From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays, No: 132: A Look At Benny Breakerian!
Hello readers and welcome to a special extra edition of our all-ages column, From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays! Since we’ve started, we always have loved the editions of The Smurfs by Peyo that Papercutz has been putting out. Well this year to add to that coolness factor, Papercutz is releasing for the first time in North America the Peyo comic Benny Breakiron! Even better, Jesse Post, Marketing Director at Papercutz, took time to answer a few questions and gives us an exclusive look at the first volume below!
ComicAttack: First off for our reader who are unfamiliar, who is Benny Breakiron and what kind of adventures will see him in?
Jesse Post: Benny is your average boy-next-door who likes to play soccer, help out his neighbors, and keep his grades up. The big difference between him and the rest of us is that he has superpowers! He’s super-strong, super-fast, he can leap over whole city blocks, and he even has super-breath. While this seems like a dream-come-true, the problem is that he’s SO strong that most of the kids don’t want to play with him, and he also loses all his powers whenever he gets sick, which is pretty inconvenient if he’s in the middle of an adventure. And he gets into TONS of adventure! Benny’s stories usually start with a fairly simple problem that snowballs into a huge affair. In the first book, “The Red Taxis,” for instance, Benny tries to help out his cab-driver friend who is being run out of business by a slick rival operation. Before you know it, Benny is dealing with a major organized crime ring, kidnappers on the high seas, a secret lair in an island paradise, and some good old-fashioned fist-fighting! These are real page-turners in the vein of classic children’s adventure stories like Tom Swift, Little Orphan Annie, and Floyd Gottfredson’s Mickey Mouse strips.
CA: The first book The Red Taxis is a translation of Les Taxis Rouges, and I believe the first of 7 collections. Are there plans to release the other collections like you have done with The Smurfs, also by Peyo?
JP: Absolutely! This is a Smurfs-like project in every way, right down to the trim size. We were lucky to get Adam Grano on board as he is the series designer for The Smurfs and he’s bringing the exact same aesthetic to Benny Breakiron. Our goal was to not only bring out another great read for kids, but also to help Peyo fans here in the States get their hands on a definitive, faithful edition of the Benny stories.
CA: Benny’s name originally is Benoit Brisefer, which translates roughly as Benedict Ironbreaker. In the 1960s, a few U.K. publications published him with the name Tammy Tuff and Steven Strong. What was the choice to go with Benny Breakiron as his English name this go around?
JP: I kind of hinted at this above, but we want the Papercutz edition to be as close to “the right one” as we can, and “Benny Breakiron” is the most literal translation of “Benoit Brisefer” without losing any appeal. (You’re right that the most accurate translation is probably “Benedict Ironbreaker,” but we like the alliteration in ours.) We considered the previous U.K. names but felt that neither of them were close to what Peyo was thinking when he first invented Benoit Brisefer. Also, as a marketing guy, I might have staged a coup if we wound up titling a boy’s adventure series “Tammy” anything!
CA: Was their a choice when bringing more of Peyo’s work over to go with Benny Breakiron, instead of something like Johan and Peewit, who we already got a taste of in The Smurfs?
JP: If you mean, did we consider Johan and Peewit, then absolutely yes. We love everything Peyo did; he was a master cartoonist in every sense of the word and a treasure to the artform. As the U.S. publishers of The Smurfs, we feel a certain responsibility to bring as much of his work here as we can, in as definitive a collection as possible. But there wasn’t really a binary choice between Johan and Benny; this is just the one we thought would be fun to do at this time, especially with the second Smurfs movie drawing more attention to Peyo. We’re also launching The Smurfs Anthology series in June, which will re-collect the comics we’ve been publishing in the smaller kids’ format in a larger-sized hardcover for adults. That will include the first appearances of the Smurfs in Johan and Peewit. We ran the first Smurfs-Johan and Peewit story in The Smurfs Vol. 1, “The Magic Flute,” but The Smurfs Anthology will include the rest, along with some cool essays and photos that are just starting to roll in. We’re thinking this will be a “Summer of Peyo,” and we want Benny Breakiron to be a huge part of that!
CA: Awesome, thank you for your time! We are looking forward to this release!
As for you, reader, take a look below at a preview of the all new Benny Breakiron volume coming out soon!