About Betty’s Boob

June 12th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

She lost her left breast, her job, and her man. She doesn't know it yet, but this is the best day of her life!

She lost her left breast, her job, and her man. She doesn’t know it yet, but this is the best day of her life!

Truth to tell, I didn’t have to do much translating for my latest graphic novel from BOOM! Studios’ Archaia Imprint, About Betty’s Boob, by Vero Cazot and Julie Rocheleau. The creators do some ingenious things with the silent narrative; my contributions were limited to translating a racy song for a burlesque performance midway through.

Retitled from the original Betty Boob for copyright reasons, this is an affecting story

of one woman’s painful, surreal, and oddly humorous journey following a mastectomy… a seminal work that will simultaneously inspire and surprisingly make you laugh as Betty must deal with loss and acceptance on this unforgettable journey of self-discovery.

It tells the story of the titular Betty, who

wakes up alone in a hospital room and finds herself disoriented by the body that greets her. She must face the cruel outside world obsessed with beauty standards, starting with her boyfriend, who’s having a very hard time dealing with her new look. No one seems to know what to make of this new Betty and neither does she.

The choice to do a silent narrative was informed not only by the comics medium but “references to silent movies and to American cartoons that I grew up with and still enchant me as an adult,” according to artist Rocheleau. “I couldn’t dream of a more fitting achievement for this silent and burlesque title than being adapted and published in the country of Buster Keaton and New-Burlesque,” said writer Cazot.

Caitlin Rosenberg includes it in a June review roundup at Paste:

One of a growing number of French comics and graphic novels to hit the American market in the last few years, About Betty’s Boob also joins the ranks of intimate, personal storytelling by female creators. Though it’s not autobiographical in the tradition of creators like Bechdel and Knisley, Vero Cazot and Julie Rocheleau tackle the complex and nuanced emotions that come along with breast cancer. Breast cancer is one of the most well-researched and most publicly discussed illnesses, but there aren’t many comics that confront it. The recent run of The Mighty Thor was one of the highest-profile sequential-art discussions of this kind of disease, but About Betty’s Boob is still wading into largely uncharted territory. Tackling loss and questions of femininity and identity from a comedic angle keeps the focus and agency rooted in Betty, not just her cancer or her boob, a fine line that many cancer stories fail to establish. As the book is mostly silent, the lack of dialog to translate will hopefully make the transition for English readers even smoother.

I like to think that my translations also help smooth any transition issues for English readers. After all, that’s part of the job.

Brett has an advance video review up at Graphic Policy. Here’s a book trailer  for the French original. And BOOM! has some preview pages up at their site.


Booklist Starred Review for My Beijing

June 11th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink


At Booklist, Terry Hong gives Nie Jun’s My Beijing: Four Stories of Everyday Wonder, my latest children’s graphic novel for Lerner, a starred review, calling the adventures it recounts “magically empowering”. She also singles out my work on the book (an exceedingly kind gesture given the extremely tight word count on these capsule reviews–thank you!):

Gauvin’s buoyantly translated speech bubbles exude youthful excitement and energy, with occasional explanatory asterisks that explain how Yu’er’s name translates to “fish girl,” or the literary significance of the Ming Dynastic classic, Journey to the West. Presented in sumptuous full color, Jun’s exquisite graphics—from perfect realism (a cancelled stamp) to comical specificity (Grampa’s exaggerated backside) to the “natural simplicity” of Yu’er’s own drawings—offer nonstop merriment and whimsical delight.

My Beijing, a Junior Library Guild selection, will be available in September, but paperbacks are available for preorder at Target and Amazon.

NOW OUT: Loic Locatelli-Kournwsky’s Persephone

May 22nd, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink



My latest graphic novel translation for Archaia Studios’ BOOM! Imprint is an

adaptation of the Greek myth of Demeter and her daughter Persephone, in an exciting universe that blends high fantasy adventure with visuals reminiscent of Japanese anime and 1950s American-style comics.

Persephone is an ordinary girl, which is exactly what is bothering her. She may be the adopted daughter of the famous magician Demeter, but Persephone struggles to find her place alongside such a force of nature. Driven by recurring nightmares as well as a budding curiosity, Persephone decides to explore the secrets of her birth, which everyone seems rather intent on keeping from her. With or without help, Persephone will embark on an epic adventure deep into the Underworld where she’ll discover far more than she bargained for.

Storyteller Loïc Locatelli-Kournwsky weaves a story of magic and intrigue in this stunningly rendered modern retelling of the Greek myth of Goddess Demeter and her daughter, Persephone.

There was a lot of excitement for this comic when it was first announced last December. There are preview pages at BOOM! Studios’ site, and for more depth, check out the interview with the creator there as well. At Paste, Caitlin Rosberg notes that

Though many American readers haven’t yet discovered the wealth of talent that exists in the French comics industry, a handful of publishers are doing their best to change that… Loïc Locatelli-Kournwsky, who both wrote and drew the graphic novel, was born in France and has since moved to Japan, which shows in his style. Shapes are soft and character designs focus on evoking an emotion rather than necessarily giving them a lot of detail. Fans of Miyazaki movies and titles like Amelie Flechais’s The Little Red Wolf will find familiar elements in Persephone, and with the focus on questions of family and identity, it should fit right in with some of the most popular YA and all-ages graphic novels like Raina Telgemeier’s Smile.

Nie Jun’s My Beijing at Publishers Weekly

January 30th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Two recent pieces at Publishers Weekly–Karen Springen’s article on “The Growth of Chinese Children’s Books” and Shannon Maughan’s Fall 2018 Children’s Sneak Previews–make mention of a lovely, delicate, and whimsical children’s comic I translated last summer:

Beijing 2

My editor at Lerner Graphic Universe and I went through a number of possible titles, though the powers that be eventually settled on My Beijing: Four Stories of Everyday Wonder.

Yu’er and her grandpa live in a small neighborhood in Beijing—and it’s full of big personalities. There’s a story around every corner, and each day has a hint of magic.

In one tale, Yu’er wants to swim in the Special Olympics, a sports competition for people with disabilities. But she and her grandpa don’t have a pool! Their trick to help Yu’er practice wows the whole neighborhood. In another story, a friend takes Yu’er to a wild place full of musical insects. Later, Yu’er hears a special story about her grandparents. And in the final story, Yu’er and her grandpa show a cranky painter the sweet side of life.

Writer and artist Nie Jun began drawing at an early age by copying lianhuanhua (Chinese sequential art). He later discovered the cartooning legends of Europe, Japan, and elsewhere. He lives in Beijing and teaches drawing to university students. My Beijing is represented by agent Nicolas Grivel, who also co-translated Nie Jun’s original script from Chinese with Qingyuan Zhao.

OUT NOW: The Complete Okko

January 2nd, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink


After five epic arcs, the long saga of OKKO finally comes to a close. This is one of the first French comics I ever translated, back when Archaia was just starting out. Now Archaia’s an imprint of BOOM! Studios, Okko the demon-hunting samurai is aging, our narrator Tikku is no longer the little boy he took in, and I’m a decade older.

This complete volume contains the four previously published arcs, taking us through the elements Water, Earth, Air, and Fire, adding the latest and final Cycle of Nothingness. It’s been a pleasure to returning to Hub’s lightly fictionalized medieval Japan, with its supernatural pageantry, over the last ten years of my life.

Words Without Borders’ Year-End and Year-Ahead Lists

December 21st, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink


Looking ahead and looking behind, staff, board members, and contributors of the first and still flagship magazine for international literature, Words Without Borders (WWB), share their favorite works-in-translation of 2017 and the titles they’re looking forward to in 2018. Editorial Director Susan Harris names Gébé’s Letter to Survivors, forthcoming next year from New York Review Comics (NYRC). Seven years ago, WWB featured an excerpt  of that very same graphic novel in their annual February comics issue; they’ve also run prose work  by the late cartoonist and satirist, a beloved one-man institution of whimsy.

A haunting and darkly funny post-apocalyptic graphic novel that follows an unusual postal worker on his very bizarre mail route.

In the blasted ruins of what was once a picture-perfect suburb, nothing stirs—except the postman. Clad in a hazmat suit and mounted on a bicycle, he is still delivering the mail, nuclear apocalypse or no nuclear apocalypse. One family has taken refuge in an underground fallout shelter, and to them he brings—or, rather, shouts through the air vent—a series of odd, anonymous letters. They describe the family’s prosperous past life, and then begin to get stranger. . .

This pioneering graphic novel was created in 1981 by famed French cartoonist Gébé, a longtime contributor to Charlie Hebdo, and has never before been available in English. Letter to Survivors is a blackhearted delight, at once a witty metafictional game of stories within stories and a scathing, urgent send-up of consumerist excess and nuclear peril: funnier, and scarier, than ever.

I last collaborated with NYRC on 2016’s well-received Peplum by Blutch. Just as with that book, I’ll be providing a preface to contextualize Gébé for readers in this, his English debut.

OUT NOW: The Beautiful Death, Issue 4

December 20th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

Beautiful Death 4

Issue #4 of Mathieu Bablet’s The Beautiful Death is now available from Titan Comics. Whether or not you think the deaths he depicts, both planetary and personal, are beautiful, there’s no doubt Bablet’s art is, drawing admiration from no less than American indie SF comics whiz Brandon Graham. Bablet brings a touch of existential despair to the postapocalypse, following a few lone survivors across a seemingly deserted urban Paris at a time of new evolutionary stirrings beneath the surface. The title derives from what the characters long for: a meaningful end in a world that  has already ended all around them.

The apocalypse has been and gone. The age of humanity is at an end. Horrifying insectile aliens from the depths of infinite space are now masters of the Earth!

What does resistance mean, when there’s nothing left to fight for?

That’s what Wayne, Jeremiah and Scham, the only survivors of the devastating invasion, struggle with day after day – Seeking a new purpose, a glimpse of a worthwhile future, to justify their futile presence in a ruined world.

Picking through the remains of human civilization, keeping out of reach of the bugs, none of them suspect that they are part of a much larger plan, one that involves another, unknown survivor…

La Belle mort was a longer, single-volume graphic novel in France, cut up into issues for English release before an eventual deluxe collected edition.  In this latest installement,

The final remnants of humanity left on Earth has lost a member, with leader Wayne unable to deal with his own actions in a world which has lost all purpose. Deprived of their anchor, Jeremiah and Soham are forced to consider their differences and found their relationship irreparable.

Soham is abandoned his only living friend and betrayed by the dark-haired girl from his past. But he knows that she has a plan, and, more importantly, that she’s keeping it from Jeremiah.

And in the darkness, something is growing…

I don’t think my name has ever been so prominently featured in a floppy (albeit encroached upon by sentient cockroaches). Titan really knows how to recognize a translator’s work! Thanks, Titan!



OUT NOW: Arthus Trivium Vol. 3, The Young Captive

December 15th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

Arthus 3

The mystery deepens with a visit to Fairyland through the portal of a magical painting in this latest volume of Raule’s Renaissance-meets-X-Files series with art by Juan Luis Landa. Three agents trained by renowned sage and scholar Nostradamus travel the land, exposing hoaxes and solving occult crimes.

When Nostradamus entrusts his disciple Arthus with training his son Cesar, he believes their mission a simple one: investigate a village where a rain of blood has been reported. But upon reaching Cucuron to find all the menfolk missing, Arthus realizes the adventure is more than he bargained for. Meanwhile, in Paris searching for a young girl who’s disappeared, Angulus and Angelica come upon a mysterious canvas in the workshop of a famous painter that seems to lead Angelica to another world. The stakes rise for all three disciples as they find themselves separated, each facing their own perils.

The Young Captive continues this ongoing series, now available as a digital exclusive from EuropeComics on a number of platforms (Izneo, Kindle, Kobo, Google Play, and Comixology).

OUT NOW: Tramp Vol. 3, The Sacrificed Ship

December 14th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

Tramp 3

Up for a dose of classic ligne claire and adventure comics, Euro-style? Well, look no further! Welcome to the world of Tramp: maritime noir with exotic locales, insurance intrigue, shipowner skullduggery, and the titular steamer, a rusty bucket on trade routes of the mid-20th century. Jean-Charles Kraehn’s meticulous research is backed up by Patrick Jusseaume’s art in this loving ‘90s tribute to the long-running serials from the heyday of bande-dessinée.

Fate seems to have it in for Yann Calec, unjustly sentenced and harassed by guards in a godforsaken Colombian prison camp. He is saved from execution by when Ocaña shows up, a rebel intellectual tasked with smuggling him across the country to the mysterious Professor Condé. But the harrowing, perilous journey is nothing next to what awaits: a fortuitous return to the Belle Hélène, the doomed tramp steamer Calec once captained, still bound for its fateful date with a U-boat torpedo. Will Calec manage to save the ship and his new friends with their precious archeological cargo?

Sixty pages adventure-packed pages from the latest entry in this ongoing series, The Sacrificed Ship, are now available as a digital exclusive from EuropeComics on a number of platforms (Izneo, Kindle, Kobo, Google Play, and Comixology).

Charif Majdalani makes World Literature Today’s Year-End Best List

December 13th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink


Charif Majdalani’s novel Moving the Palace, from New Vessel Press, is featured in World Literature Today’s annual list of 75 notable translations. As editor Michelle Johnson notes, it’s been a banner year for translated literature. I am truly honored to be rubbing shoulders with incredible translators and authors from all manner of presses.

This is my second year in a row making WLT’s list, with Serge Brussolo’s science fiction mindbender The Deep Sea Diver’s Syndrome in 2016 from Melville House. Zeina Abirached’s graphic memoir of growing up in Beirut, A Game for Swallows, makes three. Thank you, World Literature Today!

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