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[ Warning: The containt present in this meme is completely made, most of the time, of French rude language and mature innuendos ]
Martine is a series of comic books for children edited, on an annual basis since 1954, by Franco-Belgian publisher Casterman
In it, the heroïne is Martine, a cute naive little girl who experiments what everydays’s life is about: cooking, visiting a farm, to go shopping, going to the sea and so on.
The atmosphere in these books is joyful, colorful, and a little utopian because adults are respecting children and everything seems based on happiness. Because of that, most of people saw it as a book version of the old American TV series “Little house in the Prairie”.
Today, 2009, that book series got about 59 books and has been translated in several languages.
To the English speaking public, the little girl is known as “Emma”, according to wikipedia.
Martine as a French internet meme
In the late September 2007, a user named “Tremechan”, who has made altered stuff from French iconic childhood characters, among other things, began parodying the Martine series’ covers on his website
He parodied the images by replacing their titles. Then, it became “Martine…” with altered titles usually offbeat and full of an irony completely at the opposite of Martine’s initial universe but fitting so well the pictures, like this one:
“Shit, I forgot to be on the pills !”
Suddenly, it went viral.
French forums and blogs started talking about it:
Sadly, it became so entertaining and so popular on the Internet that Casterman, the initial editor, complained to “Tremechan” and forced him to remove all his images in October 2007.
Despite the fair use, he did it but created a last image portaying the incident in a funny way:
From her changing room, Martine discovered with astonishment the Tremechan’s parodies:
“- Fuck it, that bastard ! that son of a bitch is making fun of me !
I’ll find him and shove a fucking lawsuit upon his ass to that motherfucker !”
Don’t piss Martine off.
In October 2007, an image generator was created, allowing the birth of thousands of alterations.
That website got featured on many forums and blogs:
You can find here at the bottom of the web page, notable articles from French, Belgian and Swiss newspapers/TV/radio shows about the phenomenon.
However, it got the same fate than Tremechan’s creations and, because of Casterman’s complaints, eventually went down the 17th of November 2007.
According to the generator’s creator, during one month of active work, and despite it was initially some jokes between friends, the open gallery got about 16 000 parodies.
Not giving up
The initial creator of the first generator, answering to the requests about their open source (“Martine aime l’open-source”), gave all the necessary datas, in order to make one’s own website version, to the internet public.
The parodies where so entertaining among the French web that images continued to be featured elsewhere and creations were encouraged:
The 29th of october 2007, a blog completely dedicated to it was created.
While most of the parodies are French, some English-speaking ones began to show up.
In October 2007, another Martine’s cover generator was created:
It was obviously entitled “Martine’s cover generator 2.0 : Martine’s return” but remained kind of hidden, for safety purpose.
We had to wait until the beggining of 2009 before it got featured, the same way the first one did, on many websites celebrating its reborn:
However, following the same fate the occurances above faced, that website eventually went down recently, in October 2009.
While no indications can be seen to know if Casterman has, one more time, something to do with that, the creator stated that his website has done enough parodies (about 13 000 covers) to pay tribute to the first generator.
Luckily, mirrored websites still exist, like this one:
There are no videos currently available.