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Daniel Radcliffe:

What Comics Does Harry Potter Like Reading?

Have you ever wondered whether Daniel Radcliffe, the Harry Potter actor who just turned 20, enjoys comics? Well, there are few revelations but a clue or two in the August 5th 2009 edition of the Belgian weekly comic Spirou No. 3721, published by Dupuis, which ran a four-question mini-interview with Daniel under the title, “When Harry Potter Meets Spirou”. I have no idea if this French-language feature is ever going to appear anywhere in its original, untranslated English form, so I thought I’d try putting it back into English here, with a few corrections and extra bits of info from me thrown in.

During his promotional tour for the new episode of the adventures of Harry Potter, Daniel Radcliffe recalls the comics which rocked his childhood.

We weren’t into comics that much, at home. My parents would read me the adventures of Rupert, a bear who was created in the 1930s, I think [actually in 1920], and who is still running today in the Daily Express newspaper. There was also Fred Basset, jokes with a basset hound. And Andy Capp, a boozer who would put the world straight while touching on topical issues. British comics are mainly published in daily papers for adults. I didn’t know the period of the magazine Eagle, in the 1950s, which affected a whole generation of readers. I knew the end of comics magazines: Judge Dredd, A.D. 3000 [this is 2000AD] and Beano, the only one which still exists today. [and in fact all three of these titles are still going strong today, as are many more.]

And what about Franco-Belgian bandes dessinées?

I recently found out that The Smurfs were a bande dessinée before becoming animated cartoons. There was Asterix and Tintin, because you could find their albums in airports.

And Spirou? (Daniel is shown Le Groom vert-de-gris, the latest retro WW2-set Spirou album by Yann and Olivier Schwartz)

Oh! The groom? For a long time I thought he was an English character, because there are no grooms anymore except in English palaces. People have shown me the albums by Franquin, but they were in French. I don’t think Spirou exists in English [in fact, Z for Zorglub was translated in 1995, and EuroBooks in India have put out the first 12 Franquin Spirous in English]. It was funny to look through, as I didn’t understand any of the dialogue. Actually, it was a French teacher who’d passed them on to me.

Didn’t this make you want to learn French?

I’m really bad at foreign languages! But I’ll make an effort. We’re starting to see French-language comics translated into English: Largo Winch, Blake & Mortimer [these and more are being published by Cinebook]. Actually about that series, people say those characters are English, but in reality they’re not at all. I don’t know anyone English who acts like them: they’re really Frenchmen pretending to be English!

So Daniel is a wee bit out of touch with the British comics scene, made no mention of American comics (but then he was being interviewed for a Belgian comic) and seems to be aware and genuinely interested in bandes dessinées, as long as they’re translated. Good luck with those French lessons, and maybe someone ought be sending Daniel some up-to-date comics and graphic novels for him to discover between takes?

Posted: August 17, 2009


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