[The Last Mermaid]
Writer/Artist: Jean Ache (pseudonym of Jean Huet) (1923-1985)

Arabelle is the last living mermaid.  She is discovered by rich American plastic surgeon HGV Bimbleton on the island of Caprea near Sicily.  Bimbleton operates on Arabelle, giving her human legs, but she retains her ability to breathe underwater.  (At one point in the saga, she temporarily grows two fish-like legs.)  With her companion, reformed burglar Fleur Bleue, and her pet monkey, Kouki, Arabelle becomes involved in a series of light, romantic adventures.

The Stories

(Publishing History)
1) The Daily Strips: 

Arabelle was first serialized in the form of daily strips in the newspaper "France-Soir" from 1950 (starting on May 3rd) to 1962.  In total, 3,350 strips were published. 

- The first series was entitled Arabelle la Dernière Sirène [Arabelle, The Last Mermaid] and ran from strip Nos. 1-1051, from 3 May 1950 to 18 September 1953, and contained a narration under the panels. 
Strips Nos. 340-408, however, were subtitled
Arabelle, La Dernière Sirène Chez Venus [Arabelle The Last Mermaid On Venus] (June-August 1951). 
In it,
Arabelle and her friends travelled to Venus, helped make peace with the native Amazons and, back on Earth, launched a plan to settle Venus! 

- The second series ran from strips Nos. 1052-2550 (numbered 1-2499), featured word balloons, and lasted until 1962.  The episodes bore individual titles. 
1.(1-166) Arabelle et le Prince [
Arabelle & the Prince
2.(167-318) Arabelle et l'Enfant Sirene [
Arabelle & The Merchild
3.(319-476) Arabelle en Espagne [
Arabelle in Spain
4.(477-622) Arabelle et la Mer [
Arabelle & The Sea
5.(623-740) Arabelle contre Big Caugham [
Arabelle vs. Big Caugham
6.(741-1047) Arabelle la Derniere Sirene [
Arabelle The Last Mermaid
7.(1048-1172) Arabelle et le Collier de Gensis Khan [
Arabelle & Gengis Khan's Necklace
8.(1173-1345) On A Vole Un Spoutnik! [
They Stole A Sputnik!
9.(1346-1504) Arabelle et Bel Canto [
Arabelle & Bel Canto
10.(1505-1567) Kilt et Whisky
[Kilt & Whisky
11.(1658-1805) Paris by Night 
12.(1806-1881) Arabelle et les Penibles [
Arabelle & The Difficult People
13.(1882-2047) Arabelle en Norvege  [
Arabelle In Norway
14.(2048-2201) Arabelle du Cote d'Aden [
Arabelle In Aden's Neighborhood
15.(2202-2411) Arabelle et Lord Pennybox [
Arabelle & Lord Pennybox
16.(2412-2499) Arabelle et le Puchamoa [
Arabelle & The Puchamoa

Additionally, in 1957-1958, the Sunday weekly "Journal du Dimanche" published 53 full pages.  In 1967, the comics supplement to "Journal du Dimanche", "L'Illustré du Dimamche", published Grabuge sur l'Archipel [Battle On The Archipelago] (Nos. 17-24).

Arabelle & Fleur Bleue
Arabelle & Fleur Bleue
travel to Venus
The Landscape of Venus
Arabelle Prepares the
colonization of Venus
Arabelle - Second Series
featured word balloons


2) The Reprints
Some of
Arabelle's material (but not the early strips) was reprinted in the 1960s as follows: 
1. In 1964, Editions
Denoel published "Paris by Night" (2nd Series, No. 11) as a regular mainstream paperback. 
2. In 1967 and 1968, Editions de
Poche published four digest-sized b&w magazines: 
1. Arabelle en Espagne [
Arabelle In Spain] (2nd Series, No. 3) (1967) 
2. Arabelle et le Bel Canto (2nd Series, No. 9)(1967) 
3. Opération Cristobal (2nd Series, No. 6, Part 1) (1967) 
4. Rendez-vous avec l'Atome [
Rendezvous With The Atom] (2nd Series, No. 6, Part 2) (1968)
3. Finally, in 1978, publisher
Glenat put out Arabelle La Dernière Sirène: Le Monstre du Tonsberg [Arabelle The Last Mermaid: The Tonsberg Monster] (2nd Series, No. 13) . 
3) Arabelle's Return
In 1972, "
Tintin" magazine editor Michel Greg commissioned Jean Ache to draw two new adventures of Arabelle for his magazine.  These were: 

1. Les Sirenes Sont Parmi Nous [
The Mermaids Are Among Us] (TI Nos. 1218-1233, 1972) 
2. Méfiez-Vous des Sirenes!  [
Beware The Mermaids!] (TI Nos. 1245-1257, 1972)
3. Mission Spéciale pour un Dauphin [
Special Mission for a Dolphin] (Tintin Sélection No. 20, 1973) 
In these, it was revealed that
Arabelle was not the last Mermaid, and that other Mermaids lived secretly among men.  Arabelle became the leader of her people.

The Author
 Arabelle © 2001 Jean Ache. All rights reserved.