Not being able to read any language but English, I don’t really collect foreign (to me)-language comics. But I enjoy looking at the vintage ones. These differ from what we’re used to in the United States; the covers are usually color, but the interiors are often black-and-white, and the page counts and formats are all over the place.

Sometimes the art is crude, but more often than not you find splendidly drawn issues. Even more so than in this country, foreign comic books seem to be printed on the cheap, but some of the art– especially in the comics from Spain– is miles above what we saw in this country during the same era. Someone could probably make a mint by translating and reprinting some of these comics, which are legally in the public domain. Who could resist the adventures of Jim Turbine (Italian, I believe) or Mendoza Colt (Spain)?

Check out these great covers:

Aventuras Del FBI 004

Somewhat surprising to see a book from Spain about the adventures of the U.S. FBI, but it looks exciting!

El Libertador 030

El Duende 033

Xuxa 022 (1953)

Somehow this looks like a package design rather than a comic book cover; perhaps a package for those little nasal-hair trimmers.

Superhombre 002

Plutos 003

Plutos may look a bit fey here, but in the B&W interiors, he’s like a kickass Batman with pistols and a mustache!

One thing I enjoy about these comics are the written sound effects, which can come as a total surprise! On the whole, foreign-language comics tend to have fewer of these sound effects than North American comics do, but when they do, they are great fun. Here are some wonderful examples:

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Nicely lettered sound effect, but sounds odd to an English-speaker!

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Here’s BAG again, and some others!

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I tried to pronounce this one but gave up.

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Nothing wrong with this one!

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The more I mentally pronounce this effect, the more I like it.

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Here’s another sound effect that works for me.

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Here’s a riot of sound effects from Superhombre!

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My personal favorite; it’s as good as it gets as a sound effect.

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This would have been better if the object thrown was an ugly plastic shoe . . .

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This effect reminds me of the nickname of the old Plastic Man character.

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Don’t quite get this one.

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Far better than BOOM, to my way of thinking.

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Okay; they could have done better on this one.

Remember earlier when I wrote that the quality of the art in some of these books was brilliant? Check out this interior page from Mundo Futuro 026, a comic book published in Spain in the 1950s. Of course, it begs for a sound effect; an atomic explosion without a BUUUUM?!?!?!?

Mundo Futuro 026Click on this page to enlarge the art; it’s really remarkable.

If you’d like to investigate these comics for free, just visit www. They have scads of them!