Sunday, October 31, 2010

Spooooky Disturbing Comics

At Robot6, there's a continuing post of various comics creators on what comics scared them as a kid, and they're going through the usual gamut of obvious horror titles.

Like this blogger, I find Horror comics to be more goofy than actually scary. I can barely read any of the E.C. titles because they've got so many useless narrative panels that only serve to give redundant details on what's happening in the story. It also doesn't help that the central storytellers, the Cryptkeeper keeps making awful puns at the beginning and end of the stories. When it comes to narrative spokesmen, I much more prefer Rod Sterling or Count D from Petshop of Horrors.

Not to mention that like most kids, what scares us is not the stuff of fantasy, but things that could happen to us. Horror movies are supposed to scare us, but they wind up being more silly than actually scary. When it comes to on-the-edge-of-your-seat action, I much more prefer suspense movies, since you're worried about what'll happen to the characters and how they'll get themselves out of the predictament they're in. Some good suspense titles I heavily recommend are:

Nick of Time, staring Johnny Depp, and whose claustrophobic timely format greatly inspired the 24 TV series.
Enemy of the State, staring Will Smith, and about a man being hounded by the Government because he's suspected of holding a national secret that he is unaware of that could threaten a Governor.
The Arrival, a Hitchcockian Sci-fi movie about global warming. You'd think that such a concept wouldn't be interesting, but there's intrigue and conspiracies underfoot. I don't normally like Hitchcock, save for Dial M for Murder & Psycho, so this is a good choice.
Dirty Pretty Things, illegal immigrants working in a hotel have to worry about not getting caught & deported back to their home country. But one worker notices that there's strange going-ons happening at the hotel he's working at. Worse yet, he can't bring his suspections to the police, lest attention be diverged on him.
Event Horizon, a horror Sci-fi movie with Lovecraftian/Hellraiser overtones. It's a very overlooked and underappreciated movie about a lost experimental spaceship that mysteriously returned after vanishing. If you can manage to watch the first minute without being scared, you should be able to handle the rest of the movie.

Most people regard the 6th Sandman issue as one of the most disturbing comics they've ever read. When I read the Sandman 24 Hours comic, I wasn't that impressed with the scenario or outcome. It was basically one man randomly forcing the people at a dinner into various situations without any sense of increading tension. My general reaction at the 22 hour mark was, "What? They're dead already??" If Dr. Destiny had given their minds back after the Asian had gouged her eyes out, it would've been more effective.

I was much more disturbed by the first Sandman comic I read, Calliope, where a muse was used solely as a means for inspiring a writer's work. When reading most of the Sandman stories, I had a tendency to have a very dry mouth, since it wasn't the kind of material I was used to reading. It wasn't "BOO!" scary, more the kind of creepyness that sneaks up on you and you know is on your person, but you don't dare brush it away since the alternative is worse.

I posted about one of the most disturbing comics I ever read that I'll reproduce here:
I didn’t get much of a chance to read many horror comics as a kid, since they weren’t my cup of tea. But there was one French comic in an anthology that still horrifies me to this day.
I can’t remember the story, where it appeared in, or how it started, but I know it involved a rich spoiled bratty little girl. She was always carrying a doll and looked a lot like Alice from the Wonderland series, To further clarify, the art style was done in a slightly realistic style, reminiscent of British Girl’s stories.
My earliest recollection of the beginning of the story was a full page spread of the girl crying because a horse was eating her hand.
If that wasn’t enough, her guardian slapped her for making so much noise, which only further prompted her into two panels of tantrums. Eventually, she was kidnapped and held for ransom. When her guardian got the note, she jumped for joy. Since the kidnappers didn’t get any money from their attempts, the little girl died.
But it didn’t end there. She got into heaven, but was deemed so annoying that Saint Peter kicked her down to hell, where she continued to happily play with her doll while countless devils casually walked around her.
What made this even more disturbing was that this anthology also had a comic of Super Goof who was tricked into finding a nonexistent meteor, and because of his flying in space, was breaking several light speed records to the point where he was growing a long grey beard.
If there’s anybody who has any idea about the French comic I just described, let me know. I’ve been dying to know where it came from.
The images that scare me have never come from Horror comics, but in another genre entirely. One of the most disturbing images was the cover of the second chapter of the 2nd Maus book. I was going along at a normal pace, enjoying the very-well done funny animal book, when this image popped up.

It took me a whole day to get back to reading, and put me off my supper. It greatly upset me, which was kind of the point. I glossed over the scene where it was explained in further detail. Did I mention that I was 10 years old when I first read it? I didn't even know there was a first volume, so when I read the first volume years later, I was wondering why so much of what I was reading seemed so unfamiliar to me.

There have been only three instances where I've actually fainted, or nearly fainted. The first was when I was watching InnerSpace, and the spacecraft fired a harpoon at the guy's eyeball from inside. At that moment, I felt an empathetic jolt of pain inside my eye and thought for sure that something hit my eye. When I came to, I was wondering why I was lying on the floor, then groggily remembered, and had to be carried away to the nurse's office. I daren't watch the rest of the movie after that, especially since the little glimpses I caught were the pilot pulling back on his controls, and we saw the cord being taut, giving the mental image of an eyeball being sucked in from the inside. It didn't help that there were tons of bubbles, giving the sensation of leaking fluid escaping the man's body. It wasn't until years later that I was able to gather up the courage to watch the movie and find out what happened. When they eyeball scene came up again, I still winced in pain.

I've noticed that a lot of my most horrific images have been injury towards eyeballs. I recall one of the scariest images I ever saw in a video store where there was a woman lying on her back, lying face up, clutching her face, and we saw the tendrils of an eyeball extending from her face to the foreground. The back of the box was even worse - there were men who had bloody black holes for eyes with shocked expressions. I've tried to find the cover of this movie in vain - there's plenty of titles I saw that I'd like to remember from the VHS age.

The above image is from Kazuo Umezu's Left Hand of God, Right Hand of the Devil, and that's just in the first five pages. (Don't worry, it's just a dream, but she winds up puking even weirder stuff later on) This is the kind of thing that could serve as an alternative to the Comics' Code "Injury to Eyeball" motif - just stab them from the inside. Campfire ghost stories must've been very interesting for Kazuo Umezu as a child.

The second thing that made me faint was the 1st issue of Mixxzine, which had Sailor Moon, Magic Knight Rayearth, and two other adult titles I wasn't familiar with. I practically snoze my way through Ice Blade, but reading Parasyte for the first time was extremely nerve-wracking. For starters, there was no cover title giving any hint of what would've happened. Secondly, there was no break between the first and second chapters, showing it as one long seamless entry. When "Lefty" first appeared and explained his existence, I felt so woozy I had to lie down.

The third thing that almost made me faint wasn't from a comic, but an autobiographical novel. It was Ayaan Hirsi Ali's Infidel where she described in graphic detail the first-hand experience of her genital mutilation. It was so harrowing that even sitting down, I felt lightheaded. It didn't help that I was on the subway when reading that particular section. The general difference between male & female circumcision is like night & day. Male circumcision is designed to increase pleasure, but female circumcision is basic butchery to preserve her virginity and reduce her pleasure. It's all for the male's benefits.

Getting back to the campfire stories, I imagine it went something like this:

Camp boy: "...and then the hand leaped out and strangled him!"
(peals of horror, turning to laughter)
Camp Counselor: "Well, that was very good. Is there anybody else who has a story they'd like to tell? How about you Kazuo Umezu?"
(groans of dissent around the campfire) "Oh no! Not him! I still haven't recovered from the last story he told!"
Camp Counselor: "Alright then. Let's pass the torch to Junji Ito."
(more noise of complaints) "Even worse! You're killing us! I want to sleep!"
Camp Counselor: "You're not going to go very far if we keep excluding certain people from the group. I'm passing the baton over to Shintaro Kago."
(screams of outright horror fading with running footsteps)
Camp Counselor: "That was very impolite of them. I'd be perfectly happy to hear whatever you have to say."
(Three short stories of horror later)
Camp Counselor: ...I want my mommy.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Le Chat

You can tell a lot about the culture of a comics' country by the most popular comic cats being merchandised there. America is well known for Garfield and Felix. Japan has dozens of cartoon cats ranging from Doraemon to What's Michael?, and that's not even counting the countless catgirls. They're also most known for Hello Kitty. In Europe, the most popular cat is an archtype almost unknown here, a fat intellectual simply known as Le Chat.
That's me... That's him.
Created by Philippe Gluck in 1983, Le Chat is different in that he's a straight man without an audience. Oh sure, he has the occasional mouse to talk to, but they're more his foils than anything, and he's usually onstage alone.
Pow. / My finest debut.
Like Hello Kitty, he generally has one facial expression, but is tempered by his nonsensical observations. He's not just a sarcasic speaker or a blank state. He has something to say about the world around him.
ASSAULT of decencysex BOMB
What a violent world!

My lack of French limits me from understanding the majority of the strips, but I've chosen a few examples from what little I could decipher, with a little help from Babelfish. Here's an example that reminds me of Scott McCloud's argument in Reinventing Comics on two different examples of black blocks, one which was comics, and one which wasn't.
Here are two photos of "A" and "B".Photo "A" shows absolutely nothing. 
Photo "B" shows photo "A".
Ironically enough, his one-note tone and lack of a larger storyline may be what contributes to his popularity. There was one time he disguised himself as cheese to capture some mice, and the mice broke off his body parts like pieces of brie. No matter what happens to him, he always goes back to normal. He's a lot like the comfort food of legacy Newspaper strips - a familiar face to come back to.
Riiiiiing Riiiiiing
Okay, okay! I'm coming!
No one there...
Riiiiiing Riiiiiing
Not again!
Alright, alright! Coming!
? / Very strange...
It can't be the door. / It must be...
Knock, knock, knock!
As you've no doubt noticed by now, Le Chat has one almost unchanging facial expression throughout the panels, usually face front, and is only seen from the back when he turns away to look in the distance. When he's turned around, it becomes clear that his large eyes are actually glasses as seen from behind.
You want to see me in profile?Really? / Fine.
In addition to the 3-panel strips and full-page strips, there are also single-panel jokes or drawings that are just as effective if they'd been done in 3 panels.

Whose bright idea was it to show the strip this way?
So with all these things for it, why isn't Le Chat better known over here? Part of it may have to do with some jokes that would lose something in the translation. Here for instance, in French, a candy is known as a bonbon. I'll leave it up to you to figure out the puzzle here.

Another reason for the lack of recognition would be that some of the jokes may be considered too intellectual for the American public.
(Nonsense words)
(Uproarious laugher)
You wouldn't get it. / It's Belgian humour.
EDIT - I've just been informed that the words in the first panel are actually in Cyrillic (a Bulgarian language), and thus may actually mean something. Also, I know that he's saying "Bulgarian" humour in the last panel there, but I thought that Belgian humour sounded funnier. Like the Garfield comic and episode, there are some words that sound funnier than others.
A better reason is that some of the later strips could be considered too risique for the casual nudity of Le Chat. Unlike most cartoon animals, Le Chat is anatomically correct, and there's very few publishers who'd bother with a fat cat casually showing their uncircumsiced penis. (That'll probably answer any questions that nobody wanted to ask)
I will tell you an avante-garde joke.
Oughha... Brr! Glzz / Woof woof.
It may take 15 to 20 years / before it's appreciated.
Still, there's always a chance that something no matter how unlikely will get translated for a wider audience. Some of the more adult strips could be left out without having to lose anything. Like most foreign comics, this is something of an acquired taste, and might not be for everyone. Of course, when compared to the competition, there's not much reason to listen to a fat cat in a suit.
How lovely...
Could you possi...
I'm not upset, I just...
It's for dinner and I...
Dear friends, you can't imagine...

Monday, October 25, 2010

Manners & Mannerism

In my last post, I mentioned how artists tend to borrow from each other all the time in terms of inspiration. As Pablo Piccaso said, "Bad artists copy, Great artists steal." In particular, I was thinking of this mini essay from Dirk Deppey - four years ago.

For those of you who had better things to do than study art history: Mannerism is the decadent stepchild of Italy’s High Rennaissance. Whereas the artists who engineered the first real flowering of realism in Western art since the fall of Rome — Leonardo, Michelangelo, and all those other guys who would later have turtles named for them by two guys in a garage — made careful studies of live models, animals, dissected corpses, natural phenomena and the general world around them, the artists who followed in these titans’ wakes learned their crafts by studying the finished output of Leonardo, Michelangelo, and all those other guys who would later have turtles named for them by two guys in a garage. These trail-following artists came to be known as the Mannerists, and they are the Rennaissance’s tombstone. As Horst de la Croix, Richard Tansey and Diane Kirkpatrick would later write in that textbookus genericus of community-college Art History 101 classes, Gardner’s Art Through the Ages (I’m quoting here from the Ninth Edition), “One could say that whereas their predecessors sought nature and found their style, the Mannerists looked first for a style and found a manner.”

The painting, Parmigianino’s
Madonna with a Long Neck (oil on wood, 1535; larger version available at this link) is an excellent example of where this approach can lead: The figures are technically polished but unnatural as hell, with supple shadows and drapery folds unable to fully distract the fact that the bodies they depict are warped and deformed. The Madonna’s fingers and neck are unnaturally long, the infant in her lap has the body of a nine-year-old but dwarfish arms and a newborn’s face, the figure behind her holding a scroll has an arm longer than his leg — and goodness knows where the stomach of the waterbearer to her right is supposed to go. Parmigianino has the surface tics of the Rennaissance masters down pat, but his work displays none of the anatomical understanding by which they came to be able to create such accomplished illusions of form and light. Mannerism is an artistic game of Whisper, with details lost and distorted as they move further away from their point of origin.

I have a very selective memory - I can recall things I've read ages ago, and be very upset when my search results turn up nothing because I can't recall the exact wording that would help limit my research. Conversely, I cannot retain anything I hear for more than five seconds unless it's written down. If I don't meet somebody over the span of two weeks, I'll forget about them. I'm usually surprised when somebody comes up and says they remember me when I clearly don't remember them. When asked if I know who they are, I usually respond with, "Let's pretend I do.", so I won't come off as rude, and we can get to the point of the conversation.

I'm reminded of a short story in the guidebook, Laughing and Living with Autism, which is a collection of humourous stories involving Autistic kids. Despite all the pain, there are times where Autistics do things that make parents gape in awe for doing things that no normal human being would ever think of doing. The example I'm thinking of was where there was a teenager who would always greet everybody he met with an enthusiastic "Hi!", even if he never saw them before. Complete strangers would try to recall who this friendly young man was without much luck.

In the occasions where he would get a welcome reply of "Hello! How are you doing?", he would respond with a confused, "Do I know you?" The stranger's facial expressions must've been very interesting to see as they tried to figure out this Memento train of thought.

This is me in a nutshell. I always assume people know more about me, since they know me better than I know them. It fits with my paronia of everybody having open access to my profile, while I don't have anybody else's folders. I simply don't have the patience to figure out somebody's likes or dislikes by talking to them. I'm much more comfortable seeing their tastes online, so I can determine whether they're worth talking to or not.

Autistics/Aspergers use the term Neurotypicals when referring to people who have no trouble talking to people around them, but I find that term demeaning. I prefer to use Doug Camill's description. As he mentioned in a column about narcissism: "Why am I not surprised to learn that Celebrities are more in love with themselves than us Dull Normals?" To everyone who's perfectly content with just being part of the population and not having higher aspirations, you can be counted as being a Dull Normal.

Badass Normals don't count, since they're usually involved with the military and are more focussed on staying alive, and aren't really considered part of society as a whole. What I really want are people who are more Interesting than dull. As long as you've got one saving grace, I'll overlook any other faults you may have.

Just don't go around blatantly stealing off obvious ideas. If you're going to rip off someone, rip off an incredibly obscure source, so that once you get rich & famous, they can try to sue the pants off you for stealing their idea and making it popular. After all, it was their idea first, so by all rights, that money should be rightfully theirs! Right? Right?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Ripping off Her Man

This Wednesday's Blondie seemed very similar to me, and possibly a few other humourists as well:

It's an exact retelling of a classic Herman comic, almost down to the exact wording used. Only substitute "messing around" with "fooling". Who'll tell the difference?

Well, I did, and sadly, we didn't get to see the visual image of Dagwood with a large button on his shirt. If it makes things easier, just mentally superimpose Bumstead's head where Herman's is. (I won't ask you to transfer Blondie's head, since that would be punishment enough)

This isn't an isolated incident. A Nu-Shoe comic done by Jeff MacNelly's family shoes - I mean shows - (typographic error) this particular strip, shown on the Comics Curmudgeon:

Which was eerily reminiscent of a Sunday Herman that was never reprinted:

Keep in mind that this isn't the first time someone's plagiarized someone else's work for their own. History is rife with examples of artists drawing someone else's popular art style to attempt their own take so they'll be popular themselves. Comedians have outright stolen other people's schticks without batting an eye. And cartoonists do it to themselves too when they run out of ideas.

There used to be a comic magazine that would find comparisons between old and new comics, and show them side by side. I can't remember the name of that magazine, but I remember an example showing the same joke involving a Mickey Mouse prank, back when the mouse was actually mischievous and not a blank state.

The premise went something like this:

Mickey finds a fancy top hat, and gets the sadistic idea of putting a brick under it. He puts it in the middle of the street where an unsuspecting passerby might feel like kicking it, much like Captain Haddock did near the end of The Seven Crystal Balls. Goofy readies himself to kick the hat, then suddenly has second thoughts.

He looks at the hat again, then slides the top hat out of the brick and puts it on his head. Then he takes his dumpy hat and puts it on the brick. Then Goofy winds his leg back and gives the hat a good solid kick, and is surprised at how painful it is, much to Mickey's amusement.

The French comic that stole this (one-page) idea was Achille Talon (a play on the name Achille's Heel), who's also better known as Walter Melon. The Achille Talon comic is much more verbose than shown here, and oftentimes veers off into irrevelant nonsensical tangents. Oftentimes, it seems like he talks more than a Claremont character.

Try saying the above in one breath.

In that panel, he thought he was receiving a mail from a destitute orphan looking to him for inspiration, when in actuality it was a letter from a 53-year old man complaining about the quality of the magazine.

In truth, Achille is more of a pretentious blowhard who thinks he knows more than he actually does.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wedding Synchronicity

There was an amusing anecdote leading up to my sister's wedding that I didn't mention in my last post. Prior to the wedding, my mother being a traditional deadline motivator decided to do a serious overhaul over the clothes in her closet. Like me, she has a tendency to leave things till the last minute, when the job becomes impossible to avoid. This was something that'd been building up for years, and only felt compelled to do so once the threat of multiple people walking through her house was looming over her. It's also the only thing that gets her in a rabid cleaning mood before company comes over. If we didn't have our annual New Year's parties, the house would still be packed with random stacks of papers everywhere.

This kind of thing was something that seemed particularly essential, because guests love to snoop behind other people's doors. Especially since they need to know what's behind door number two. And if all they saw was a mess, it wouldn't look good. Better to tidy up the house a bit so the housecleaners won't balk at how dirty the place is.

Anyways, she was organizing her clothes by style, design and make, on whether they were sweaters, pants, shirts, and the like, whether they still fit her or not, as well as a separate pile of clothes to get rid of. Eventually, the job grew so large that she had to keep notes on which piles were which.

By the time she finished the majority of her chores, she started putting everything back in their prospective places, leaving her clothes in a more organized manner than usual. While doing so, she left one of her notes on her dresser with a bunch of photos.

When I walked past her bedroom, I noticed that a note was next to a graduation photo that perfectly fit the theme of my sister's wedding, and also seemed to serve as a reminder for my father.

It was only after I told them about the synchronicity of the two unrelated objects that my parents laughed at the final results. I was surprised that neither one of them noticed it before I pointed it out.

After this overly long setup, you've probably figured out the joke by now. For those of you impatient enough to get to the point, here's the frame in question:

Monday, October 18, 2010

Wedding Outtakes

It's been about a month since my sister's wedding, and I figured now was as good a time as any to show the comics that for one reason or another, I left out. First up are the Phil/Georgia Wedding comics.

Actually, these FBOFW strips were included in the Wedding comics collection, but I felt my last post was getting too long already.

At the time, Michael's friend Gordon getting married before he did, seemed like a revolutionary moment for the strip. Usually it's the main protagonists who get married first. Unfortunately, Lynn seemed more impressed with Gordon's sudden maturity than everybody else. To be honest, the later strips involving Gordon's garage business were rather dull.

But I'm getting off topic. Next are some proposal comics that I missed the first time around. One of which has the occasional character, Fast Freddy.

Likewise, here's the reciprocal of being married. As interesting as this view is, I felt it wasn't the right mood for my sister's celebration. Not to mention the punchline wasn't that funny.

To this day, I'm still perplexed as to why the wife is still smiling at the last panel.

Then there's Posy Simmond's Wedding comics.

Because they were incredibly verbose, I knew that the guests wouldn't have the patience to read through these strips to find an elusive punchline. The Doonesbury & Bloom County strips were pushing it, and I knew when to hold back my punches.

Benji's statement of "Bye-bye" in the last panel could have another double meaning here, since this was almost certainly the last weekly Posy strip in the Guardian. I say "almost", because the book this was collected in, Pure Posy, ended not long after this comic, with a smattering of a few unrelated strips. Given the out-of-chronological order of the collections, it's a safe bet.

Now for the big finale - Herman.

My behavior during the Wedding was explementary to the point where I was able to keep my flinching to a minimum. Normally, I can't stand the constant flashing of cameras, but made nice for my sister's day. These Wedding photos are probably the first photos that've been made of me in years that haven't been for my medicare or bus cards.

This Herman wasn't included, since it felt too close in tone to the "As a matter of fact, I went to all this trouble just to say I don't" comic.

Here's the strip that was left out of the Honeymoon's Over portion of the collection. I had nine of them, and could only fit 4 to a page, so one of them had to go.

And then there's the strips that even I had trouble figuring out. Even Jim Unger's admitted that there are times where he doesn't understands his own jokes! The Far Side's got nothing on this guy.

The interesting thing about Herman is that unlike Lynn Johnson and Dave Sim, Jim Unger stopped producing Herman strips when he felt like it. His sudden retirement was a huge shock, but understandable. After all, he'd been working continuously for over 20 years without a break.

He might've been creating variations of the same jokes multiple times, but they were always interesting and varied in how they were spoken or drawn.

It wasn't until the released of a coloured (and dumbed-down) collection of Herman that it was revealed that Jim Unger was the victim of early marriages that ended in disaster. Taken in context, his alimony strips can be seen as a way of relieving his stress. There are ways to relieve your frustrations on the comics page without sacrificing humour or clarity.

To my sister, if you're reading this, here's hoping you enjoy your (belated) one-month anniversary present.

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Little Smurf Makes All the Difference

As much as I’m pleased with Papercutz releasing a long-overdue English version of the Smurfs, there’s still a few things they’ve done that I’m mildly disappointed with.

First off, they’ve scrunched up the original cover. It was simplistic enough already. Why did they need to squash up a perfectly good cover? At least they left the iconic Smurfs showing the number of stories inside. That’s something.

Next, there were two things left out in the interior. We missed out seeing numerous pale Smurfs superimposed against a blue background, including one of the infected GNAP! Smurfs. What I particularly like about this spread is that some Smurfs are acting on their own, while others are acting or reacting to the actions of other Smurfs around the board.

The singular image on the title page is still there, but it’s cut in half by opposite pages. Although it doesn’t add much, I always felt it was an element that helped define the stories. This is more than what’s usually done for translated BDs that combine two albums in one cover for a more attractive collection. (Especially NMB titles) One of the two title covers has to be left out. However, these Smurf books are single volumes. What’s their excuse?

Then there’s the silly mistake of leaving out sound effects. Although some of the computerized onomatopoeia tended to stand out like a red nose in a crowd, there were a few rare cases where the absence of sounds were noticeable. One such scene was before the Bzz fly invoked what Jeffrey Brown called, “The cutest sneeze in the world”.

Also, in the 2nd book, The Magic Flute where Matthew knocks on Peewit’s door. All we see are some lines, but we know that there must be some sound involved.

I also question their need to redo certain noises that were already perfectly acceptable in their foreign form.

Likewise, I remember reading another translation of these scenes at a second hand bookstore, which in my mind, were bowdlerized better.

In this instance, Peewit was saying “No no, look! See? I’m smurfing a smurf, see? In my mouth! Yummy!”
“I MEAN I WANT A MEAL TO EAT!” “Oh! A smurf to smurf!”
“But that’s just what I said!”

The final panels here had the following lines which I can still remember:

“There they go! The magic flute’ll never bother anybody ever again!”
“Heh heh.”
“Oh no! It can’t be! I couldn’t have...”
“...But I have! BooHOO! I gave back the real flute!”

Looking back, I’m now sorry I didn’t buy these earlier translations when I got the chance. There was even a translation of the first volume of Thorgal, which Cinebook skipped over, since it was a weak volume. Maybe they’ll go back to it as a sort of Zero issue, with volume 2 added to it.

Lastly, they went a little overzealous with the recolouring of the Black Smurfs. Near the end, there was one Black Smurf who was clever enough to colour himself blue in order to hide among the remaining uninfected Smurfs.

Keep in mind that when the black Smurfs sneeze, they have no memory of what just happened. So we’ve got a regular Smurf who has no idea that he’s painted blue. That should make it very interesting for him come bathtime. Or at least that's what we would be thinking if one of the Purple Smurfs were still blue.