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Kim Thompson On Bart Beaty's Review Of Emile Bravo's Spirou Book
posted December 12, 2008
I too love the Emile Bravo SPIROU book but suspect it would be incomprehensible and unsalable to an audience that is not familiar with SPIROU itself.
As a publisher I think it is not as great as, and not as sellable as, any of the classic Franquin SPIROUs (I suspect Emile would agree), and since the Franquin SPIROUs are unsellable as we know, that's a pretty steep hill to climb.
Contary to what Bart says, Fantasy Flight squeezed out only one SPIROU book, Z IS FOR ZORGLUB. They had announced and commissioned the translation for its sequel, THE SHADOW OF Z, but went belly-up before they could release it, or for that matter before the translator (me) could quite finish it. But I got pretty far. Most of it is still sitting on my computer. A taste:
PANEL 1: Ya see? He's all frozen up, electrifried. Only thing for it, take 'im up to the count's -- he's the one what cured everyone last time.
#2: Poor Jules... I reckon we can borrow Isadore's van an' get him hauled up there.
PANEL 2: VAN LOGO: I. STUFFEM TAXIDERMY [repeat as necessary on page]
#1: What th'... hic... th' butcher... an' the taxshidermisht... what're they...? GOOD HEAVENSH! THEY'VE SHTUFFED JULES!
PANEL 3: According to the radar, the Zorgmobiles are headed West...
#2: Mr. Champignac, someone's at the gate...
PANEL 4: An' that's what happened, Count. Check out poor Jules -- can't move a muscle!
#2: I'll see if I can revive him...
#3: This has got Zorglub written all over it...
#4: You keep your distance, you ghoul!
PANEL 5: Aha! This must be the bank note of Zorglub's that provoked the altercation... WAIT! GENTLEMEN, ZORGLUB HAS PULLED ANOTHER BONER!
PANEL 6: Each time he ventures into public, that brilliant dunce commits a grievous error -- it must be some sort of compulsion. Look: "MIL PALOMBOS"...
#2: Wait... I recognize that currency...
PANEL 7: REPUBLICA PALOMBIANA!
#2: Yes! By paying with this bank note, Zorglub might as well have left us a forwarding address!
PANEL 8: What's goin' on?! Are they here to revive me, or to discuss geography?
#2: ...Because Palombia isn't very big...
#3: He probably built himself a sanctum in the rain forest...
PANEL 9: Come to think of it, your familiarity with this region ought to come in handy. That's where you discovered the Marsupilami, is it not?
#2: Yup...and later on, we kicked out a dictator, to boot.
#3: ...So to speak.
TWO STORIES FROM SPIROU AND FANTASIO'S EXCITING PAST WHICH WE HOPE TO BRING YOU SOMEDAY! -- ED.
PANEL 10: What if it was a ruse to throw us off the track?
#2: Not likely. And the more I think back, the more I'm convinced those Zorgmen were Palombian.
#3: What about Jules?
#4: Jules? Uhm... Jules who?
PANEL 1: Oh, that Jules! The unfortunate lad! Take him to my study...
#2: He's colder 'n a deep-frozen rump roast!
PANEL 2: You just shove that gizmo up his nose? Boy, the things them scientist fellers come up with!
PANEL 3: Jules! Now you come on back here and say "Thank you" to the count!
#3: Don't forget your money...
PANEL 4: Didja hear what the count was sayin', Jules? This bill is worth double the gas you pumped...
#2: I guess that's OK, then...
PANEL 5: Flying to Palombia to hunt Zorglub is all well and good... But wouldn't it be easier to leave it to the pros?
PANEL 6: Heh heh heh! A world atlas and a telephone, and ol' Fantasio might be able to throw a few rocks in the way of Zorglub's triumphant return to his home base...
PANEL 7: Yes, helicopter-type aircraft... five or six, with no national markings... yes, extremely dangerous! According to my calculations, they should at present be flying over...
PANEL 8: A civilian called up to notify us of the presence of a group of unmarked aircraft flying over sector 17.
#2: Preposterous! Anyway... Don't we have three fighter jets executing maneuvers in that area? Tell them to keep an eye out...
PANEL 9: Control to Ozark group: Head for sector 17, and keep an eye out for several unidentified aircraft -- red, no markings. Over.
#2: This is Ozark leader. Roger!
#3: Yes, Robert, what is it?
PANEL 1: You called, Robert?
#2: No, Roger, I said, "Roger," as in, "message received."
#3: Hello! This is Roger! What message?
#4: Just drop it, Roger. How did they let you become a pilot with that name, anyway? Leader to Ozark 2 and 3... We're heading into Sector 17. Keep your eyes peeled...
#5: This is Ozark 2. Roger!
#6: Yes? This is Roger! You called?
PANEL 2: Aaaaah! The sky above, the ocean below... it's moments like this that make this world worth owning!
PANEL 3: Hello! Leader to Ozark 2 and 3! Six red aircraft at ten o'clock. We're approaching for visual identification...
#2: This is Ozark 2, Roger!
#3: Yes, Leo, what is it? This is Roger!
#4: Leo to Roger: &$#%@%^$%! Over!
PANEL 4: This is Roger: I don't copy your code, Leo!
#2: The only marking I see on these things is a white "Z" -- I'm calling HQ...
PANEL 5: A "Z"? What in blue blazes is that -- Zimbabwe air force, out on maneuvers? Get them to land near Smallville, and we'll give 'em a little briefing on the ins and outs of international air space.
#2: This is control...
PANEL 6: Fighter jets to unidentified aircraft: You do not carry internationally recognized markings. You are instructed to land at once for identification... Do you copy?
PANEL 7: Olleh! Olleh! Bulgroz ot lla tfarcria! Time yar-groz, muidem esod!
#2, 3, 4: Liah Bulgroz!
PANEL 8: Fighter jets to unknown aircraft: Did not copy. Please speak more clearly!