"I suppose it looks strange to you to see Superman speaking Arabic"
January 31, 2011 1:26 PM   Subscribe

"Until about 1964 most comic books in the Middle East were in either English or French.... Then a forward-looking editor began to wonder why comic books could not be translated into Arabic." Illustrated Publications, a Beirut-based company, did just that, starting with Superman. As a reporter for "Al-Kawkab Al Yawmi" he swooped into the Middle east from distant Krypton on February 4, 1964. The mild-mannered report, Clark Kent, became Nabil Fawzi, whose name roughly translated to "Noble Victory". The text of the comics was translated, but the rest of the comic looked an awful lot like the Superman of the United States, except the covers lacked context, Superman's S logo was reversed, and some of the colors were skewed in odd ways.

After Superman, there were others a man called Sobhi and a young boy called Zakkour, who at night became Batman and Robin, then The Lone Ranger, (renamed The Masked Rider), along with Tonto and Silver, on July 17, 1967. Then it was "Little Lulu," "Tarzan," and most recently, "The Flash."
posted by filthy light thief (5 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Good timing: I just read this post on a comics criticism blog about localizing Mickey Mouse for an Egyptian audience.
posted by subdee at 1:37 PM on January 31, 2011 [2 favorites]

subdee - very keen timing. The localization of Mickey looks a lot more thorough than the work with Superman that I was able to find. Well, beyond this painting of Western superheroes partaking in salaah, the Islamic prayer, though I don't think this is a sanctioned Marvel/DC crossover.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:57 PM on January 31, 2011

Superman's S logo was reversed, and some of the colors were skewed in odd ways.
posted by ignignokt at 2:10 PM on January 31, 2011

The version on the right gives the phrase "Man of Steel" disturbing new associations.
posted by Joe Beese at 2:21 PM on January 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

I think they just reversed all the images, so that the order of the frames and word balloons and the like would match the right-to-left reading order of the Arabic alphabet. This sometimes happens with English translations of Japanese manga too.
posted by ErWenn at 5:07 PM on January 31, 2011

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