Publication information
Publisher Dargaud (French)
Cinebook Ltd (English)
First appearance January 15, 1962 in Record
Created by René Goscinny and Jean Tabary
Genre Animated comedy
Created by René Goscinny
Jean Tabary
Voices of Gérard Hernandez
Henri Guybet
Luq Hamet
Bernard Tiphaine
Opening theme Michael Dax
Country of origin France
Original language(s) French, English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 52
Producer(s) Saban
Running time 30 minutes
Original channel Canale 5, Italia 1, Rete 4, Fox Kids, Jetix, K2, Odeon TV, Yle TV2, Frisbee (Italy)
TV Asahi (Japan)
CBBC, TCC and Fox Kids (UK)
Original run October 13, 1995 – November 16, 1995
Iznogoud: Calife à la place du calife
Directed by Patrick Braoudé
Produced by Aïssa Djabri, Farid Lahouassa
Written by Patrick Braoudé, from the comic book serie.
Starring Michaël Youn
Arno Chevrier
Jacques Villeret
Olivier Barroux
Kad Merad
Franck Dubosc
Bernard Farcy
Elsa Pataky
Music by Jacques Davidovici
Distributed by France: TFM Distribution
Release date(s) February 9, 2005
Country France
Language French

Iznogoud (pronounced "he's no good" with a French accent) is a French comics series featuring an eponymous character, created by the comics writer René Goscinny and comics artist Jean Tabary. The stories have been translated into several languages, including English, and the title has been adapted to animated and live-action film.

Publication history

The series made its debut in the Franco-Belgian comics magazine Record on January 15, 1962, under the title Les aventures du Calife Haroun el Poussah.[1] It was eventually recognised that the wicked supporting character ought to be the focus of the strip. and it was renamed Iznogoud.[2] In 1968, it resumed serial publication in Goscinny's Pilote magazine.

Goscinny's taste for sharp satirical writing keeps the repetitive format of the stories constantly fresh, making Iznogoud one of the most popular anti-heroes in the French comic strip world. Goscinny's skills with puns, made famous in Astérix, is also evident in Iznogoud. Most of the puns in the original French make little sense if translated directly into English, requiring of translators (Anthea Bell and Derek Hockridge in the case of the English translations) to find creative solutions for equivalent puns while still keeping within the spirit of the original text.

When Goscinny died in 1977, Tabary eventually decided to carry on the work himself, just as Albert Uderzo did with Asterix. While the Goscinny period was characterized by "albums" comprising several short-length tales each, Tabary turned the series in a new direction, by dedicating every new album entirely to a single story, larger and much more detailed, usually revolving around a new unique concept.

In 1987 a game was produced by Infogrames entitled Iznogoud.[3] The series was adapted to animated film in 1995 with a cartoon TV series, where the caliph is referred to as a sultan. A live-action Iznogoud film starring Michaël Youn and Jacques Villeret, Iznogoud: Calife A La Place Du Calife, was released in France in February 2005.

The publisher Cinebook Ltd is currently publishing English language translations of the books in the Iznogoud series. The first book in the series, "The Wicked Wiles of Iznogoud", was published in March 2008. Further volumes continue to appear at approximately six month intervals. In India, Euro Books published the English versions of 12 Iznogoud titles in 2009.


Iznogoud is the second in command (Grand Vizier) to the Caliph of Baghdad Haroun El Poussah (Haroun El Plassid in English, a pun on the historical Caliph, Harun al-Rashid; "poussah" is roughly translated as "oaf") but his sole aim in life is to overthrow the Caliph and take his place. This is frequently expressed in his famous Catchphrase, "I want to become Caliph instead of the Caliph" ("je veux devenir calife à la place du calife"), which has passed into everyday French for qualifying over-ambitious people who want to become chief. Iznogoud is always assisted in his plans by his faithful henchman, Dilat Larath (Wa'at Alahf in English).

A typical example is when the Grand Vizier discovers the "Road to Nowhere", a road that only leads back to itself, and devises a plot to lure the Caliph there so he will become eternally trapped. In his excitement over the prospect to accomplish his life's mission, Iznogoud forgets that he needs an exit for himself. Another plan involves freezing the Caliph, which has to be shelved because there always seems to be some source of heat nearby. Iznogoud also attempts to enlist the services of a primitive computer (described as a very clever djinni) in order to find out the answer to his perennial ambition. The temperamental computer ends up sulking when Wa'at Alahf answers a complex mathematical equation before it can. In the end, the only answer Iznogoud gets is the solution to the equation. As in every Iznogoud story, Iznogoud is ultimately unsuccessful, and the Caliph continues his reign.

Supporting characters

Goscinny and Tabary occasionally make cameo appearances themselves. In one episode, Tabary uses a magical time-travelling closet to help Iznogoud seize the Caliph title. In another episode, Iznogoud gets a magical calendar that lets him travel in time when he rips off its pages. He rips too many and he is transported to the 20th century, inside the studio of Tabary. In another episode, Iznogoud gets a magical drawing paper set that makes anybody or anything drawn on it disappear once the paper is torn apart. Unfortunately, the drawing needs to be realistic, and Iznogoud is a poor artist. In search of an art teacher, he meets Tabary, renamed "Tabary El-Retard".

There are occasionally "behind-the-scenes" moments, as when Iznogoud travels in a country in a mirror, and all is reversed, including text in balloons. Tabary is shown complaining to Goscinny about going through this frustrating "reversal" work, and even threatens him with a gun, to convince him into making a non-reversed "translated" version. They also appear debating after a contemporary crowd demands them to make Iznogoud caliph.

Other recurring characters include Sultan Pullmankar (Sultan Streetcar in English), the Caliph's neighbour who is described as a touchy man with a powerful army. Iznogoud often tries to provoke Pullmankar to become angry at the Caliph, in order to instigate a war. However, Pullmankar never gets angry with the caliph, only with Iznogoud.

The memorable pirates of Asterix (led by their redbearded captain) make a cameo appearance in the comic A Carrot for Iznogoud.

A horse of the same name finished twelfth in the 2005 Grand National steeplechase at Aintree.


  1. Le Grand Vizir Iznogoud (1966, Dargaud)
  2. Les complots du grand vizir Iznogoud (1967, Dargaud)
  3. Les vacances du calife (1968, Dargaud)
  4. Iznogoud l'infâme (1969, Dargaud)
  5. Des astres pour Iznogoud (1969, Dargaud)
  6. L'ordinateur magique (1970, Dargaud)
  7. Une carotte pour Iznogoud (1971, Dargaud)
  8. Le jour des fous (1972, Dargaud)
  9. Le tapis magique (1973, Dargaud)
  10. Iznogoud l'acharné (1974, Dargaud)
  11. La tête de Turc d'Iznogoud (1975, Dargaud)
  12. Le conte de fées d'Iznogoud (1976, Dargaud)
  13. Je veux être Calife à la place du Calife (1978, BD Star)
  14. Les cauchemars d'Iznogoud (1979, Editions de la Séguinière)
  15. L'enfance d'Iznogoud (1981, Glénat)
  16. Iznogoud et les femmes (1983, Editions de la Séguinière)
  17. Les cauchemars d'Iznogoud (1984, Editions de la Séguinière)
  18. Le complice d'Iznogoud (1985, Editions de la Séguinière)
  19. L'anniversaire d'Iznogoud (1987, Editions de la Séguinière)
  20. Enfin calife! (1989, Éditions Tabary)
  21. Le piège de la sirène (1992, Éditions Tabary)
  22. Les cauchemars d'Iznogoud, Tome 2 (1994, Éditions Tabary)
  23. Les cauchemars d'Iznogoud, Tome 3 (1994, Éditions Tabary)
  24. Les retours d'Iznogoud (1994, Éditions Tabary)
  25. Qui a tué le calife? (1998, Éditions Tabary)
  26. Un monstre sympathique (2000, Éditions Tabary)
  27. La faute de l'ancêtre (2004, Éditions Tabary)
  28. Les Mille et Une Nuits du Calife (2008, Éditions Tabary)
  29. Iznogoud président (2012, IMAV Éditions)

English translations

Title Original Publication Date English Publications
Iznogoud on Holiday /
The Caliph's Vacation
1968 Egmont/Methuen - 1977
Dargaud International - 1982 - (US version)
Cinebook - (Book # 2) August 2008 ISBN 978-1-905460-61-8
Iznogoud the Infamous 1969 Egmont/Methuen - 1977
Cinebook - (Book # 7) March 2011 ISBN 978-1-84918-074-0
The Wicked Wiles of Iznogoud 1967 Egmont/Methuen - 1978
Iznogoud Monthly Comic 1, Phoenix Press Ltd. - March 1996 (includes Kismet, Mesmer-eyesed,
The Occidental Philtre, and The Time Machine. Excludes The Picnic and Chop and Change)
Iznogoud Monthly Comic 3, Phoenix Press Ltd. - May 1996 (includes The Picnic and Chop and Change)
Cinebook - (Book # 1) March 2008 ISBN 978-1-905460-46-5
Iznogoud and the Magic Computer 1970 Egmont/Methuen - 1978
Cinebook - (Book # 4) August 2009 ISBN 978-1-84918-000-9
Iznogoud and the Day of Misrule 1972 Egmont - 1979
Cinebook - (Book # 3) March 2009 ISBN 978-1-905460-79-3
A Carrot for Iznogoud 1971 Egmont - 1979
Cinebook - (Book # 5) March 2010 ISBN 978-1-84918-021-4
Iznogoud Rockets to Stardom 1969 Egmont - 1980
Cinebook - (Book # 8) August 2011 ISBN 978-1-84918-092-4
Iznogoud and the Magic Carpet 1973 Egmont - 1980
Iznogoud Monthly Comic 2, Phoenix Press Ltd. - Apr 1996 (Includes The Magic Carpet, The Tiger Hunt, and The Box of Souvenirs. Excludes Incogneto)
Iznogoud Monthly Comic 3, Phoenix Press Ltd. - May 1996 (includes Incogneto)
Cinebook - (Book # 6) August 2010 ISBN 978-1-84918-044-3
The Grand Vizier Iznogoud 1966 Cinebook - (Book # 9) August 2012 ISBN 978-1-84918-131-0
Iznogoud the Relentless 1974 Cinebook - (Book # 10) (advertised as "Coming soon" in Book # 8) ISBN 978-1-84918-181-5

Animated series


# Title Summary
1 The Hideaway Bed Iznogoud purchases a Chippendale styled magic Hideaway Bed hoping to make the Sultan vanish, but the plan is interrupted by a visit from a foreign ambassador and a drink of Turkish coffee.
2 Hats Off! Iznogoud seeks an opportunity at a party in the Sultan's honour to make the Sultan look like a lunatic with a loony hat, but his plan is waylaid by the party show.
3 The Magic Catalogue The Wizard Avaz repays Iznogoud with a magic catalogue capable of getting three objects from the future. Iznogoud misses out on the dangerous weapons and instead orders three useless items.
4 Hopping Back to the Future Iznogoud hires the Wizard De Jacqual to scrawl a hop scotch which would age regress the Sultan, but so many people go on the hop scotch turning into squabbling children.
5 Iznogoud's Unlucky Star Iznogoud gets his hands on a rocket ship and tries to launch the Sultan into space, but the moody rocket ship does not blast off. Iznogoud, devastated, puts the rocket away into storage. But one day it blasts off, tears through the royal palace, and takes Iznogoud with it.
6 Iznogoud's Student Sultan Pullmankar, the neighbouring ruler, sends his son to Iznogoud's in order to give him an education. Iznogoud decides to make his pupil's life miserable so that he will complain to his father, who in turn will wage a war. The fat Caliph would be overthrown, and Iznogoud would receive the throne. But the pupil has a genie who answers all of Iznogoud's questions correctly, and Iznogoud has to give up. He breaks down and tells his pupil that now he'll never get to be Caliph instead of the Caliph. The pupil finds this to be very interesting and Iznogoud teaches him how to take over a throne. Later, a few days after the pupil left, Sultan Pullmankar appears and chases Iznogoud with a sword because his son had taken over his country, thanks to Iznogoud!
7 Big Eyes Iznogoud hires a hypnotist De Giallo to hypnotise the Sultan into a dumb animal, while clapping noises break the spell and De Giallo tired of waiting for his payment convinces Iznogoud he's a rattlesnake.
8 The Time Machine Adulahf brings finds a scientist lost in time and Iznogoud gets hin to build a time machine to put the Sultan in the past. Iznogoud and Adulahf get tangled with a cave man and get trapped in the past.
9 Croaking the Night Away Iznogoud sees a frog prince that when kissed the frog form is switched to the kisser. The prince takes advantage of the Sultan becoming a frog to take over the throne, but Iznogoud thwarts his plan completely.
10 One for the Road Iznogoud gets a disgusting green liquid to turn the Sultan into a woodlouse. He manages to trick the Sultan to repeatedly drink the stuff, but when the Sultan gives him the last drop, he turns into a woodlouse instead.
11 State Visit Iznogoud accompanies the Sultan on a visit to Sultan Streetcar trying to start a scandal. When his attempts fail, he tries against back in the Sultan's palace but gets in a trouble of his own.
12 The Mysterious Poster Hanger Iznogoud tries to dispose of the Sultan in a poster that traps those who step inside. Iznogoud gets trapped along with the Sultan and Adulahf with no way out.
13 The Pic-Nic Iznogoud convinces the Sultan to join him in a picnic in hopes the Sultan will dehydrate. Whenever Iznogoud volunteers to get back to the palace to pick up some water he "forgot", someone appears selling some. The plan ultimately fails when it rains.
14 The Sultan's Double Iznogoud is introduced to someone who looks like the Sultan. Fortunately, whenever Iznogoud tried to replace the Sultan with the look-alike, the Sultan had changed something about his looks.
15 The Western Potion
16 The Genie
17 Goldfingers Iznogoud request Karat of the Black Mountains to come with him and turn the Sultan into a gold plated statue, but the plan backfires and gets Iznogoud turned into a statue.
18 Incognito Iznogoud makes the sultan look like a tyrant in the city and lures him outside dressed as a beggar to overthrow him. Instead the Sultan changes the laws to suit the people and Iznogoud is arrested.
19 It's a Dog's Tune
20 A Wonderful Machine
21 The Curse of the Diamond Iznogoud obtains a cursed diamond from a beggar to give to the Sultan as a birthday present, but the diamond's curse falls hard upon Iznogoud the moment he touches it.
22 Close Encounters of an Odd Kind Iznogoud is met by an alien exploration team whom he hopes will dispose of the sultan with their zapper pistol, only to get zapped himself.
23 The Challenge Iznogoud proposes a strong dimwitted porter to challenge the Sultan to a duel which would make Iznogoud the sultan if the Sultan is the loser. The porter however is revealed to be the daughter of Sultan Streetcars.
24 Slip Sliding in the Sultanate Iznogoud seeks the help of the Magic Weatherman to produce snow to freeze the Sultan. Before Iznogoud can cause an avalanche on the Sultan the Magic Weatherman melts all the snow.
25 The Crazy Cruise Iznogoud gets the Sultan to board the ship of an unlucky sailor, but he and Adulahf also come on the voyage. The trip from one island to another is ridiculous till Iznogoud turns into a seashell.
26 Watch Out! There's a Fly About A group of Indians arrive to bring a gift to the Sultan. They give to Iznogoud a fly that stings its victim to a long sleep. The fly escapes and ends up as the Sultan's pet.
27 Giant's Island A sailor named Cimbal tells Iznogoud of an island with giants, where Iznogoud hopes to dispose of the Sultan. The two giants send the Sultan back home and use Iznogoud and Adulahf as chess pieces.
28 Tall Tales A strange man called Telltale arrives. Iznogoud wants him to overthrow the Sultan with a make belief gossip. This attracts a lot of people claiming to be children of the Sultan and ruins Iznogoud's plan.
29 Elections in the Sultanate Today is election day and Iznogoud intends to become sultan with the help of Smart Alec and a support team, but a rival group led by Iron-Nail are opposing. A revolt ruins Iznogoud's plans altogether.
30 The Wax Museum Iznogoud visits a wax museum and persuades the owner to make some wax assassins alive to get the Sultan, but he has until 7 o'clock to do so. The assassins are uncooperative and Iznogoud fails to meet the deadline.
31 The Genie of the Mirror A mirror genie called Inside-Out takes Iznogoud to a world where everything is the opposite. Iznogoud enjoys his stay until he realises the opposites are more against him than with him.
32 The Memory Potion Iznogoud gets from a charm merchant a memory potion which requires the victim to smell it. Iznogoud's attempt to erase the Sultan's memory makes other people amnesiac and eventually himself.
33 Sweet Dreams
34 A Fairy Tale
35 Musical Chairs
36 The Magic Puzzle
37 In the Summertime
38 The Sultan's Sceptre
39 The Sheikh's Potion Iznogoud buys from Traveller Sheikh a potion to shrink the Sultan. His attempts give other things and people shrunk and finally himself.
40 Nuts' Day It is Nuts' Day for authorities and servants to switch places, a setback for Iznogoud, so he seeks help from a genie, Sultan Streetcar and the local people, but the day is over before he can take action.
41 The Sultan's Portrait
42 The Mysterious Ointment
43 Iznogoud's Nest Eggs
44 The Road to Nowhere
45 The Invisible Threat
46 The Magical Carpet
47 Magic Memories
48 Souvenir's Island
49 The Maze
50 Mean Genie
51 The Tiger Hunter
52 A Hairy Statuette

Outsourced Production Work

References in society

Notably, the character has also made his mark on French popular culture and public life. Wanting to become "Caliph in the Caliph's place" has become a popular expression in French, describing people perceived as over-ambitious. The Prix Iznogoud (Iznogoud Award) was created in 1992 and is given each year to "a personality who failed to take the Caliph's place", chosen among prominent French figures who have recently known spectacular failures. The award has been given to various personalities, amongst them Édouard Balladur (1995), Nicolas Sarkozy (1999) and Jean-Marie Messier (2002). The jury is headed by politician André Santini, who gave the award to himself after failing to become president of the Île-de-France in the 2004 regional elections.

Other languages

The Iznogoud comics were translated into English in the 1970s. Unlike the French version Haroun El-Plassid's title was changed from Caliph to Sultan in order to avoid upsetting the British Muslim community.

In Finnish the name of Iznogoud is Ahmed Ahne (literally translated Ahmed the Greedy).



External links

Category:Dargaud titles Category:Franco-Belgian comics Category:Comics characters Category:French comics titles Category:Fictional viziers Category:French animated television series Category:Fictional Iraqi people Category:Works by René Goscinny Category:1962 comic debuts Category:Comics characters introduced in 1962 Category:BBC children's television programmes Category:Fox Kids Category:Jetix Category:1995 French television series debuts Category:1995 French television series endings Category:TV Asahi shows

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