Robot 6

Collect This Now | Red Ketchup, Commie-fighter & penguin-killer

Red Ketchup

Oh, Red Ketchup, how do I love you? Let me count the ways.

You’ve overcome huge obstacles. The albino son of an abusive, hulking Nazi sympathizer who made you play chicken on the train tracks to strengthen your resolve, you’ve managed to channel your aggression into your job as an FBI agent, helping make the world safe for democracy.

You’re a man of action. When a star NFL quarterback is accused of dealing drugs, there’s no need for niceties. Just tackle that sucker and handcuff him right there on the football field in the middle of the game (making sure you keep the drugs for yourself, of course).


 You do what it takes to get the job done. Even when that means taking out one of your evil clones with a spear before he can assassinate the Pope.


You don’t like penguins.


You’re a member of the Knights Templar. And possibly the reincarnation of a legendary medieval knight, although you seem a little unclear at times of what your knightly duties entail:


You really don’t like penguins.


In short, Red Ketchup, you are a completely insane, drug-swilling, unstoppable force that will mow down anything that stands between you and your goals without a second thought, especially if said goals happen to be drugs. Too dense to be truly evil or corrupt, you’re more like an indiscriminate weapon of mass destruction and heaven help anyone who doesn’t have the wisdom to step out of your line of fire.

And in case you haven’t guessed yet, Red Ketchup is a hilarious, over-the-top parody of the uber-macho heroes of the 1980s, the sort of flag-waving, individualistic heroism  Schwarzenegger and Stallone frequently put on display in films like Commando and Cobra, but with liberal dollops of political satire for good measure. The absurdist level of lengths Ketchup goes to is truly inspiring. Arnold and Sly might have foiled terrorist plots, but when Ketchup stops a terrorist, he does it by hijacking a plane and then landing it on the National Mall:


Unfortunately, my love for Red Ketchup hampered by a language barrier. Created in the 1980s by French-Canadian cartoonists Real Godbout and Pierre Fournier, Ketchup’s adventures have never been translated into English (although Canadian publisher La Pasteque has a nice hardcover volume that’s easily available for polyglots). Would that some enterprising American publisher opted to bring his tales to a less-bilingual readership, so I can enjoy all his octopus-punching action without having to reach for my English-French dictionary.


God bless you, Red Ketchup. For keeping our country safe from commie octopuses, penguins and other left-leaning animals. Mayhap some day you’ll be punching in English. We can only hope.

For more on Red Ketchup and his secret origins, check out this blog.



Martin Costello

March 11, 2013 at 12:08 pm

Thanks for bringing up this oddity!

Canuckistani Capoeira

March 11, 2013 at 1:09 pm

To me, Red Ketchup comes across very much like a Duke Nukem prototype. That’s not a bad thing :)

Dirty Commie octopuses!

Canuckistani — The satire is a bit smarter than Duke Nukem. Less sexism too (though there is nudity!)

Instead of waiting for the ever elusive “enterprising American publisher “, what we need is to convince European publishers to do the same that the most enterprising among them has done with success:

This is one of those times that I didn’t realize something in my life was missing until I saw it. Now I HAVE to read the adventures of Red Ketchup. Better go check and see how much it’ll cost me to take French 101 at the community college…

re: Tony –
This ain’t no European comic, dude, it’s Canadian!

Red Ketchup is awesome, and I think English-speakers would dig it, big time. Maybe D&Q would translate it? It’s not really in the same genre as most of their stuff, but they’re the best publisher of Canadian indie comics, so they would be the best ones to do it.

Any guy who can snipe an eyeball off a penguin from several yards away gets my vote.

roquefort raider

March 16, 2013 at 10:06 am

I remember when Red Ketchup made his first appearance as a supporting character in a series ttled “Michel Risque”, published in the satirical journal Croc (sort of a Quebecois National Lampoon). What had started as a straightfoward spoof on adventure series became crazier and crazier with every issue, with things like tourists ending up as workers on a soviet moon base. It was completely over the top and always a great joy to read. I loved the humor of it all.

Fetchez la vache!

I never would have thought I’d ever see Red Ketchup on CBR!
Being French-Canadian I read most of these as a kid and it’s great, although the latter stories were difficult to find, I really should buy these fancy new editions.

Not to be confused with the 1970’s Italian classic White Mayo, about a rogue food inspecter who deals swift justice to road side vendors in a seedy NYC

Murdering penguins is not funny. Not funny at all.

This man must be stopped.

Pretty sure the penguins were asking for it.

I would read this. In english.

Red Ketchup rules.

Drawn and Quarterly does make sense. This thing would be a huge hit among fans of the underground comics of the 60s and 70s. It has the same spirit, but with an 80s post-hippie aggressiveness.

I googled Red Ketchup and found this website. Like most people from Quebec I discovered Red Ketchup in the 80’s with CROC. CROC was so good. Those who haven’t read it have no idea. It was smart yet they didn’t mind to get childish. They would talk about pretty profound political or sociological stuff with cynism and sarcasm on a couple of pages and then they would jump on scatological humor in the next. It had everything, plain text articles, drawn comics, photo manipulations.. They even had a comic where the characters and scenery was made out of clay!

For those who know Frank Zappa, CROC was the Frank Zappa of monthly comics. I’ve never seen a humoristic journal like this before, nor did I see one that even came close to it after ( although “Safarir” managed to collect many ex-CROC employees ).

If Red Ketchup would’ve been made today it would still be great. This comic had a lot of maniacal nonsense to it with a touch of violence ( heads off ) and some nudity ( even full frontal ) as well. It was a very action-packed, visually striking comic. Michel Risque is as good as Red Ketchup. In fact, all of Réal Godbout’s works are great.

As for the Duke Nukem similarities. It has always bugged me. It could be possible that they got Duke’s looks after seeing Red Ketchup. Red didn’t get popular worldwide but it sure had his mainstream moments in eastern Canada. There’s a possibility that a CROC issue got in the hands of a guy who worked on Duke Nukem. The makers of Duke Nukem also ripped off the Ash character from the cult classic horror franchise “Evil Dead”, stealing some of his iconic quotes so it wouldn’t surprise me.

Croc was wonderful, I was sorry to see it fold, and just when into another Red Ketchup episode. I have translated all the Red Ketchup stories into English, right up to the unfinished one, and substituted English for French, and then printed them from my computer and have them in a 3-ring binder.

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