sábado, 11 de diciembre de 2010


"What a surprise!" That is what I exclaimed that morning at the bookstalls that they set in El Ejido's main street because of the Christmas arrival. I took the oportunity to buy some Spanish comics. Mortadelo y Filemón, Zipi y Zape, El Botones Sacarino,... When I was a child I loved them! And I still love them... What can I say? And, among them, I found up a Súper López comic. But it wasn't any Súper López story: it was "the Bulgarian periplus" of Súper López.

Súper López is one of these Spanish antiheroes. I have never liked it as much as Mortadelo y Filemón, for instance, but... can you imagine my surprise when I read a title like "the Bulgarian periplus" in a Spanish comic? I had no doubts to buy it.

But... who is Súper López? Súper López was created by the cartoonist Juan López Fernández (also known as Jan) during the 70's as a Superman parody. "Periplo búlgaro" was published in 1990 and tells a Súper López adventure in the country where I've been living for 10 months. "Periplo búlgaro" was the first Súper López issue within a series of comic that we can name "touristic comics". Jan likes to set his stories as faithful as possible. That's why he likes to take information, make pictures,...etc I didn't manage to know if he has been in Bulgaria before. I swear he was, because it would have been impossible to create a more accurated image of Bulgaria like what he made. And, moreover, how to take information about an unknown country for Spaniards in 1989 without any Internet? Clearly, Jan had to be in Bulgaria...

Jan, the creator of Súper López
And, what is "the Bulgarian periplus" about? Honestly, I haven't read it yet... But, after taking a look, I suppose it is about an antidote which Súper López's boss needs because he is kind of sick (I believe Al Trapone, the bad of the story, tried to poison him). Luisa, one of the Súper López co-workers, is in Bulgaria on vacation with her boyfriend Jaime and she wants to know nothing about job... Súper López goes to Bulgaria to take the antidote back to Barcelona.

Súper López: "Pe... pe... pero... entonces... Luisa..."
"B.. b... but... then... Luisa..."

Boss: "¡Se fue a Bulgaria esta tarde! ¡Se fue sin traerme el antídoto! ¡Todos me fallan aquí! ¡Nadie hace su trabajo en esta casa!"
"She went to Bulgaria this afternoon! She left without bringing the andidote for me! Everybody lets me down here! Nobody makes his job in this house!"

At the begining, Jan shows Bulgaria as an unknown country... I mean: it'll be hard to find it for Súper López, who flys to one of the Poles (North or South, I dunno...). He checks a map and, afterwards, he flys to Egypt, Athens, and, finally, Bulgaria:
As you can see, Bulgarians speak with cyrillic alphabet... But, is that Bulgarian language? No, it isn't at all. Jan learned the Bulgarian alphabet and he transcribed (didn't translate) sentences from Spanish language with Bulgarian letters... As you can imagine, the transcription is not so good because it is almost impossible to have a standard latin-cyrillic alphabet transcription. For example, in this vignette we have:

Bulgarian man: "София?... Ал норте! Жиен километрос!"
 “¿Sofia? ¡Al norte! ¡Cien kilómetros!”
“Sofia? Northwards! One hundred kilometers!”

Súper López: "¿Hacia allá...? ¡Gracias!"
“Over there? Thank you!”

Finally, Súper López arrives in Sofia:
Súper López: “¡Epa! Esto ha de ser la catedral de Sofía, se parece a la foto...”
“Hey! This must be the Sofia's cathedral. It looks like the picture...”

Once there, he looks for Luisa and Jaime, who are shopping in Sofia.
Súper López: “Vaya... tal vez hubiera sido mejor entrar en su cuarto del hotel y registrar el equipaje...”
“Oh... perhaps it would have been better to get in her hotel bedroom and search the luggage...”

Jaime: “No, yo no querer perfume de París. ¡De aquí! Perfume de rosas, Bulgar...”
“No, me not want perfume from Paris... From here! Roses perfume. Bulgar...”

Shopgirl:  "Ваиасе а хажер гаргарас!"
"¡Váyase a hacer gárgaras!"
"Go to blazes!"

Luisa: “Se dice búlgaro, Jaime, no vulgar
“You must say Bulgarian”, not vulgar...”

Jaime: “No, si hasta se lo he dicho en francés...”
“Yes, I even spoke to her in French...”

Luisa: “Mira, tú señala con el dedo y basta. Los búlgaros hablan en búlgaro”
“Look! You must point with your finger and that's all. Bulgarians speak in Bulgarian!"

Meanwhile, Súper López still looks for them. At the hotel, they told him that Luisa and Jaime went to make a trip.
Súper López: “Debe ser esto... Ahí veo un microbus que pone Balkantourist... ¡Cuanta gente!”
“It must be this... I can see a microbus which has written Balkantourist... So many people!”

He tries to follow the bus, but it is not going to be easy... Carasucia, a Al Trapone's partner, will try to steal the antidote to Luisa. The next stop in this Bulgarian trip is Rila's monastery:
Súper López: "Bueno, llegaré antes que ellos y los esperaré..."
"Well, I will arrive before them and I'll wait”

Bulgarian man: "Ниет! ¡Rila más al suroeste! Esto es Shipka..."
“No (a bad translation of не). Rila is further southwest. This is Shipka..."

Súper López: "¡Pues vaya...!”
"Oh dear...!"

He arrives in Rila's monastery and trys to avoid Carasucia to steal Luisa.
Súper López: "¡Carasucia escapó!"
“Carasucia escaped!”

Then, Luisa and Jaime go to Plovdiv by bus. Súper López follows them.
Súper López: "¡Uf! ¡Estos búlgaros están locos...!”
“Oof! These Bulgarians are mad...”

Countrywomen: "Естос туристас естан флаута!"
"¡Estos turistas están flauta!"
"These tourists are like a flute! (are insane, mad,...)"

Súper López: "¡Ya estamos!"
"We are here already!"

The streets from Plovdiv's Old Town are maybe the most faithful reproduction of “the Bulgarian periplus”. Here you have some vignettes: 
Luisa: "¡Qué bonito!"
"It is so beautiful!"

Jaime: "Me alegro de que se te pase el enfado, Luisa. Ahora vamos a andar un poco por el centro antiguo de Plovdiv."
"I'm glad you are not angry any more, Luisa. Now, let's take a walk by the Plovdiv's Old Town."
Luisa: "Grrmbl..."

Súper López: "Luisa... Deja que te explique..."
"Luisa... Let me explain..."

This is one of my favourites: Can you see the obituaries? And the Bulgarian offering change?

Luisa: "¡Toma bolso! ¡Toma...!"
"Take the bag! Take...!"

Súper López: "¡Ay, bueno! ¡Que ya me voy! ¡Ya...!"
"Ay, ok... I'm leaving now! Now!"

Bulgarian man: Change?

Tania (touristic guide): "¡Todos al autobus! Vamos a..."
"Everyone to the bus! Let's go to..."

Súper López: "...y si se lo quita ¡yo se lo quito a él y listos!"
"...and if he steals it... I'll steal it to him, and that is!”

Luisa: "Oooh, Jaime... ¡Qué espectacular!"
"Oh, Jaime... It is so espectacular!"

Tania (touristic guide): "...es uno de los anfiteatros romanos mejor conservados del mundo y..."
 “...it is one of the best conserved roman anphitheaters in the world and...”

The next stops are the monument of Shipka, Etar and Lovech. As you can see, “the Bulgarian periplus” is more than a Súper López comic. It is almost a touristic guide:
Luisa: "¡Cuántas rosas...!"
"So many roses!"

Jaime: "Bulgaria es el país de las rosas, Luisa... Hacen agua de rosas, colonias, perfumes,..."
"Bulgaria is the country of roses, Luisa... They make rosewater, colognes, perfums,..."

Tania: "...es la reconstrucción de una aldea del siglo XVIII, tal como funcionaba aprovechando la fueza del agua..."
"...it is a reconstruction of a village from the XVIII century, such as it used to work, taking advantage of water strenght..."

Jaime: "Eso es un molino..."
"That is a mill..."

Jaime: "¡Mira! ¡Esto es una lavadora automática, Luisa...!"
"Look! This is an automatic washing-machine, Luisa...!"

Luisa: "¡¿Qué?!"

Tania: "...y funciona muy bien. Aquí lavamos tapices y..."
"...and it works very well. Here, we wash carpets and..."

Luisa: "Pues está bastante vieja... ¡Podrían comprar una Pru!"
"It is quite old... They might buy a Pru"

Tania: “...y este monumento, que se llama Monte Shipka, fue construido en memoria de los heróicos combatientes rusos caídos durante la guerra de liberación contra los turcos, y...”
"...and this monument, which is called Mount Shipka, was build in memory of the heroic Russian fighters who were killed during the war of liberation against the Turks, and..."

Luisa: "¡Qué emocionante!"
"So exciting!"

Jaime: "¡Mira qué cañones!
Look at the cannons!"

Finally, the trip around Bulgaria ends in Lovech, and they come back to Sofia.
Luisa: "¡Bah! ¡A Lovech teníamos que llegar en domingo! ¡Con la de tiendas que hay! ¡Todo cerrado...!"
“Buh! We had to get to Lovech on sunday! There are so many shops! And all are closed!"

Jaime: "Sí... Ya no sé cómo gastar el dinero que hemos cambiado..."
"Yes... I already don't know how to spend the money we changed..."

Luisa: "Ya estamos en Sofia otra vez, Jaime."
"We are already back in Sofia, Jaime."

Jaime: "Dice Tania que después de comer, en el hotel, tendremos la tarde libre."
"Tania says that, after having lunch at the hotel, we will have the afternoon off."

And, finally, Súper López catchs the thief who stole the antidote to Luisa. He gets it at Sofia's airport. As I can guess, it is the Terminal 1. Anyway, did the Terminal 2 exist in 1989? Maybe, it didn't...
Carasucia: "!"

Súper López: "¿Me dejas que te ayude?"
"Do you let me help you?"

And... the end:
Súper López: "¡El antídoto! ¡Claro! Si no estás verde, te vuelve verde, si lo estás te lo quita...
¡Tendrás que volver a esperar!"
"The antidote! Sure! If you are not green, it gets you green. If you are, it takes you off... You'll have to wait again!"

Jaime: "Ejem... ¿Voy a por unas hamburguesas, jefe...?"
"Hum... Shall I go for hamburgers, boss?"

Luisa: "Pobre..."
"Poor him..."

And this was “the Bulgarian periplus”. The first Spanish comic about Bulgaria that I've ever seen... probably the one that exists. A really big surprise when I found it at the bookstalls, and a really good present for a Bulgarian girl who I met in Almería and had a birthday just yesterday ;)