Monday, August 6, 2012

A Duck Comics Revue Exclusive!

Okay! Time for a little something special (not the Rosa story).

Now, for a long time I've really wanted to do an English version of a classic duck story.  What was holding me back was mainly general technical incompetence.  I had sort of messed around with the idea a bit several times, but then quit in frustration.  But for whatever reason, a few weeks ago I decided to give it another go, and I realized, huh.  Why did I think this was so hard?  It's actually super-easy--albeit time-consuming--to use gimp to replace the original text with my own.  No, the text doesn't mimic the look of an actual, published duck comic, but that bothered me less and less the more I worked.  It's plenty good enough.  I know, I know--I have Gottfredson obligations here.  But I just got so consumed with this that I haven't felt like doing anything else Disney-related since.  And finally, after lots and lots of editing and corrections, I'm finally finished, or as finished as I'm likely to get.

Oh, right--the story itself.  *drumroll*

It's Luciano Bottaro and Carlo Chendi's 1958 story "Il dottor Paperus," aka, "Donald Faust," aka--as I've dubbed it--"The Strange Tragedy of Doctor Donaldus Faustus."  It doesn't have a whole lot to do with the versions of this story by Marlowe or Goethe or, for that matter, Thomas Mann, but if you've ever wanted to see what a Disney story in which Donald sells his soul to the devil looks like--now you can.

Why this story?  A number of reasons.  First, because it was recently reprinted in the February issue of Super Picsou Geant, so I had a good-quality copy of it.  Second, because it's a pretty nice story, with some great Bottaro art and a cool medieval atmosphere.  Third, because it contains some pretty heavy-duty satanic elements (it IS a Faust story of sorts, after all), and these, "Mickey's Inferno" notwithstanding, would probably have made an official US publication a tough sell.  It's by no means perfect, but it's definitely worth reading.  And if you don't believe me, perhaps you will believe the inducks top 100, on which it is currently Bottaro's only representation, at number seventy-five (not that inducks voters don't sometimes evince some kinda weird taste, but still…).

Bottom line is, I think you'll enjoy the story.  As for my script itself--well, either you like these things or you don't.  Purists, if there be such creatures, certainly won't be pleased, but hopefully others will find it entertaining.  I didn't change the story or anything (aside from massaging a few little details which didn't seem to me to make a whole lot of sense), but I did do, let's say, a free rewrite, adding a whole bunch of dumb jokes and pop-(and not-so-pop)-culture references.  I think this suits the story, and if you disagree…well, I don't know what to tell you.

I plan on actually writing about the story itself later, but first, I just wanted to make it available for folks to read.  Oh, one caveat: I can't imagine that anyone reading this blog would be put off by this, but there's some language in my script that is slightly stronger than you would probably find in something that had been officially-published.  Nothing too shocking; I doubt it would even merit a PG-13 rating--but you have been warned!  Okay.


Blogger Pan Miluś said...

Can't whait to see it :D

August 7, 2012 at 2:13 AM  
Blogger Richie said...

2 pages in and the urge go hold a gun to your head and demand you make a tradition out of this is too strong. Magnificent localization, mighty tasty wit!

...Comments on the actual story to come sooner than latter.

August 7, 2012 at 7:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read your translation. I'm no purist by any means, since I have no background whatsoever! A good localization is far better than a translation.

The artwork was excellent, and the script had many of the appropriate touches to make it feel appropriately in character, Donald especially. There's just so much harmless ego that you can't help but smile at his bombast.

I liked a lot of the jokes, though I think you missed the opportunity for some verbal humor by leaving in the cursing. I don't mind the existence of the cursing in the comic exactly, I just lament the missed opportunity. I would be very interested to see you try and keep the plot intact without the literal use of Satan though. (This is all me growing up in the era of translated videogames, where such alterations had to be made with no small frequency, and more a curiosity about a thought exercise than a criticism of your translation)

All in all very nice, if you ever want to do something like this again, I'd love to see it. Kudos sir!

August 8, 2012 at 6:06 PM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

I understand what you're saying, I think. Criticism is always welcome; I can see how the mild profanity might not be to everyone's taste. Let me note, however, that "Satan" is not an embellishment on my part; he's referred to as such in the French version that I read.

August 8, 2012 at 6:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reading the profanity doesn't bother me. (Disclaimer: I don't know how to say this without sounding insulting, I apologize, it's not directed towards this script but a trend in general) Swearing can be used to cover up less clever or less funny piece of dialogue, so it's my desire to encourage it not be used unless it's necessary to inform the character's emotional state or fits the background of the character. I'm fairly foulmouthed privately, so I'm a filthy hypocrite in this case. I think nothing is harmed by you using profanity in this story, and it reads very well and not out of character for the tone of the story. I'd swear too if the war, the devil and whatnot was involved! I quite liked the story as a whole, so I apologize if I seem overly critical. :)

I'm sure Satan is in the original story, I apologize for misspeaking! I only meant it would be interesting to see someone try to write this localization and NOT have him be Satan. Back when I played SNES games as a kid, any references to religion had to be edited out of video games translated from Japan, and it tended to change the plot more than a bit, so I was just ruminating on that translation school being used for this story. Just an idle thought, not an implication that you changed anything.

But seriously seeing Satan in a Disney comic that's not Fantasia is goddamned fucked the hell up. Sheeyit.

August 8, 2012 at 7:15 PM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

Believe me, I played plenty o' NES and SNES JRPGs back in the day (and still do, on occasion), so I know what you mean :p I must plead guilty of taking the opposite tack here; the French version is much less profane than mine (though really, let's not overstate things; we're probably talking about less than a dozen lines). When I write about the story in more detail, I'll talk a little bit about my thinking in this regard, which may be more or less convincing to various people.

August 8, 2012 at 7:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, I didn't mean to make any big deal about it. I have a very bad tendency to critique things like I'm in a Composition class, so it comes out formal and overexplained.

Looking forward to the explanation/review post!

PS: Huge apologies for ripping off your typical format in my own blog, legal complaints can be delivered by email.

August 8, 2012 at 7:41 PM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

Dude! Whether or not that was meant to be a sneaky, off-hand way of letting me know you had a blog, this is great stuff! Consider yourself blogrolled!

Also, would you believe that I was totally reading "reviewordie" wrong all this time? I kept thinking "review wordy," like you write wordy reviews or something. Good lord I'm dopey!

August 8, 2012 at 7:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They are pretty wordy. Nobody's Business ballooned 500 words from its original draft! I don't think that blogspot lets me properly capitalize my username, so it DOES look like I don't know how to spell wordy (never liked that), but let's see if the new interface is a little nicer when I make this comment.

I really do admire your reviews and they were obviously an inspiration for what I'm doing here, so it really is so cool to hear you like it. :) Thank you!

August 8, 2012 at 8:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Monkey island and Castlevania references in my duck comics? Nicely done, Geo :)
The story was quite enjoyable, and yeah, I doubt that it would've ever been approved for USA audiences.

August 9, 2012 at 3:23 AM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

Thank you!

August 10, 2012 at 8:40 PM  
Blogger joecab said...

Thanks! I've been meaning to read this for a while now, and I enjoyed the translation. I sure miss how frequently I used to travel up to Montreal; those Picsous are just the best.

August 13, 2012 at 9:46 PM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

Thanks. I definitely purchased an issue of Super Picsou Geant when I was living in Montreal, but I wasn't really into Disney comics at the time, so I never really got into it. Now I wish I knew what became of it, dammit, but it seems to be gone for good.

August 14, 2012 at 12:05 AM  

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