Pif Gadget: The Comics Magazine For Left-wing Youth

In February 1965, publisher Editions Vaillant released the magazine Pif Gadget. This is a sort of weekly comic book aimed at young people. This magazine takes up the editorial line on the left and replaces Vaillant, Pif’s newspaper. With each edition, the magazine comes with a gadget. It also offers complete stories. This concept was particularly innovative at the time because in the majority of cases, magazines of the same genre offered stories to follow, which forced readers to buy the next editions.


Before Pif Gadget, the socialists had already published other magazines. Jean-Pierre, released in December 1901, was the first newspaper created exclusively for children. The objective of the left movement was to give children the opportunity to read stories, other than those told by books which were often Catholic.

By using a comic background, the publishers of these comics still convey messages by provoking reflections on various subjects including antimilitarism and racism. Due to a lack of subscribers, the publication of this magazine stopped in August 1904. It was necessary to wait several years for the newspaper Les Petits Bonsçons to appear. Released in January 1911, this magazine was published by the Child Protection Workers’ League. With contents similar to those of Jean-Pierre, he stopped in 1914.

Then, there was Le Jeune Comarade in 1921, My comrade in 1933, Les Aventures de Pat’Soum in 1934 and Vaillant in June 1945. The number of readers continued to grow. And several publishers began to release magazines with similar ideas and writing styles as the previous ones. But in 1968, readers were less interested in comics and the number fell again.

Then Pif Gadget made his first appearance under the pen of Monsieur Paparnal, whose real name is José Cabrero Arnal. This magazine brought new life to children’s reading. He went through several different periods but managed to stand on his own two feet. In December 2020, the first issue of the quarterly Pif le mag was announced. This new edition aims to relaunch the magazine.

What made Pif Gadget more famous than the others

If this magazine has been able to survive several years it is because there have been elements which have always been appreciated by readers. These are the gadgets that appear in each edition. It can be a game, a toy or an object. They appeal to both girls and boys. These are safe elements and are often easy to assemble. The very first gadget that accompanied the first magazine was a pair of “sidereal glasses”, designed in Lumaline.

Some gadgets were toys that already existed, such as the “Barometer” or the “Checks Game”. But they are still very popular with readers.

Ghulam Muhammad

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