Monday, August 24, 2009

X-9 by Mel Graff

Back from Translation
Recently I was experimenting with an Italian reprint of Mel Graff's first year on Secret Agent X-9. The book was published in 1975 by Comic Art Editrice for their "Yellow Kid" collection. The editor was the legendary Rinaldo Traini.

Comic Art did a really nice job with this series. Pages were roughly legal-size (8-1/2 x 14 inches), with three strips on each. Reproduction was extremely good. Unfortunately they laid shades of a second color (red-orange in this case) over the artwork. Not that it looked bad--it didn't, really--but the color softened the impact of Graff's superb black and white work.

So with the help of Photoshop I pulled the color off one page. I was thrilled to see that the linework quality remained high. The result is below. Of course, since I don't own these strips, I had to translate them back from Italian into English. It'd be great to get copies of the original strips and lay their text into the Comic Art reproductions. I can't tell you how clear and sharp they are.


Diego said...

This isn't actually exceptional over here (in Europe I mean). I have reprints from many american strips, especially those done by the italians, and they are exceptional. I have never seen something better than the Cisco Kid done privately in Italy for fans of the series (actually the only way to buy them back then, was by becoming a member of their book-club), reprinted in an oversize A3 format (roughly 10 x 14'). The only let-down was the lettering, that seemed to be done by an amateur. But seeing series like Flash Gordon, Brick Bradford, Steve Canyon and others in these oversize formats, was a dream come true to any comic strip fan. Hopefully one day, someone in America will do justice to these strips and reprint them correctly. Well, one can always dream...

Smurfswacker said...

The people from IDW are doing a good job of it, with their hardback series of Terry, Tracy, etc. It'd be nice if they were larger, but the overall quality is high. As are the prices! I'm eager to see their first Rip Kirby, the first "fine line" strip they've tackled. Raymond's early RK art was loaded with experimental techniques which have never gotten a fair reproduction.

Thanks for your comments.

Diego said...

I'm still waiting for someone to reprint the complete run of Salinas' Cisco Kid. It seems everyone stops reprinting the series once it gets to the late 50's. And though I've seen and have original art from the 50's, I've never run across any originals from the 60's (the series ended in '67 or '69, I believe).

The IDW books are great (love the Scorchy Smith book), but they are reprinted too small!!! I'm also waiting for the Rip Kirby book, and I already have the Italian and Spanish reprints, which seem to have been taken from the same source (you see the same printing errors in both versions)...

I was however disappointed with Fantagraphics new Prince Valiant reprints. Don't get me wrong, it's really good, but it could've been better. Take a look at the b/w version done in Portugal by a friend of mine, which you can buy at Fantagraphics, and compare it with FB's color version... Oh,well!

Really love your blog, by the way, and I only discovered it recently, but at least it's done by someone who knows what he's talking about!!!