Did you know that the Marsupilami is the only oviparous animal with a navel?
In the summer of 1952, Spirou and Fantasio discovered the forest of Palombia, an imaginary country in north-west South America. It was there that the two friends came face to face with a fantastical animal, namely the Marsupilami, a yellow quadrumane with black spots, with Herculean strength and a very long prehensile tail.
As recent history has shown, the discovery of large and unknown animal species is not impossible; the okapi was scientifically discovered in 1901, the coelacanth (1965) is a supposedly extinct prehistoric fish, and the saola, a wild ruminant from the Vietnamese mountains, was discovered in 1992.
Cryptozoology, the science of hidden animals, founded by Bernard Heuvelmans in the 1950s, has inspired our most famous comic book authors: Franquin in 1952 in Spirou et les Héritiers (Spirou and the Heirs) (first appearance of the Marsupilami) and Hergé in 1958, who placed Tintin in the presence of the Yeti.
From being an auxiliary character, the unusual animal became the hero of specific adventures from 1987 (La queue du Marsupilami - The Tail of the Marsupilami); it sold 600,000 albums and was a great success. Since then, the Marsupilami has featured in films (Sur la piste du Marsupilami - On the Trail of the Marsupilami, by Alain Chabat in 2012), TV series, animated films, etc. It has been turned into toys, and even a statue in Charleroi and Westende.