Unfortunately, Frew doesn't work from my original English scripts. I'm told they use online translation software to change the Swedish language version back into English. Unsurprisingly, this is a less than exact process. As a result, the Frew version of my dialogue bears only a passing resemblance to what I actually wrote. More often than not, the consequences read like I'm still getting to grips with English as a second language. Here are a few examples from the latest Frew comic, No. 1456, featuring Part 2 of the Circe's Island story I wrote. You'll see my original dialogue first, then what ended up in print...
Artemis looms over the six guards. Guard #1 nurses his face.
Artemis: NO INTRUDER WOULD COME THIS FAR, YET FLEE SO QUICKLY!
Artemis: NO-ONE TAKES THE TROUBLE TO COME HERE JUST TO LEAVE IN A BIG HURRY...
The Phantom watches this from the shadows on the opposite side of the open area, having circled round without being seen.
The Phantom (thinks): SHE MUST BE AT LEAST TWO METRES TALL – A FORMIDABLE WOMAN!
The Phantom (thinks): WHAT A TALL WOMAN! SHE MUST BE AT LEAST 200 CENTIMETRES TALL!
Once the guards have passed, Diana emerges from the shadowy entrance.
Diana (thinks): THAT WAS CLOSE! I MUST BE MORE CAREFUL…
Diana (thinks): THAT WAS A CLOSE SHAVE! ONE OF THE GUARDS SAW ME! I MUST BE MORE CAREFUL...!
Panzier points at the Phantom, while screaming at Artemis and the five guards.
Panzier: GET HIM!
HA! YOU'LL NEVER LEAVE HERE ALIVE! SEIZE HIM...!
The example below is one of my personal favourites from this issue...
Diana turns away from the centre of the Parthenon, her mind racing.
Diana (thinks): IF HELENA’S SCHEME SUCCEEDS, SHE’LL BECOME RICH BEYOND IMAGINING. BUT HOW IS SHE DOING THIS? AND WHY?
Diana (thinks); IF HELENA SUCCEEDS, SHE WILL BE RICH. BUT SHE MUST BE STOPPED!
Yes, Diana, yes - we must stop Helena from becoming rich at all costs! The obviious question from all this is why doesn't Frew use the original English language scripts when they are available? I don't know. No doubt the editorial team Stockholm tweaks my scripts before they go to the artist and then has to sub-edit the scripts to match the art produced, but I think the real problem stems from the translation methods used. So, for anyone who reads Frew 1456 and winces at the cringe-inducing dialogue, you're not alone.