Nov 202016

"The Master of the Black Hosts" p. 1 excerpt ('Le Maître des hosties noires'; ill. Schwartz & Yann; Copyright (c) 2016 Dupuis and the artists; image from

The first few pages of Le Maître des hosties noires (“The Master of the Black Hosts”), the upcoming one-shot by Schwartz & Yann, will no doubt run soon in the Journal de Spirou. But they are already featured on the Dupuis site and posted by Schwartz to Facebook. So here, following on the recently featured covers, is a scanlation sneak peek…

In the original, the black characters in the Kinshasa pages use some specifically African vocabulary and pronunciations. Trying to match it with African-English words and dialects would have been a difficult task (and I’m not sure to what extent it’s authentic in the first place: I doubt “Tintin” is really a slang term for wimpy white guys), so I used more familiar, mostly American (and sometimes anachronistic) slang to render it. If Fantasio’s incomprehension seems a little strange, that’s why.

Readers of Schwartz & Yann’s earlier adventures should already be familiar with the zazou subculture that Fantasio belongs to, as well as “Oufti!” – a sort of a general-purpose Belgian interjection to express “surprise, astonishment or distress”. Oh, and a jalopy is an old, broken-down car.

  11 Responses to “Scanlation Sunday: Master of the Black Hosts”


    Knowing some rusty school French and having read some Spirou in original editions, I have to say that Yann’s work has often caused me more trouble than other Franco-Belgian comics in general. His constant reliance on dated slang and walloonisms (or in this case, congoisms) could be rather hard to plow through…

    Also interesting to see the glorification of King Leopold and the advertisement aimed at the “evolved”. Belgium might have the worst track record of all European colonial powers in Africa, where I heard Leopold being referred to as “the most evil man you’ve never heard of”, and Leon Rom, a local administrator serving as the basis of the character Kurtz from Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness”.


      I’m pretty sure the Leopold II statue is included as a deliberate satirical jibe. It’s very controversial in Congo, and has been taken down and put back up several times. King Leopold’s atrocities, which led to the deaths of millions, should certainly be known to all.

      The évolués were a class of assimilated or “Europeanized” Africans (the corresponding Portuguese term, assimilado, is perhaps more commonly used in English). From what I gather from accounts and fictional portrayals, they were often rather alienated from their native culture, having internalized a contempt for native practices and seeing themselves as the civilized superiors to the “primitives” who maintained a more traditional way of life. The advertisements seem to express that attitude.

      As a translator, the most difficult writers are definitely those who use a lot of slang, wordplay and cultural references. I think the most challenging among Spirou authors is Al Severin – there are a couple of short stories of his that I haven’t scanlated simply because I have no idea what to make of some of the dialogue.

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