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Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, March 09, 1958, Image 200

Image and text provided by Library of Congress, Washington, DC

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045462/1958-03-09/ed-1/seq-200/

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Around the World With Newspaper Comics
IF YOU are one of the 100 million Americans that
read newspaper comics, you may be surprised to
learn that pretty much the same strips and panels
are enjoyed by another 100 million people in other
parts of the world.
It is a fact that, for every newspaper reader in
the United States that laughs at, say, Beetle Bailey
or Mutt and Jeff, or thrills to the adventures of
Kerry Drake or Juliet Jones, there is another reader
in another country reacting the same way to the
same comic Thus, American comics have become
ambassadors in the cold-war struggle to win friends
and influence people in foreign lands. And that
is why the Newspaper Comics Council has made
“Around the World With Newspaper Comics” the
theme of International Newspaper Comics Week,
which starts today.
The influence of our comics has become so
great that the United States Information Agency
is using them as a propaganda medium. Not
only do the comics you read serve to acquaint
peoples abroad with the American way of life,
but others, drawn especially for the purpose, are
carrying the torch of democracy around the globe.
The USIA’s Picture History of the United States,
for example, has been produced in 12 languages
besides English (Arabic, Burmese, Chinese, Farsi,
Indonesian, Korean, Kurdish, Portuguese, Serbo-
Crotian. Spanish, Urdu and Vietnamese), and many
of the 2.6 million copies printed so far are being
used as textbooks.
Os course, adapting your favorite comics to
foreign languages and mores is not without its
Editor of Sunday, The Btar Magazine

A Mutt and Jeff strip, for instance, had Mutt
reclining in a flowering countryside, composing
limericks based upon the beauties and joys of the
season. Then and there, translators in 20 tongues
had to turn poets and compose suitable verses.
And June, moon and spoon don’t rhyme in all
Another strip’s humor centered around, the
Irish brogue of a policeman. For Latin Americans,
the brogue had to be translated into a Galician
accent, because our Southern neighbors’ equivalent
of our Irish immigration is from Galicia in Northern
Spain. Other countries had to resort to similar
Still another strip had its hero embroiled in
the intrigues of a Latin American dictatorship.
To avoid offending Spanish-speaking readers, the
translator changed the locale to a country whose
particular brand of dictatorship few Latins admire
—the Soviet Union.
Even where the language is theoretically the
same—namely, the British Isles—a certain amount
of translating is required. Such expressions as
“elevator” (lift), “subway” (underground), “street
car” (trami, “gas” (petrol) and “truck" (lorry) are
incomprehensible to many of our British cousins.
When the hero of an adventure strip running in
the London Express remarked, “I will go out and
butter up some of the key peasants," editors and
readers alike were nonplussed.
Nevertheless, American comics are published
widely in Britain, and their popularity is said to
be growing. Juliet Jones, tor one, is reported to be
followed avidly by British readers.
On the other hand, Britain’s favorite home
grown funnies have not fared too well in this
country. The London Mirror’s popular Jane, a girl
that manages to get down to bra and panties at
least once a week in the public prints, failed
dismally in the United States. "I’m afraid,” a
British source laments, “the lady wears too few
clothes for American readers.”
Actually, the clothes—or the lack thereof—have
nothing to do with it. Our own Mopsy, Life’s Like
That, On Stage and Fritzi Ritz frequently show
pretty girls in various stages of undress, but this
has not dimmed their popularity. The trouble is
that the same things aren’t funny everywhere. A
Mexican editor, for example, confronted by a comic
character assembling a bedtime snack, commented:
“We do not see anything funny in raiding the
icebox at night.”
Translators have long since learned that mate
rial that ridicules or misrepresents a people’s way
of life is taboo. A case in point is a strip, destined
for publication in Mexico, that showed a glamour
girl rescuing a frightened torero from a bull ring.
Even as a joke, such an incident is inconceivable
to a Mexican and a blow to his pride. Nevertheless,
95 per cent of all the comics published in Mexico
come from this side of the border.
Editors Press Service and King Features Syn
dicate, between them, supply American strips and
panels in more than 30 tongues to about 2,000
publications in more than 100 foreign lands. Other
major distributors include the Chicago Tribune-
New York News, Hall, McNaught, National, Pub
' lishers and United Feature Syndicates. Among The

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