Ythaq v3 cover detail by Adrien Floch

A Quick Guide to “Ythaq” in English

A Brief History of “Ythaq” in America

Ythaq volume 1: "Terra Incognita"

Ythaq volume 1: “Terra Incognita”

This week, Comixology has a sale on the works of Christophe Arleston.  (Good through 6/12/2017)  Included in that sale are the first four volumes of the series, “Ythaq.”

Back in 2009, Marvel had a deal with Soleil to publish translations of a few Franco-Belgian album series from Soleil. It didn’t last nearly long enough, but they had an interesting mix. The standout for me was “Ythaq.”  Marvel published two hardcover books’ worth of material, each collecting three albums from the series.  At the time, that was the entirety of the series.  Still, it left the reader hanging on kind of an important plot point.

This week’s sale on the English translations of “Ythaq” digitally by Soleil via Comixology has the first four volumes at $1.99 each.  The fifth album is also available, though it’s at the full price of $5.99.

This means that the sixth volume hasn’t been published digitally in English yet, though Marvel had it 8 years ago. I’m sure if sales are good on this deal, they’ll be working on getting the rest translated and re-lettered.

Interestingly, the first overall story arc for the series ran through volume 9.  If the Marvel deal had lasted another couple of years, Marvel would have had the opportunity to publish a third hardcover with volumes 7 – 9 to complete that arc.

‘Twas not to be.

Ythaq volume 2: "The Twin Ophyde" cover

Ythaq volume 2: “The Twin Ophyde”

“Ythaq” continues in France to this day, still by Christophe Arleston and Adrien Floch.  In fact, volume 14 hit the stands this past November, 2016.

All volumes are available digitally in French at Izneo.com.  None of the English translations are available there, though. You need to go through Comixology on this one.

It’s a fun book with lots of detailed fantasy art in it. I recommend it.  I doubt the printed hardcovers are that easy to come by, so this might just be your best chance at picking the books up — and at a steep discount compared to the hardcovers I paid for.

 

Differences Between Marvel and New Digital Translations

The digital versions of these comics available from Soleil are very different from the ones that Marvel published.

The Marvel editions featured scripts by C.B. Cebulski from translations by Stephanie Logan and Nicolas Meylaender.  The new Comixology editions are translated by Christina Cox-De Ravel.

There is a difference in the translations.  I’ve gone over the three page samples from the website versus the hardcovers here and I’m not sure if I prefer one over the other.  My initial opinion was that Marvel had the better translation, but I started to think maybe I’m biased as I read more. There are differences, but the story is still the same and nothing sounds terribly off in either case. So don’t worry about that.

Sample of Ythaq lettering from Marvel in 2009

Marvel’s lettering (by Joe Caramagna)

New Ythaq Soleil lettering

New Ythaq Soleil lettering

The one thing I would worry a bit more about is the font and the coloring.  Specifically, the scroll colored backgrounds on the caption boxes was a solid orange color at Marvel.  With the digital version, it’s patterned a bit more to make the scroll look like it’s waving.  That’s distracting and unnecessary.

Joe Caramagna handled the lettering for Marvel.  Unlike many Marvel comics in the 2000s, it’s not done in mixed case style, at least.  It’s all caps, and rather small.  But, then, they had a lot to fit on the standard comic size pages after shrinking the art down.  It works.  The font is readable, and the lettering stays out of the way.

The Comixology pages are lettered in a much looser and larger font that better resembles hand lettering in the classic Franco-Belgian tradition.  I like the way it looks a little better, though I do have to admit that the Marvel lettering might be a little easier to read, as it doesn’t try so hard to look like something else. It’s a little more formal, though not without a personality of its own.

 

Either Way, Go Get It

I don’t know that I’m going to buy the series again to re-read it now for a review, but I know I reviewed the book positively a few years back.  If new volumes start appearing, then I’ll go back and refresh my memory. These books pack a lot of reading in them.  They’re not the kind of books you breeze through.  But I think they’re worth it…

Ythaq volume 3: "The Whisper of the Stars"

Ythaq volume 3: “The Whisper of the Stars”, which sounds like a “Valerian and Laureline” title

3 Comments

  • A Fantasy Revenge Tale: Sangre v1: "Sangre the Survivor" - Pipeline Comics June 10, 2017 at 12:51 am

    […] loved it on “Ythaq” and it’s much the same here.  His storytelling, style, and sense of design are all […]

    Reply
  • JC Lebourdais June 13, 2017 at 12:19 pm

    Of the 20-odd years he’s been around, I have yet to read something original or even remotely interesting from Arleston. He usually produces run-of-the -mill inconsequential fluff. In France his material is know as the stuff you browse through while doing your business somewhere private and white-walled.
    Fun fact, before reverting to his real first name, Christophe, his pen name used to be Scotch. Scotch Arleston, get it? How’s that for credibility and standing…

    Reply
  • The Sci-Fi Love Boat: "Ythaq" v1 - v3 - Pipeline Comics June 14, 2017 at 7:19 pm

    […] Last week, I did a brief explanation of the publishing history of “Ythaq” in North America. […]

    Reply

What do YOU think?