- Originally published on the Bartitsu.org site on Thursday, 10th January 2019
The French painter and cartoonist Marius Rossillon (1867-1946), under the pseudonym “O’Galop”, invents a bizarre new hybrid combat sport in this 1895 sketch series, which originally appeared in Le Rire.
“Velo-Boxe” appears to have been a satirical comment on state of the French honour duel during the very late 19th century. With both the law and social sentiment steering sharply away from the tradition of life-risking duels, aggrieved parties who wanted to settled their differences physically developed some creative alternatives. However, as the artist points out, honour can only be satisfied physically at a physical cost – the implicit question being, is it worth it?
Rosillon was also, not incidentally, the creator of the “Michelin Man” character, here illustrated delivering the Coup de la Semelle Michelin (“The Kick of the Michelin Tread”) in a 1905 advertising poster: