I've spent a while working on this, so I hope it will please some readers.
Benito Jacovitti (1923-1997), though a legend in Italy, doesn't seem to have caught on in other countries. Certainly few American fans have heard of this crazy cartoonist, whose unique style and manic energy filled thousands of pages from 1940 on. Perhaps Jacovitti's use of puns and invented words contributed to this situation. At any rate, Jacovitti (usually signing himself "JAC") created lots of very funny, very weird, comics.
|Jacovitti by Joe Zatt, from Wikipedia|
As mentioned above the Cip character (the name is pronounced "Cheep") began as a Sherlock Holmes parody. Cip's pipe is a token of that heritage. But Jacovitti's rough-and-tumble spirit was more suited to in-your-face characters, and the detective moved quickly into the hardboiled arena. He's quite a character: self-important, arrogant, bombastic, violent, often very stupid and never owning up to the fact that he's largely incompetent. He pretends to be cool and brave, but as we see here, Zagar scares the pants off him.
Cip and Zagar hint at the origins of Jacovitti's cartooning style. Cip himself is strongly influenced by Segar's Castor Oyl, and Zagar is Mickey Mouse's enemy The Phantom Blot. But Jacovitti's personality was so strong that he soon left influences behind. In this story his unmistakable character design is almost fully-matured. So is his obsession with sausages.
|Source: Il Faro del Glifo blog|
As an amateur translator I feel the need to justify a few things. First the names. I changed Cip to Chip because it's close to the original and easier to read in English. Other character names were changed for the same reason. Chip's sidekick was originally named Gallina, or "hen." With a nod to Douglas Adams I renamed him Roosta because it was still a chicken name and it sounded better than "Hen." I gave the dog Kilometro ("Kilometer") his original name because, again, it had a nicer sound. Jacovitti tended to give secondary characters rhyming names: Raimondo il Vagobondo (Raymond the Tramp), Mario il Veterinario (Mario the Veterinarian). I tried to give them English names that followed the same pattern. One exception was Easterly, the castle administrator. He started out "Pasquarello." Early on Jacovitti played on the first part of his name (Pascua=Easter) by having Chip call him "Nata-something" (Natale=Christmas). I called him Easterly to access some of those puns. Most troubling was Chip's label l'arcipoliziotto ("the arch-policeman.") It just doesn't make sense in English, where "arch" has come to imply evil (arch-enemy, arch-criminal). I finally gritted my teeth and called him "the super cop." While unlovely, it carries the original meaning.
But enough of this stalling. I hope you find as many laughs in this as I did, from the first page to its preposterous conclusion. It's show time!