houbanaut: (Default)
[personal profile] houbanaut posting in [community profile] scans_daily

Here are a few bits from one of my favorite Spirou stories, in which Spirou and Fantasio visit the Soviet Union.


Spirou à Moscou ("Spirou in Moscow," by Tome & Janry) came out in 1990, just around the time of the fall of communism in Europe, though it was written before the Berlin wall came down. It takes place in the late 80s atmosphere of glasnost and perestroika; as one character says, "Cold War is over." Still, the Soviet Union clearly remains a police state.

This book is a favorite of mine for the way it mixes thrilling action and absurd comedy, like a cross between James Bond and Airplane! When you think the Russian stereotypes have gone as far over the top as possible, Tome & Janry push them one step further. In this scanlation, I've tried to do the jokes justice.

The story follows closely after the last book, La vallée des bannis. Exhausted from their ordeal in the Himalayas, Spirou and Fantasio are about to go on holiday to Tahiti (which will lead them to the adventure told in the next book, Vito la Déveine). But at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, they are drugged and abducted...

(13 pages out of 44)

(See what I said about Russian stereotypes? To keep things balanced, one of the French soldiers seems to be attacking with a baguette.)

Once Spirou and Fantasio realize that the colonel was telling the truth, they demand to be taken back: "We want nothing to do with this Chicago-style hot-dog from the sky business! Turn the plane around!" "With empty fuel tanks?" he answers.

(I really only included this page for the nice shot of them walking from the plane, Fantasio looking grim. The reveal that the one hostage is colonel Marechal's son is also pretty funny: I like the idea that this is a completely unauthorized operation that he and Charbonnier are running on their own. At the end, of course, we find out that the other hostage is Charbonnier's daughter.)

(Love that panorama view of Moscow!)

Their new KGB handler, colonel Lafidmerev, explains the mission they've been recruited for. The Russian mob is out of control. The people demand that the government do something about it. But the KGB is powerless: the mafia has infiltrated their organization, and know their every move in advance. The leader of the Russian mob in Moscow appears to be a gangster by the name Tanaziof; he calls himself The White Prince and claims to be a descendant of the Czars, but in fact he's a westerner, and someone Spirou and Fantasio have met before...

Just as colonel Lafidmerev is explaining all this, a sniper shoots the driver, causing the car to crash. Spirou and Fantasio barely escape (the assassin thinks them dead), and find a taxi to take them to the French embassy. Now they have some time to think things over...

Zantafio! Fantasio's villainous cousin. The two heroes have thwarted his plans many times before. His schemes are often outlandish (he once set himself up as general Zantas, dictator of Palombia), but always intended to enrich himself. Before this story, he hadn't been seen for more than 15 years.

"Tanaziof" arrives unannounced to a reception at the embassy, and announces his plot: He will overthrow the Soviet leaders and make himself Czar. (Zantafio as absolute monarch: worse than communism.) His revolution will begin tomorrow at noon, when he will steal Lenin's mummy from the Lenin Mausoleum! (To show how powerless the regime is.) Colonel Lafidmerev rushes out of the hospital to oversee security.

At the reception, Tanaziof's sniper, Nikita, discovers that Spirou and Zantafio survived his assassination attempt. Terrified of what Tanaziof will do to him if he should find out, he decides to lure them into an ambush at Moscow's great open-air swimming pool, the Moskva Pool.

(By the way, it's true that the Moskva Pool was built on the site of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, which was demolished by the bolsheviks. After the Soviet Union fell, the church got permission to tear down the bath and rebuild the cathedral.)

Back to colonel Lafidmerev:

Ha ha!

Yes, Spirou and Fantasio have tailed Nikita, and disguised themselves as henchmen of the Russian mob. Spirou knows that Zantafio can't be allowed to get away with or harm the mummy: the Russians would be outraged. They need to get away. Fantasio knows a way:

They're swiftly captured, and tied up next to a bomb in the shape of a matryoshka doll.

Saved at the last second! They split up and chase through the tunnels in search of Zantafio and the mummy. And here comes the nezchan fan service:

And the final chase is on!

I'll leave it at that, and not spoil the last twist. I hope you'll all agree that it was a lot of fun.

Edit: 2-year-late update to mention that Cinebook has announced this album as an upcoming title in the back of Spirou & Fantasio: Running Scared. I look forward to seeing how their translator (probably Jerome Saincantin, who has done a good job with the other books so far in the series) renders it in English. If you happen to read this, Jerome, one bit I was quite proud of was translating "Saint Barbouz," the patron saint of KGB agents on p. 33 (where "barbouz(e)" is French for spy or spook), as "St. Narkov". You're welcome to steal that if you like it. (And for that mangled pun on the first page of my scans, I'd now probably go with something like "Tsarry, lads! Time to go!")

Date: 2010-03-26 08:29 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] lonewolf23k
About the one thing you mis-translated was that "It's time I became Tsar" joke. In French, it's a word play on the sentence "Il se fait tard" (it's getting late), with the word Tsar shoved in, making it "It's getting Tsar".

Yeah, the joke doesn't translate at all, sadly.

Date: 2010-03-27 01:03 am (UTC)
nezchan: Navis at breakfast (spirou)
From: [personal profile] nezchan
Ah, I've been eagerly waiting for this one, and it doesn't disappoint. I see what people mean when they say it was already getting dated by the time it came out, but it's still a serious hoot. I love the easy intimacy the two of them have, Spirou just hauling off and drawing all over Fantasio's face and sticking stuff on him without any explanation, and no protest at all from Fanta.

I'm also impressed at how much Brezhnev looks like Harvey Bullock from the Batman stories. Great fun all around.

I'm so tempted to do a translation of Le Rayon Noir, just for the reactions here.

Date: 2010-03-27 01:41 am (UTC)
nezchan: Navis at breakfast (Default)
From: [personal profile] nezchan
Fantasio doesn't often get to be #1 in any of the volumes as far as I know, although I know Morvin & Munuera liked him a lot, and gave him some meaty parts. Another reason to like that pair. That, and Spip generally seems at least as attached to him as he is to Spirou (sometimes even more) in their stories and most of the Tome & Janry ones.

The "next story" you're talking about, is that the one with Vito on the island?

Date: 2010-03-27 03:55 pm (UTC)
nezchan: Navis at breakfast (Default)
From: [personal profile] nezchan
Actually, he does set the tone for much of Aux Sources du Z, doesn't he? Fantasio's desire to hold on to those classic ways (embodied by his bowtie) foreshadows the return to all those classic adventures.

The absolute crack at the end notwithstanding, of course. Although I do like the gag about his first encounter with Ms. Flanners.

Re: What gives?

Date: 2010-03-27 04:02 pm (UTC)
nezchan: Navis at breakfast (Default)
From: [personal profile] nezchan
I've noticed the same thing with my Nävis translations. I suspect it's because most of us are so familiar with the Superhero comics that it's easy to comment. We know all the characters and are confident that other people do too, so it's easy to joke about Nightwing's butt or Hank Pym being creepy, but not so much about Spip's cynicism or Fantasio's goofy but oddly effective behaviour.

I suspect that people like what we post, but don't really know what to say other than "that's cool" or ask a couple of questions.

Re: What gives?

Date: 2010-03-28 07:43 am (UTC)
megaspork: "Hello Mr. Hat!" (Default)
From: [personal profile] megaspork
This is about how I stand on this. I really do like it, I'm just not sure what to say otherwise.

Re: What gives?

Date: 2010-03-27 04:46 pm (UTC)
kamino_neko: Tedd from El Goonish Shive. Drawn by Dan Shive, coloured by Kamino Neko. (Default)
From: [personal profile] kamino_neko
I'm guessing a lot of people are reading, but not commenting - I am...I just don't have a lot to say.

The same thing happens with any manga that's not psycho crack, disturbing porn, or both; most non-Superhero American comics, as well.

Re: What gives?

Date: 2010-03-29 01:25 pm (UTC)
janegray: (Default)
From: [personal profile] janegray
Personally, it's a matter of availability.

I use scans_Daily as a way to find good series/stories, this Community is like a collection of trusty advertisements to me. I read the scans and, if I love what I see, I go get the whole comic/manga.

But with French comics, it often feels like a tease: I read the scans, I love them, I check to see where I can buy the whole thing, and I find that, almost always, the books are untranslated. Or maybe they are translated in a dozen different languages, but not in Italian or English, so the scrips might as well be gibberish to me.

It feels like taking a bite of something delicious, and then being told that a single bite is all I can have :(

Date: 2010-03-27 10:56 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] arilou_skiff
Heh. I just noticed that's the rocket from Tintin's journey to the moon among those sketches :p

Date: 2010-04-04 12:55 am (UTC)
pseudo_tsuga: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pseudo_tsuga
I am pretty sure the Russian does not match up with what's translated, but other than that this is hilarious. (Bushy eyebrows everywhere!)

Date: 2010-08-26 12:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nekovale.livejournal.com
Well, I am very glad for these scans. I got interested in Spirou just a few days ago and I'm already in love, but it's difficult to find other people who like it as well, mainly because it's a french comic and it's not so well known as manga or american comics. I myself still don't know very much about it, because here in Italy just a few stories have been translated and it's practically impossible to find the other volumes in a comprehensible language for me.
So I'm really happy to see posted samples and to have the possibility to discuss a little. As I said, I don't know much about the series, but from what I read I love it, and I hope there will be more posts like this :)

That said, Fantasio in that ballerina outfit is just hilarious and wonderful.


scans_daily: (Default)
Scans Daily


Founded by girl geeks and members of the slash fandom, [community profile] scans_daily strives to provide an atmosphere which is LGBTQ-friendly, anti-racist, anti-ableist, woman-friendly and otherwise discrimination and harassment free.

Bottom line: If slash, feminism or anti-oppressive practice makes you react negatively, [community profile] scans_daily is probably not for you.

Please read the community ethos and rules before posting or commenting.

October 2017

1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18192021

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags