« Le sergent Laterreur resembles no-one. It’s impossible for anyone to be so ignoble, so sinister, so cruel. One feels that the two poor bastards that created him are exacting their revenge for all the humiliations suffered at the hands of the strong. One wouldn’t have been surprised to discover that the authors of Sergent Laterreur were Jewish, Black, Irish or Czech. They’re Belgian. » — Georges Wolinski
“Le Sergent Laterreur” is a strip that ran in the fabled bédé weekly Pilote from February 1971 to December 1973.
This vitriolic lampoon of military life (no Beetle Bailey this) was the brainchild of Belgians Touïs (né Vivian Miessen, b. 1940) and Gérald Frydman (b. 1942).
Miessen produced a few more comics during the 70s, and made a notable comeback contribution to L’Association‘s massive anthology Comix 2000, but he chiefly worked in animation. Frydman mostly pursued projects in photography and film, directing several short subjects.
Laterreur’s full effect is best experienced in massive doses, and L’Association, fully cognizant of that fact, issued a splendid Le Sergent Laterreur omnibus in 2006. An obscure creation, it remains obscure, but at least it’s available if you seek it out.
Fun factoid: The strip’s name presumably comes from the French title of a USA “boot camp” Korean War propaganda film from 1953, “Take the High Ground!“, directed by Richard Brooks. and starring Richard Widmark and Karl Malden.