Asterix cover to new Papercutz edition
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First Look: Papercutz’s Asterix Translation

Advance Reading Opportunity

                                    <img width="500" height="408" src="https://www.pipelinecomics.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Papercutz_asterix_ARCs.jpg" alt="Asterix ARCs from Papercutz -- &quot;The Chieftain&#039;s Daughter&quot; and the first Omnibus" srcset="https://i0.wp.com/www.pipelinecomics.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Papercutz_asterix_ARCs.jpg?w=500&amp;ssl=1 500w, https://i0.wp.com/www.pipelinecomics.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Papercutz_asterix_ARCs.jpg?resize=300%2C245&amp;ssl=1 300w" sizes="(max-width: 500px) 100vw, 500px" />                                           
    <p style="caret-color: #000000; color: #000000; font-style: normal; font-variant-caps: normal;">At the end of 2019, <a href="https://www.pipelinecomics.com/papercutz-brings-asterix-to-america-finally/">Papercutz announced that they picked up the Asterix license</a> for the United States, and planned to release all of the books in new translations in relatively rapid fashion.</p><p style="caret-color: #000000; color: #000000; font-style: normal; font-variant-caps: normal;">The time is now nigh for the first books to hit store shelves, which they'll do on Bastille Day, July 14th. </p><p style="caret-color: #000000; color: #000000; font-style: normal; font-variant-caps: normal;">Papercutz was kind enough to pass along ARCs -- Advance Reader/Reading/Reviewer/Reviewing Copies -- of their upcoming Asterix releases. I received both the first omnibus edition collecting volumes 1 through 3, and the standalone edition of "Asterix and the Chieftain's Daughter."</p>

Naturally, I have some thoughts.

Table of Contents

TL;DR

The translations are very similar to the original translations. Lots of word balloons are identical.  There are some name changes and some language being toned down.  There are simpler words replacing more “difficult” words.

But none of it ruins Asterix. It’s still a great book, and this translation isn’t meant for you or me.  It’s meant for the next generation of readers.  If we want them to try Asterix, we need to cater to what they want.

The Caveats

These are not the final books. These are meant for review and advanced publicity purposes. That’s standard operating procedure in the book world.

They don’t have the final cover, necessarily, and the text is uncorrected.

That being said, Papercutz followed up with a PDF of the final edition of the book. I found a whopping two mistakes in the ARC. In one, the letterer used ALL-CAPS for a character’s name when the text was otherwise mixed case. That’s been fixed. 

The other mistake didn’t get fixed in time, but I’m not going to be a jerk and point it out. The book is meticulously put together and there’s a lot of moving pieces in here. Nobody’s perfect. I don’t want to beat anyone up over it. I’m sure they’ll fix it in the second printing. Cross your fingers for a second printing!

Also, the second I point out someone’s mistake, I’ll get three comments pointing out my typos in this very article. Guaranteed.

The ARC is also a quick and dirty digital printing of the books. I’ve been assured that the final product will have a better, and I assume a glossier, look and feel. This will positively impact the quality of the black line work, the depth of the colors, and more. It’ll look a lot better than what I’m seeing here, but I never thought anything else. Papercutz has done quality work with other translated titles I’ve read from them, like “The Smurfs” and “Dance Class”.

All of that discussion is off the table for the purposes of this First Look. It obviously wouldn’t be fair to talk about that stuff since I don’t have it yet. 

What does that leave us with? The size of the books, and the new translations.

I have opinions about both.  That’s not terribly surprising, though I imagine some of my opinions will surprise some of you.

Looking back and forth between the British editions of Asterix and these new American editions, I had a rush of opinions and something close to a personal journey along the way.

We’ll get to that, but first, let’s cut to the chase:

Overall Opinion – Minor Differences, Still Great Asterix

It’s not horrible. It’s not going to kill Asterix. It doesn’t ruin the series. And, in fact, it has certain improvements.

The new editions might chafe at the long-time readers just a bit on a couple of points, but these editions of these books are not aimed at that audience.  Those readers — like me — already own the complete library in a translation we adore and have only ever known. Those British editions will always also be available.

These editions are not aimed at that audience, including me.

That might be the hardest lesson to learn from reading through these ARCs, and it’s the necessary frame for this entire article.  

The new translation serves its purpose of being explicitly aimed at a younger, American audience. It feels more conversational, more simple. But, then, as a native American English speaker, British English seems very posh and high end, naturally.  Asterix was just as simple and conversational for a British reader as this edition of Asterix in American English likely is for an American reader.  In a way, nothing’s changed, just the accent of the language.

Some very European references and British phrasing has been replaced with a more American accent. American kids who are new to these books (and, honestly, even the adults who don’t know better) can enjoy these new translations on their own. In fact, unless you’re an Asterix guru — I’m looking at the man in the mirror — and want to compare the two editions back and forth, I think you would never notice the difference. There are one or two exceptions to that, but the other 99% is solid.

While I may have my quibbles here and there, it’s an overall fine translation from Joe Johnson, who also is responsible for the Papercutz scripts on “The Smurfs”.

The phrasing throughout the books is very close. It’s clear that Johnson is following the same script from Goscinny that Bell and Hockridge did for the British editions. Some word balloons are word-for-word the same — but not too many. Most of the balloons have slight variations, and I imagine that’s up to the style of the translator. It’s less about the translation, and more about the translator’s natural writing tendencies for their intended audience for certain phrases, words, and tenses.

It’s in the sections where Goscinny’s script requires some extra help with the translation that the differences start to show. Puns are notoriously hard to translate, since they rely on the language so much. That goes for some of the simple jokes as well as supporting characters’ names. That’s where the translator can make the greatest impact, and you see that here a lot.

The vast majority of these books’ readers are not going to be comparing the two editions of the books. So the question shouldn’t be, “Did Johnson improve on Bell and Hockridge?” but “Did Johnson craft a funny translation that maintains the original tone of the book while writing in a style that suits his intended audience?”

In that, he succeeds. It’s not perfect, but even Bell and Hockridge had some clunkers.

Most of you reading this article will be familiar with the British translations, so it makes sense to review these books with that frame of reference.  It’s not necessarily fair to compare Johnson to Bell/Hockridge, but it is inevitable.  From a purely academic perspective, it’s interesting to see where the differences are.

First, let’s look at some of the structure of the storytelling:

 

        <h2>Latin and Fonts</h2>        
                                    <img width="500" height="364" src="https://www.pipelinecomics.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/asterix_papercutz_latin_translations.jpeg" alt="Asterix Latin translations in the Papercutz editions happen at the bottom of the page" srcset="https://i2.wp.com/www.pipelinecomics.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/asterix_papercutz_latin_translations.jpeg?w=500&amp;ssl=1 500w, https://i2.wp.com/www.pipelinecomics.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/asterix_papercutz_latin_translations.jpeg?resize=300%2C218&amp;ssl=1 300w" sizes="(max-width: 500px) 100vw, 500px" />                                           
    <p style="caret-color: #000000; color: #000000; font-style: normal; font-variant-caps: normal;">When the characters speak in Latin for a phrase or two, those are all still included in the American edition. I had a fear they would be edited out completely, but Papercutz kept them, and provided translations at the bottom of the page for each.</p><p style="caret-color: #000000; color: #000000; font-style: normal; font-variant-caps: normal;">Honestly? That's an improvement on the British editions. Not having to crack open a website to understand a word balloon is a major bonus.</p><p style="caret-color: #000000; color: #000000; font-style: normal; font-variant-caps: normal;">It looks like they're using the same exact font as the British translations use for the regular dialogue balloons. Yes, the lowercase "i" characters remain.

Yet, there’s something different about the Papercutz edition. It feels like the lettering is a bit looser. There’s a hint of extra room between each letter, like this letterer had their kerning value set .1 greater than the British letterer.  I can guess that it was done this way to make it easier to read at the smaller sizes, but it’s also just as likely a letterer’s preference that nobody thought made any difference.   

Trust me — I’m very likely the only one who is going to notice this.

 

                                    <img width="700" height="369" src="https://www.pipelinecomics.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/asterix_v3_usa_goth_font.jpeg" alt="The Goth&#039;s font in the new editions is almost unreadable, sadly." srcset="https://i0.wp.com/www.pipelinecomics.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/asterix_v3_usa_goth_font.jpeg?w=700&amp;ssl=1 700w, https://i0.wp.com/www.pipelinecomics.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/asterix_v3_usa_goth_font.jpeg?resize=300%2C158&amp;ssl=1 300w" sizes="(max-width: 700px) 100vw, 700px" />                                           
    <p>The biggest problem of the book is the font chosen for the Goths. It's just too bold and too ornate. The gothic lettering is a good gag and was handled well in the original hand-drawn lettering and in the initial English computer lettered books. (I haven't seen what the hand-lettered English language edition looks like, so I can't judge it.)

If you think the panels above are perfectly legible, wait until you read them smaller on the page…

And, yes, the Goths are not the only nationality to get unique font styles for their dialogue.  That tradition continues at Papercutz.  

Sometimes, though, I wonder what Todd Klein would do for a book like this.  He’s probably well outside the budget of this series, but it is fun to imagine…

Names That Change and Don’t

Most of the names are the same, but there are some changes. Some don’t bother me; they’re just different. 

In “Asterix and the Goths,” two Roman soldiers become Aboveus and Belowus instead of Marcus Ubiquitus and Julius Monotonus. It’s, yes, very dumbed down. Er, “simplified for a younger audience.”

Kids learn bigger words from seeing them in print. You’d be surprised at some of the bigger words that appear in kids’ books. But at least they’re not learning the “misspelled” Roman versions of them now, I guess? Sigh.

Maybe all these changes have as much to do with licensing rights as much as artistic intent? I’m hoping the decision was caused by the need to make the American translation at least x percentage points different from the British one. Then and only then do some of the name changes make more sense.

For example, in volume 3 (“Asterix and the Goths”), there’s a page where three Druids show off their magical skills. In the Bell/Hockridge book, they are named Botanix, Prefix, and Suffix. Botanix can instantly grow flowers, so his name makes perfect sense. The Papercutz edition gives him the name of Cilicatrix. “Silly Cat,” I suppose? That has nothing to do with the flowers he can grow. It’s an empty, silly name. 

When I think "Prefix," I think "turns soup into powder"!

Making the next two druids be named Prefix and Suffix makes for a cute one-two punch, much like the aforementioned Aboveus and Belowus. That makes a lot of sense in the British edition. The Papercutz translation makes those two Barometrix and Suffix. Barometrix has rain-making powers, so that’s arguably a name change for the better. But if you go with that, you can’t use Suffix. That name has nothing to do with his powers. It’s the punchline to a joke that they just cut the set-up out for.

That’s where I shake my head.

In the same book, Panoramix greets an old friend who used to be a British druid named Valueaddedtax. Now he’s a Belgian druid named Frumthestix. I had guessed they’d get rid of a name that’s a pun on British tax law. That’s going to be utterly meaningless to a younger reader in America. I predicted his new name would be “Carbonaddetax,” but even that was too complicated. “Frumthestix” is something an American is much more likely to know, and making him Belgian instead of British is actually cute. Julius Caesar said the Belgians were such fierce warriors because they were so far from civilization. Being “from the sticks” fits in nicely there. In fact, I’d say this is the best and smartest change I’ve seen so far.

 

Introducing Gastroenteritus and Arteriosclerosus

In my original review of “Asterix and the Goths,” I gave the characters of Arteriosclerosus and Gastroenteritus the titles of “Best Names of the Book”. They’re now Excuseus and Pardonus. I say this through gritted teeth now, but I get it. Simplify all the things. Make it accessible. Don’t throw random long medical terms into the book that might turn kids off.

I hate it in this case, but I get it. And if I didn’t know better, I’d probably be fine with it. Still, it feels like the blade has been dulled on purpose. There’s nothing impressive with the wordplay of “Excuseus” compared to “Arteriosclerosus.”

I knew these name changes were coming. And I can accept that not every name — even the ones by Bell and Hockridge — were brilliant plays on words. There needs to be latitude for new voices and new translations and new audiences. There’s still lots of amazing stuff in Asterix for people to latch onto. 80% Asterix is still far better than no Asterix at all.

The Case of Dirtipolitix

Dirtipolitix is an improved name in the Papercutz edition of Asterix

Maybe I’m reading too much into this one, but I don’t think I am.

In “Asterix and the Chieftain’s Daughter,” the character of Binjwatchflix gets a name change to Dirtipolitix.  While the very name “Binjwatchflix” makes me laugh, it doesn’t describe anything about the character at all.  It doesn’t relate to his role in the book, or any particular character trait.  It’s just a funny name.

Dirtipolitix is a better description of the character.  From his very first appearance, he’s shown to be someone who can play the right angles to get what he wants, but also to be physical and difficult to beat up.

Score one for Joe Johnson.

The horse is still named the awesome “Nosferatus.”

The more interesting change than that comes in a single panel later in the book when (spoiler, I suppose) Dirtipolitix captures a runaway Adrenalynn.  Her name is a new spelling from the British edition, which went with “Adrenalin.” Either way, it doesn’t end in “-ix”, which is weird.

One small example of a dialogue change in the new Papercutz edition of Asterix and the Chieftain's Daughter

In any case, the British word balloon coming out of Dirtipolitix’s mouth as he has her pinned against a tree is, “Your friend Binjwatchflix who you’re going to follow like a good girl all the way to the Romans…”

Johnson’s line is “Your friend Dirtipolitix whom you’ll nicely follow to the Romans.”

Johnson got rid of that one extra bit which seethes with a more misogynistic and threatening flair.  That “good little girl” sounds like something out of a 60s power fantasy movie of some sort.

Weirdly enough, the change also makes it sound a little more formal, which everything else in the translation changes seems to avoid doing. Or maybe that’s less threatening, and they’re shying away from the kids-in-danger trope, which is something that a lot of kids entertainment does these days.

It’s a tiny change, but I think it’s a minor thing that will make the book less objectionable to some, more palatable to some, and not a major change at all to be annoyed at from everyone else.

Nevermind the fact that it’s a certifiably bad guy who’s uttering those words, so adding “misogynist” on top of his negative traits would not be out of character at all.  Sometimes, just skipping past that part is the safest thing to do.

Panoramix’s British Accent

Papercutz is re-translating this book into American English, rather than British English.

Reading through “Asterix and the Golden Sickle,” the thing I missed most was the Druid Panoramix’s (nee “Getafix”) accent. I didn’t even realize he had one in the Bell/Hockridge translations until this panel:

Panoramix saying "Whatever" breaks it for me.

It was then that I realized why Panoramix should have a British accent. He’s Obi Wan Kenobi. He’s that wise old man. He’s the mentor, the thinker, the guider.

That character deserves the slightly more proper accent of a British man. Kenobi had it. Gandalf the Gray/White had it. Panoramix sounds “right” with it.

“Whatever”?!?

AAAARGHH! No, the wisened old man of the village would not dismiss someone with a “Whatever” anymore than he’d be making a TikTok video.  (I hope Papercutz is making Asterix TikTok videos for promotion, though…)

But, you know what? We, as Americans, are a country of Anglophiles. Sure, we kicked them out 240-ish years ago rather violently, but that’s water under the bridge now. We’ve learned to accept the British in our pop culture in a rather large way.

We love James Bond. And Fleabag. And Adele.

And I love British comedy. I love the dry sense of humor. I ate it up where I could find it as a teenager, like with “BlackAdder” and “Red Dwarf”. Asterix, to me, has always been part of that family. And to hear it now without that accent — however slight — is just jarring.

But, yes, I need to get over that.

I’m trying, I promise.

But “Whatever”?  No. Just, no.

Chief Vitalstatistix is Back!

Papercutz has renamed Asterix's Village leader to Fisticuffix

In early previews (see above panel), the Chief’s name had changed to the awkward “Fisticuffix”. Looks like saner minds prevailed at Papercutz, and he’s back to being Chief Vitalstatistix:

The new Papercutz editions of Asterix restore Chief Vitalstastix's name

Again, I understand changes need to be made to suit the intended audience. If they wanted to change the Chief’s name, they could have gotten away with it. They just needed a better name than “Fisticuffix,” which I swear to you I have to look down at the keyboard to spell correctly every time I type it. Even my fingers revolted against that name.

Hopefully, I’m done typing it forever now.

The Design and Sizing Issues

I had a theory that the smaller size for these books wouldn’t be that big a deal. If they removed the extra white space that bordered the final art, the art wouldn’t actually be that much smaller than it is in the current album formatted books.

No such luck. That white space is still there. The art is shrunk. Albert Uderzo drew a lot of detail in these books. Panels are usually at middle distance. Most panels show completely bodies, from the tops of their heads down through their big noses and then all the way down to their big floppy toes. Backgrounds are omni-present. Supporting characters are there. Thatched roofs and forests litter the backgrounds.

Theoretically, the smaller size pages really tighten that up.

They’re using the most recent overhaul of the original art, with the filled in ink lines and slightly more processed coloring. That remastering was slightly controversial at the time, mostly for the extra processing work the computers did to “enhance” things, but it makes sense to use that. It’s the best the art is going to look, and I’m sure it’s the editions Hachette wants to license out.

Again, the intended audience for this book will expect to see those kinds of flourishes.  It’s what they’re used to.

So it all looks as good as can be expected.

On the other hand, these are dense pages with a lot of word balloons. “Asterix” is a brilliant combination of words and art. Goscinny was a brilliant wit, and Uderzo is a crafty storyteller with amazing skills, both emotionally and technically with his every line.

The art holds up remarkably well at the smaller size because Uderzo is so good. Even if he never intended for it to be printed at this size, his art manages.

But reading the book is a little trickier. As a middle-age being who’s starting to come to grips with the fact that bi-focals are an inevitable part of my future, reading this book takes a great deal of concentration. The words are so tiny on the page! Once you’re zoned in, you grow used to it, but it still takes more concentration to read the tiny type than it did at the standard album size.

Once again, though, we have to take into account that this book is being produced for a different audience, and that triggers all sorts of compromises.

 

Who Is This For? Will Papercutz Find Them?

This book is not aimed at me. I’m a dead end. My generation doesn’t read humorous comics, specifically, and our comics reading numbers in general are dwindling.

There’s growth, instead, with the kids who read Young Adult (and younger) Graphic Novels that are closer to this format. They expect their comics to fit in their hands like this. They want smaller books that they can throw in their backpacks.

They like longer books, too. Those graphic novels are over 100 pages, so putting three 48 page stories together for them is appropriate.

In other words, this is an attractive package for the intended audience. The base material is still very strong. 

This is the chance we Asterix fans in America have waited forever to see — a fresh run of the property and more recognition for the characters.

We need to put aside what we, the old school Asterix “upscale” collectors and readers would like.  I would love those hardcover Artist’s Edition-sized Asterix collections in America, but that’s not what’s going to bring new readers to the party. You need something affordable and in the proper format.

This is a moment where something like this can happen. I’m happy to see Papercutz seize that, and rethink the material in a way that doesn’t fundamentally change it.  They have to tweak it here and there, and I may disagree with some of the details, but I’m not the one backing up a truck filled with money to make it happen.

Papercutz has experience with marketing kids books and with bringing books over from Europe.  I can’t imagine anyone else publishing “Benny Breakiron” or “Dance Class”. They’ve earned my trust to give this a go.  I’ll remain cautious and I’ll continue to be honest with what changes I like and don’t like. In the end, we all want the same thing — to see Asterix find a new and bigger audience.

The Plan and the Possible Problem

Papercutz isn’t doing this without a plan, either. They’re going all out in the book market for this, including a full publicity plan and social media targeting and, yes, even ARCs for loudmouths like me. 

There’s a plan and a schedule to get the entire series into print. Of course, plans can change and promises are only as good as the actions that follow them, but I’m somewhat confident that they’ll go through with this. So far, things are running a couple of months behind the original schedule, but we can’t fault Papercutz for COVID-19.

The biggest issue they’re going to have in selling Asterix to today’s younger readers is that they’re used to books with more contemporary settings. I don’t think historical fiction is a category that generally sells well, which is how you’d classify “Asterix.”  

Also, these pages are jam packed.  Modern graphic novels are much simpler — fewer panels per page, larger images, less details.  They tell the story well, but they work with the limitations of the smaller page size.  Papercutz is attempting to jam pages that originally saw print in tabloid size magazines into a format smaller than your average monthly comic book. Will that work?

Overall, though, I’m impressed by what they have going here.  I give Papercutz credit for making the best effort of anyone in my lifetime to get this done. There are still lots of hurdles ahead of them, and I look forward to seeing how they handle those.

Should You Buy These Books?

Yes.

If you’re a die-hard Asterix fan like myself and you own the whole series already, then you don’t need to buy these books. I understand that you might be curious about the new formatting and the new translation. You might want to pick up the first Omnibus just to see what Papercutz is doing. Satisfy your curiosity and buy this first one.  That makes sense.

If you’ve never read Asterix before, I’m surprised you read this far.  On the off chance you skipped to the end to get this opinion, then I say go for it.  I still prefer the British translations, but this is still a great comic book series.  If you’re an American, you’ll likely enjoy this one on its own merits and enjoy the more familiar vernacular that it uses.

That’s my whole through line for this article — it doesn’t matter whether I think this is better or worse than the British edition. It’s still Asterix and it’s still great. We can quibble over little things here and there, but it’s just that — little things. Details. This book still holds up well.  Goscinny’s scripts were super strong. Uderzo’s art is (mostly) timeless and an example for generations of artists to live up too.  Papercutz is merely repackaging that initial work.  

Hopefully, a whole new generation of fans will be made because of these books.

These books are a new opportunity for Asterix.  It’s well-funded and well-marketed.  There’s a plan in place from people who’ve done this kind of work before and who plans on marketing the books to the kind of audience who’ve never seen it before.  What more can I ask for?

Don’t get caught up in the details, many of which you wouldn’t even notice without doing side-by-side comparisons.  And those are tedious and not at all fun. Trust me, I have experience with this now.

Enjoy Asterix.  Pick up one of these books for your son/daughter/niece/nephew/neighborhood kid.

Pre-Order the Books Today

Papercutz is releasing these books on July 14, 2020, with a new Omnibus edition to follow every quarter thereafter.

Papercutz Asterix v1 Omnibus
The new Papercutz Asterix cover design for Asterix Omnibus v2
Asterix and the Chieftain's Daughter, Papercutz Edition

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

10 Comments

  1. “If we want them to try Asterix, we need to cater to what they want.”
    I disagree with that. What they cater to is simply the lower literacy level of today’s youth in general (you’ll notice I didn’t add “American” here, it’s a general trend all over western countries’ school systems, now regularly humbled by Asian ones in the yearly PISA report) and their unwillingness to “look it up” beyond Google.

    This is now a book you could put into your pre-teen children’s hands. Long past is now the habit you and I had to actually learn things from comics (I discovered Shakespeare from a Mickey Mouse story in 1974, I would only connect the dots years later. on who that was and how to pronounce it properly…).

    Now what I would like to see is if this new translation is actually closer to the original french text, since we all know know that Anthea Bell would take some liberties with Goscinny’s prose when she thought that UK kids of the 70s wouldn’t get it. We know how smug Brits could be back then and we still love them that way. They are still France’s best frenemies above anything else.

    1. It’s a matter of degree.

      I think you need to keep your audience in mind with what you write. If you start the series off with two pages in Latin to show off how smart a translator you are, obviously everyone would leave. And you start the series off with two characters speaking in pre-school language only, everyone would assume the book is meant for babies and leave. Those are two extreme examples, but I do think you need to moderate the translation to appeal to its intended audience.

      The trick, yes, is in not going so far with it that the very flavor of the book that is what makes it so good is lost. And while I think some of the Americanizations are simplifications and might just be dumbing the book down a bit, the essence of Asterix isn’t lost. It’s still there. It can be rightfully enjoyed. It’s a great book. Papercutz didn’t destroy it, in this case. (I’m still extremely impressed that the Latin lines stayed in. That was the first thing that I was worried would be tossed.)

      And from this side of the Atlantic, Bell made a lot of hilarious choices that went astray from the original French, so we should be allowed to do so, too. 😉 She also made some decisions that I didn’t understand without having to look them up or have them explained to me in comments here. Not everyone reading Asterix is going to have that support group, or the will to Google for things.

      P.S. I can’t tell you how many clues I’ve answered correctly while watching Jeopardy! based on things I learned from reading Chris Claremont’s X-Men….

  2. I agree with your article in general. I don’t like dumbing things down at all, but it sounds like this translation isn’t too bad about it, at least. Just a couple of comments:

    1) female Gauls in the comic never had the -ix name ending, so I’m not surprised Adrenalin doesn’t. However, I think they should have spelled her name with the final -e (which is an acceptable spelling); that way, it would actually look like a French girl’s name. But that’s a minor nitpick, it’s not like I’m terribly bothered by the “-in” spelling.

    “Adrenalynn” just feels incredibly weird. The new ending makes it look like a modern name (I know, I know, this comic was never a history lesson) grafted at the end of the pun.

    2) I notice that in the panel with Binjwatchflix/Dirtipolitix threatening Adrenalin/lynn, one thing the Papercutz translation doesn’t do is change “who you will” to the more correct “whom.” That said, I’m not a grammar Nazi (grammar Goth?) when it comes to dialogue in fiction; it might have been stranger for Binjwatchflix to strictly follow grammatical rules while threatening prisoners.

    In short, thank you for this article; I enjoyed reading it.

  3. As a very long-time Asterix reader in the UK, this US-makeover doesn’t sound too bad and I hope that Papercutz has more success than the previous US attempts.

    The ‘dumbing down’ is a feature of so many translations that I’ve come to accept it, although it often feels like an exercise in excessive risk-adverseness. I find it hard to accept that slightly complex names/puns would drive readers away as they’re hardly key plot points and missing the joke never means losing the narrative thread. It was ten years before I got the Vitalstatistix pun, and I still mentally pronounce that name as I did as a child – “Vis-til-astix” (there’s no joke in there, that’s just the pronunciation I settled on). Other, more adult comics, suffer as well – Dollars for Francs/Euros; MPH for KPH, and so on, seemingly anything to take the ‘foreignness’ out.

    On the other hand it isn’t my money being risked and if I thought rubbing down some edges would be the difference between making a profit or a loss maybe I’d come to the same decision.

    “Whatever” is unforgivable though!

    George

    1. Re: the general dumbing down of things
      When I was a kid, I was an avid reader of the Famous Five books series, translated in French by Hachette. I recently discovered some articles mentioning that most recent editions are half the size of the originals, in a bigger font, and that most of it has been rewritten to remove all the “complicated” words and “antiquated” grammar that made me top of my class in school when I was 11. How sad is that?

  4. To me Binjwatchflix is the better more appropriate name. It obviously refers to the streaming services of the likes of Amazon, Google/YouTube, Netflix etc, who are tracking us all now, which many in Europe feel betrays our traditions of privacy, one of the most important elements of the freedoms we cherish.

    The Druid names are an odd one, you’d expect Cilicatrix to probably mean silica tricks, and that it would be the name of the Druid who invents powdered soup and a powdered cauldron are you sure you didn’t misremember this Augie?

  5. Great articles about the relaunch of Asterix in USA. I’m from Brazil, living here in Arizona since 2011, and grew up reading my fathers Asterix collection back home. In Brazil we had the same issue with naming, most recently being updated to better context and some outdated puns in Portuguese. I’m rebuilding my comic collection here, as I donated most of my books when I relocated to work in US, and was so happy to know that I could finally have a full collection of Asterix, and a new translation would not bother me at all, as I had no previous contact with the British translation. After reading your articles, I’m pretty satisfied with the American translation, except with Panoramix “Whatever”, I completely agree, and even not being a native English speakes, I noticed something odd with that balloon. However the size was the most challenging change for my recently completed 50 years old eyes, the font vertical lines are too thing after the shrink of the art, and it makes really difficult to read, I miss the pintch-zoom feature of my tablet. I will collect those anyway, I home my grandchild one day would discover old grampa collection and have fun.

    Great discovery this website, will subscribe to the podcast too, keep the great job guys!

  6. Great review. Could you inform about what kind of paper stock used in the softcover and the hardcover edition? (from the picture I understand you got your hands on the softcover but perhaps you do know about the hc as well I could hope)

  7. Will Papercutz ever translate other Franco Belgian comic series such as Lucky Luke, Spirou and Fantasio, Gaston Lagaffe, Marsupilami, or The Bluecoats into English someday

    1. Why they put what Latin words mean in English in the Papercutz American English Asterix books is because in the UK and much of Europe back in the day and today, children had to learn Latin in school.