“Monsieur Grandoreille” or Mister Bigear, 2-page comic strip by G. Gilberty, inks by É. Crété (who, working in pen and ink, emphasises the age of woodcut atmosphere by adding ‘Sc’ for ‘sculpted’ to his signature), in Supplément illustré du Petit Comtois, 5me Année, No 8, February 21.
|2 [page 1 of 2, scene 1 to 12]|
|3 [page 2 of 2, scene 13 to 24]|
… back home, the grown-up Santos is now dopey, his ears cut off by savages.
|4 [1901 Santos-Dumont publicity photo]|
The fantasy name ‘Santos Dounon’ refers to large-eared Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont (b.1873) whose solo flight in a dirigible airship around the Eiffel tower in Paris, France, is a major event in 1901.
“Yes, you have a mild case of what is termed as Elephantis Earopolis. You’ll get over it!” is a doctor’s diagnosis in this April 18, 1907, Dream of the Rarebit Fiend strip by Silas (penname of Winsor McCay).
|6 [1960s ears of Gus Bofa]|
Apart from the fictional Monsieur Grandoreille, the Frenchman with the largest ears might be author-artist Gustave Blanchot, aka Gus Bofa (b.1883) — as Emmanuel Pollaud-Dulian’s 2013 biography of Gus Bofa shows, read about it HERE.
Ear-propelled flying elephant Dumbo, created by Walt Disney’s animation studios, rises to world fame in 1941.
Updated August 7, 2014, with thanks to the Platinum Age Comics List.
IMAGES COURTESY GALLICA & ULRICH MERKL