Jack Palmer

Created by Réné Pétillon
(1945- 2018)

JACK PALMER is the clown prince of bede private eyes. He’s a scooter-riding squirt; a hapless low-rent private peeper in a beat-up fedora and a dingy, rumpled trench coat several sizes too big for him, with an ass-backwards style of investigation that leaves him stuck in some pretty bizarre predicaments.

Not that he seems to work too hard at finding work, mind you. In Palmer’s world, murder and mayhem, not to mention a fair percentage of the planet’s  weirdos and looney-tunes, just naturally come a-knocking at his door, much to his dismay.

But Jack always seems to let ’em in.

Jack’s crerator, Réné Pétillon, wasn’t shy about taking a few satiric jabs in the comic at some of his favourite political and cultural targets, but overall it was just a genial, fun series, not to be taken too seriously. Sight gags and loopy plotlines abounded, and Pétillon’s influences, which included MAD Magazine (particularly the work of Sergio Aragones), as well as Hammett, Chandler, Bogart, and all the usual suspects, were more than evident.

Palmer made his debut in 1974 in the pages of Pilote and subsequently wandered all over the French comics scene, showing up in the satirical magazine L’Écho des Savanes for a while, then back to Pilote in 1982, and then over to L’Écho des Savanes in 1989 once more. Around 1987, one-page gags started popping up in Charlie Hebdo and the weekly news magazine VSD.

But it didn’t seem to matter where his work appeared–Pétillon just kept cranking them out, and Palmer’s popularity continued to increase. In 2001, a animated series, Jack Palmer, aired, and in 2004, the twelfth collection, L’Enquête Cors (2000), which dealt with the political unrest and the independentist movement on the isle of Corsica, received much critical acclaim, prompting a Corsican edition and a 2004 movie adaptation starring Christian Clavie. Not shying away from controversy, Pétillon then served up a satiric take on Muslim fundamentalism in L’Affaire du voile (2006), and an Arabic edition was published, while his final entry in the series, Palmer en Bretagne (2013), dispatched our man Jack to Brittany, prompting both Breton and Gallo editions. 

Unfortunately, so far as I know, Jack’s (mis)adventures haven’t been translated into English.


Cartoonist René Pétillon was one of the new barbarians of the French BD scene of the seventies. He’s probably best known for his work on Jack Palmer, but his often pointed and provocative editorial cartoons graced the pages of L’Écho des Savanes, Charlie HebdoVSD and Le Canard Enchaîné.


  • Petillon (1976; aka “Gourous, derviches et co.,” “Une sacrée salade”Buy this book
  • Mister Palmer et Docteur Supermarketstein (1977) Buy this book
  • La dent creuse (1978; aka “Palmer se rebiffe”Buy this book
  • Les Disparus d’Apostrophes ! (1982)
  • Le chanteur de Mexico (1984)
  • Le prince de la B.D. (1985)
  • Le Pékinois (1987)
  • Un détective dans le Yucca (1989)  Buy this book
  • Narco-dollars (1990) Buy this book
  • Un privé dans la nuit (1993) Buy this book
  • Le Top-model (1995; aka “L’Affaire du top-model”Buy this book
  • L’Enquête corse (2000) Buy this book
  • L’Affaire du voile (2006) Buy this book
  • Enquête au paradis (2009) Buy this book
  • Palmer en Bretagne (2013) Buy this book


  • Le Meilleur et le pire de Jack Palmer (1999)  Buy this book


    (2001, Canal+)
    Animated series for French television
    30 episodes
    Written by René Pétillon
    Directed by René Pétillon, Jacky Bretaudeau, Luc Vinciguerra
    Produced by Canal+, Les Cartooneurs associés, Hyphen.


  • L’ENQUÊTE CORSE(aka “TheCorsican”)
    (2004, Gaumont/Legend)
    Based on 
    L’Enquête Corse by René Pétillon
    Screenplay by Christian Clavier and Michel Delgado
    Directed by Alain Berbérian
    Starring Christian Clavier a as JACK PALMER/RÉMI FRANCOIS
    Also starring Jean Reno, Caterina Murino, Didier Flamand, Pierre Salasca, Eric Fraticelli, Alain Maratrat, François Orsoni, Nathanaël Maïni, Albert Dray, Daniel Delorme 
    A man named Rémi Francois, posing as Jack Palmer, tries to find a missing heir living on Corsica.
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. A gros merci to Giancarlo Malagutti for the lead on the television show. Further investigation is pending… 

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