6/28/12

With apologies to Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

I was re-reading "The Little Prince" the other day. There's a newer translation which is pretty good -- a little more conversational for the 21st century. It still captures the childlike spirit of the original French story. Still, nothing compares to reading it in French: "Dessine-moi un mouton." On the other hand, this totally inappropriate French pun popped into my head.
"dessine-moi un glouton"

6/24/12

Match the comic book covers

Research has shown that playing games helps keep the brain agile. Here are some old comic covers in a memory game to help keep your aging brain young.
Click on the backs of the comics to show the covers. If you get a pair of covers that pair stays uncovered. The game ends when you've uncovered all pairs. Try to uncover all pairs in as few tries as possible.
Hey Kids! Match the comic book covers

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6/15/12

"Is That All There Is?" by Joost Swarte and Kim Thompson

Joost Swarte
Joost Swarte (Photo credit: Andy Field (Hubmedia))
I've been reading Joost Swarte's collected works Is That All There Is? I first learned about the dutch artist with the amazing fine line when I found his work in Heavy Metal Magazine in the mid-80's.  In style, the pictures looked like Herge's "clean line" Tintin, if a bit more art-deco styling. But in content the stories were equivalent to the underground comix of the 70's.  Although he still wears plus-fours, Swarte's signature character Jopo de Pojo is practically an anti-Tintin: a black face instead of Tintin's pink one, and a backward-swooshing shark fin of hair contrary to the boy reporter's impertinent tuft.  Jopo doesn't mind having a good time, and Tintin would be shocked at the sexual antics in Swarte's comics.

One of the best things about re-discovering the stories in this new edition is Kim Thompson's careful translations. Kim Thompson is vice president and co-publisher of Seattle-based Fantagraphics Books, as well as an accomplished translator who speaks multiple languages.  He gives some insight into his translations on his website.

For example, in these panels Jopo bumps into a woman on the street and breaks her packages. Thompson explains the lowbrow humor
"The lady is complaining that the fall has broken her just-purchased "ballen" (round Christmas tree ornaments) and her "piek" (an ornament for the top of the tree), but both words have a sexual connotation ("balls" and "dick" if you will), resulting in a Beavis and Butt-head huh-huh-huh effect."
There are some other tricky translations, such as when a woman in a bar leaves a rude note to Jopo written in lipstick on the mirror, and another time when the character speaks only in rebus pictures. Here's another one that's just great for showing off Jopo's spike of hair.
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