Iznogoud

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Iznogoud (1962-) is a French-Belgian comic book series created by Rene Goscinny and illustrated by Tabary. The title character is the scheming, ambitious and power-hungry Grand Vizier of the fictional Caliph Haroun El-Poussah. His obsession is to depose the Caliph by hook or by crook, and to set himself up as the new Caliph in his stead.

In order to achieve this goal, he tries every dirty trick, but fails every single time.


Tropes used in Iznogoud include:
  • Adipose Rex: Haroun El-Poussah.
  • Anachronism Stew: Space rockets in the 9th century?
  • Arabian Nights Days: The Baghdad in which the series is set owes more to an Affectionate Parody of Arabian Nights than to historical accuracy.
  • Beard of Evil: Iznogoud.
  • Captain Oblivious: The Caliph. A well-meaning and debonair ruler, he never suspects a thing.
  • Catch Phrase: "I want to be Caliph instead of the Caliph!"
  • Cerebus Syndrome: When the series were taken over by Tabary after Goscinny's death; while the stories remained mostly comical, they started having more coherent adventures with Iznogoud occasionally switching from Villain Protagonist to Anti-Hero.
  • Chew Toy: Iznogoud.
  • Devil in Plain Sight: Comically inverted; Iznogood looks, acts and IS evil, he actually possesses almost all the defect required to be a villain, and people of Bagdad are perfectly aware of his desire to overthrow the Caliph... but the Caliph himself never suspects a thing, instead seeing Iznogoud as a devoted, good, trustworthy friend. He even once admitted he often received anonymous letters trying to warn him about it, but never believed them. Ironically, the Caliph is the only person Iznogoud bothers acting good with.
  • Evil Chancellor: Iznogoud is a quintessential example of this trope.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Iznogoud.
  • Genie in a Bottle: In a shoe, actually. And a pretty shoddy genie it is.
  • Good Is Dumb: The Caliph.
  • Gratuitous English: "Iznogoud" = English "is no good". Also a Meaningful Name and a Punny Name.
  • The Guards ARE Crazy
  • Heavy Sleeper: The Caliph spends much of his time contentedly asleep. His advisers know he's worried when he turns in his sleep more than twice a day.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Almost every story ends this way.
  • Human Chess: In one story, Iznogoud finds out that there is an island inhabited by two man-eating giants. He tricks the Caliph to come with him to the island, and they find out that the giants are vegetarians. Then Iznogoud asks the giants what they do to the people who come to the island. Guess what they do to them?
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Dilat Larat, Iznogoud's henchman. While he acts and looks dumb most of the time, he tends to have sudden Let's Get Dangerous moments where he reveals he can be very competent when needed. He's also far more lucid than his master about the fact they can't win.
  • Identical Stranger: One of Iznogoud's many schemes involved using a merchant, who looked just like Caliph. In the end of the story, we see the partner of the merchant, and he looked exactly like Iznogoud.
  • Jerkass Victim: The three Caliph's brothers that Iznogoud made disappear. While Troiround wasn't really developed enough to say if he was evil or not, Dheround truly was a bully that kept making deadly pranks to Iznogoud and mocking him for his small size and big nose. Katround was even worst, being a crazy man obsessed with making people disappear and attempting to literally erase Bagdad (including his well-intentioned older brother).
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: At several points, Iznogoud saved Dilat from death or traps, only to then reveal he did this only because he needed him for specific purpose.
    • An extreme example in "Who Killed the Caliph ?", where Iznogoud shows up to save Dilat from execution and catch the Executioner trying to get Dilat paying him for mercy. Disgusted, Iznogoud states that mercy can't be bought and has to be given or received. He then notices a tortured prisoner, and orders him free, causing Dilat to believe he might have some mercy after all... then Iznogoud appoints the tortured new Executioner and orders him to torture the former one.
  • Laser-Guided Karma
  • Limited Wardrobe: Unless he makes a point of wearing a disguise, Iznogoud is always depicted in the same outfit.
  • Magic Carpet: Such a common means of transportation that the Caliphate has an entire air force of 'em.
  • Meaningful Name: Iznogoud is a phonetic spelling of "is no good" in French.
  • The Napoleon: Iznogoud is vertically challenged, and overcompensates with his ambition and bad temper.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Iznogoud's idea of disguising himself as a pumpkin seller is to carry a pumpkin around. And it works, too.
    • It works so well his own guards won't let him back into the palace until he drops the pumpkin!
  • Pinball Zone
  • Punch Clock Villain: Dilat Larat.
  • Sinister Schnoz: Just look at him.
  • Status Quo Is God: Whatever happens to Iznogoud--even being blasted into orbit--he's back safe and sound in the next story.
    • Negative Continuity
    • They Killed Kenny
    • There was made a "The Returns of Iznogoud" album, which adds via Retcon epilogues to many of the "bad endings" of past stories, explaining how Iznogoud each time manages to return to normal status quo. With some exceptions. Some of these epilogues have him trying to escape the bad situation and ending in a worse situation. For example Iznogoud escapes the complex maze to end up in the inescapable dungeons. Iznogoud has been there before (in a much older story) but doesn't remember any way out. While there he meets an older incarnation of himself, still searching for the way out after all these years.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Or, more often than not, by crazies. Special mention to the palace guards. Iznogoud even lampshades this several times:

Iznogoud : "Can't we just fire all crazy people from this palace ?!"
Dilat : "Sure, boss, but who would do that ?"