Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Rocambole in London

For now I decided to skip Volume 2 of Basil Balian's abridged Rocambole translations and go right to volume 3 with his London adventures.

The first story in the Volume was really the epilogue to Rocambole's India adventure.  It was amusing.

The summery of the Rocambole saga on CoolFrenchComics is sometimes misleading. Part of it may be how abridged this Translation is.  But I take notice that Jeon-Marc seems to want to encourage people to compare these characters to Iconic Modern characters, in ways that may or may not be accurate.  In the case of this first story, they describe The Beautiful Gardiner (Romia) in a way makes her sound kind of like Poison Ivy.

I did my post that talked about the Strong Female characters of Ponson and Feval.  Now that I've read this there are more I could add.  Vanda, Romia, but most of all Ellen Palmure.  At least in the first book of the London trilogy she is a really intriguing character.  The way her character completely changes at the end is kind of hard to swallow.  A problem that faces many female villains when they make a Heel-Face turn.

One of the main things I was looking forward to reading about was Reverend Peters Town.  Who's called Bishop Towne in this translation.  He's been called a sort of Protestant counterpart to Eugene Sue's Father Rodin.  Thing is, he's not actually clever enough to fit that analogy I feel.  It's always a different Villain who actually seems to be a match for Rocambole's ingenuity.  Towne is maybe more comparable to Father D'Aigrigny, Rodin's superior.

Rocambole was a character who started out a villain.  What's interesting here is that while operating as part of this Irish Resistance in London he kind of seems effectively like he's a Supervillain again in terms of his tactics.  Comparable to Anime characters like Lelouch Vi Britannia.

Feval and Ponson both wanted to play on French reader's tendency to sympathize with the Irish under British occupation, but Ponson was willing to go much further.  Because Feval still had Fergus O'Breanne and Henri Belcamp as villains rather then heroes.

There are flaws, but overall I recommend it.


  1. Reading the unabridged French novels, the Gardener reminded me of Poison Ivy. Jean-Marc's summary of her activities is accurate..

    1. I see the parallel. Thing is her motivation is very different.

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