Tuesday, November 1, 2011

'Tout Bec Doux' compilation a fun examination of Cajun life

Beginning in August, 1969, French teacher Earl Comeaux and graphic artist Ken Meaux of Vermilion Parish began the country's first comic strip in Cajun French. Titled "Bec Doux et ses amis," the strip featured Bec Doux, his sidekick Zirable and a few others, including wives, children and friends. It was published with an English translation in The Kaplan Herald, then later in other southwestern Louisiana newspapers, and offered a good laugh at Cajun culture, daily Cajun life and sometimes the difficulties pronouncing both English and French (as in Continental French) well.

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press has compiled all of the Bec Doux comics and published it in a large format book that's a delight to enjoy. "Tout Bec Doux: The Complete Cajun Comics of Ken Meaux & Earl Comeaux" features an introduction by Fabrice Leroy and Barry Ancelet and includes two of Meaux's early strips — Louisiana Folklore and The Cajuns — plus a comic strip publishers refused to print.

This Saturday, Nov. 5, at 2 p.m., Meaux, Leroy and Ancelet will sign copies of "Tout Bec Doux" at Barnes & Noble, 5707 Johnston St. in Lafayette.