Fisticuffix? The new Papercutz Asterix translation
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Preview: The New American Asterix Translations Reviewed

Last week, Papercutz released their first preview pages of their new translations of the Asterix series.

I’m about to go all Kremlinologist on this one.

Papercutz Logo

This is a moment I’ve been looking forward to/dreading since Papercutz announced their deal to publish Asterix here in the States a couple months back. I talked about that in “Papercutz Brings Asterix to America. Finally. Should I Worry?

In summary: Compromises will need to be made to appeal to an American audience. Compromises will likely need to be made to appeal to a modern audience. Let’s hope they don’t completely dumb it down and ruin the reading experience.

For the most part, what I’ve seen in the Papercutz pages is that they’re sticking close to the original text, but getting there with different word choices. They didn’t do anything radical like change the point of view of the caption boxes. They didn’t switch Goscinny’s passive tense to active tense.

From what we can see on the preview pages, they haven’t changed plot points or character descriptions. No elements are added or removed. It really does hew closely to Goscinny’s scripts.

When dialogue sounds a little stiff or on the nose, it was like that in the original, as well. Let’s not forget that “Asterix the Gaul” was written in 1958 and serialized a page or two at a time in weekly installments. Styles were different.

In fact, the new Papercutz translations include one or two changes that might even be — gasp! horror! — an improvement.

That all said, there’s still some parts of the preview that make me anxious. Overall, I’m not getting upset or raging over it, but there are things to continue to look out for.

I’ll start with something I liked:

Latin Translations

Papercutz translates Asterix in the margins

Translations for dialogue (usually Latin) show up at the bottom of the page. I’m a fan of this.

The Latin is still the in the dialogue, but now you don’t need to Google for the answer, or scour the pages of Everything Asterix: Latin Jokes Explained. The translation is right there on the page. (If you want a fuller story of the Latin jokes, going to Everything Asterix is the right move. Some Latin jokes work best with those explanations.)

The question is whether all of the Latin will survive when we get to the pirates or the more intensely Latin dialogue sections among the Romans in other volumes.

The reason I could see some of the original language disappearing from the balloons — hopefully replaced by some other form of wordplay or punnery — is that those bottom-of-the-page translations make for a very busy-looking margin. They’re barely squeezing everything in here on the page in the preview I’m showing above.

And on busier pages, cramming all those translations into one line doesn’t leave them much room. All those repeated “Latin for” notes don’t help.

I’ve seen Papercutz do this before in books like The Smurfs, and it works fine. But those books are less reliant on wordplay, historical references, or Latin translations.

Also, the footnotes are far subtler in “Asterix” than they are in the “Smurfs”, where they’re not even superscripted. In “Smurfs”, the footnote is a number in parenthesis in normal sentence case.

In one small way, papercutz has already stopped using the Latin in the book:

Papercutz brings up the Hail vs Ave debate in Asterix the Gaul
British version on top, American (Papercutz) on the bottom

Roman soldiers don’t salute their superiors with “Ave” anymore. They go straight to “Hail.” I know it’s more consistent, perhaps, to use the English word there as they’re speaking English everywhere else. But it’s such a little thing that I think it works to put the reader in the mind that these are people who would have spoken another language.

It’s like all those X-Men comics where the Spanish character lets loose with a “Madre de dios” or the German shouts, “Achtung”. You didn’t translate those words. They were left in their native language with the rest of the dialogue. You, as the reader, were welcome to make your own translation.

With Asterix, it’s kind of the reverse. The Romans who would be speaking normally in Latin have their dialogue translated into English except when they utter famous Latin phrases. It’s kind of weird, when you think about it.

So don’t think about it. Just enjoy it. Study it. You’ll kill on Jeopardy! some day with your Asterix-gained knowledge… (If Jeopardy! gets it right…)

Modernizing and Americanizing

The biggest concern I had was that they’d work so hard at “Americanizing” the script that it would sound like awful modern crap. I don’t want Asterix to be hip and to use all sorts of modern slang to make his point.

The closest example I saw of Papercutz coming to that is here. I’ll present here the original French comic, followed by the British translation, and finally the Americanized dialogue.

Papercutz's Asterix says "Whatever"

The “huh” of the British edition doesn’t work for me, when I compare these three. It says nothing. It does nothing. Worse, it says so little that it says nothing and leaves it up to the reader to figure out what he means by that. (Or maybe I’m missing a subtlety of British English. If so, that even more so makes the point for Papercutz that an American translation of Asterix is worth the effort.)

The French “bah” to me indicates Asterix isn’t worried about it. It’s like Ebeneezer Scrooge scoffing at something. “Whatever” fills that role, too, but feels far too much like an adult writing a modern teenager speaking.

I will grant you that this might be my personal opinion talking. I just hate “Whatever” as a complete sentence. I supposed I should be thrilled he’s not saying “Whatevs”.

In these preview pages, that’s the only thing that comes close to Asterix speaking in language that’s far too modern for my tastes. It’ll be interesting to see how Papercutz strikes a balance between sounding relevant and being too “trendy.”

Quick Take: The Time Frame Prediction

In my original news story about the new translation, I asked:

Oh, and one other translation thing that’s a sign of the times: will they also rewrite the book to refer to its time frame as 50 B.C.E.?

Page one, Panel one:

The Papercutz edition of Asterix the Gaul uses BCE instead of BC

Nailed it!

The Lettering – a Surprise and an Improvement

They kept the lowercase “i”! That actually surprised me.

I don’t understand why it’s there or why Uderzo did it in the first place. I’m not even sure I like it or that I could defend it, but it feels like part of the Asterix lore now. I’m thrilled that Papercutz kept it.

Overall, it’s a different font from what the British edition used, but you need to be a real stickler to noticed it. I only do because I’m a lettering geek. They picked — or made — a font that comes close to many of the same style cues, but with enough small differences to be unique. It’s slightly more mechanical, but not so much as to look robotic.

They also changed the sound effects. That’s not surprising, as French sound effects are, basically, in French. They won’t work for American readers. Every language has its own sound effects accent, right down to “What sound does a dog make?” The British editions rewrote the sound effects, and now the American editions are doing the same.

Manga fans will know what a pain sound effects can be when it comes to translations, but there’s a whole different character set at work there that makes it doubly tricky.

There’s a panel at the bottom of page one that’s all sound effects where you can see the difference most clearly. Keep in mind that the sound effects were originally drawn on the page, and successive translations had to draw new effects over the old ones.

The French, British, and American versions of Asterix sound effects
Top to bottom: French, British, American

That said, I think the new Papercutz sound effects work better than the British editions’ does. There’s better balance to them. They fill the space Uderzo slotted for them, where the British edition leaves a couple empty areas on the panel that look awkward next to a sound effect that could have filled them.

Also, that “BANG” from the British editions changes the order in which the letters overlap three quarters of the way through the word. That’s not right.

Name Changes

OK, here come the compromises. This is the part where you, as an Asterix fan, have to decide what’s important and what’s sacrosanct. Are we tied to names, or can we bend a little for the larger good?

And, even more importantly, do the new names even make sense?

The easiest one to talk about is the magic potion-making Druid. He’s been known in English as “Getafix” for a long time. It’s a pun because he’s basically a drug dealer peddling a magic potion.

We knew that wouldn’t stand.

Under Papercutz, the Druid of Asterix's Village is now named Panoramix, as he is in the original French
(That clear sound effect and blurred out background underneath it is in all editions. It’s weird universally.)

Now, he’s Panoramix. That’s his original French name. I’m not sure the name relates back to his job of making magic potion one bit, but since it calls back to the original Goscinny scripts, I’m fine with it.

The other one is a little tougher to handle. I’m still rolling it around in my brain, trying to decide if it’s weird or wrong. I’ll get used to it, I’m sure. His original name wasn’t the strongest English pun, either, but this new name is just a bit of a stretch.

Say “goodbye” to Chief Vitalstatistix, and say hello to you new Chief, Fisticuffix.

Papercutz has renamed Asterix's Village leader to Fisticuffix

That almost works. If you want to make the argument that the Villagers are fighters — and they are, both with the Romans and themselves — then a pun on “fisticuffs” makes sense.

The problem is, it also has that “-ix” ending. His name is “Fisticuff” and then an extra syllable afterwards that doesn’t make it a new word. The “ix” is an add-on, an afterthought.

Naming things is hard. I get it. But for such a major character, I have to think there was something better. Or maybe I just need to get used to it. Hopefully, I will before we get to “Asterix and the Chieftain’s Shield.”

I’m not going to complain about it for book after book. I bring it up here and then I’ll drop it. There are bigger issues at play. But I note it here now because it feels like it’s missing a point.

Place Name Changes

One last change we can see in this preview is that two of the Roman camps surrounding the Village have changed names. Compendium is now Lilchum. Totorum is now Butterdrum.

I think I liked the British versions there more in both cases.

Changes these camps’ names is nothing new. Each was changed from the French in the British editions, too: Compendium started as Petibonum, and Totorum was Babaorum.

It seems Aquarium and Laudanum are part of the universal language, and never need to be changed, no matter the language.

One Last Lettering/Writing/Translating Note

This might be the biggest nit-pick of them all. Or it might be the biggest missed edit of the book.

It might betray a fundamental misunderstanding of the comics format and how it works. It might be the biggest show ever that not everyone understands lettering and how it can be used in storytelling.

Or it might just be the one panel with an error that everyone overlooked in the rush to get the first three volumes (plus “The Chieftain’s Daughter“) ready in time for a spring release.

It’s probably the latter, but it does give me a chance to talk comics storytelling structure, so I’m going for it.

Can you tell me what’s wrong with this panel from the Papercutz edition of “Asterix the Gaul”? (No, not the green line down the left side. That’s a leftover from the previews. Ignore it. I’m sure it won’t be in the final print editions.)

Papercutz lettering and writing mistake from Asterix the Gaul

I caught it immediately and laughed out loud — and not in the good way.

Read what’s written in the caption box:

“…Caesar wants to know why?”

Cut then to Caesar, drawn in the panel thinking, with a word balloon above him as he wants to know, “What?”

So, which is it? Is he thinking “Why” or “What”? (I’m saying “think”, but he’s saying it out loud, so the word balloon is appropriate.)

This is a new translation of the panel. Let’s line up the French and British versions of that panel:

Caesar asks "What" in French and British.

The smart thing Goscinny did here was to l11ead the reader from the narrator to Caesar. The caption box ends with the equivalent of “He said”, and then that’s followed by Caesar saying something. It’s a good use of the comics format.

It’s even something you see in movies sometimes, too, where the narrator ends a sentence leading directly into something a character on screen is saying.

Papercutz severed that link and confused the panel. They wanted a complete thought in the caption box. Then they had Caesar repeat the caption box.

Except the two parts say two different things.

There’s one other problem here at work. The Papercutz edition segments the two parts, but still attempted to link them with the ellipsis. Why is there an ellipsis after the question mark?!?

Look, I don’t think the people behind the scenes at Papercutz are incompetent or ignorant about the way comics work. Far from it. They have a masthead that covers decades of experience in the industry. They know what they’re doing. I think someone just needs to take a second look at this instance.

Or maybe not. It’s very likely I’m the only one who will EVER notice this level of nit-picky detail.

But “nit-picky detail” should be any editor’s job.

The Sizing Issue

One last thought on what these preview pages show us:

The books will be 7.5″ x 9.5″. If you eliminate all the white space around the art, that’s the live art size of the page on a softcover album. 

So long as Papercutz doesn’t include too much white space in around the edges of the page, the art should look fine. It won’t be full size, but close enough.

PipelineComics.com, 08 November 2019

That’s not taking the practical matter of printing into consideration. You need those margins to protect the art from printing presses that aren’t perfect.

That white space frames the art, but it also gives the printer a much better allowance when cutting the pages for the book. They won’t be cutting off the art on the page if the paper gets sliced a half inch off the true line.

Here’s a preview page:

Papercutz Asterix Preview pages and their healthy white margins

Yeah, that’s a health white area still. The art will be smaller in the Papercutz print editions. Will that affect the reading experience? Tough to tell. I’ll definitely keep that in the “wait and see” column.

I also have to acknowledge that I’m getting to that age where smaller print is starting to bother my eyes. Again, Papercutz isn’t aiming this book at the middle-aged market. This is for the kids who eat up smaller books now.

So, Is This a Disaster Waiting To Happen, Right?

No, I’m not saying that.

I’m being critical, yes, but I’m still keeping an open mind. There are changes in the new Papercutz editions that I like. There are changes that I don’t. And there are changes that might just be overlooked mistakes.

These are still preview pages of the earliest Asterix book. The scripts got sharper as they went on and Goscinny and Uderzo hit their stride. We haven’t been able to read an entire book yet.

And, honestly, there are still some speed bumps I’m fascinated to see how Papercutz negotiates. These changes might be minuscule compared to what might be coming.

The only question is, will the integrity of the series be maintained? Will the books still be fun and exciting and hilarious to the new audience Asterix is trying to attract with these new editions? That’s what matters.

We want a popular Asterix character and book series here in America. This is the first serious attempt at creating that in decades. To get there, changes will be made. They have to be.

And I’ll be watching them very closely…

What do YOU think? (First time commenters' posts may be held for moderation.)

37 Comments

  1. What in the world is a kremlinologist? Do you mean criminologist?
    Well, it all boils down to “adapting foreign work is a tough job”, doesn’t it? It’s all about choices, some you like, some you don’t. I’ve often had this conversion with some of my friends who are now involved in translated american comics into French for the local publishers.The more you master your own language, the more you are able to find the best way to convey the writer’s intention. Especially when the source work is dated, do you adapt strictly or modernize? There were existential discussions in France when Tolkien and later Harry Potter were translated, as to whether the names should be translated in order to convey the puns and the wordplay of the originals.Or not. Still out there.
    Now, the Latin. I like the footnotes choice. We used to learn latin in school, so explaining was not that necessary 30 years ago. Not so much any more.
    The replacement of the “Ave !” is my biggest concern. When they come to Gladiator, what are they going to handle the gladiator’s salute? I wonder.
    And, yeah, we knew the size of the page would be a problem; it’s bearable for Tintin or the Smurfs but Uderzo’s art is so masterful that it’s worth appreciating in the original format. Yet, once again, adapting to the desired audience, this edition is meant as an entry point into this world, so… I understand the choices.

    1. “Kremlinology” is a leftover from the Cold War. It was hard to get information out of Russia back then, so we’d take to reading into any little thing and try to figure out the reason behind it. Oh, here, Wikipedia does a better job explaining it: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kremlinology

      Nowadays, you can use it as shorthand for “reading between the lines with very little data to go on.”

      You’re absolutely right on the art of translation. But this is the internet and so I have to explain it in 2500 words and with lots of pictures to keep people happy and scrolling. 😉

      So far, while there are a couple of issues, I don’t see anything that would turn me off completely. But this is a very small sample. There’s a long marathon yet to run here….

    2. kremlinologist = la kremlinologie est un courant de la soviétologie ! Well now all that is over, but in a way replaced by putinology ! Well we love our Russian friends. One part of sovietology was to analyse official pictures, notice who disappeared and try to understand why… I like that part.

  2. ‘Fistofurix’, or something to that effect, might have been a better choice for Vitalstatistix, but ‘Fisticuffix’ is amusingly clever somehow.

    I’m really anxious about them translating the ‘travel’ ones since many of those gags rests on the reader knowing the culture (…in Corsica is the most well-known example).

    1. Nah Fistofurix is terrible, Fisticuffix i.e. fisticuff fix, pays much better homage to the original French name meaning “with shortened arms”

  3. Great and informative post as always Augie! I reckon they hit that sweet middle ground spot in terms of compromise. I really dig the effort you put into the comparative panel images. Having gone through all your Asterix album reviews recently, I was wondering if you’d consider doing a post specifically focused on the reproduction quality (colour and linework) of the 2004 editions vs 2011 remasters? In some instances I prefer the 2004 reproductions because they retain that hand-painted colour feel (trees, buildings forest scenes etc.). They retain a wonderful organic texture. While in other instances the 2004 editions can look a bit washed out (like in Asterix the Legionary) and I prefer the clearer line-work quality and cleaner more vivid digital colours of the remasters. As someone looking to still buy quite a few books to complete my collection, I thought this might be a handy buyers guide. Anyway, keep up the great work! Love this blog!

    1. One problem with the “remasters” — or whenever the hand-lettered text was replaced with the lifeless digital font is that some comedic emphasis was lost. For example, on page 31 of Laurel Wreath, there’s an extended panel where Asterix and Obelix try to very quietly bash their way through Caesar’s palace by night, searching for the laurel wreath. Their quiet bashing of numerous guards is signified by little “pof!” sound effects, followed by a much larger POF! sound effect (also in bold) for when Obelix encounters a larger guard. The joke is killed in the “remastered” version because the “pof!” effects are all exactly the same-sized digital font – even for the unseen big guard.

      1. Ah, a valid point. You see, these are the little details that would be very handy to know as a buyer’s guide. I suppose the trade-off is the clearer linework and colouring for many of 2011 the books. For example Chieftain’s Shield, which looks quite terrible in the 2004 reproduction, looks much better in the 2011 remaster (even though the digital colouring looks a bit lifeless… at least the linework is clear and organic). The visual aspect of these books is of course the main attraction.

  4. Like Papercutz did with Peyo’s other works besides The Smurfs, Do you think Papercutz will release Goscinny and Uderzo’s other work in English besides Asterix such as Ompa Pa, Luc Junior, Benjamin and Benjamine, and Jehan Pistolet.

    1. I doubt it. This is only getting a release because there’s a small tiny number of people who’ve heard of Asterix. MAYBE if Asterix took off in a big way, they’d look at the other stuff, but it’s a LOOOOOOONG shot. Also, I haven’t seen much of Ompa Pa, but I’d be worried about modern sensitivities and however American Indians were portrayed in that book. Of course, I wasn’t sure how Asterix would ever be translated, and THAT’S happening now, so who knows?

      1. Ompa Pa was translated into English by Egmont/Methuen during the late 1970s from 1977-1978 and had 5 books in the series and was translated by Nicholas Fry, and was featured in Tintin magazine by Le Lombard publishing and the series run was from 1958-1962. It was a year before Goscinny and Uderzo created Asterix the Gaul.

        1. It’s interesting to consider “woke” cultural, racial and sexual sensitivities when looking at 20th century comics. While Uderzo’s “redskins” might raise some indignation in the US, I didn’t find anything offensive when I read the first book as a child. There were Indians versus Indians, and Indians versus Westerners. Good and evil on both sides. I never found Oumpah Pah to be as enjoyable as reading Asterix — I disliked the American setting (though I loved the Goscinny Lucky Lukes). I also disliked the French nobles/soldiers and the simple Indians. It just wasn’t as much fun or as clever as Asterix. It was like when the Smurfs were still trucking with Johan and Peewit. Maybe Goscinny had been targeting the American market? Oumpah Pah was translated into Indonesian in individual volumes in the 1980s. Then it was reprinted a few years ago in Indonesian – in a 5-books-in-one “bind-up” (omnibus) edition. It didn’t sell well, so last year I bought 8 remaindered copies discounted to the equivalent of $2 each. (Indonesia has zero qualms about racial stereotypes in comics.) Perhaps it’s really only for Goscinny completists. Can’t see Papercutz embracing it unless Asterix exceeds all expectations.

          1. Even in France, Oumpah-Pah is a hard sell, so is Jehan Pistolet, even though they are produced by the same tandem that made our favorite gaul. A few years back, Albert René published a new version of those in the same format/design/color palette as the big A books but it fooled no one, they didn’t sell that well so that was a one-off. Being less-known and proto, they are not as polished as Asterix became, so they’re not as popular. As a completist, I’d love a full Oumpah-Pah intégrale in one single volume, but I seriously doubt it will ever happen. So much so, that the first printing from the fifties is actually just as affordable and easy to find as the latest attempt.

        2. Ompa Pa makes a cameo appearance as 1 of the Indians in the 1976 Asterix animated film “The 12 Tasks of Asterix”, in the scene where Obelix beats Verses the Persian in a javelin throwing contest and it goes across to The New World and the Indians start fighting each other when the javelin lands at the Indian Chief’s ground. Among the Indians fighting is Ompa Pa, even though Ompa Pa takes place in pre Columbian North America.

  5. Interesting preview pages and comparisons, thank you.
    Can someone please tell me what Lilchum (one of the names of the Roman camps) means? Is it supposed to be short for ‘Little Chum’ and a “near” translation of Petibonum? It sounds inappropriate. Babaorum to Butterdrum, fine.
    I’m not a fan of “Fisticuffix” for the reason Augie mentions — the “ix” is extraneous, not clever. How much thought went into thinking up Fisticuffix? J Wilson’s suggestion of Fistofurix sounds better. I tried to think of some names better than Fisticuffix for the chief but could only come up with: Maverix, Monolithix, Ballistix, Acerbix, Tonofbrix, Volcanix, Gymnastixtrix, Pugilistix, Combatix, Psychodynamix, Bombastix, Tectonix, Titanix, Histrionix. At least Papercutz didn’t call him Bigcheesix
    Good to see Getafix revert to Panoramix. Though I would have plumped for something more suited for the young minds from the Geronimo Stilton stable, such as Hallucinogenix or Psychotropix.
    The “why?…” and “quid?” error is indeed jarring. Not even my various Indonesian translations of Asterix have messed that up (and they dispense with just about all the Latin terms).
    Papercutz’s handling of the Latin may be more problematic than Augie mentioned. There’s an apparent mistake with “vae victus” in the final panel on the first page — unless Papercutz is making an esoteric joke in line with the French original.
    “Vae victus” is incorrect Latin. The correct phrase (which appears in the French original) is “vae victis” (not “victus”). Quick Latin lesson: Vae means “woe” or “oh dear” or “alas, alack,” etc. Victis stems from “vincere” (to conquer or defeat). Let’s conjugate the verb vinco, vincis, vincit, vincere … into the perfect passive participle, dative plural masculine, which is “victis”. So “vae victis” is correct and means “woe unto the conquered”. Implying: don’t expect your enemy to treat you nicely now that you’ve been defeated.
    Papercutz doesn’t have that. It has “vae victus”. Victus means “living”. So “vae victus” is “woe unto the living” (which doesn’t make much sense in the context of battle). Victus is also the nominative singular masculine perfect passive participle for “vinco/conquer” – but “vae victus” in that context looks like a mistake. Papercutz doesn’t even bother to translate the erroneous “vae victus” properly. It just provides a jokey translation as “ohhhh” at the bottom of the page.
    I wonder whether Papaercutz has a competent Latin scholar at call for Asterix (and an equally competent Latin savvy editor) or if they are just using Google Translate for the Latin text. Because Google Translate mistranslates “vae victus” as “oh”.
    Or perhaps Papercutz deliberately changed the Latin to be incorrect because it wanted to expand on the joke that’s in the French original. The narrative text in that panel in French mentions: “the Romans are losing their Latin” — hence one of the legionaries asks what his friend is saying.
    The busy footnotes section at the bottom of the page(s) can save space by deleting the words “Latin for”. And it should not have bothered explaining “achtung”.
    I’m all for the Latin footnotes, provided they are done well — or just grouped together on an extra page at the end of the book (so as not to be too distracting/ugly/compressed). As a small child, I read the Latin in the very few Asterix books available in my local library and didn’t understand it; but I re-read those books so often that I memorized the terms and pretended I understood them based on context. Then I had six years of Latin lessons in high school and access to more books and dictionaries, so all became clear. My Latin teacher was excellent but somewhat strict. He doggedly prevented students from veering off-topic, so even when we proposed bringing in an Asterix book to look at the Latin phrases, he said we could only bring in Asterix if we found one entirely in Latin. We couldn’t find one back then. We also tried to stage chariot races, which were banned. Whateverix.

    1. Thanks for your remarks Ken, If they start messing up the latin, that’s a whole ‘nother ballgame indeed. That’s when you see generations have passed since the first printing of those books…
      There used to be full latin editions of the first few Asterix books, I remember seeing one way back when, they were made precisely for that purpose, education, since it is dead language. Deader now I guess…
      Btw I like some of your name suggestions. Do we know who the new translator is, Augie? Would be interesting to track them down for a podcast interview or something (hint hint).

      1. Hi JC. I recently found (at a second-hand book pile market in Indonesia) a 2004 hardcover Latin reprint of Asterix Gladiator. The highlight is on Page 36, where the gladiators are playing the riddle game; in the French and English versions, the answer is Cleopatra/re; whereas the Latin version cleverly has a completely different riddle and answer.
        Regarding the translator for the Papercutz editions of Asterix, I was wondering if they would use Edward Joe Johnson (usually credited as Joe Johnson), who has translated over 100 comics/books and did the Smurfs titles for Papercutz. Yes, would make a fascinating interview.

      2. Hi JC – We don’t know who the translator is. I hope that person is credited in the books, but it’s also equally likely they requested anonymity to avoid the hardcore Asterix freaks like us. 😉

        I did talk to someone at Papercutz when the new translation news first broke. I don’t know if anything more will ever come of that, but we’ll see…

        An interview would be enlightening. I’m sure we all have a TON of questions we could ask. I promise to be nice!

          1. I was worried when I read the sentence about the film being inspired by a translation of Dan Brown’s Inferno (I am not a fan of Dan Brown’s books). But of course it’s not about the book — it’s about the level of secrecy imposed (or breached) when translating a hot book. It sounds interesting. I will make the effort to view the film, as (apologies for veering far off-topic) I am an occasional francophile film buff, but I am stuck in the past. I could rewatch Francis Veber’s comedies forever — especially the ones with Pierre Richard and Gerard Depardieu. I wish Pierre Richard had appeared in an Asterix film so he could be back on screen with Gerard Depardieu. At his advanced age, he’d probably be best playing a hapless druid or senior senator.

    2. Hi Kenneth — Yes, I think “Lilchum” is meant to be “Little Chum,” kind of like how Batman referred to friends in the 60s tv series as “old chum.” Nobody uses “chum” anymore, unless they’re talking about the food they feed sharks, really.

      Good question on the Latin translation – I NEVER would have caught that. I don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes. I doubt there’s much budget for a Latin scholar, but you never know. Maybe whoever their translator is has a pan who’s well versed in Latin (and thus probably 80 years old) who helps him. ::shrug::

      And I’m not surprised your Latin teacher was strict. That’s how I picture all Latin teachers. Of course, that’s likely from the tradition of Latin teachers being strict nuns in Catholic schools in the 60s rapping kids on the knuckles with a ruler for getting answers wrong. 😉

      Sorry to hear about your failed chariot races, too. I’m sure they would have been EPIC. =)

  6. If all goes well with the American English Asterix books possibly, Papercutz will release Goscinny and Uderzo’s other work such as Ompa Pa, Luc Junior, Benjamin and Benjimine, and Jehan Pistolet just to name a few.

  7. Pierre Richard was in the Old Geezzers movie, adapted from the Album series that Augie reviewed on this very site. I found that movie pretty good, Richard still one of the greatest french comedic actors. For american audiences, he’s kind of our Gene Wilder.
    Sadly, Depardieu is barely a shadow of himself these days, so I’m not sure the pairing could recapture the heydays. Those late 70s early 80s movies are on constant repeat on French television where the casual viewer can catch them and reminisce about the good old days.

    1. And have I mentioned yet that the Old Geezers movie is no longer available on Amazon? ARGH! I should have acted sooner and watched it as soon as it became available.

      Speaking of multimedia stuff: Right now, I’m watching “Osmosis,” a Netflix series from France. I have some issues with it, but I’m enjoying it.

  8. I just watched the trailer for it and it looks intriguing. Seems it only had one season, if it’s a complete story I might give it a go. I find fascinating that Netflix pours out so much content and most of it gets drowned in the sea of a “to watch” queue, or we’re not even aware of it since it does not make headlines. Casa de Papel has been in my queue for 2 years at least… and there are only 24 hours in a day… I can’t begin to imagine how much time I’d have left for my family if I were married with kids.

  9. I just read an article saying that the Papercutz books would be somewhat delayed. No big surprise I guess given the circumstances

  10. This is such an interesting article — nowhere before have I seen discussed the issue of lettering in Asterix translations. The new English editions lose so much of Uderzo’s Hand-drawn graphical humour and vibrancy conveyed through soundwords; to me, they simply don’t look good, they’ve lost the spirit if the original. Compare this to the Scots, Welsh, Irish and Gaelic version where the publisher goes out of his way to maintain Uderzo’s lettering style.

    1. Thanks — and, yes, sadly, the age of computer lettering means that the old hand-drawn days are gone. Looks like Papercutz chose to get as close to the first computer-lettered translations as they could, rather than go back to the originals. I mean, the font is as close as it’s going to get, but the imprecise nature of hand lettering is just too much work and detail to put into a feature of a book that nobody would notice besides six or so of us. I love Uderzo’s lettering in the bold-faced words and the screaming. This font approximates it, but it’s still missing that extra bit of life.

  11. I already received my copy of book 2 (so adventures IV, V, VI – I always loved the roman numbering on the German covers in my childhood) and I must say I both like (very handy) and don’t like (hard to read) the smaller size. I love the fresh style of the SC covers. Some observations: Vitalstatistix is Vitalstatistix. 50 BC is 50 BC (at least in the map text). There is only one map for three adventures. I hope Papercutz will not omit the map of Corsica! The editorial in the end of the book appears to be hastily assembled: “…70 quarts of beer have was necessary for its creation.” And this text, to me, belongs before the adventure (if not on the good old cover), not somewhere after it. Language: of course I’m not a native speaker by far, but Obelix saying “Cool!” (Cleo, p. 35, last panel) doesn’t sound appropriate. Thank you.

  12. Do the new editions make any modifications to the horrible black stereotypes seen in the original artwork? I would love to introduce my sons to Asterix, but we don’t want to have that kind of racist humor in our house. Thanks!

      1. I have the Papercutz American English Asterix translations and many of the African people’s lips in the book are colored tan instead of red not to offend any African American readers of Asterix.

        1. And in the Papercutz version of Asterix and the Goths, in 1 of the curse word scenes, they replaced the swastikas with a raised fist.

  13. There’s some technical improvements, but they’re never, ever going to be as funny or as sympathetic to the originals as the Bell and Hockridge. It’s like painting over the Mona Lisa.

  14. They also changed the songs that cacofonix sings to more relatively newer ones? For example, in papercuts version of Asterix the gladiator, Cacofonix is singing “Its raining menhirs, hallelujah” while the British version is “Love is a menhir splendid thing”