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La Lanterne verte – Green Lantern (Pop Magazine) #1

October 17, 2011

I like seeing comics from foreign lands, in this case France (or Quebec or some other French-speaking realm). They take me back to my early youth watching francophone episodes of The Incredible Hulk beamed out of Montreal. I’m a bit ashamed to admit that my French, despite multiple years of instruction back in high school, has withered into a pathetic state of atrophy. I try now and again to hone it by picking up a Camus novel, but I always end up feeling like Kevin Nealon as the world’s worst Russian translator.

I think French comics might be the way to go. The pictures help. They’re how so many of us learn our first language, aren’t they?

This 1973 comic is (I think) Hal Jordan’s self-titled premier in the nation of vin et fromage. The Gil Kane cover is an edit of the cover from the stateside Green Lantern #61, with some re-coloring and the removal of a batch-obstructing Alan Scott. The Lantern story inside is “Green Lantern’s Wedding Day” from issue #32. In case you’re curious.

If you’ve ever wanted the Green Lantern oath rendered in French, here it is:

My French may be rusty, but that’s a really, really loose translation.

I can’t offer much in the way of insight about the contents of the comic, though I did find it slightly interesting that the character names aren’t translated, i.e. Green Lantern doesn’t become La Lanterne verte, Aquaman doesn’t become L’Homme de la Mer or some other nonsense, etc. I suppose that’s not that surprising, but I wonder how common it is to switch things up.

Speaking of Aquaman, here’s a truism: Aquaman sucks in any language. To wit:

There are certain things that you can say in French that don’t quite come out right in English. They lack the requisite verve in the Anglo-Saxon tongue and only French cuts the mustard. Je ne sais quoi, as it were. Take this Frenchification of The Flash #205’s cover. Describing the Flash as “L’homme le plus rapide du monde présent, passé et futur” might outstrip “The Fastest Man Alive”:

That’s all I’ve got. Au revoir.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Nobilone permalink
    October 19, 2011 11:41 am

    Oath translation is pretty close, actually: it lacks the original rhyme and “beat”, though. I agree that the “who worship evil’s might” part is a bit worked around: maybe too sinister at the time.

    The Flash tagline is the nearly exact translation of what appeared on F#205 cover: “The world’s fastest MEN of yesterday… today… And tomorrow!” The french version is singular (l’homme).

    Do you want some loose translations? Check for Superman in Italy during ’50s and meet “Nembo Kid”.

    • October 19, 2011 6:00 pm

      I lod you my French is rusty…

      In my defense, I did pick on the singular l’homme, a small change which turned a cover blurb into a nice description of the Flash. I feel so smart.

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