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Yoko Tsuno

Yoko tsuno.jpg
Publisher Dupuis (French and Dutch)
Cinebook (English)
Format Ongoing series
Genre Graphic novel
Number of issues 25 (in Dutch and French)
5 (in English)
Creative team
Creator(s) Roger Leloup

Yoko Tsuno is a comic book series created by the Belgian writer Roger Leloup published by Dupuis and in Spirou since its debut in 1970. Through twenty-five volumes, the series tell the adventures of Yoko Tsuno, a female electrical engineer of Japanese origin surrounded by her close friends, Vic Video and Pol Pitron (see Yoko Tsuno characters). Their adventures bring them to, among other places, Belgium (Bruges), Germany, Scotland, Japan, Hong Kong, Indonesia and also into outer space. The stories are heavily technology driven, with concepts like robot dragons (Le Dragon de Hong Kong), suspended animation (La Frontière de la vie), time travel (La Spirale du temps and others), and even an alien species called the Vineans. Despite the often exotic settings and science-fiction plot lines, the stories generally remain realistic on the personal level between the characters and friendship, love and spirituality are some of the key themes of the series. The art is drawn in Ligne claire style. When depiciting real-world settings, Leloup aspires to be as true to reality as possible, with places like Burg Katz or Rothenburg ob der Tauber depicted with almost photographic skill.

Publication history

Yoko Tsuno first appeared in the comics magazine Spirou on September 24, 1970 with the 8 page short Hold–up en hi–fi.[1] This and the following two shorter works La belle et la bête and Cap 351 served as precursors for the first full-length Yoko Tsuno adventure, Le trio de l’étrange serialised in Spirou from May 13, 1971.[2] Staying with Spirou for the following 30 years, the series still appears in the magazine to date. Accumulating 24 albums with three integral compilations, the fourth, Vinéa en péril, is announced to be released on October 3, 2007.[3]

Main characters

Yoko Tsuno

Yoko Tsuno is an electrical engineer, who was raised in Japan but now lives in Belgium. She is quite compassionate and has a knack for making friends. Yoko is also a skilled scuba diver, holds a black belt in aikido, and can pilot both gliders and helicopters. This wide range of competences, together with her near-flawless behaviour, makes Yoko fall into the classic category of a competent woman. The flaw she does admit to having is the typically Japanese trait of valuing personal honour above monetary wealth, which leads her at times to be trusting to the point of blindness. Yoko Tsuno’s first name was inspired by Japanese actress Yoko Tani.[4]

Vic Video

Vic Video (Dutch: Ben Beeld, but sometimes also referred to as Max): He has a strong personality, and is a close friend of Yoko (whom he seems to be in love with, though this is only hinted at). Before meeting Yoko, he directed live TV shows. He is often the voice of reason and prudence moderating Yoko’s impulsiveness. Vic appears in all albums except Aventures électroniques, L’Or du Rhin and La Pagode des brumes.

Pol Pitron

Pol Pitron (Dutch: Paul Pola, German: Knut Knolle) is the comic relief of the trio. His name comes from French “pitre”, literally “clown”. Before meeting Yoko, he worked as a camera operator under direction of Vic. Pol is often lazy and grumpy, as well as a real gourmet. He is also playful and thus quite fond of children. Pol appears in all albums except La Pagode des brumes, although he appears in only two stories of Aventures électroniques. Where almost all other characters in the comics are drawn anatomically realistic, in the early albums, Pol’s nose and eyes are cartoonishly large and round.


Khany is a member of the extraterrestrial race of Vineans. As of the end of La Forge de Vulcain and the fall of Karpan’s leadership, she is also their undeclared leader who directs the return of the Vineans from Earth to Vinea. She is also undertaking expeditions to find lost Vinean colonies. Like Vic, she is quite careful in her actions. Khany appears in Le Trio de l’étrange, La Forge de Vulcain, Les Trois soleils de Vinéa, Les Titans, La Lumière d’Ixo, Les Archanges de Vinéa, Les Exilés de Kifa and La Porte des âmes.

Rosée du matin

Rosée du matin (Morning Dew; Dutch: Roosje; German: Morgentau) is Yoko’s adopted Chinese daughter, as of Le Dragon de Hong Kong. The child of two biologists who experimented with the artificial enlargement of animals, she was orphaned when her parents perished in a storm. She had been raised by her grandfather, but due to his deteriorating health, he entrusted guardianship to Yoko. She has so far also participated in Yoko’s time travel exploits and her trips into outer space. Rosée appears in all albums from Le Dragon de Hong Kong onwards. She was inspired by Leloup’s daughter, adopted from Korea.


Monya is a fourteen-year old time traveler from 3872, whom Yoko meets during the events described in La Spirale du temps. After changing history during this adventure, Monya is unable to return to her native time. She is adopted by Yoko’s cousin and the two girls become fast friends. With the help of Monya’s time machine, the translateur, Yoko and her friends undertake several time-travelling adventures.


Yoko Tsuno first meets Vic and Pol when they catch her trying to break into a laboratory, in Le Trio de l’étrange. The moment the men confront her, the owner of the laboratory explains that he hired the Japanese girl to test a burglar alarm system. Vic, intrigued by Yoko’s knowledge in electrical engineering and planning to do an independent television production with Pol as the cameraman, asks Yoko to come along.

The main characters are based in Belgium, although adventures take place around the world and even in the Vinean solar system, 2,500,000 light years away. When the stories are Earth-based, they mostly take place in existing settings, such as the German locations Burg Katz and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, the Chinese city of Hong Kong, or the Belgian city of Bruges.


Comic books

  1. Le Trio de l’étrange (The Trio of the Bizarre), 1972 ISBN 2-8001-0666-2
  2. L’Orgue du Diable (The Devil’s Organ), 1973 ISBN 2-8001-0667-0
  3. La Forge de Vulcain (Vulcan’s Forge), 1973 ISBN 2-8001-0668-9
  4. Aventures électroniques (Electronic Adventures), 1974 ISBN 2-8001-0669-7
  5. Message pour l’éternité (Message for Eternity), 1975 ISBN 2-8001-0670-0
  6. Les Trois soleils de Vinéa (The Three Suns of Vinea), 1976 ISBN 2-8001-0671-9
  7. La Frontière de la vie (On the Edge of Life), 1977 ISBN 2-8001-0672-7
  8. Les Titans (The Titans), 1978 ISBN 2-8001-0592-5
  9. La Fille du vent (The Daughter of the Wind), 1979 ISBN 2-8001-0633-6
  10. La Lumière d’Ixo (The Light of Ixo), 1980 ISBN 2-8001-0687-5
  11. La Spirale du temps (The Time Spiral), 1981 ISBN 2-8001-0744-8
  12. La Proie et l’ombre (The Prey and the Ghost), 1982 ISBN 2-8001-0908-4
  13. Les Archanges de Vinéa (The Archangels of Vinea), 1983 ISBN 2-8001-0971-8
  14. Le Feu de Wotan (Wotan’s Fire), 1984 ISBN 2-8001-1029-5
  15. Le Canon de Kra (The Cannon of Kra), 1985 ISBN 2-8001-1092-9
  16. Le Dragon de Hong Kong (The Dragon of Hong Kong), 1986 ISBN 2-8001-1378-2
  17. Le Matin du monde (The Morning of the World), 1988 ISBN 2-8001-1585-8
  18. Les Exilés de Kifa (The Refugees of Kifa), 1991 ISBN 2-8001-1748-6
  19. L’Or du Rhin (The Rhine Gold), 1993 ISBN 2-8001-1999-3
  20. L’Astrologue de Bruges (The Astrologer of Bruges), 1994 ISBN 2-8001-2101-7
  21. La Porte des âmes (The Gate of Souls), 1996 ISBN 2-8001-2340-0
  22. La Jonque céleste (The Celestial Barge), 1998 ISBN 2-8001-2587-X
  23. La Pagode des brumes (The Pagoda of the Mists), 2001 ISBN 2-8001-2948-4
  24. Le Septième Code (The Seventh Code), 2005 ISBN 2-8001-3762-2
  25. La Servante de Lucifer (The Servant of Lucifer), 2010 (FR: 2010-11-26, NL: 2010-11-10) ISBN 978-2-800147-75-8 (FR) or ISBN 978-9-031430-90-1 (NL)

L’Écume de l’aube

Roger Leloup also wrote a novel with Yoko as the heroine, published in 1991: L’Écume de l’aube (The Foam of the Dawn) (ISBN 2-203-38033-0), which relates the childhood and youth of Yoko Tsuno.


Yoko Tsuno series has been translated from French in thirteen languages: Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, German, Greek, Icelandic, Indonesian, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish.

Books #3 and 6 (La Forge de Vulcain and Les Trois soleils de Vinéa) were released in English in 1989 under the series title, The Adventures of Yoko, Vic and Paul by Catalan Communications under their “Comcat” line. Some liberties were taken in the translation to English. For example, Yoko’s last name was changed to “Suno”, Khany was renamed “Kani” and the Vineans became “Vinans” from the planet “Vina”. Comcat planned next on reprinting books #8, 10, 13, and possibly #17, but the company went under.

Six books have been translated into English and published by Cinebook Ltd:[5]

Hong Kong has published two Chinese Yoko stories by Bayard Press Asia-Le Grain de Seneve Publishing Co.Ltd: Le Dragon de Hong Kong to 大龍的秘密(The Secret of Great Dragon), and Le Matin du monde to 巴里島時光歷險 (Time-venture of Bali) in the 90’s. The series title was changed to 海羽傳奇 (The Legacy of Yoko Tsuno).



External links

Roger Leloup

Roger Leloup
Born 17 November 1933 (1933-11-17) (age 78)
Verviers, Belgium
Nationality Belgian
Area(s) artist, writer
Notable works Yoko Tsuno
Awards full list

Roger Leloup (born 17 November 1933) is a Belgian comic strip artist, novelist, and a former collaborator of Hergé. He is most famous for the Yoko Tsuno comic series.



Roger Leloup was born in Verviers, Belgium in 1933.[1] Fascinated by trains and planes since his youth, he studied Decoration and Publicity at the Institut Saint-Luc in Liège. By accident, he came into contact with the Franco-Belgian comics scene when his neighbour, Jacques Martin, told him that he desperately needed a colourist. Leloup got the job and started colouring the Alix album L’ïle maudite in 1950.[1]

Jacques Martin was one of the main artists of the comics magazine Tintin, and when Hergé was looking for someone to help him with the drawings of vehicles for a series, Martin brought him in contact with Leloup. From 15 February 1953 on, Leloup worked for several years at the Hergé studios, where he drew detailed backgrounds and vehicles for the comics series The Adventures of Tintin. His work is seen in a wide variety of drawings, such as the Genève-Cointrin airport in The Calculus Affair and the design of the impressive Carreidas swing-wing supersonic business jet in Flight 714.[1]

Leloup worked for both Jacques Martin, with Alix and Lefranc, and for Hergé, but as the production at the Studios Hergé slowed down, and Leloup came into contact with other artists. He worked for a period with Francis, and also collaborated with Peyo on his less well-known series Jacky and Célestin. Here, he created a Japanese female character that would later become the inspiration for his own series.

On 31 December 1969, Leloup left Studios Hergé to work fulltime on his own series, Yoko Tsuno, with a focus on technology and science fiction. The character Yoko Tsuno, a Japanese woman living in Brussels, is one of the leading examples of the female-fronted comics that appeared in the European juvenile magazines during this period. All Yoko Tsuno stories first appeared in Spirou and later as an album series published by editions Dupuis.

Roger Leloup has also written two novels, including one featuring Yoko Tsuno:

He has an adopted Korean daughter, who inspired him to draw the character Morning Dew, the little Chinese girl from Le Dragon de Hong Kong, who was adopted by Yoko Tsuno.


  • Yoko Tsuno, 1970–, 24 albums, Dupuis


  • 1972, European SF special award for Belgian comics for Yoko Tsuno at the first Eurocon in Trieste, Italy[2]
  • 1974: Prix Saint-Michel, Brussels, Belgium, for Best Comic
  • 1990: Grand Prix de la Science Fiction Française, category “Youth”, for his novel Le pic des ténèbres, France[3]



  1. ^ a b c De Weyer, Geert (2005). “Roger Leloup”. In België gestript, pp. 136-137. Tielt: Lannoo.
  2. ^ Eurocon awards site
  3. ^ Winners of the Grand Prix de la SF (French)

External links