Thursday, November 26, 2015

Poe 1958, Pt. 3

(Continued from Poe 1958, Pt. 2)

MONDIAL AVENTURES  29  /  ALBUM GIGANTE  39
"LES AVENTURES DE SIR ARTHUR GORDON PYM"  /
"A NARRATIVA DE SIR ARTHUR GORDON PYM"
     (IN COLOR w/ English Translation / Conclusion)

The Société Parisienne d'Édition or SPE, was a French publisher that existed under various names from the end of the 19th Century.

MONDIAL AVENTURES  ("World Adventures") was their own version of Gilberton's CLASSICS ILLUSTRATEDThe series ran 30 titles from 1954 to 1959, including the works of such notable writers as Fenimore Cooper, Victor HugoAlexandre Dumas and Robert Louis Stevenson;  oddly enough, especially given it was a French company, they didn't include Jules Verne in their run.  However, they did one story by Edgar Allan Poe-- his ONLY full-length novel!

The comic, created in France in 1955, was delayed; it was published in Brazil in 1958, a year before it finally appeared in France in 1959!

Following the terrible "cliffhanger" moment when the 3 survivors contemplate cannibalism, the comic version once more "tones things down" for the kiddies by skipping ahead to a scene from the novel some 4 days later, when Arthur suddenly realizes they have a way out.  In the book, this realization came after they ate a fellow survivor (who in this version had been swept overboard in the storm), rather than before!!

What follows after that feels as if it belongs in an entirely separate story, giving one the feeling that Poe was improvising and making this up as he went, perhaps with no clear idea in mind of where this story was supposed to be going.

MONDIAL AVENTURES  29
cover by YVES & WILLY GROUX
(Société Parisienne d'Édition  /  France  /  1959)
ALBUM GIGANTE  39
cover by ANTONIO EUZEBIO NETO
(Editora Brasil America Limitada  /  Brazil  /  January 1958)
"A NARRATIVA DE SIR ARTHUR GORDON PYM"
     ("THE NARRATIVE OF ARTHUR GORDON PYM OF NANTUCKET")  /  Version 1  /  Adaptation by William Groux  /  Art by WILLY & YVES GROUX
Page 32  /  "And now... the EPIC conclusion!"
Page 33
Page 34
Page 35
Page 36
Page 37
Page 38
Page 39
Page 40
Page 41
Page 42
Page 43
Page 44
Page 45
Page 46
Before I began this project, I'd read the opinion that this story didn't have a proper conclusion, but simply STOPPED dead.  Now that I've read the comic-- AND the novel-- I can say with certainty-- that's correct.

The entire structure of this story makes no sense to me.  You have more than 2/3rds of the novel dealing with the nightmarish events on The Grampus, including a scene of cannibalism (cut from the comic version).  Then Arthur and Dick are finally rescued (yes-- Augustus actually DIED in the novel from earlier wounds before that scene arrives) and the remainder of the book concerns The Jane Guy.  It seems to me these should have been 2 separate books.

Some of the most tremendously interesting and exciting scenes from the novel are brushed over in the comic, such as the crew spending several weeks among the natives who decide to MASSACRE them just before they leave.  Some 9,000 natives attack the mere 6 men left onboard the ship, and when they set fire to it, 1,000 of them are killed when the magazine explodes.  This is barely hinted at in the comic.  Arthur & Dick spend 3 weeks stuck atop that rock (not just 1), during which they find and explore an underground chamber which may be man-made, may be marked up with a mysterious ancient alphabet, and may predate history.  This isn't even mentioned.

Further, the last 2 pages of the comic are completely NEW!  Although the "prologue" of the novel does reveal that Arthur and Dick somehow made it back to civilization, it's not even hinted at how.

So much build-up leading NOWHERE must have been frustrating to a lot of people.  It's no wonder then, I suppose, that decades later, no less than 3 writers felt compelled to write SEQUELS to this story, in varying attempts to fill in the blanks, explain or explore the themes and locations further.  This includes Jules Verne's "THE SPHINX OF THE ICE FIELDS" (1897), Charles Romyn Dake's "A STRANGE DISCOVERY" (1898), and H.P. Lovecraft's "AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS" (1936).

In addition, it struck me that the sequence where The Jane Guy passes through the ice fields, continues south and finds the temperature going UP instead of down and they discover a tropical island, may well have inspired "Pal-U-Don" in Edgar Rice Burroughs' "THE LAND THAT TIME FORGOT" (1924).

Scene from "THE LAND THAT TIME FORGOT" (1976) as the submarine is pushing through the icy Antarctic Ocean.
Further, the description in the final chapter where they continue even further southward, it becomes very dark and the air is constantly filled with ash and dust, suggests to me a volcano-like opening to the center of the Earth, as seen in Burroughs' "AT THE EARTH'S CORE" (1914) and particularly its sequels.  Burrough's "Pellucidar" also influenced the Lovecraft story!

I have not read any of these sequels or possible spin-offs, but the very fact that Lovecraft did one suggested to my mind, as I read the sequence about the underground chamber, that the natives, far from merely murdering the entire crew simply because they were afraid of anything WHITE, may have been COMPELLED to do so by the "Elder Gods" of Lovecraft's "Cthulu" stories.  It seems to me these creatures bent on conquering the Earth would not only wish to enslave all of mankind, but would not want them to have any technology-- hence the seemingly POINTLESS destruction of The Jane Guy.

And finally, the discovery of the ancient underground chamber that predated known civilization-- in Antarctica-- seems to me like it may well have influenced a far more recent sci-fi movie-- "ALIENS VS. PREDATORS" (2004).
Don Bearden has been in contact with the Classics Comics Store in England, attempting to interest them in re-printing this comic, and using MY version with the English translation and new COLOR.  In line with that, I've created a new version of the original French cover, removing and replacing the text on it at no small effort.
Copyright (C) Société Parisienne d'Édition  &  Yves & Willy Groux.
English Translation & New Color Copyright (C) 2016 Henry R. Kujawa.

Scan of MONDIAL AVENTURES #29 from the Ebay site.
Scans of ALBUM GIGANTE #39 by "Netto" from the www.GuiaEBAL.com site
     supplied by Don Bearden with special thanks!
Thanks to Toni Rodrigues for identifying the cover artist
     of ALBUM GIGANTE #30!

Restorations by Henry R. Kujawa

For more:
Read about Edgar Allen Poe at Wikipedia.

Read about The Société Parisienne d'Édition at Wikipedia.
See the complete list of Mondial Aventures at the Bedes d'Antan site!

Read about THE WEIRD CIRCLE radio show at Wikipedia.

Read about THE NARRATIVE OF ARTHUR GORDON PYM OF NANTUCKET
     at Wikipedia.
Read "Antarctica And Mars In Early Genre Fiction" by Jeff Deischer
     at the ERB Zine site.
Read the complete novel at the XRoads.Virginia.Edu site.

Hear the ARTHUR GORDON PYM audio book!
Hear THE WEIRD CIRCLE episode!

Read the Yves & Willy Groux ARTHUR GORDON PYM adaptation!
     (Coming soon:)
Read the Editorial Sea/Navaro ARTHUR GORDON PYM adaptation!
Read the Cesar Lopez Vera ARTHUR GORDON PYM adaptation!
Read the Novedades Editores ARTHUR GORDON PYM adaptation!
Read the Enrique Alcatena ARTHUR GORDON PYM adaptation!

See my Edgar Allan Poe overview at this very blog!

Don't miss the BONUS GALLERY of ILLUSTRATIONS up next!

(Continued from Poe 1958, Pt. 4)

No comments:

Post a Comment