When the film adaptation of Barbarella, the French comic book by Jean-Claude Forrest, was released in 1968, America started to recognize European comics. It was not rapid widespread, though, but it began the translation of many other titles for American readers. Eventually, more French comics entered the American market, including the Tintin and Asterix series.
The biggest challenge in reaching an audience outside of Europe is definitely comic book translation. The poor quality of translations was the major reason for the slow success–or undeniable failure–of European comics in America. It opened the eyes of European comics publishers, shining the light on the importance of localization and translation.
Now, the European market for comic books continues to aim for a wider readership after facing various challenges and downfalls. With innumerable titles in the market, the region is set to maximize new opportunities.
The market status and degree of digitization are the highlights of the EUDICOM project, which is co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union. The project is partnered with four focus countries: France, Italy, Poland, and Spain. It aims to strengthen the market’s digital dimension by supporting European publishers to go digital.
How big really is the European comic book market? And how can comic book translation affect the success of European titles?