The Luther of German comics

Erika Fuchs, who died this week at the age of 98, began translating Micky Mouse and Donald Duck comic strips in 1951.
She was famous, especially because:

bq. she didn’t translate to convey the original as minutely as possible, but to make the German fun to read, even if this meant changes
(perhaps that’s why, as Scott says, adult Germans are much more interested in Donald Duck than adult Americans)

bq. she gave the characters individual voices, unlike the original

bq. all Germans have heard of Entenhausen, but who has heard of Duckburg?

bq. like Luther, she extended the German language through her translations. She created the verb form used in emails and online messages:

bq. EN <G> DE <grins>
The verb is grinsen (to grin), the first person ich grinse, and the email form (called after her the Erikativ) is grins.
The form can be expanded: *schreiunddurchdiewohnungrenn* (scream and through the flat run)

Note: grins can be in asterisks or in angled brackets. How do I do angled brackets in html?

8 thoughts on “The Luther of German comics

  1. I like the Luther comparison very much, Margaret. I am sure Mickey Mouse (or rather Micky Maus, i.e. Erika Fuchs) contributed to my education quite a bit . (Fortunately I was clever enough not to mention this source when I was able to display some unusual knowledge at school). The same goes for my son.

  2. I am this not entirely believing!

    The Duck is big in Scandiwegia (Kalle Anka lives in Ankeborg!) and Italy and France, and I simply doubt that Ms Fuchs was quite talented enough to explain all of that…

  3. Des: in that case, it’s a German myth.
    Have you got sales figures (in relation to population, presumably)?
    She didn’t invent it all, but she mixed the down-to-earth with the literary.
    Donald to nephews US: no / DE: Mitnichten

    >>Erika Fuchs, a translator living in Munich, was awarded a special prize for her contribution to the development of the German language. The prize is based on her many years of work as a translator of Donald Duck stories, especially those written and drawn by the recently deceased Carl Barks. The work of this American artist, master of line and word, has been transferred into German with exemplary skill by Erika Fuchs. She has opened up a whole new cosmos, in the process not only creating whole new graphic concepts, names, and expressions but adapting them so naturally in German that they have become totally self-explanatory common property. She has by now made the name of Carl Barks famous in Germany, part of the cultural landscape, although his name was for a long time as unknown as that of his translator.

  4. I’ll have a look next week, but DD comics are ubiquitous in Sweden and Danmark (the same format as the German Taschenbuchs, and very likely the same content differently translated – it’s a big Yoorpean industry, and the stories are often written/drawn by Italians).

    The Jumbo Book for example, is a pocket size comic book which is sold through retail outlets as if it were a book. The sales of this title make it the best-selling book in Denmark each year. Consumer loyalty is a major factor in Denmark, with 72% of The Jumbo Book for example, is a pocket size comic book which is sold through retail outlets as if it were a book. The sales of this title make it the best-selling book in Denmark each year. Consumer loyalty is a major factor in Denmark, with 72% of the Disney titles purchased by parents for their children. the Disney titles purchased by parents for their children.

    Or

    The JumboBog, for many years the best selling book in Denmark, has sold more copies than ever in 1994. Just under 900,000 books were sold, which is an increase of 13% over 1993 or almost 100,000 books! This is a remarkable figure for a country with only 1.3 million children in the target group.

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