This time around they have taken-up the mantle to bring the ever-cunning Iznogoud, in his own 12 title set.
Iznogoud, the Grand Vizier to the Caliph or Sultan of Baghdad, Haroun El Pashid, always aspires to become the Sultan himself, which is attributed to his trademark catchphrase ‘I want to be Caliph, instead of the Caliph’.
René Goscinny & Jean Tabary, the co-creators of Iznogoud, were at their humorous best, where they continuously chalked out witty stories, often placing Iznogoud in precarious situations; where he attempts to dethrone the Sultan, and finds his plans backfiring on himself.
The creators, would only give a consolation for the poor soul, by giving him the company of Wa’at Alahf, his trusted henchman. Wa’at sticks to his master in all of Iznogoud’s misadventures, even though he ends up facing the wrath of his master’s blunders.
The charismatic duo of Goscinny & Tabary, continued to enthral the comics fans across the world, until the former’s death in 1977. Tabary then decided to continue the series with a new direction, where he chose to feature full-fledged stories running an entire album, unlike the short witty stories for which the famous antagonist, Iznogoud, was known for.
We will cut short the intro to the series and the creators here, as we have looked into as much details as required, during our review of Iznogoud’s debut title on Lion Comics. If you missed the post, now is a good time to check back on the same.
Euro Book’s love towards latest albums means that all the 12 titles which they have hand-picked are post Goscinny era, and that’s where the difference lies.
Goscinny, was involved only in two of the albums out of the 12; one in the Returns of Iznogoud, and two where his name is given credit for one of the Nightmare tales, along with Buhler. Otherwise, all the other titles were solely worked by Tabary, donning the dual role of Writer and Artist.
With all due respects to Tabary, we can clearly see that the titles which were worked by him solely, misses out badly on the Goscinny charm. Some of the stories, are too lengthy and often misses out on the central plot work, with the story revolving around various scenes, and situations. Obviously, the short witty stories attraction was totally absent in these new adventures.
For a best example, within the current lot, take the Returns of Iznogoud title, where the script is credited to Goscinny. It has a different plot unlike any other Iznogoud titles. It follows the same short story style of Goscinny, but this time limited to only to two pages each.
Those who followed Iznogoud series for long, would have witnessed one common ending scene with all of them – Iznogoud finding himself in a sorry state, or figure.
But, in every new adventure he will be back to his full-form, devising new plans to outwit the Sultan. Majority of the readers (including me) might have ignored from questioning this logic, with the assumption that it is the most common aspect followed in much of the humour series; where connecting one to another, doesn’t make much sense.
But, Goscinny & Tabary decided to reasons these supposed Returns of Iznogoud, for themselves and for their loyal readers, by bringing in their witty and humorous touch to them.
Each one of these stories were Iznogoud comes back to life, from where he was left in the original story, is a full blown laughter package. Goscinny has left no stone unscathed in bringing this title, a classic cult status. For a sample refer to the first story of the this monumental release, above.
A clear example, what an interesting plot and a creative thinker could add the difference in a classic series. We will talk more about this monumental title, when we select it for our first review from this series.
In comparison, the other titles are much below the norms set to the glorious time of Goscinny & Tabary. One of which is undoubtedly the Nightmare series, which has spanned a total of 4 albums, out of which 3 of have been picked up in the current lot, by Euro Books.
The Nightmare stories mainly follows a one page theme, of ‘If I was’ type, with Iznogoud playing different roles with his trademark punch. To say frankly, none of the stories were impressive enough to even draw out the laughter, and Tabary’s zoomed artwork to adapt to the one page style, didn’t work that well either.
Majority of these stories were written by French writer, Alain Buhler, with one title even crediting Goscinny as the writer, which I believe would have been minimal, mostly related to the original concept.
Just in case, if you felt that the Translation could have been the culprit, then I can vouch that it’s not so. As you might have known by now, that all the titles selected by Euro Books, were never translated into English before.
Even though, Euro Books have never revealed their translating sources, or even given them due credits on their published titles, this time around the translators have done a considerable effort in maintaining the puns and word-magic from their original French source, to the maximum.
Not everyone can become Anthea Bell or Derek Hockridge (the famous translators of Asterix comics, who also worked their magic on the original English translations of Iznogoud series), but Euro Book’s translators for Iznogoud was certainly up to the readers standard.
One more notable change in these titles, is the predominant presence of Tabary in between the stories. Even though, it could be said that Goscinny and Tabary, have often placed themselves in the crowd or between panels, in the Iznogoud series in past, never before was Tabary involved in such a lengthier presence.
Obviously, being the sole owner of the creativity, Tabary would have been lenient on his presence more often. Which to an extent, does add up to the humour part, as witnessed in the panels next.
I wonder does Tabary’s wife still looks so young, or is it one of Tabary’s imaginary character :)
Euro Books Iznogoud Series’ Originals: Here is the list of titles published by Euro Books in their 12 issue set, with their corresponding original reference.
In their selection from the original series, they have gone in a sequence, only missing out the latest one, Issue #28, which was worked for the first-time by Tabary’s kids. Given the relativity of the release (#28 was released in 2008), it is understood.
Also as noted above, all these titles are being translated from French into English for the first-time. Thanks to Euro Books.
With CineBook, currently publishing the Goscinny-Tabary genre of Iznogoud series, at 2 titles a year rate, the day won’t be far when we would have all 28 titles of Iznogoud series, in English.
|#||Euro Books Title||Original Album (French)|| |
|1.||Iznogoud and the Women||#16: Iznogoud et les Femmes||Tabary||SE, 1983|
|2.||Some More Nightmares of Iznogoud||#17: Les Cauchemars d'Iznogoud (Tome 4)||Tabary & Buhler||SE, 1984|
|3.||The Accomplice of Iznogoud||#18: Le Complice d'Iznogoud||Tabary||SE, 1985|
|4.||The Nightmarish Birthday of Iznogoud||#19: L'Anniversaire d'Iznogoud||Tabary||SE, 1987|
|5.||Caliph at Last||#20: Enfin Calife!||Tabary||ET, 1989|
|6.||The Trap of the Siren||#21: Le Piège de la Sirène||Tabary||ET, 1992|
|7.||The Nightmares of Iznogoud||#22: Les Cauchemars d'Iznogoud (Tome 2)||Tabary & Buhler||ET, 1993|
|8.||More Nightmares of Iznogoud||#23: Les Cauchemars d'Iznogoud (Tome 3)||Tabary, Goscinny & Buhler*||ET, 1994|
|9.||The Returns of Iznogoud||#24: Les Retours d'Iznogoud||Tabary, Goscinny#||ET, 1994|
|10.||Who Killed the Caliph?||#25: Qui a tué le Calife?||Tabary||ET, 1998|
|11.||A Likeable Monster||#26: Un Monstre Sympathique||Tabary||ET, 2000|
|12.||The Ancestor's Mistake||#27: La Faute de l'Ancêtre||Tabary||ET, 2004|
Publishers Code: SE: Séguinière, ET: Éditions Tabary
* #23 was scripted by Buhler, but Tabary credits some of the stories to late Goscinny
# #24 was scripted by Goscinny, which was brought to a book form by Tabary, later
Here is the back-cover one of the issue, which provides a checklist for the 12 titles available in this series of Euro Book.
As far as the pricing goes, Euro Books have tagged the single editions at INR 199, and they are also available in the 3-in-1 bound edition for INR 450. There are advantages and disadvantages in both formats - While single editions, gives you a chance of owning the titles in their full form, with their wonderfully drawn cover-arts; The bound volume editions, gives you proper binding for safe book-keeping.
I wonder, why Euro Books have continuously ignored, the individual titles binding issue. They are just glue-sticked, then the much required corner stitch, which is prone to get damaged as you read. Hopefully, they would try to avoid this blemish, in otherwise wonderful package comprising glossy paper quality and layout design.
That brings us to the close of Euro Books Iznogoud Preview post. So use this as a checklist for your comics shopping next time around, or enjoy the cover-scans of these wonderful titles.
But remember, despite my review comments, and the post Goscinny-Tabary era tag on this series, these classic titles are worth to be in your collection, as there are only 28 titles ever released in them, and this is a chance to own almost half of it, in one shot.
And before we close, here are the covers of those 4 bound editions (Courtesy: N.Suresh, from his recent acquisition). Happy Reading. Adios Amigos !
Book Facts: Publisher: Euro Books | A4 Size | Single Title: INR 199 | 3 in 1 Title: INR 450 | 12 Individual Titles | August 2009
Places to Buy: Available at all leading book stores, like Landmark, Odyssey, Crosswords, etc. including individual stores like Blossoms.
flipkart.com offers around 9% discount. All the Iznogoud titles are available at present.
indiaplaza.in offers around 25% discount generally, but you need to wait, as the Iznogoud set is yet to arrive on their listings.
Note: I suggest you to keep an eye over the discounts factor, while getting these bulk editions. I was sincerely, hoping to pick up these titles on Indiaplaza for a handsome discount, but was disappointed to see their slow moving Sales team, yet not listing these titles on their online site. Frustrated, I had to bug my other city friends, to procure a set for me with a local store discount. One of the pains to be in a city, where chain book stores, don’t offer any sort of discount for prospective buyers. I only wish, that the Online bookstores be more active to put these bigger bookstores in a corner.