...My first taste of American super-heroes' "comic-books" came dans la langue de Molière - as a publisher based in Quebec City decided to try his hand at translating them for a market that was ripe for the taking... En effet (...) there was no Artima or any other French (from France!) competitor around yet - hence, for the better part of close to two decades, Les Éditions Héritage Inc. had it all to themselves in this sort of "niche" there...!
They were decidedly biased towards one publisher - Marvel - translating many of their titles while, comparatitively, barely tipping their toes into the creative waters of other companies (King Features had two shots at it - The Phantom and Flash Gordon, of course - and both quickly failed to win over an unsophisticated Quebec-based readership... Charlton had only one true shot at it - a mere anthology series featuring stories of the macabre! "Fantômes" was actually confusing to have while publishing "Le Fantôme" at the same time...! Héritage would often shoot itself in the foot like that... And DC had only about half-a-dozen chances - some quite surprising (Kamandi and Karate Kid - two of my favorites which, ironically enough, ended "together" in a way...!) the usual suspects (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman) a few of the supporting cast (The Flash, Aquaman PIN-UPS ONLY -for some odd reason- that came with some Aqualad back-up features thta were inexplicably translated instead of any true Aquaman material...) and two teams that were deemed "good enough" to do as well as the X-Men, "Vengeurs" and Fantastic Four (mercifully not translated into "Les 4 Fantastiques") had previously done; the Legion of Super-Heroes and "Les Nouveaux Jeunes Titans" (another awkward translation - originally: The New Teen Titans!)
Aside from all that, it was ALL Marvel: Les Vengeurs (my very first comic was a copy of that - drawn by the very best; George Pérez!), Fantastic Four, Conan, Thor, Hulk, Spider-Man, Iron Man, Star Wars (La Guerre Des Étoiles!) - again, the usual suspects! "EH" only had to translate the adjectives there: "incredible, amazing, mighty and invincible" becoming "incroyable, étonnant, puissant et... ah... invincible!!!" *lol*
(Nota Bene: I had no clue I would ever be using "lol" back when I was reading these things! How times change! Seasons change... And so on!)
They did get it right -and avoid the sarcastic "courant" that went with "Barbant"- when it came time to translate Conan The Barbarian...! ;)
It came to no surprise to me to learn that, as with so many other things I like, these comics began publication "en français" in... 1969! :)
They had no foresight back then though - the early issues have oftentimes "ÉDITIONS EH HÉRITAGE" on the cover - no one ever thought, obviously, that one day the expression "Eh?" would become synonymous with Canadian futility and imbecility...! Hence, they left that on there for a long while... Now, these collectibles make perfectly bilingual fans chuckle at the very first sight! ;)
Compulsive addictions could not have been any more innocent as the typically addicted "completist" type of comic-book collector that... Well, I was, circa 1979-1984!
I got better since then! :)
In closing, a partial list of my favorites from the EH series...
Vengeurs - pardon, Les Puissants Vengeurs! Oui... Conan... Kamandi... Karate Kid... Capitaine America (!) yes... Flash (I tried anyway!)... Fantômes...
And yes, these last few ones right here as well:
Thank God they didn't use Sgt. Slaughter...
Snake Eyes was underused though...
Not surprising one bit that these days RED SONJA hangs with CLAW THE UNCONQUERED - Conan teamed-up with the very weird ELRIC and Marvel property THOR while he was there himself. And now that he is licensed to Dark Horse, who knows what atrocious team-ups that will beget...!!!
If all manners of team-ups are possible, then the natural ones are not surprisingly done over and over again...
Classic battle of Verde e Vermelho here... Their actual true first translation work, but not an "EH" production, so it doesn't count! "L'Incroyable Hulk" was published as a "SOLEIL" comic...! Without even a beginning of a sun logo...? Go figure!
Still - it was colorful, in its very basic opposing/complimentary color scheme...
The year was 1968.
The 1st EVER "EH" COMIC (above) - issued in
JANUARY of 1969!
And speaking of team-ups...
Yes - "L'ÉQUIPE MARVEL" was the best they could do translate "MARVEL TEAM-UP"...
"FAISONS ÉQUIPE" wasn't catchy title material - at all!
One of the few Charlton comics imports - EH didn't bother with their super-heroes (Captain Atom, Blue Beetle, The Question...) who would all soon be bought off by DC... EH didn't bother much with DC heroes either - aside from the top four (Wonder Woman, Flash and, noticeably afterward and for a very short time, Superman and Batman!) and a few odd picks (Kamandi, Karate Kid, Aqualad back-up features)
Oh - and two team books; the Titans and Legion of Super-Heroes!
(But never the premiere elite group; the Justice League!)
Ah, yeah - for a short while, I liked Shang-Chi too!
And "Les Fils Du Tigre"! ;)
I do believe that, now, EH only publishes true children's fare (like, for readers between 2 to 5 years of age...?) and... Archie comics. (!)
Labels: comics, Conan, EH