Monday, September 28, 2015

Quadrinhos em Português 2: Tintin

I had a plan. The next Portuguese-language comic book in my collection was going to be Blacksad, that beloved anthropomorphic animal detective series I've blogged about so often (and which remains one of the top search results for this blog). Sure, I was tempted to try and track down Brazilian copies of the Phantom (Fantasma) on ebay, but knowing Blacksad came from Spanish creators, I realized a Portuguese copy had to exist - and indeed, it does. I found an online book vendor based in Portugal who offered international shipping, asked my Angolan relations to check over the site to ensure it was reputable, then placed my order (including copies of XIII and some Marvel super hero books). Then I sat back to wait.

I didn't have to wait very long; the vendor soon got back to inform me they were cancelling my order. Yes, they did offer international shipping, but I think they were more comfortable shipping across Europe, rather than the Great White North. I felt despondent; where could I possibly go to find a Portuguese language comic book?, as it turns out. I had completely forgotten about my old friend Tintin, whose books have, of course, been translated into every language spoken on Earth (and probably some geek has rendered them into Elvish). The USA's Amazon service includes many copies of Portugal's As Aventuras de Tintin, so I settled for a copy of Explorando a Lua (Explorers on the Moon), which is now the third Tintin book in my comics library: one in English, one in French and one in Portuguese - each one a different story!

I realized early on in life that Tintin was a "respectable" comic book; after all, only he and Asterix were elected worthy to reside not only upon the shelves of my junior high school library, but in the esteemed public library as well! (we did possess one copy of the Smithsonian Book of Comic Book Comics in the junior high library but it was reference-only). I believe I read every Tintin book before the end of junior high.

The first thing I did upon bending back the cover of Explorando a Lua was to hunt for Thompson & Thomson. Well aware that the duo were renamed from nation to nation while retaining the same joke (surnames which are homonyms), I quickly found in Portugal the duo are known as... Dupond & Dupont. That is to say, the original French names. Noting that Snowy was likewise named Milou as in the original pages, I wonder if perhaps the old practice of renaming the characters for each culture has been abandoned, with present-day translations seeking closer fidelity to the French originals (except for in North America where, no doubt, the Snowy and Thompson & Thomson monikers will endure).

One advantage to reading a Tintin book from Portugal is that it uses the version of Portuguese practiced in Angola by my relatives. The disadvantage is that the European version is extremely unpopular in North American so my texts, classes and apps have all been teaching me the Brazilian grammar and pronunciation. Largely it doesn't make a difference but there are moments where I'm taken aback to find phrases structured in a way other than how my Brazilian instructor guided me.

Overall I've been finding that comic books being largely conversational, my skills have been seriously challenged by the informal manners of speech found in Portuguese comics. This is good! I can probably study them for years as my fluency improves!

Three cheers for the ubiquitous Tintin! One more entry on Portuguese comics tomorrow!

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