No hablo español.

I’ve never been proud of the fact I can only speak one language (in fact, I have tried to set up goals for expanding my linguistic knowledge before). Not that I wasn’t given the chance; I have 6 years of Spanish Language classes under my belt from my youth. But very little of it has stuck. I can pick out basic words that are common now as Hispanic heritage becomes more prevalent in U.S. culture. There are also words, like iglesia, that I recall the meaning of because of ridiculous associations; iglesia means church, and I remember that because the word reminds me of igloo, and I think that a generic steeple church would look like a pointy igloo if it was tipped and placed on the steeple/front door wall.

Don’t judge, I passed quizzes with ridiculousness like that.

So, yeah, Spanish is not something I’m great at reading. Which is of course why I picked a comic book worded entirely in Spanish to review. I’d be much more worried if the story wasn’t about something I know really well; King Midas.

The cover to my copy of Joyas de la Mitologia - El Rey Midas

Besides the amazing cover, the first thing that impressed me is that the comic tells both Midas myths. The most famous one – regarding touching things and gold – starts off the issue. The story doesn’t deviate much from the myth, with Midas’ men finding Dionysus’ inebriated friend Silenus and entertaining him. As the myth goes Dionysus offers to grant Midas a boon, and the king makes his famous request. Much turning of this and that to gold follows.

Pin-Up Girl "Protie" Anne has done a King Midas themed photo-shoot on!

Now, holding true to the myth is not a complaint. Something this book does really well is tell the myths in their most original form. My only grumbling is that Midas’ daughter is portrayed (fairly accurately) as a very young girl. One could believe that the woman illustrated on the comic’s cover is at least 18 or 19, but the girl within is at least a decade younger than that. I find no satisfaction in such a transformation, which is a shame because the few subsequent pictures that feature the gilded daughter do a great job at maintaining her pose. I’d have been happier if the portrayal on the cover was consistently shown within the pages, but no use crying about it. But still…triste Dan.

Of course, Midas sees the error of his ways, gets washed in the river, and puts everything right.

It’s at this point that the comic gave me a very pleasant surprise. Before moving on to the second Midas story there’s a brief interlude about how Pan created his instrument of choice. This, of course, means we get a few nice panels of the (clothed) nymph Syrinx, including her transformation to reeds. It’s a shame that the transformation is little more than a POOF! sequence – in one frame she is human and crying out as Pan approaches, and in the next she’s a bundle of reeds in his arms. But still, a really neat surprise to have nestled between the two tales.

The remaining myth tells the tale of how Midas judged Apollo’s music unfavorably during a competition with Pan. Because all gods are fair and calmly accept dissenting opinion with poise and honor, Apollo turned Midas’ orejas into those of a donkey.

Despite trying to hide this transformation from his people by keeping his head covered, Midas’ barber was aware of the change made to the king’s ears. When he could no longer keep the secret he spoke it into a hole he dug in the ground. Because this is operating on Greek Myth Logic, the grass spread the secret of Midas’ Ass Ears.

EL VERDICTO FINAL: The cover looks great, and if that’s enough for you I recommend picking up this comic book. Syrinx’s transformation is brief and only a small bonus. If you speak Spanish I think you’ll get a little bit more out of this material…but only a little more.

For an old comic book I really like the interior line-work and colors – it looks better than some Marvel/DC issues I have from the same era (this issue was published in 1965). But it lacks nudity or any acceptable transformation sequences, so many may find little that appeals to them if “period artwork” alone doesn’t do it for you.

Those who can read Spanish will better enjoy the dialogue/text than those who cannot, as my attempts to use Google Translate left me with sentence fractures that required much fiddling before the full English meaning would come across.

Honestly, no matter what language you can read, it all comes down to the cover. With it’s fairly high detail, great coloring, and “in process” golden transformation, I think that it alone makes a purchase – for display – worth it. If you like the cover work, anything interior is gravy. If you don’t, nothing inside is going to change your mind, whether you can read Spanish or not.

Creo que vale la pena.