Lucky Luke

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
He's that fast on the draw.

A Franco-Belgian School Western comic, it was created in 1946 by graphic artist Morris, who at first did both art and writing. It began as a semi-serious comic with a rugged cowboy hero, lots of gunplay and occasional almost-onscreen deaths. Then, from 1955 to 1977, the writing was taken over by Asterix creator Rene Goscinny and the comic turned into an unabashed Affectionate Parody of the whole western genre. Around the same time, the authors dropped all pretense of portraying the protagonist as a realistic cowboy and turned him into a Drifter/Gunslinger type whose fame and skill often made him the US Government's last resort when it came to particularly tricky situations (much to his annoyance).

To know about the people and tropes Lucky Luke meets in his adventures, go to the Western Characters page and start from the top. Seriously, they're all there, gleefully parodied and occasionally played straight. But, while those make for the generic background crowds, one of the main points of the series is the number of historical characters Luke regulary meets and who most of the time take centre space in the story. Over the years they have included Judge Roy Bean (who owns a bar and acts as self-appointed "judge", complete with fake court proceedings, to extort money from locals ... and turns out to be harmless, helping Luke against the actual Big Bad), Billy the Kid (portrayed as an actual, annoying Bratty Half-Pint whose defeat consists of a good spanking), Jesse James's gang (with Jesse parodied as a delusional Robin Hood fan and Frank as a Shakespeare-quoting pseudo-intellectual), Calamity Jane (with whom Lucky Luke developed a very sweet platonic relationship), Mark Twain, Wyatt Earp, among others.

The most iconic characters of the series, though, weren't historical characters but the fictional cousins of historical characters. After Morris had Luke fight the real Dalton Brothers and showed their death on the page, Goscinny found this way to bring back a similar group of baddies, since the original Daltons' regularly descending sizes and identical ugly mugs made for lots of fun potential -- and did it work. At first, the Dalton cousins were hopeless bandit wannabes impressed by the fame of their relatives, but they quickly became feared outlaws in their own right in-story, while in the real world (in France and Belgium anyway) they completely outshone their real-world counterparts.

Lucky Luke also gave us Rantanplan, a Rin Tin Tin parody and the stupidest dog in the world. With the hero's extra-smart horse Jolly Jumper, that's about it for the recurring characters, since Lucky Luke's wanderings took him to a different place each time. However, many character archetypes (the mayor, the sheriff, the undertaker, the saloon owner, the Chinese launderer...) are so similar from a town to another that they practically function as recurring characters and walking running gags.

After Goscinny's death, lots of writers took over penning the stories, with very irregular results. Now Morris has passed away too, Achdé is in charge of the art, restricting himself to strict Morris imitation because his style was so particular. French comedian Laurent Gerra was for a while in charge of the storyline, with at-best-lukewarm results; however the early reactions seems to be more positive to the latest album, scripted by novelists Daniel Pennac and script-writer/novelist Tonino Benacquista (co-writer of The Beat That My Heart Skipped, among others), so whether or not the series has become a bit of a Franchise Zombie at this point is open to question. As it has been so successful for over fifty years, it has also known several animated adaptations.

There were also three Live Action Adaptation films: one starring Terence Hill (which spawned a series, too), another one centered on the Dalton brothers, and just recently a new one starring Jean Dujardin.

English translations were fairly rare and obscure, but thankfully British-based publishing firm Cinebook has to date published 31 of Morris & Goscinny's works, with many more translations on the way.

Tropes used in Lucky Luke include:
  • The Ace: Lucky Luke is good at what he does. Very much so. A lot of the later Goscinny/Morris albums (especially those following the Daltons), tend to focus more on the villains trying to top Lucky Luke than Luke himself saving the day. Many of the movies also do this.
  • Adults Dressed as Children: The Daltons, more than once. Happens to Luke as well in an early album, and causes him to be made fun of by an entire town.
  • Adventure Towns
  • All Psychology Is Freudian: In one album, Luke comes across an alienist arrived from Austria to study the psychology of Western outlaws. His methods parody those of the Freudian school, even though Freud's own pioneering work is still some years in the future.
    • Referenced in the last page: a panicked nurse comes running out of a baby's room yelling, "Mrs. Freud! Little Siggy just tried to--!
  • Amnesiacs Are Innocent: The Daltons try to fake this after a real one is released from prison.
  • Anachronism Stew: The comic cherry-picks historical characters from around 1850 to the early 1900s while Luke of course never seems to grow older. Strangely, the Civil War is almost totally absent from the stories.
    • The Civil War does get a mention in passing when Jesse James' backstory is explained at the beginning of his eponymous album.
    • Also, the Joss Jamon gang is stated to consist of ex-Confederate soldiers from the Civil War on the first page of Lucky Luke vs Joss Jamon.
    • The adult Lucky Luke meets (and helps out) the Earp brothers in the album O.K. Corral, while in Oklahoma Jim a much younger Lucky Luke cites Wyatt Earp as an example of a sheriff who has been shot...
    • Like in Asterix, the comic often draws a lot of humor from using anachronisms on purpose and by making references to events that have not yet past during the time period the comic is set in.
  • Automaton Horses: Jolly Jumper. Subvert-straightplay-parodied -- Jolly gallops faster than his own shadow, for days if need be, but also enjoys baths and such, and complains about exhaustion or discomfort at times.
  • Badass Longcoat: Worn by the title character in The Bounty Hunter.
  • Badass Mustache: The Dalton Brothers.
  • Ballistic Discount
  • Bawdy Song: presumably, many of the songs in the saloon girls' repertoire; the good-riddance-to-publisher-Dupuis comic (see the "Darker and Edgier" entry) featured an especially bawdy one, going "see what the boys in the backroom will have". This sang by saloon girls dancing can-can. For the non-English speakers in the French audience, this counts as a Bilingual Bonus (see below) while Getting Crap Past the Radar.
  • Big Eater: Averell Dalton and Rantanplan. Both are also Extreme Omnivores, see below.
    • The resemblance between them is more or less a Running Gag.
  • Bilingual Bonus: To the readers of the original French. Goscinny was fluent in English and peppered the stories with funny English names, actual songs, and so on.
  • Boom Town: Some spring from the ground in a few hours, and as often as not turn into deserted ghost towns just as fast.
  • Boring Invincible Hero: This is very much how Luke evolved in the series... An example of Tropes Are Not Bad: Morris and Rene Goscinny used this to their advantages, by making the villains (especially the Dalton Cousins) the driving force of many stories. The fun is not watching how Luke will win, but how the villains will lose (and, in the Dalton's case, how will Averell and Joe's interaction doom Joe's plans).
  • Bottomless Magazines: Lampshaded.

Horace Greeley: Do you ever reload?
Luke: Yes, at the end of every episode.

  • Bounty Hunter: the book The Bounty Hunter (in French Chasseur de primes) is a hilarious parody of the trope. Following a short introductional treaty on the general status of bounty hunters in the Old West, we get introduced to the titular character, Elliot Belt, a notorious and unscrupulous representative of his trade. His appearance is an obvious nod on Western actor Lee Van Cleef, particularly his acting roles as merciless bounty hunter.
  • Breakout Character: The Dalton brothers are curious examples, as they are Suspiciously Similar Substitutes and in fact the cousins of the original (and more competent) Daltons, who appeared in one album and died at the end of the story. When Rene Goscinny took over the script for the comic, he introduced the new Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain Daltons, who went on to become major characters, sometimes even becoming the Villain Protagonists of their own stories.
    • Rantanplan too got to star in his own comics, even having his own Spin-Off series.
  • But Now I Must Go: At the end of lot of Luke's adventures, the people who wants to thank and honor him for service he has done for them, often finds that he has suddenly disappeared without a trace and asks where he has gone. Cue Luke Riding Into the Sunset while singing "I'm a poor lonesome cowboy, far away from home...".
  • Butt Monkey: Joe and Averell Dalton, in rather different ways.
  • Canada, Eh?: Mounties, blizzards and lumberjacks.
    • And all of them love tea, with a drop of milk.
    • And did we mention Céline Dion?
  • Cardboard Prison: The Dalton's once-an-episode evasion. "Finding Lucky Luke and politely asking him if he doesn't mind bringing them back, please" is a standard prison protocol.
  • Card Sharp: There seems to be one in every town.
  • Catch Phrase:

Averell: When do we eat?
Joe/Jack/William: Shut up, Averell.

Joe: I'll kill him!
Jack/William: Calm down, Joe!
Joe: I hate Lucky Luke!

  • The Cavalry: Acts as Only the Author Can Save Them Now: the cavalry will come just in time, if and only if there is no other way to save the day anymore.
    • Also notice that the cavalry was kind of Men of Sherwood in earlier albums. Later, they were flanderized into stupid militaries who still use You No Take Candle with indians who talk perfectly.
  • Celibate Hero: Lucky Luke (although women tend to be sweet on him). Enforced comic book heroes had to be at the time; the Comics Code was ridiculously afraid of anything resembling love, in case it led to something inappropriate. In many cases that "anything" included women. Of course, to today's people it tends to suggest something else about those guys' sexuality... By Fridge Logic it might also be justified in-universe: being a cowboy means spending most of the year on the move after all, even if you herd the Daltons more than cattle.
    • To be precise, it was the French equivalent of the Comics Code: "Law #49-956 of 1949-07-16 on the Publications destined to the Youth", as a protectionist measure, which is one of the many reasons comics flourished more in Belgium than in France at that time.
    • The irony is that while Luke is indeed celibate, the series didn't shy away from depicting saloon girls.
    • In the end of the story Bride of Lucky Luke, the full version of his "lonesome cowboy" song is about him not getting steady with women.
  • Conveniently Cellmates: The four Dalton Brothers will always get a cell together. Add to that the fact that it is a Cardboard Prison and they are all Tunnel Kings, and they will also very easily escape together.
    • Typically by digging four tunnels. Yes, they're that smart.
  • Cool Horse: exaggerated/parodied with Jolly Jumper; he can even play chess!
    • Better yet, he can fish... and bait his own fishhook with a worm. Luke asks him how does he do it, and he replies "Like everybody: with disgust."
    • When Luke's hired by to find a stolen horse, he wonders if it didn't simply escape. The owner then shows him the empty stall and asks him if he knows any horses that can pick locks. "Yes, my own. But he's one of a kind..."
  • Cowboy: Our hero does find time to herd some occasional cattle.
  • Cut and Paste Comic: Morris had a tendency to do this in his last stories, when old age was slowing him.
  • Darker and Edgier: Played for Laughs in a one-page comic that was made around the time the comic switched to a less strict publisher. In the comic, Luke enjoys the freedom the change has given him by acting completely Out of Character. Namely by drinking alcohol instead of the usual lemonade, shooting a sheriff in the stomach and having implied, off-screen sex with a saloon girl, all while the other characters are pointing out that the publisher is too respectable to ever letting him get away with these acts, and Luke in turn pointing out that he got a new publisher now.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Jolly Jumper is this a lot. Luke also does it a few times.
    • Joe, mostly towards Averell.
  • Digging to China: played hilariously in The 20th Cavalry.
  • The Ditz: Two obvious examples: Averell and Rantanplan.
  • Dogs Are Dumb: Rantanplan is literally Too Dumb to Live, having nearly drowned or otherwise killed himself numerous times.
  • Dub Name Change: As a slight Woolseyism, Cinebook decided to change Rantanplan's name to Rin-Tin-Can.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The first albums of Lucky Luke rely more on visual gags. The characters are drawn in a more roundish way with big eyes, suitable for cartoon animation, which was Morris original intention.
    • When René Goscinny became co-author the plots and gags improved enormously, even though the comic still was much darker compared to later albums. Lucky Luke tends to shoot his opponents dead.
  • Ear Trumpet: Old timers are often seen with these, especially if weakened to wheelchair condition. Usually the ear trumpet user still cannot hear and has to rely on someone else to personally deliver "what he said".
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: And the Daltons are quite right to. Ma Dalton was a fearsome bandit herself, and she still carries a loaded gun in her handbag.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: The Dalton Brothers always stick together, proving that even among criminals blood is thicker than water. There's one time when they start singing the songs they used to sing back when they were kids and their parents brought them along to rob banks.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: Subverted. Rantanplan thinks he can do this...
  • Evil Gloating: The Big Bad in the album about oil in Oklahoma. If he hadn't done it, he could've succeeded.
  • Evil Twin: Mad Jim
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Lucky Luke is nicknamed (both in and out of stories) "the man who shoots faster than his shadow". That's no bragging, he really does. Regularly.
    • Not to mention that he rightly deserves to be called "Lucky".
  • Extreme Omnivore: Averell Dalton and Rantanplan.

Averell: What's this delicious crust around the tamales?
Mexican: It's called a bowl, amigo.

  • False Roulette
  • Feuding Families: exaggerated Up to Eleven wit the O'Timminses and the O'Haras in The Rivals of Painful Gulch.
  • Friendly Enemy: A reversed version. Lucky Luke starts acting rather friendly to the Dalton brothers after a while.
  • Friendly Local Chinatown: In The Inheritance of Rantanplan, much of the story takes place in the Chinatown of Virginia City, Nv, which is controlled by a secret society (though a comparatively benign one).
  • Funny Animal: Rantanplan, of course, by way of his ditzy status. Jolly Jumper counts as this, too.
  • Ghost Town: Several show up, and one is the setting of an entire episode.
  • The Gunslinger: "Faster than his own shadow."
  • Gratuitous Spanish: Averell's attempt to say "When do we eat around here?" while in Mexico ("Cuando se come aqui?") comes out as "Coacoacomékiki?".
  • Hanging Judge: Roy Bean in The Judge.
    • Isaac Parker in Belle Starr is a straighter example.
  • Happy Rain: In The Wagon Train, when the caravan of California-bound settlers was running out of water after crossing a desert; and in Barbed Wire on the Prairie, when a showdown between ranchers and farmers had turned to the latter's advantage because of a drought (the rain came just after an agreement to share water was reached).
  • Henpecked Husband: Mr. Flimsy in The Stagecoach. Played with as he gradually becomes more self-assertive once he realizes that he has incredible luck with games of chance.
  • Hey, That's Mine!: All the time in the album Fingers.
  • Historical In-Joke: and how!
  • Horsing Around: Jolly Jumper, the horse of Lucky Luke, is a textbook example. Besides being able to run impossibly fast and long, even while sleeping, and always coming when Lucky Luke whistles, as the series develops he gets the ability to speak and play Chess with Lucky Luke. Oh, and don't think of stealing him. It will get really painful, when he recognises that you are not his rider.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Most memorably when Luke shoots what seems to be random holes into a roll of waxed paper. Then he puts the roll and a coin into a player piano, and the piano starts playing Chopin's "Funeral March".
  • Interacting with Shadow: In the intro to the cartoon, we see Luke actually shooting his shadow in a duel.
  • In the Past Everyone Will Be Famous: Luke has met almost every celebrity from the Old West.
  • Institutional Apparel: The striped prison outfits worn by the Daltons and other jail inmates.
  • Inevitable Waterfall: Lampshaded. As the Daltons are about to fall down one, Jack reassures Joe, saying that in adventure stories something always comes up at the last second to save the characters. Unfortunately, in this case nothing does and the four brothers take the plunge (though they are rescued afterwards by an Indian fisherman).
  • Invincible Hero: Though it's not a negative case, specially as the colorful villains are usually the focus.
  • Jail Bake
  • Jerkass: Joe Dalton. Once, when they steal an Indian's dogsled, Joe takes the sled for himself and lets his brothers run by foot. And later, when they lack time to harness the dogs, he lets them pull the sled.
  • Joker Jury
  • Jumping Out of a Cake: In "Dalton City", a saloon dancer is concealed inside a giant cake, but the homemade pastry is so tough that, by the time she manages to get out of it, the party, the fight and pretty much the story are over.
  • Just Like Robin Hood: Parodied with Jesse James, who gives his stolen spoils to his poor brother, who gives it back, since giving away the stolen goods makes him poor as well.
  • The Key Is Behind the Lock: In a cartoon episode, the Dalton Brothers are trying to be honest, and to have a honest work, they open their own bank. At one point Averell Dalton is commanded to open the safe, but he can't remember where the key is, so he opens the safe with dynamite. It turns out that the key is inside, and Averell closed it in there "for safety". Joe Dalton is not amused.
  • Kick the Dog: Joe Dalton really doesn't like Rantanplan.
  • Kung Shui: The obligatory Bar Brawl. In one episode the saloon owner routinely removes the mirror behind the bar whenever a brawl is about to begin.
  • Land in the Saddle: Repeatedly.
    • Subverted on at least one occasion, when he jumped through the wrong window and fell flat on the ground instead of ending up on his horse, much to the latter's amusement.
    • On another occasion, as he didn't know from which window Luke would jump, Jolly Jumper posted a fellow horse under each window of the building.
  • Lighter and Softer: The earlier comics were a bit darker and mostly based on Old West action and adventure (though not without some comedy). Luke even killed at least one man (lampshaded by Joe Dalton in Belle Starr). One of the most famous effects of this trope is Luke quitting smoking and having a straw of grass in his mouth instead.
    • Later lampshaded when a guy offers him a cigarette. Luke refuses, saying he quit. The guy apologizes, and offers a straw of grass. Luke then says, "No thanks, I'm trying to quit."
  • Made of Iron: Ironhead in Going Up the Mississippi.
  • Minion with an F In Evil: Averell Dalton. He even has his own "Not Wanted" poster!
    • In Daisy Town he does have a "Wanted" poster like the other brothers. The posters are shown throughout their childhood and teens until adulthood with older faces and larger bounties. Averell's bounty stays at $4... Until it's lowered to $3.
  • The Napoleon: Joe Dalton
  • Napoleon Delusion: The character of Smith, convinced he is the Emperor of the United States, references the historical "Emperor" Joshua Norton, with the important difference that he is a millionaire ranch owner who can afford full Napoleonic costumes, paraphernalia and army. He names Napoleon as his "model" and insists on full-on First Empire protocol in all circumstances, to the hilarious dismay of his employees-turned-soldiers.
  • Never Mess with Granny: Ma Dalton.
    • Luke even says he'd never been so scared as during his quick-draw with her, as there's no way he could shoot an old lady even if she was in fact very much about to kill him. Good thing Sweetie chose that moment to jump into her arms, allowing Luke to disarm her.
  • Nitro Express: One is comic devoted to this. It's just too bad that the Daltons decide to hijack the train, not knowing what's on it, and run close to blowing themselves to kingdom come.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Minor characters are often "played" by famous Western actors or other celebrities, e.g. Lee Van Cleef, Randolph Scott and Alfred Hitchcock.
  • No Fourth Wall: Jolly Jumper makes up for his speech impairment by addressing the reader all the time.
  • Nothing Up My Sleeve: A derringer up the sleeve is the typical armament of gamblers in Lucky Luke.
  • Once an Episode: Luke rides into the sunset, singing "I'm a poor lonesome cowboy, far away from home..."
    • Often lampshaded and parodied, such as the time he does so around page three and Jolly Jumper expresses his pleased surprise at this early ending. Sure as rain, the bridge they were riding on blows up.
    • Not to forget the short Where The Sunset Is where Averell has a rare moment of Genre Savviness. After the Dalton brothers escape from jail again, Joe decides that rather than head for the nearest town (where they are bound to be found and arrested by Lucky Luke sooner or later), they will hide out in the wilderness. Soon they have found a nice peaceful place where they want to settle for the night -- all except for Averell, who feels uneasy about the place and wants to leave. Just as the sun sets, Luke comes riding along, spots the brothers and arrests them. Back in jail, Joe wonders how Averell knew that Luke would be there, and Averell replies, "Didn't you notice? That's the place where..." Cut to the closing scene with Luke riding into the sunset at that exact location. That is "where the sunset is".
      • It appears to be a rather perpetual sunset, as Luke has time to bring the Daltons to the nearest town and still be back at the sun set place before nightfall. That, or Jolly is a remarkably fast horse.
  • Oral Fixation Fixation: After chain smoking for much of the series, Luke eventually switched his cigarette for a straw of grass.
    • Referenced when a government secretary offers him a cigarette, but Luke tells him he quit. So he offers him a straw of grass... only for Luke to tell him he's trying to quit.
  • Outlaw Town: Dalton City
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: In Barbed Wire on the Prairie, Luke infiltrates a cabal of cattle ranchers by donning a suit, putting on a fake moustache, and dragging a single scrawny cow in tow. The disguise fails him, however, when someone realizes he's too thin to be a real cattle rancher (all of whom are badly overweight).
  • Pinball Projectile: Used many times to show off Luke's skill.
  • Pink Elephants
  • Pocket Protector: In Lucky Luke et Pilule, Pilule ("Pill") is shot but not hurt, to his ununderstanding. Then he realizes that the bullet hit the box of pills that was in his pocket.
  • Polka Dot Paint: An Indian camouflaging his horse in Daisy Town swipes his brush back and forth on the horse, and behold! the horse is coated in an elaborate landscape.
  • Professional Gambler: Scat Thumbs. Characters like that often crop up in Lucky Luke stories. In fact this is kind of a stock character for Lucky Luke. Like many other western trope characters.
  • Rain Dance: In one episode, an area inhabited by Native Americans is suffering from serious draught. As it turns out, their shaman has fallen from a horse and hit his head. He is otherwise ok but can't get the dance right and his various attempts only produce minor weather anomalies (like a small blizzard conjured by doing the macarena)
  • Real After All
  • Refuge in Audacity: Referencing drug use in a children's movie? Horrible! Devoting more than five minutes in a eighty minute children's movie to a musical number that is very clearly an extended drug trip by characters (after explicitly having their drink spiked with "mushrooms" by a snake doctor), including a desecration of Jingle Bells ("Shooting guns, shooting guns, shooting all the way")? Awesome!
    • The entire segment, even in the French original, is in English, so this may actually count as Getting Crap Past the Radar after all... but probably not)
  • Riding Into the Sunset
  • Russian Roulette: Yes, it is possible to cheat.
  • Sapient Steed: Jolly Jumper often talks, but usually does this with other horses or with himself, in the same vein as Snowy with Tintin.
    • Mainly, but he also does talk to Lucky Luke sometimes.
    • He's also exchanged the occasional word with Rantanplan, though not often -- probably because he detests the dog.
  • Scooby Stack: The Daltons often do this. It helps that their height doesn't exactly change.
  • She's a Man In Japan: Jolly Jumper is a mare called Dolly in Greece. It is interesting that this gender change never conflicted with the stories or caused confusion through the decades and as a result most people in the country consider the horse a female character. ...Until the #73th issue was recently translated, which was all about Jolly falling in love with a mare. The publishers decided to correct the horse's gender from that issue and onwards.
  • Shorter Means Smarter: Joe Dalton.
    • Smartest of the Daltons, which isn't saying much. Luke calls him the moronic brain of the gang.
  • Shout-Out: Many!
  • The Shrink: Otto von Himbeergeist, who tries to cure the Daltons. While his diagnosis is usually right on-spot, he doesn't manage to turn them. And then, he gets the idea that he should've started a career in crime rather than in academics...
  • Sitting Sexy on a Piano
  • Snake Oil Salesman: Dr. Doxey
  • Soap Punishment: Done by Ma Dalton to one of her foul-mouthed sons.
  • Speech-Impaired Animal: Jolly Jumper and Rantanplan can only chat with members of their own species.Though most of the time, Jumper seems to be able to have conversations with Luke. Well, he understands Luke, anyway.
    • And occasionally they'll talk to each other as well, but these conversations are extremely spare. Probably because Jolly Jumper really doesn't like Rantanplan and either ignores him or makes sarcastic comments about him.
  • Spinoff Babies: Kid Lucky, portraying Lucky Luke in his childhood. It had only two albums.
  • Stealth Hi Bye: Luke slinks away every time people are starting to talk about rewarding him.
  • Sticky Fingers: Fingers, from the album Fingers.
  • Strawman Political: Infamous case in the last story The Man of Washington. The main villain is a hitman called Sam Palin (YES, Palin, and did I mention it was released around the 2008 American Elections?) who is a violent supporter of gun-owning rights. In a panel, his eye pupils become red, foam comes out of his mouth as he says "Just because we have guns doesn't mean we are dangerous! Grrrr!"
  • Strong Family Resemblance: The Dalton brothers.
  • Super Window Jump: Repeatedly. Usually leads to Land in the Saddle.
  • Tar and Feathers: A common form of mob justice for professional gamblers who get caught. Also, in one story the Daltons got tarred and feathered repeatedly, to the point where Averell decided to stay that way.
  • Telegraph Gag STOP
  • Those Two Guys: Jack and William, the two middle Dalton brothers; Goscinny actually had trouble remembering which was which, so they tend to switch names between books. They work as an ensemble anyway.
  • Thou Shall Not Kill: Lucky Luke has the reputation of never killing his enemies, and several media refer to him as never having killed anyone, a theory supported by Goscinny's daughter, Anne. This is close to Critical Research Failure: Luke has canonically killed Evil Twin Mad Jim, and this story was in the first album of the series. In the original run of Lucky Luke vs. Phil Defer story, Luke kills Defer at the end in a duel. This was later retconned in the album releases by Defer only being injured but rendered crippled for life.
    • Also, the original Daltons gang was hanged after Luke caught them.
      • In first publication, Luke actually kills Bob Dalton by headshot... and it's onscreen. In the album version, it is censored and replaced by a simple caught with a barrel -- before their hanging.
  • Tunnel King: The Dalton Brothers are experts in escaping through tunnels. With spoons no less.
  • Underside Ride: When a train is derailed, it's revealed a tramp was travelling on the axles.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Joe Dalton, whenever someone mentions Lucky Luke in his presence. Inverted, in that it usually happens at the beginning of an episode, and once he regains his calm he devises a plan to take his revenge.
  • Wanted Poster: As another staple of Western, about Once an Episode. Some gags are milked out of the Daltons wanted posters, as mentionned above.
  • We Sell Everything: Any general store Lucky Luke patronizes. "For the impossible," as one store manager puts it, "we request a two-week delay."

The movies provide examples of:

  • Badass Longcoat: Worn by Jesse James in the 2009 live-action film. Exaggerated Trope: his coat is really long.
  • But Now I Must Go: In Go West: A Lucky Luke adventure, Lucky Luke brings his group to California but decides not to stay.
  • Composite Character: Jesse James's character in the 2009 movie has taken on several character traits of his brother Frank from the comic, most notably the obsession with Shakespeare.
  • Disney Acid Sequence- The animated film Lucky Luke: The Ballad of the Daltons has one of these. Although its caused by Mushroom Samba.
  • Live Action Adaptation: Three of them:
    • Lucky Luke, 1991: stars Terrence Hill as the title character and is infamous for being an In Name Only adaptation.
    • Les Dalton, 2004: is centered on the Dalton brothers and star French comedian duo Éric and Ramzy as Joe and Averell. Lucky Luke is played by German actor Til Schweiger.
    • Lucky Luke, 2009: stars Jean Dujardin as the title character. Got much better reception than the two previous adaptations.
  • The Mole: Belle in the 2009 live-action film.
  • No Export for You: None of these films were released anywhere other than Europe (sans the UK) and Canada and Brazil.
  • On One Condition: In Lucky Luke: The Ballad of the Daltons, the Dalton brothers learn that their Uncle Henry Dalton died by hanging (which Joe considered a 'natural' death) and left them their fortune on the condition that they kill the judge and the jurors who sentenced him to death and that Lucky Luke provides testimony confirming the fulfillment of the condition. The judge and the jury convicted the Daltons for attempting to murder them and Lucky Luke provided testimony. The money went to charity.
  • Politically-Incorrect Villain: Cooper in the 2009 live-action film, when he makes a racist remark on Luke's Native American mother.
  • Taking the Bullet: In the 2009 live-action film, happens with Luke's mother and Belle.
  • Thou Shall Not Kill: In the 2009 live-action-film, one of the main plot elements is about Lucky Luke's oath to never kill anyone.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The trailers of the 2009 live-action film give away the facts that Jolly Jumper talks to Luke (which is meant to be a surprise in the film) and that Jesse James and Billy the Kid go Enemy Mine with Luke.

The Licensed Game series provides examples of:

  • Minecart Madness: Explosive Mine from the GBC title "Lucky Luke Desperado Train", complete with this trope's basic premise despite it can get a lot better with practice (as pointed out in the page for the trope itself). It's the third-to-last level and if you want to see it, the password is Gun-Gun-Star-Horseshoe.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: all over the place for the sake of plot (if any), in the GBC title "Desperado Train". For a noteworthy example, you get to play as Rantanplan as soon as you get stuck in a cage, only to guide the dog through an underground dungeon in order to get the key and backtrack the whole stage to free Luke. And the level ends as soon as you free him.