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Blake & Mortimer: The Cinebook Publications

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george
Member
#31 · Posted: 10 Oct 2008 08:43
2Orangy4Crows:

Yeah, given that B&M seem to be selling well, I'd hoped they might increase the release rate.

I guess they have a business model that works and I'd hate to see them go under (especially given the straightened times) as they're the only publisher covering this sector. To be honest they've done better than I expected. I thought we'd have another Glo'Worm or Fantasy Flight (both of whom covered Lucky Luke actually)

I'd really love to see more of the 'classics' come out. Talking of which, here's the relevant quote:

I asked about the chances of reprinting Valerian (Tone's a big fan) and he said that they often listen to reader suggestion and enquiries at the Bristol con had led to them acquiring the rights to the series, which will start an estimated 10-year publishing schedule from 2010. I then asked about Don Lawrence's esteemed Storm series but he had not heard of it, so he asked me to drop him a line and he'd look into it (which I did earlier).

Which is from this blog. Fingers crossed - 2010 is feeling a long way off!

George
2Orangy4Crows
Member
#32 · Posted: 12 Oct 2008 16:55
george:
I guess they have a business model that works and I'd hate to see them go under (especially given the straightened times) as they're the only publisher covering this sector. To be honest they've done better than I expected.

I must admit that the expansion of the range, while welcome, has me a bit worried that they might overreach themselves. Valerian has been the kiss of death for a few publishers - Dargaud-USA, Fantasy Flight, iBooks - so I hope this isn't going to be the case this time!

Read The Francis Blake Affair today. Very enjoyable. Up to now I've never bothered with the non-Jacobs books. They've really gone out of the way to ape Jacobs' style from the dense dialog and description boxes to the artwork but still manage to tell an exciting story. For the first time it's made me wonder if a similar approach could be made to work with Tintin.
george
Member
#33 · Posted: 17 Oct 2008 19:18 · Edited by: george
2Orangy4Crows:
Valerian has been the kiss of death for a few publishers - Dargaud-USA, Fantasy Flight, iBooks

Did Fantasy Flight do any Valerian? My book shelves are all over the place so I can't check.

My favourite Kiss of Death series is The Towers of Bois-Maury, the first volume of which has had three separate English-language printings, but the series has never succeeded beyond volume 2 (although there's a feeling I have that there might been B&W comic-sized versions)

That Van Hamme/Benoit Blake and Mortimer really does have the feel of a EP Jacobs one, if not, ultimately, the right feel. I'm not too upset that they're releasing another of there's as it was a fun adventure, albeit redolent of The 39 Steps.

Talking of Benoit, he's in London in a few weeks at the Comica event

George
george
Member
#34 · Posted: 23 Jan 2009 09:09
2Orangy4Crows:
I'm sure Lucky Luke is coming out a rate of about 4-5 books per year.

I think Lucky Luke is coming out even faster than that. Looking at the 2009 schedule I see they have 6 books planned - bimonthly from February.

Blake & Mortimer appears to be 'stuck' (if that's the right word) at two volumes a year; this year we get 'The Strange Encounter' (just released) and 'S.O.S. Meteors' (September); next year we have 'The Affair of the Necklace', to be followed by 'The Voronov Plot'. I imagine the B&M books are more labour intensive due to the wordiness of the original scripts (plus being 50% longer than a standard BD).

It strikes me that this means that by the end of 2010 all Jacobs completed B&M stories will have been translated in to English at some stage or other.

George
jock123
Moderator
#35 · Posted: 23 Jan 2009 13:27
Thanks for the update, George. I take it from what you are saying that cumlitively we will have English translations of all the complete Jacobs books, from the various editions over the years, but how far off are we in the current run from that target?

I take my hat off to you for the thoroughness and breadth of your information - I can hardly keep Tintin editions straight in my head, never mind all the other BD you follow!
george
Member
#36 · Posted: 23 Jan 2009 14:58
jock123:
never mind all the other BD you follow

You should see my spare room - shameful!

Yes, in total, over the years, we'll have all of his completed books translated.

Wikipedia is a good source for this, but by my reckoning we have:
'The Secret of the Swordfish' [Editions Blake & Mortimer, out-of-print]
'The Mystery of the Great Pyramid' [Editions Blake & Mortimer, out-of-print; Cinebook]
'The Yellow "M"' [Editions Blake & Mortimer, out-of-print; Cinebook]
'The Atlantis Mystery' [Comcat, out-of-print]
'S.O.S. Meteors' [Cinebook 2009]
'The Time Trap' [Comcat, out-of-print]
'The Affair of the Necklace' [Cinebook 2010]
'Professor Sató's Three Formulae' [no translation/unfinished]

So, from Cinebook's run we've got five volumes/four stories, which isn't bad. I think their 'Yellow M' and 'Pyramid' books utilised the pre-existing Editions B&M translations, which bodes well for the 'Swordfish'. The Comcat editions are wretched though, so I hope they start from scratch with those.

Actually, compared to Tintin I think B&M is pretty easy to keep track of. I'm all over the place with Tintin, and once you factor in American editions et al I end up totally lost!

George
2Orangy4Crows
Member
#37 · Posted: 24 Jan 2009 00:13
george:
Did Fantasy Flight do any Valerian? My book shelves are all over the place so I can't check.

They published "Heroes of the Equinox" as a two-part comic in black and white. Never seen a copy but a google search should turn up pictures of the ghastly covers they wrapped them in.

george:
I think Lucky Luke is coming out even faster than that. Looking at the 2009 schedule I see they have 6 books planned - bimonthly from February.

In fairness, I assume there are quite a number of Lucky Luke books that have been translated for previous publishers and so can be printed at lower cost. Even so, if they're releasing them at that rate they must be selling very well!

Still don't see why the already translated B&M books can't be used to get the release rate up though.

george:
Blake & Mortimer appears to be 'stuck' (if that's the right word) at two volumes a year;

Still doing better than Yoko Tsuno which seems to have dropped from two volumes to just one a year :(

george:
this year we get 'The Strange Encounter' (just released) and 'S.O.S. Meteors' (September); next year we have 'The Affair of the Necklace', to be followed by 'The Voronov Plot'.

Good to hear. I flipped through "The Voronov Plot" in a bookstore when I was on holidays last summer and thought it looked interesting.

george:
I imagine the B&M books are more labour intensive due to the wordiness of the original scripts (plus being 50% longer than a standard BD).

True. Most translators that I've dealt with charge per hundred words so B&M must be expensive to produce!

george:
The Comcat editions are wretched though, so I hope they start from scratch with those.

I've never seen the Comcat books: what's wrong with them?
george
Member
#38 · Posted: 24 Jan 2009 13:52
2Orangy4Crows:

george:
Did Fantasy Flight do any Valerian? My book shelves are all over the place so I can't check.

They published "Heroes of the Equinox" as a two-part comic in black and white. Never seen a copy but a google search should turn up pictures of the ghastly covers they wrapped them in.

Ah, right, I didn't realise they went down the route of individual comics. I once read a really interesting interview with the guy who runs Fantasy Flight (they still exist but not as a comic publisher) that covered all the problems they had with their publications.

2Orangy4Crows:

george:
I think Lucky Luke is coming out even faster than that. Looking at the 2009 schedule I see they have 6 books planned - bimonthly from February.

In fairness, I assume there are quite a number of Lucky Luke books that have been translated for previous publishers and so can be printed at lower cost. Even so, if they're releasing them at that rate they must be selling very well!

Still don't see why the already translated B&M books can't be used to get the release rate up though.

I'm guessing that they will; the first three B&M books they released utilised the pre-existing 80s translations. It may just be a case of cash-flow, or perhaps they feel that the three or so volumes (in total) that they release each month has a good enough balance between 'classics' and the more modern titles they put out.

I've a feeling that Cinebook are pretty much a one-man show, with a number of freelance translators. Given the limited amount of time available to an individual, the spread probably works well for them.

2Orangy4Crows:

george:
Blake & Mortimer appears to be 'stuck' (if that's the right word) at two volumes a year;

Still doing better than Yoko Tsuno which seems to have dropped from two volumes to just one a year :(

Which is a shame. I have god children that I like to buy comics for. Tintin (of course!) and Asterix are reliable. It'd be nice to have another solid adventure series, especially one with a strong female lead, to fall back on.

2Orangy4Crows:

george:
this year we get 'The Strange Encounter' (just released) and 'S.O.S. Meteors' (September); next year we have 'The Affair of the Necklace', to be followed by 'The Voronov Plot'.

Good to hear. I flipped through "The Voronov Plot" in a bookstore when I was on holidays last summer and thought it looked interesting.

george:
I imagine the B&M books are more labour intensive due to the wordiness of the original scripts (plus being 50% longer than a standard BD).

True. Most translators that I've dealt with charge per hundred words so B&M must be expensive to produce!

george:
The Comcat editions are wretched though, so I hope they start from scratch with those.

I've never seen the Comcat books: what's wrong with them?

Maybe I'm being a bit harsh, but I'm so glad that the licence is currently sitting with a publisher who is sympathetic to the original books. The Comcat ones had an odd feel to them, almost like they'd been translated through a third language. That was true for a lot of the books put out by Catalan (the parent imprint). One particular piece sticks in my craw was a scene where they have Mortimer exclaims "Jeez!" rather than something more in character, such as "goodness!" of "by jove!"

If anyone has seen the cartoon versions of B&M you'll know what I mean. There they've had the courtesy at least to dub Mortimer with a Scottish accent. Blake, on the other hand, that son of the empire, speaks with a lovely east coast American voice!

George
blistering_barnacles
Member
#39 · Posted: 1 Apr 2009 23:41
For the Time Trap at least they could use the translation provided in the Blake and Mortimer CD-ROM pack. I've no idea of the translation quality though, it could just be the Comcat version.
george
Member
#40 · Posted: 11 Oct 2009 15:45
Well, 'S.O.S. Meteors' is here and it is a joy to look at. I've never read a synopsis of the story (that I recall) so I'm pleasantly surprised that it isn't a hard sci-fi story, at least not in the way the cover would indicate. Instead, thus far at least as I've still to finish it, it leans more on the espionage/crime side of story telling.

The weather plays a big part in the story which allows Jacobs to really go to town with rain and snow scenes. And, of course, the book is packed full of 1950s cars.

There's an interesting preview at the back for 'The Necklace Affair', chronologically two books later, and eight years down the line. The art appears to be a lot more open, taking up more space, and with fewer words. It *almost* looks American, although so far as I can tell the only real difference is fewer panels per line. At least based on a two-page snap-shot.

I wish there was more (or anything!) in English about Jacobs are the original publication of his stories. I always wonder what these mature artists due in the years between volumes. How do they pay the bills? How do they pay for their studios?

George

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