Who is Bécassine?
Bécassine is a young provincial Breton girl turned housemaid as viewed by the sophisticated Parisians. In her region it is a common belief that those with large noses are highly intelligent. Bécassine herself however has a tiny nose in keeping with her simple ways and manner. She frequently has misadventures in her travels.
Her nickname of "Bécassine" is also the name of a small bird that isn't considered very bright. Her real name is Annaïck Labornez.
Bécassine is the earliest female comic strip protagonist. Her first appearance was on 02 February 1905 in the French children's magazine La Semaine de Suzette ("Suzette's Week"). 02 February is therefore considered her birthday. She celebrated her 100th birthday in 2005, and her 110th birthday in 2015 was commemorated with a Google doodle.
The character of Bécassine was initially created by Pinchon and Caumery to fill a blank page in the children's magazine La Semaine de Suzette. She was so well-received that she continued to serve as filler until 1913, when she became the heroine of her own comic strips in the magazine. These were the first of the modern bande dessinées (Franco-Belgian comics), the popularity of which continues to this day. The comics featuring Bécassine have been collected into their own volumes and expanded with both a movie in 1939 and an animated film (Le Tresor Viking) in 2001.
Bécassine remains a popular character in France and Belgium, appearing on souvenirs, in advertisements, and even on a postage stamp which celebrated her centennial. She is the focus of a popular Chantal Goya song, "Bécassine est my cousine". This song even has a karaoke version.