A unique dive into worship magazine


sIf you grew up in the 1970s and 1980s, you may have heard of the bivos community. What are BIFOs? Members Biff tool, naturally! Launched in 1969 by Vaillant Editions, a subsidiary of the French Communist Party, this legendary weekly magazine sold out instantly on newsstands and remains prominent today as an essential comfort blanket for post-1960s generations.

The idea of ​​linking a tool to a magazine was unprecedented in French journalism. Inspired by North American practices, she returned to France to publisher Vaillant when the latter wanted to develop his youth magazine Vaylan Pif Magazine, which sold 55,000 copies and its mascot was the famous dog Biff, a character created by José Cabrero Arnal. To increase sales, it was decided that from now on each issue would be accompanied by a “surprise”, as is the case across the Atlantic in cereal packages.

Astronomical glasses

On February 24, 1969, Vaylan Pif Magazine And so it becomes Pif and his surprise gadget. If the name of this new journal undergoes changes, Biff tool He is the one who will remain engraved in memories. The success was immediate: between 200,000 and 225,000 copies of the first edition were sold. His first tool? Astronomical glasses, which allow you to see without others seeing your view – wearing them was like imagining yourself as a hero from space!

The 1970s became the golden age of Biff tool. Young children are passionate about the adventures of prehistoric man Rahan or the adventures of sailor Corto Maltese, while gadget obsession reaches new heights. The 1980s, which were less good in terms of content, started with a bang and remained a reference period, but for various reasons, the sales curve gradually eroded.

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In the late seventies, Beef Sells 400,000 copies; In 1985, to 220 thousand; In 1992, the number reached 40,000, a number that would make many publications dream of today. The newspaper disappeared in 1994 before returning as a monthly in 2004, then discontinued again about five years later. Finally, in 2020, Biff tool It appears again every three months.

“From magic to my childhood”

Even if the 1980s were the beginning of the decline of success, they had a profound impact, like the 1970s, on the children of that time. I never told, the 1980s Biff tool It deserves the spotlight, and that was the goal of one former fan, Sébastien Girard, now 48, who chose to recount the 1981-1994 era in a remarkable work, The story of Biff and his tool (Video Pulse releases).

The written investigation into the magazine's development also highlights the happiness it brought to its readers. It is rich in more than 600 photographs (covers, storyboards, props, posters, advertisements, etc.), which we owe to the 61-year-old professional Laurent Barot, who has built up one of the most important collections in the world Biff tool.

The book also includes archival photographs kept by Sébastien Girard: “Bev gave magic to my childhood,” the latter confirms. I have particularly strong memories of summer. In 1985, over the course of four weeks, the magazine provided everything you needed to build the perfect adventurer's kit: a survival knife, a Canadian tent, a compass, and a guidebook. I lived in a small village and had fun with my friends thanks to that Beef. »

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generation Entertainment A2

The magazine fits perfectly into the media zeitgeist and takes particular note of a phenomenon: the explosion of cartoons on the small screen. It gives great place to popular youth programs such as a2 entertainment, Where we then discover the legendary Mysterious cities of gold. Beef Since 1984, he even created a party called Les Truffes d'Or, which allowed children for four years to choose their favorite cartoons. During the first edition, more than 30,000 people cast their votes – a tremendous result!

On the comedic side, creativity did not reach its peak during these years either, but Sébastien Girard highlights some nuggets: “ Beef The comics have been published since 1983 Koganwhose eponymous hero fought poachers, and to which the WWF contributed [World Wide Fund For Nature, le Fonds mondial pour la nature, NDLR]. We can also mention Children's radio, which came out in 1987, featured pre-teens, some from diverse backgrounds, who ran a college radio station. The series echoed the struggles of the Touche pas à mon pote anti-racist association and the emergence of free radio stations. »

So, isn't it time to rehabilitate this decade of the 1980s, the least respected in the hearts of fundamentalists on the planet? Beef ? Laurent Barrot, a reader from the 1970s, has a clear opinion on the question: “I do not confirm, as is usual, that Beef It was the best in my time. And I think that Beef What we prefer is, above all, what we knew in our youth. » This should make all the bivos agree!

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“The Story of Biff and His Tool”Written by Sébastien Girard and Laurent Barrot. Video Pulse Editions, March 2024, 272 pages, €35.


Samantha Arnold

<p class="sign">"Web fanatic. Travel scholar. Certified music evangelist. Coffee expert. Unapologetic internet guru. Beer nerd."</p>

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