Did comics from other countries receive the same kind of "localization" as manga in the early days?

Discuss manga, especially but not limited to pre-2000 titles, and related sub-topics
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Fireminer
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Did comics from other countries receive the same kind of "localization" as manga in the early days?

Post by Fireminer »

We all know how companies like TokyoPop brazenly change the content of the manga they localized, but I just wonder if comics like other countries such as Tintin and Lucky Luke were also treated like this? Or were they translated more faithfully to the originals? I know that across the pond in Europe, Disney had their own seperate brand of Donald Duck (and other properties) comics from the American line.
runesaint
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Re: Did comics from other countries receive the same kind of "localization" as manga in the early days?

Post by runesaint »

Fireminer wrote: Wed Jun 02, 2021 7:48 pm We all know how companies like TokyoPop brazenly change the content of the manga they localized, but I just wonder if comics like other countries such as Tintin and Lucky Luke were also treated like this? Or were they translated more faithfully to the originals? I know that across the pond in Europe, Disney had their own seperate brand of Donald Duck (and other properties) comics from the American line.
I recall reading that in Mexico, they didn't like Gwen Stacy dying in Spider man, so she didn't...and they made their own Spider man comics for years afterwards ..
...
ok. I just did a quick google search to link, and apparently that story is not true, but the truth is weirder, so here you go
https://www.cbr.com/spider-man-mexican- ... ad-killed/
Then there were the 'black smurfs' that were turned purple ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Purple_Smurfs )
Those were two stories that occurred to me offhand.
-R
davemerrill
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Re: Did comics from other countries receive the same kind of "localization" as manga in the early days?

Post by davemerrill »

I'm pretty sure that the Tintin we got in the United States was the same as Tintin in the UK, which is to say we got the same set of changes from the French version. I've never read Lucky Luke so I can't speak to that.

I do have some UK reprints of American comics where American terms are changed to British terms - "flashlight" becomes "torch", "gasoline" becomes "Petrol", etc.

America doesn't really have a history of imported comics; Japanese manga was the first time large numbers of foreign comics were translated and marketed in the US. Other nations really didn't have the American model of a 32 page pamphlet sold monthly, so there wasn't a lot of material from any country that could easily be packaged into that format. Mad Magazine would occasionally run humor strips from European and Asian cartoonists in the 1960s and 1970s. I don't believe any of the Warren magazines (Creepy, Eerie etc) or their imitators reprinted foreign comics.

Some of the underground publishers reprinted French and European comics, but never more than a few issues.

From the UK, IPC's title 2000 AD moved into the US market in the 1980s - around the same time manga did - with monthly comics that reprinted 2000 AD strips like Judge Dredd, Robo Hunter, Strontium Dog, etc., but a lot of production work went into fitting the black and white, wider-format British comics into the full color, narrower size of American newsstand comics. And of course they didn't need to be translated.
Fireminer
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Re: Did comics from other countries receive the same kind of "localization" as manga in the early days?

Post by Fireminer »

davemerrill wrote: Thu Jun 03, 2021 5:01 pm I'm pretty sure that the Tintin we got in the United States was the same as Tintin in the UK, which is to say we got the same set of changes from the French version. I've never read Lucky Luke so I can't speak to that.

I do have some UK reprints of American comics where American terms are changed to British terms - "flashlight" becomes "torch", "gasoline" becomes "Petrol", etc.

America doesn't really have a history of imported comics; Japanese manga was the first time large numbers of foreign comics were translated and marketed in the US. Other nations really didn't have the American model of a 32 page pamphlet sold monthly, so there wasn't a lot of material from any country that could easily be packaged into that format. Mad Magazine would occasionally run humor strips from European and Asian cartoonists in the 1960s and 1970s. I don't believe any of the Warren magazines (Creepy, Eerie etc) or their imitators reprinted foreign comics.

Some of the underground publishers reprinted French and European comics, but never more than a few issues.

From the UK, IPC's title 2000 AD moved into the US market in the 1980s - around the same time manga did - with monthly comics that reprinted 2000 AD strips like Judge Dredd, Robo Hunter, Strontium Dog, etc., but a lot of production work went into fitting the black and white, wider-format British comics into the full color, narrower size of American newsstand comics. And of course they didn't need to be translated.
So, were the radical changes we saw in manga (and anime) back in the 90s and early 00s really that abnormal even in America?

Secondly, is the difference in format really the only thing preventing entertainment from other countries to go into America? You can occasionally find opinion pieces of people complaining that most Americans consume only American entertainment (and therefore uncurious about anything beyond their borders), unlike other countries where the demands for imports were much higher.
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Re: Did comics from other countries receive the same kind of "localization" as manga in the early days?

Post by davemerrill »

Honestly I don't know that I would use the word "radical" to describe the changes made to manga and anime when imported into the US in the 1990s. Certainly nothing got altered the way Gatchaman did when it was turned into Battle Of The Planets in the 1970s, or the way Macross/Southern Cross/Mospeada were combined into Robotech in the 1980s, or the merging of Captain Harlock and Queen Millennia into one show.

What's the most extreme example of changes made to a manga or anime in the 1990s or 2000s? Sailor Moon had some changes made, but at least they didn't animate new sequences involving robot mascots.

For the most part, the reason foreign entertainment wasn't imported into the US is that it simply wasn't profitable. Foreign media, which frequently was produced in different formats, programmed for different show lengths and different production values, and even for different transmission standards (PAL vs NTSC vs SECAM, etc) has to be translated, dubbed or re-lettered, and sold into a publishing or broadcasting market that was already filled with domestic product sponsored by domestic advertisers.

The United States is a big country with a lot of people, it spent the 20th century building a communications infrastructure and producing media to fill that infrastructure. It's no surprise domestic media would take up most of the bandwidth. In an industry as incongruously small as the American comic book industry, the profit in importing foreign media simply wasn't there, until manga became a thing in the late 1990s.

It's a lot easier to localize things now - individuals can re-letter a manga or fan-sub a TV show at home and then send it to whoever wants it, which is simply not a thing that was going to happen in the 1950s or 1960s or 1970s or 1980s or 1990s.

That's not to say America didn't get any foreign media. Italian "peplum" Hercules-type movies, Japanese monster films, Mexican wrestling movies, European spy pictures, British horror movies and TV comedies and the occasional children's show, and 15 or 20 years' worth of martial arts films from Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Japan all played in American theaters and on American television. And of course, UK musical acts have had tremendous success in America.
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