulpe #35: J'irai faire Kafka sur vos tombes (by Michel Chevron)
  • Le poulpe #37: Boucher double (by Mano Gentil)
  • Le poulpe #39: Causse toujours (by Mouloud Akkouche)
  • Le poulpe #40: Lapin dixit (by Serge Meynard)
  • Le poulpe #41: Cheryl: Lavande tuera (by Chantal Pelletier)
  • Le poulpe #43: Du hachis à Parmentier (by Michel Cardoze)
  • Le poulpe #44: L'amour tarde à Dijon (by Jacques Vallet)
  • Le poulpe #48: Vomi soit qui malle y pense (by Gérard Lefort)
  • Le poulpe #49: Les potes de la perception (by Yannick Bourg)
  • Le poulpe #50: Cheryl: Le Karma saut'ra (by Aïdé Caillot)
  • Le poulpe #54: Je repars à zorro (by Alain Puiseux)
  • Le poulpe #55: Danse avec Loulou (by Alain Bellet)
  • Le poulpe #58: J'aurai ta Pau (by Cesare Battisti)
  • Le poulpe #59: Dakar en barre (by Lucio Mad)
  • Le poulpe #60: Cheryl: Crève de plaisanterie (by Stéphanie Benson)
  • Le poulpe #64: La Belge et la bête (by Bruce Mayence)
  • Le poulpe #65: Eva te faire voir ! (by Hervé Mestron)
  • Le poulpe #66: Le crépuscule des vieux (by Guillaume Darnaud)
    .
  • Un été de Poulpe (three book set)
  • Le poulpe #69: Sans foie ni loi (by Fabienne Tsaï)
  • Le poulpe #70: La lune dans le congélo (by Alain Raybaud)
  • Le poulpe #71: Tropique du grand cerf (by Guillaume Chérel).

  • Le poulpe #72: La neige du killerman manchot (by Jacky Pop)
  • Le poulpe #73: Satanique ta mère ! (by Gérard Lecas)
  • Le poulpe #74: Cheryl: Le bal des dégoûtantes (by Evane Hanska)
  • Le poulpe #78: Nice baie d'aisance (by Serge Livrozet)
  • Le poulpe #79: Le chien des bas serviles (by Jean-Luc Poison)
  • Le poulpe #82: L'aorte sauvage (by Laurent Fétis)
  • Le poulpe #83: Les bêtes du Gévaudan (by Hervé Korian)
  • Le poulpe #84: Docteur j'abuse (by Woô Manh)
  • Le poulpe #87: Papy end (by Jean-Pierre Andrevon)
  • Le poulpe #88: Lazare dîne à Luynes (by Jacques Albina)
  • Le poulpe #89: La disparition de Perek (by Hervé Le Tellier)

  • Joyeux Gabriel (four book set)
  • Le poulpe #92: La bête au bois dormant (by Robert Deleuse)
  • Le poulpe #93: La Nantes religieuse (by Christian Congiu)
  • Le poulpe #94: La dingue aux marrons (by Chantal Montellier)
  • Le poulpe #95: E pericoloso for Jersey (by Pierre-Alain Mesplède)

  • Et heureux Poulpe (four book set)
  • Le poulpe #96: Une balle dans l'esthète (by Patrick Eris)
  • Le poulpe #97: Les deniers du colt (by Gilles Vidal)
  • Le poulpe #98: Fugue en Nîmes majeur (by Monique Demerson)
  • Le poulpe #99: Touchez pas au grizzli (by Jean-Pierre Huster)
    .
  • Coffret cent pour sang bande dessinée (three book set)
  • Le poulpe #100: Le Nord aux dents (by Mako; black & white graphic novel)
  • Le poulpe #101: L'opus à l'oreille (by Olivier Balez; black & white graphic novel)
  • Le poulpe #102: La bande décimée (by Jean-Luc Cochet)
    .
  • Le Poulpe (à l'heure suisse)
  • Le poulpe #103: Au nom du piètre qui a l'essieu (by Jean-Jacques Busino)
  • Le poulpe #104: Légitime défonce (by Paul Milan)
  • Le poulpe #105: L'helvète underground (by Grégoire Carbasse)

  • Le poulpe #108: Allons au fond de l'apathie (by Philippe Carresse)
  • Le poulpe #109: Les Jarnaqueurs (by Michel Boujut)
  • Le poulpe #110: Cheryl: Un poisson nommé Rwanda (by Catherine Fradier)
  • Le poulpe #113: L'antizyklon des atroces (by Georges J: Arnaud)
  • Le poulpe #114: Ataxie pour Hazebrouck (by Serge Turbé)
  • Le poulpe #115: Zombi la mouche (by Grégoire Forbin)
    • Le poulpe #118: Zarmaggedon (by José-Louis Bocquet)
    • Le poulpe #119: Le manuscrit de la mémère morte (by Bellanti & Vacher)
    • Le poulpe #120: Meufs mimosas (by Sylvie Rouch)
    • Le poulpe #123: Eros les tanna tous (by Pierre Filoche)
    • Le poulpe #124: Plus dur sera le chiite (by Michel Musolino)
    • Le poulpe #125: Le carnaval de Denise (by Didier Vandemelk)
    • Le poulpe #128: Kop d'immondes (by Michel Pelé & Frédéric Prilleux)
    • Le poulpe #129: Don qui shoote et la manque (by François Billard)
    • Le poulpe #130: Du pont liégeois (by Jean-Paul Deleixhe, Guy Delhasse & Christian Libens)
    • Le poulpe #133: La petite marchande de doses (by Jacques Vettier)
    • Le poulpe #134: Mali-mélo (by Alain Leygonie)
    • Le poulpe #135: Tananarive qu'aux autres (by Danièle Rousselier)
    • Le poulpe #136: L'Aztèque du charro laid (by Philippe Delepierre)
    • Le poulpe #137: Veine haineuse (by Pierre Fossard)
    • Le poulpe #138: Les pourritures célestes (by Albédo)
    • Le poulpe #139: Macadam cobaye (by Lionel Besnier)
    • Le poulpe #144: Vainqueurs et cons vaincus (by Andreu Martin)
    • Le poulpe #145: Le Poulpe, le film (by Guillaume Nicloux, Jean-Bernard Pouy et Patrick Raynal)
    • Le poulpe #148: Le mec à l'eau de la Générale (by Pierre Fort)
    • Le poulpe #147: Madame est Serbie (by Nila Kazar)
    • Le poulpe #149: Les Teutons flingueurs (by Stéphane Geffray)
    • Le poulpe #152: L'arthritique de la raison dure (by Alain Aucouturier)
    • Le poulpe #154: Un nain seul n'a pas de proches (by Thierry Reboud)
    • Le poulpe #155: La pensée inique (by Cyril Berneron)
    • Le poulpe #159: Sur la ligne Marginaux (by Pierre Kolaire)
    • Le poulpe #160: Feinte alliance (by Dominique Renaud)
    • Le poulpe #163: Pour cigogne le glas (by Cyprien Luraghi)
    • Le poulpe #164: La Brie ne fait pas le moine (by Christian Rauth)
    • Le poulpe #167: La tour de l'immonde (by David Downie)
    • Le poulpe #168: Le vrai con maltais (by Marcus Malte))
    • Le poulpe #170: L'évincé au fond du pouvoir (by Yan Molin)
    • Le poulpe #171: Belles et putes (by Claude Ardid)
    • Le poulpe #173: Lisier dans les yeux (by Franck Resplandy)
    • Le poulpe #174: Quand les poulpes auront des dents (by Pierre Barachant)
    • Le poulpe #177: Goulash-moi les baskets (by Cédric Suillot)
    • Le poulpe #178: La petite fille aux oubliettes (by Sophie Loubière)
    • Le poulpe #181: L'agneau pas squale (by Adna H.)
    • Le poulpe #182: L'ordure, hein! (by Collectif Orange amère)
    • Le poulpe #185: Ethique en toc (by Didier Daeninckx)
    • Le poulpe #186: 22 mars 2000 : c'est un bon jour pour Gabriel (promotional giveaway)
    • Le poulpe #187: Saône interdite (by Francis Pornon)
    • Le poulpe #189: Le cinquième est dément (by Jean-Marc Ligny)
    • Le poulpe #190: Jeux de roumains, jeux de vilains (by Stéphane Koechlin)
    • Le poulpe #192: Palet dégueulasse (by Michel Dolbec)
    • Le poulpe #193: Un pastis à la soviet (by Michel Abax
    • Le poulpe #196: Drôle de drums (by Alain Wagneur)
    • Le poulpe #197: Des gourous et des douleurs (by Patrick Mercado)
    • Le poulpe #199: Le cas G.B. (by Gérard Streiff)
    • Le poulpe #200: Le Poulpe au lycée (by Collectif)
    • Le poulpe #201: Notre père qui êtes odieux (by Violaine Bérot)
    • Le poulpe #203: Belle mère en l'île (by Olivier Mau)
    • Le poulpe #204: Les ravies au lit (by Emma Christa)
    • Le poulpe #205: A Freud, sales et méchants (by Pierre Magne)
    • Le poulpe #206: Oasis pour l'OAS (by Mariano Sanchez-Soler)
    • Le poulpe #208: Psy cause (by Patrick Arduise)
    • Le poulpe #210: Lady commandement (by Didier Quester)
    • Le poulpe #211: Je bande à Bonnot (by Jean Marboeuf)
    • Le poulpe #213: Vol au-dessus d'un nid de cocos (by Antoine Blocier)
    • Le poulpe #214: Gab save the Di (by Pierre Bourgeade)
    • Le poulpe #216: Une valse de salve nu (by Vladimir Bodiansky)
    • Le poulpe #217 (by Guère épaisPierre Garcette)

    GRAPHIC NOVEL ADAPTATIONS

    • Le poulpe #1: La petite écuyère a cafté
    • Le poulpe #2: Le saint des seins
    • Le poulpe #3: Les pis rennais
    • Le poulpe #4: La bande décimée
    • Le poulpe #5: Arrêtez le carrelage
    • Le poulpe #6: Pour cigogne le glas
    • Le poulpe #7: J'irai faire Kafka sur vos tombes
    • Le poulpe #8: La disparition de Perek
    • Le poulpe #9: Le vrai con maltais
    • Le poulpe #10: A Freud ! sales et méchants
    • Le poulpe #11 - Ouarzazate et mourir
    • Le poulpe #12 - Palet dégueulasse
      Written by Michel Dolbec, based on his novel, Le poulpe #192
      Art by Leif Tande
      I have a soft spot for this one-- it's set in Montreal, has hockey in it and La Poulpe tracking down a hitman in the East End. Author Dolbec is the correspondent for La Presse Canadienne in Paris.
    • Le poulpe #13: Lapin dixit
    • Le poulpe #14: Pieuvre à la Pouy
    • Le poulpe #15: Kop d'immondes
    • Le poulpe #16: Les jarnaqueurs

    SHORT STORIES

    • "Deuxième debre" (1997, Catalogue Baleine; a publisher's promo)

    FILM

    • LE POULPE
      (1998, Bac Films)
      100 minutes
      Tagline: Pour l'attendrir, faut taper dessus
      Screenplay by Guillaume Nicloux, Jean-Bernard Pouy, Patrick Raynal
      Directed by Guillaume Nicloux
      Produced by Charles Gassot
      Executive producer: Jacques Hinstin
      Starring Jean-Pierre Darroussin as GABRIEL LECOUVREUR, AKA "LE POULPE"
      and Clotilde Courau as Cheryl
      Also starring Stéphane Boucher, Julie Delarme, Aristide Demonico, James Faulkner, Jean-François Gallotte, Nicolas Jouhet, François Levantal, Bruno Lochet, Martine Logier, Philippe Nahon, Julien Rassam, Frédéric van den Driessche, Yves Verhoeven, Didier Abot, Christian Anneix, Gérard Barreaux, Claude Bergamin 
      Appropriately enough, according to viewer Robert Bossy, the film lasts only about as long as it takes to read one of the books.

    RELATED LINKS

    • Le Poulpe sur la toile
      An unofficial Web site totally devoted to Le Poulpe, with complete lists of titles, characters, authors, comments and critics.Very well done. In French.

    Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. Merci à Marcel Bernadac and Etienne Borgers for their help and guidance on this one!


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