Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Trying Thai

So, Wonder Wife has a sib and sib-in-law who are currently based in Singapore but who have connections in Thailand and spend a lot of time there. On their last trip, they picked up some Thai comics for me, to wit:

It is quite a colorful collection. The comics themselves are about five by seven inches, sort of old TV Guide size; each has 32 pages of story and blank inside covers. And that's about all I can give you in the way of context.

A long time ago in a blog far away, I took a look at some Indian comics that a colleague had given me. I was able to glean a lot of background on them, since the comics were in English and there was plenty of back matter, including a web address. For these, really all I can tell you is to call (02) 447-6280 and see what happens: that's all I can read of any issue.

Here are some close-ups of some of the covers:

The first three look to be in the horror genre; the fourth one is maybe about drug trafficking. Or ruby smuggling? I can't tell: I can't read the captions or even the titles.

Unfortunately, the interior art doesn't give us much help getting through the language barrier. In addition to being rather amateurish by most professional standards, I find it all but inaccessible. I mean, I thought I understood the language of comics, but I am all at sea here.

In this sequence, I can't tell if Plaid Shirt Guy has drowned in the well and is re-animated, has nearly drowned and gets revived, just happened to be sleeping in the well and came out, or is just a figment of Mustache Guy's imagination:

Trust me when I say the rest of the story doesn't help: the previous pages show Plaid Shirt in the well with a woman, and after this he and Mustache walk away to do chores together.

Maybe it's just that the conventions of body language and expression are so different. I have read  French comics, for example, and even manga, and have been able to follow along; even if I didn't know exactly what everyone was saying, I knew who was angry, who was excited, who was tired, and so on. These Thai comics just confound me.

Compounding the dilemma is that despite the promise of the covers, many pages are devoted to people just standing around talking. Without language facility, and with some hesitancy and doubt about interpreting the images, sequences like this one are incomprehensible:

Of course, not all of it is abstruse. Here's a guy putting the hurt on some zombies:

Now that doesn't take a whole lot of cross-cultural literacy to dig.

I'll take a longer look at some of these; if I think I can figure one out, maybe I'll post it with a guess-translation. And then the sib-in-law can read it and get a good laugh.

No comments:

Post a Comment