Black Odyssey is told in three episodes (issues), each of which is presented in a different language. The first issue is presented in Italian with English and French translations beneath the panels (I hesitate to call them subtitles). The second issue is in English, with French and Italian translations. Issue three is in French (quel suprise) with the relevant translations.
I absolutely loved the design of the comic and the artwork which, particularly in issue one and two, is sublime. Visually, this is a treat. Unfortunately the rest of comic is a mess. The English translation, at least, is poor and detracts from the minimal storyline that was crammed into the available space – most of which is taken up by design/concept.
As with a large percentage of non-professional translation projects what this needed was a final polish – I can only speak for the English version – by a native English speaker who is also a writer. In translation what is required is for not only the words to be converted, but also the style and the spirit of the piece. If you need an example then read anything by Gabriel Garcia Marquez – particularly Love in the Time of Cholera or One Hundred Years of Solitude – written in Spanish but translated into beautiful English that truly honoured the original rather than merely rendering the words into a foreign language.
The story-line also presents major problems, for me at least. Black Odyssey is a retelling of the Odyssey (bet you guessed that already) but with Odysseus recast as a selfish, wandering villain, for no good reason that I can detect. It is also suffused with elements of soft porn, escalating by issue three – the art example presented is one of the few relevant spreads (no pun intended but it may serve as a hint as to what’s missing) that could be considered inoffensive to a general audience – into an excuse for drawing intimate body parts that service everything but the story (pun intended).
I wish I could heartily recommend this valiant effort but unfortunately it is fatally flawed, not by the adult content but by the story and translation.
Issue One: Marra . Cremonesi
Issue Two: Coelho . Sergi
Issue Three: Poncelet . Barone