Amalou Lights
Lost Moors
Third Testament

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Latest release: Amalou v2c2 (2006/07/03)

 

This page is meant to present my humble work at translating french comics (also known as "BD") into english, and bring them to the rest of the world who, more than often, even have little idea that such a thing as french comics do exist.

Well it does, mind you.

Some of you may have heard of Tintin, or even Asterix. Two relatively famous comics from the french-belgian school, that have spread all over the world. That's right. But Tintin was created in 1930. And his creator, Hergé, died in 1983...

What I'm proposing here are contemporary comics. And more precisely, since I'm not doing it only for the sake of some misplaced pride, comics that I like =), generally aimed to an adult audience (and no, I don't mean what you think I mean).

There are tons of interesting comics that I like, actually... and alas I have very little time to devote to the job. So please forgive me in advance for a necessarilly partial view.

 

 

Complainte des Landes Perdues (Ballad of the Lost Moors)

Pencils: Rosinski            Scenario: Dufaux

This is my first scanlation project.

You could classify it as a "celtic" comic. Imagine England, or Bretagne, during the High Middle Age. An age of incessant wars between small kingdoms scattered across a land lost in mists. An age where the old ways are still those of the rulers, and where magic hasn't completely disappeared from the hearts of the men.

This is the scenery in which we meet Sioban, a young girl whose father died long ago, and whose mother is about to marry her uncle, Lord Blackmore, that she hates.

The story is divided into 4 Volumes of about 60 pages each, namely Sioban, Lord Blackmore, Dame Gerfaut and Kyle of Klanach, which you can all find just below!

Volume 1 - Sioban Part 1 - up to page 20. Part 2 - up to page 39. Part 3 - up to the end.
Volume 2 - Lord Blackmore Part 1 - up to page 19. Part 2 - up to page 42. Part 3 - up to the end.
Volume 3 - Dame Gerfaut Part 1 - up to page 17. Part 2 - up to page 34. Part 3 - up to the end.
Volume 4 - Kyle of Klanach Part 1 - up to page 17. Part 2 - up to page 37. Part 3 - up to the end.
 

Update (09 2003):
Well well well... Guess what, that's it! I've actually completed this project I started almost a year ago on a whim, and I must say I'm pretty amazed at myself. O.o
I do hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed working on it. And with that said... I wish you a pleasant last walk in the lost moors... And see you soon!

Note (01 2004):
I recently noticed that Manga-Sketchbook had translated another great story drawn by Rosinski: Chninkel. It's a one-shot in black and white, sort of a philosophical tale in a fantasy setting... If you liked the art in Ballad of the Lost Moors, I invite you to check it out! ^.^ You can find it here.
I believe it was translated from the finnish version, but it looks good to me.

Update (05 2004):
I've read recently in a newspaper that a new Lost Moors series is in the works - with different authors though. From what I could grasp, it should be centered around Seamus when he was still a young knight-of-mercy. I'll keep you informed when I know more... ^^

Update (12 2004):
Some news! The 5th volume of Ballad of the Lost Moors has been out for a couple of months now. I've read it, of course. :) As I mentioned in the previous update, the story is centered around young Seamus when he was a novice in the order of the Knights of Mercy. The scenario is still written by Dufaux, and the drawings are done by Delaby, whom I know only for his historical series Murena. Well his style certainly is different from Rosinski's. On the whole I found it not as bewitching as the original cycle - pun intended. We're back to Eruin Dulea all right, but it feels like the magic is not as potent, the story not as deep-rooted into the heart of the land... But then again maybe it's just me. Here are some links to the cover and first page of the book, so that you can get a more precise idea of what I'm talking about. If you'd like to see this translated nonetheless, drop a word in the guestbook!

 

 

Le Troisième Testament (The Third Testament)

Pencils: Alice            Scenario: Dorison

Introducing one of the most succesful series of those last few years, which contributed to invent the genre that is now called "Catholic Fantasy". If you've seen the movie "Name of the Rose", you'll be close to knowing what I'm talking about... :)

This story takes place in the year 1307, and starts in France with the mysterious slaughter of a whole monastery, soon after some very old scrolls were discovered there, buried in a forgotten crypt.

Meet Elisabeth D'Elsenor, foster daughter to the archbishop of Paris, and Conrad of Marbourg, former member of the Inquisition, as they are swallowed in what seems at first to be a case of mass-murdering, but will soon reveal itself to be part of a greater scheme, that could even shake the bases of the whole christian world!

The series is divided into 4 volumes, each named after a Gospel: Mark, Matthew, Luke and John. As I gained experience and learned new tricks the quality of the scans slowly increased throughout the chapters, so all pages might not be consistent in size or filtering, but I'm too lazy to change them all again. :)

Volume 1 - Mark, The Lion Awakens Part 1 - up to page 15. Part 2 - up to page 28. Part 3 - up to the end.
Volume 2 - Matthew, The Angel's Face Part 1 - up to page 15. Part 2 - up to page 30. Part 3 - up to the end.
Volume 3 - Luke, The Bull's Breath Part 1 - up to page 19. Part 2 - up to page 38. Part 3 - up to the end.
Volume 4 - John, The Day of the Crow Part 1 - up to page 25. Part 2 - up to page 48. Part 3 - up to the end.
 

Note (02 2004):
Someone recently contacted me to offer their help with this project. What will come out of it, we'll see. ^^ But I thought maybe it would be a good idea to make a point on that matter: I do not need help with the actual translations. Translations are by far the less time-consuming part of the whole scanlation process. Besides, unlike your everyday translations, those have to fit into the balloons, which is a often a heavy restraint to what one can do.
However, if you would like to help with the scanning, or image editing (I'm very picky :p), feel free to offer your help!
Same goes if you want *my* help with starting a project of your own... This isn't very likely to happen but who knows... ^^

Update (06 2004):
Volume 04 is a bit larger than the previous ones, and it contains quite a bit more text as well. Well, either that or I'm getting tired. ^^; Anyway, that means it'll take even longer than usual to get a chapter ready. Sorry folks!
Still we're getting close to the conclusion, and I may need to think about what to do next... I have a few titles in mind already, but I need to consider carefully all the aspects before I choose. Like the ease of scanning (over-sized pages) - or availability as scans, the graphical editing needed in case of sfx all over, the number of language-specific or cultural references which would be a pain to translate...
Anyway. I will probably pick a handful and do a few pages for each of them, and make a poll out of it or something. Meanwhile if some of you have some special wishes, feel free to post them in the guestbook. Not like it's getting much used. ^^

Update (12 2004):
A new chapter at long last! I would apologize for the delay, but there's not much point in that is there? :p
For this chapter I've tried a new picture size, limiting the width to 1024 pixels (and thus cutting the file size in half). I'll appreciate any feedback on this. If it looks too cheap to you, please let me know! If everyone is pleased with this, I'll recompress all the previous chapters, because webspace is getting scarce. ^^ As for when the final chapter will be ready... Folks, I wish I knew. Doesn't look like free time is going to be something I'll enjoy much in the coming months, but I'll try my best.
PS: See also the Lost Moors section for another update!

Update (03 2005):
This is it, I'm done with The Third Testament! I bet you weren't expecting it so "soon" after my last update... ;)
Well, for one thing I discovered a new and more efficient way to clean the scans with photoshop which greatly reduced the hassle previously inherent to that part, and also this final chapter contains quite a few pages without any dialogue. And then, I had a weekend away from home with only my laptop to keep me company. ^^
I resized part 1 of the fourth volume to be consistent with the rest, according to what I announced in the previous update, so you may want to grab it again as well. Feel free to post your impressions in the (new and improved!) guest book, as well as anything you'd like to see me take on next... I'm not quite certain when that will happen, but I'm pretty sure it will at some point. I'll probably need to redesign this page too... put in some fancy tabbing system or something. Keep stopping by from time to time! ^^

Update (08 2005):
Well well... Great news! But let me tell you a story first...
Some time ago I was contacted by an editor in Hong Kong asking if they could use my translations of The Third Testament for a commercial release. Needless to say I was more than intrigued. A few mails later, it turned out this was a very official project and that the book was actually already on pre-order at amazon! So I went with it and gave my accord. And today... today I received four samples of the first volume in the mail, where I'm credited as translator. The books come as hard-covers with a dust jacket, and use a very thin kind of glossy paper for all the pages. All this for under $10. Quite nice indeed!
Obviously this means a lot for me: thanks to my work, this awesome series has been noticed and is now getting an official release in the north-american market. If it is succesful (and it can only be, right?), more could follow... and I may actually have reached my goal to make french comics known. Just how cool would that be? :)
Anyway, if you're interested, check it out here. To support this initiative, I will be taking the respective chapters offline as soon as the books become available. Eventually I will only keep the first chapter of the first volume online, to still allow people a taste of what they can get. The more people who buy this stuff, the more likely you are to get more!

Note (02 2006):
It recently came to my attention that the character of Conrad of Marbourg is far from entirely fictional. "Conrad of Marburg" was apparently a very prominent inquisitor in Germany at the beginning of the XIIIth century, confessor of St. Elisabeth of Hungary. It is also reported that he and his assistant Gherard Lutzelkolb were murdered for the crusade they were preaching against heretic nobles, and in particular the Count of Sayn. You can read all about it on the net, for example here. Many of you had probably already made the connection, but hey, learn something new everyday. ;)

 

 

Les Lumières de l'Amalou (Amalou Lights)

Pencils: Wendling            Scenario: Gibelin

From the acclaimed illustrator Claire Wendling and talentuous writer Christophe Gibelin, here comes a five-part graphic novel which is really one of a kind...

The story takes place in what seems to be an almost normal 19th century world -- except that two intelligent species appear to be cohabitating, humans and ferrets. We follow the rather brutal arrival of two ferrets airplane adventurers, Andrea and his manservant Elwood, onto an island in the middle of the Amalou river (pronounce Ah-Mah-Loo).

There, two small communities of ferrets and humans - or transparents, as they call themselves - live in a forced autarky. Indeed, there appears to be no way off the island... as well as many a mystery waiting to be uncovered. Little do our two gentlemen know that their curiosity will eventually lead them to the edge of the world and beyond, to the Kingdom of the Great Oak where legends take flesh...

Now read on!

Volume 1 - Theo Part 1 - up to page 15. Part 2 - up to page 30. Part 3 - up to the end.
Volume 2 - The Puppet Part 1 - up to page 13.  Part 2 - up to page 30. Part 3 - in progress...
Volume 3 - The Twisted Village
Volume 4 - Gouals
Volume 5 - Ashes
 

Update (05 2005):
The start of a new series! After many sleepless nights of consideration (hum...), I finally decided on Amalou Lights. Contrary to the other two, this one is not Medieval Fantasy, but it should still appeal to you all. ^__^ Well, maybe not at first, but believe me it gets even better as the story progresses, and you ought to give it at least a shot. Claire Wendling is the winner of a great many awards, and even had a whole exposition dedicated to her at Angoulême 2004 (for those who don't know, Angoulême is probably the biggest european comics and graphic arts festival, held every year). This is her only complete and coherent graphic novel, and a really masterpiece in my opinion. In the later volumes -- if I ever get there! -- the Cafou (Kah-foo) cat will have you drool, or your money back. :)
In fact, why this hasn't already been claimed by some english comics publisher is beyond me...
Anyway, until this happens, all opinions on this introductory chapter are welcome!

Note (05 2005):
I am not alone anymore! A manga translation team was inspired by my modest example and started translating BD's as well. How cool is that? :D Their name is Mangass Genesis and they've released the first volume of "La Geste des Chevaliers Dragons", which roughly translates to "Tales of the Dragon Knights order". As you might have guessed this is heroic fantasy, with stunning pencil work by Angelo Varanda, and a real story to boot. No, really. ^^ I don't know if they will release the two other existing volumes though...
On another note, I will be looking for clean covers for the next Amalou volumes. I own the collector edition and as much as I love it, the original single covers are no part of it. If any happy owner reads this, please grab your scanner and help me out. ^^

Update (02 2006):
At long last, another chapter! No, I haven't given up yet. ;) I should be able to work on this more regularly from now on, so expect the beginning of volume 2 in less than 6 months. *cough* No, really, it's a promise. That said, I am still missing a decent scan of the front cover for volumes 2 and up, so if one of you happen to be able to provide it... I'll be really grateful. :)

 

 

 

 

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Disclaimer: I am doing this scanlation work on my free time, as a hobby. I do not make money or get any advantages out of it - actually, it costs me the hosting fees. I researched the current status of the titles I'm proposing to the best of my ability before starting to translate them myself: As far as I can tell, there are no plans to bring them to the english language market anytime soon. Of course, would any rightholder to these titles contact me and ask for their removal from my server, I will immediately comply. My purpose here is not to rob anyone of their work, but to help spread the idea that french "BDs" are worth noticing, through series I personally enjoy. And from what I can see, there is still a lot of work in that direction...
Oh, and I know I suck at web design. But I don't have time to learn fancy tricks.