Sunday, September 27, 2015

Quadrinhos em Português 1: Private Eye

It's been some time since I last spoke about Brian K. Vaughan & Marcos Martin's digital comic book series Private Eye. During this interval, the series wrapped itself up after ten installments and it's been announced that a print collection is forthcoming - but seriously, when you can purchase the entire book for whatever price you like (even free) from their website, why bother with print?

Besides my adoration for the artwork of Marcos Martin, my interest was drawn to Private Eye by the presence of their Portuguese-language translations. Insofar as comic books did so much to help teach me how to read, I thought a Portuguese comic book would be a fun teaching aid. At this point in my attempt to learn the language I've exhausted all of the material provided by my employer's Continuing Education program and thus must educate myself.

I know some armchair quarterbacks on the internet are offering opinions as to whether bringing Private Eye to print is an admission of failure on the part of Vaughan & Martin. For myself, I spent a long time completely disengaged from the series because I forgot it was being published; that's the only real flaw I can see with the model they adopted - that it requires you to frequent their home page on a regular basis to keep up with the story.

Private Eye turned out to be a pretty simple story. Given the title of the series and the occupation of the protagonist I was led to believe it would be a detective series - but no, not really. There was a question as to what the villain was after, but was not much more than a MacGuffin. The story constantly shifted perspectives to show what the villains were doing so the protagonist basically played catch-up for ten chapters. It's a futuristic crime thriller, not a futuristic mystery.

One odd effect of the translation was that a pair of French assassins whose dialogue was printed in English with in the original were, naturally, translated into Portuguese for that version. However, the few times in which the duo spoke French in the original remained French in the translation. It all works, but it does make one wonder: how would a French version solve that issue?

In this scene above, Marcos Martin gave the lead female character a half-page panel to show off her outfit. The first time I read it I assumed the enlarged panel was intended to establish how taken the protagonist was with her beauty - but later, he turns out to be gay. So why the large panel? For the benefit of male readers? Or the benefit of Martin?

More thoughts about Portuguese-language comic books over the next two days.

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