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Fred et Mile ~ Tom et Milie
Tim the Squirrel Out West
Short comic strips by Hergé

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Fred and Mile pointing

Fred et Mile (Fred and Mile)
Fred et Mile (Fred and Mile) is a comic strip created by Hergé in 1931. He drew it for the Catholic newspaper Mon Avenir (My Future), which was aimed at young future members of a working class Catholic action group. Only one issue was published with the comic strip, "Un prévenu en vaut deux!" (English: "Forewarned is Forearmed!" or "One is Warned!"). Fred and Mile are two boys who resemble Quick & Flupke quite closely.

I had a difficult time finding good-quality images of the one and only Fred et Mile strip. A poor-quality scan of the first page is readily available and I started with that trying to straighten the images, eliminate the discoloration, and translate and substitute English text.

Steps in the process.

1) Find the best-quality image available, which was only 326 x 474 pixels in size.

2) Take each cartoon panel and straighten it out as much as possible.

3) Lighten the image to get rid of the yellowing and toning.
Fred and Mile original Fred and Mile frame 1 straightened Fred and Mile frame 1 lightened
4) Reassemble the straightened and lightened images into a full-page.

5) Eliminate the text in the dialog balloons above the characters. Translate it. (My French is virtually non-existant, so I use Google Translate.)

6) Darken images and drop in the dialog with a typeface that matches the original lettering as closely as possible.
Fred and Mile original Fred and Mile frame 1 straightened Fred and Mile frame 1 lightened
After I had gone through all of this laborious process for just one page, I stumbled on two images of the full 2-page Fred and Miles spread (below). Both were better than the one-page strip I had started with, but they still needed work. The one on the left had severe discoloration while the one on the right had sizing and positioning problems. But between the two of them, I was able to produce a final, finished Fred and Mile translation with strong black-and-white images and the correct layout and dimensions. It is reproduced below the two 2-page strips. (Click on any image to see the larger original.)
Fred and Mile 2 pages yellowed Fred and Mile 2 pages
Fred and Mile One is Warned 2 pages final English translation
Note that the final frame in the Fred and Mile gag is quite similar to the final frame in the Quick & Flupke gag, "Incassable" ("Unbreakable"), although several Quick & Flupke strips end up with some type of wreckage at the end. "Incassable," an early strip, first appeared in Le Petit Vingtième and later in the books, Les Exploits de Quick et Flupke, serie 1, pg 21; recueil 1, pg 24; and Jeux Interdits, pg 28. Far right: final frame from "Esprit de contradiction." Quick & Flupke incassable strip Quick & Flupke esprit de contradiction strip

Tim the Squirrel, Hero of the Wild West
Les aventures de “Tim” l'écureuil au Far-West (English: The Adventures of Tim the Squirrel Out West) is a promotional series of 16 installments created by Hergé in late 1931. Two pages were published each week from September 17, 1931 to December 31, 1931 in a free small promotional newspaper distributed Thursdays on the terrace of the Brussels department store L'Innovation. The story involves Tim, his fiancée Milie, and also their aged uncle Pad; this serial was also the first draft of what would become The Adventures of Tom and Milie in 1933, and then Popol Out West a year later.
Tim the Squirrel
The cover and 2-page strip to the right are from the first issue of Sept. 17, 1931. (Click on either one for a supersize image.)

The 32 pages of this adventure were not written in the same format Hergé commonly used; instead the text appeared beneath the illustrations, a traditional European format that Hergé did not like but that he had employed previously with Totor and would later use with Dropsy.
Tim the Squirrel cover Tim the Squirrel comic strip

Tom et Milie (Tom and Millie)
Les Aventures de Tom et Milie (sometimes spelled Millie) is a series created by Hergé in late 1932, consisting of two short adventures based on Tim the Squirrel Out West, although somehow the squirrels had morphed into bear cubs. Tom et Milie was originally published in a leaflet called Pim et Pom, which was part of Vie Heureuse (Happy Life), a children's weekly supplement to the Belgian newspaper La Meuse. For this series Hergé used the pseudonym "RG" (see last panel), his initials reversed, which was how he later derived his pen-name Hergé. Tom and Milie have few significant differences from Popol and Virginia, the heroes of the later album Popol out West, and their adventures certainly played a part in the formation of that story. The fantasy gag below left was one of two published January 10, 1933. Hergé always liked gags and he reused some of the gags of Tom and Milie later in Quick & Flupke strips. The left two panels below are an episode of "The Adventures of Tom and Milie" from Dec 13, 1932, later reused with virtually no changes in Quick & Flupke.
Tom et Millie cover
Tom et Milie Lion strip Tom et Millie page 1 Tom et Milie page 2

To the right is the nearly identical Quick & Flupke strip, "Le Cure Dent" (Dental Cure) that first appeared in Le Petit Vingtième and later in the books, Les Exploits de Quick et Flupke, serie 9, pg 25 and recueil 5, pg 28. Click on either image to see my English translation of the strip.
Quick & Flupke Dental Cure page 1 Quick & Flupke Dental Cure page 2

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