Cultural appropriation whilst maintaining the spirit of the original, that’s how Dalen Éireann has been developing its titles since it was formed in 2013 — turning Asterix the Gaul into Asterix the Gael, and changing Tintin from a Belgian boy reporter into a globetrotting Gaeilgeoir.
Both of these classic European strip cartoon series have been warmly embraced by Irish readers since their publication. They join the publisher’s existing lists in Welsh, Cornish, Scottish Gaelic and Scots of some of the continent’s most iconic series in translation. With more Irish Asterix and Tintin titles in the pipeline for 2021, these bande dessinée characters continue to give readers two constantly growing series.
But it’s not all Asterix and Tintin for Dalen; the European BD genre is a rich source of diverse reading material. Currently being developed in Irish are Germany’s Abrafaxe series, a gang of three lads who head off around the world on adventures through time and space. They join Dalen’s growing Irish list which also includes adaptations of the Swedish detective novel series for teens, Agatán Sacs, plus the timeless French children’s short story series Nioclás Beag by Asterix author, René Goscinny.
With nine Irish titles in development for 2021, and a futher nine across its other Celtic language lists, it’s a busy programme for Dalen this year. The publishing house was established in 2005 in Wales by its MD Alun Ceri Jones, who saw the possibility of bringing internationally-renowned series to readers in Ireland, Wales and Scotland. “These can be expensive series to publish,” he explained. “The cost of rights acquisition, artwork, adaptation and printing is high, so a kind of co-edition, collaborative approach across our five Celtic languages can help ensure production costs are kept as low as possible. In Ireland, we’re so lucky to be working with some of the country’s best translators and editors, and we’re always grateful for the financial support we’re given by the Arts Council and Literature Ireland. The goal is to do our bit for the language — and bring attractive, affordable, engaging and clever leisure reading to the the Irish language book market.”