While other members of The Boys might get more attention, that does not mean that Frenchie should be considered a second-rate member. In fact, over the course of the series Frenchie consistently, and specifically, disproves the common American negative stereotype of the French as being cowards.
When Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson’s The Boys debuted in 2006, America was experiencing a wave of anti-French sentiments. Following France’s opposition to the U.S. invasion of 2003 invasion of Iraq, negative stereotypes depicting the French as cowards began to spread throughout the country. Many criticisms rehashed the negative perception that Americans formed of France following the country’s surrender to Germany in World War II. Anti-French opinions manifested in pop culture, such as referring to French fries as “Freedom Fries” or quoting an old episode of The Simpsons where the French are referred to as “cheese-eating surrender monkeys.”
With an obvious understanding of the social connotations that being French has on the American public, Ennis and Robertson’s depiction of Frenchie in The Boys comics certainly shows the ignorance and folly of believing that the French are cowards. Indeed, Ennis seems to go out of his way to make Frenchie the perfect foil for any anti-French idea that he could foresee occurring in the comic. For instance, in The Boys #2, while Frenchie is sipping coffee, and minding his own business, he is accosted by three men at a nearby table. The men actually call Frenchie a “surrender monkey.” In the blink of an eye, Frenchie turns on the three and smashes their heads in.
The Boys #34 later shows again just how courageous Frenchie can be in the context of the event that originally produced the stereotype. After Stormfront shakes off a vicious attack by Butcher, he proceeds to beat him down. When he is about to do the same to Mother’s Milk, it is Frenchie who trips him up without hesitation or hint of cowardice. In a fight that pitted an American, Briton, Russian, and Frenchman against a German, it’s clear that Ennis and Robertson wanted Frenchie to apply the key hit on Stormfront that led to Stormfront’s defeat.
While these two instances stand out as exceptional examples of how dauntless Frenchie is, throughout the series there are numerous instances where he proves the stereotype of the French being cowardly is baseless. These situations most often occur when people close to Frenchie, such as Kimiko and the other members of The Boys, are threatened or put at risk. Indeed, in direct opposition to the stereotype, it is at these times that Frenchie show himself to be the bravest of them all.
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