New York43 East 19th Street
|Products||Comics, trade paperbacks|
Catalan Communications was a New York Publishing company, operated by Bernd Metz (1944-2012), which mainly focused on English-language translations of European graphic novels, presented in a series of high-quality trade paperbacks.
The company, founded as a collaboration with Josep Toutain (1930-1997) of Selecciones Ilustradas in Barcelona, published through the 1980s until 1992 from a large loft located at 43 East 19th Street. Metz was the editor, and the novelist Tom Leighton and later Elizabeth Bell provided English translations for the French and French-edition titles, including Max Cabanes' Colin-Maillard (Heartthrobs). In 1990, the Cabanes graphic novel was the winner of the Grand Prix at France's Angoulême International Comics Festival. One of Bell's translated books for Catalan revealed errors in an earlier Heavy Metal translation of the same story. James Keller, the Germanic studies scholar, translated the German edition of Sacher-Masoch's Venus in Furs (Guido Crepax) in 1991, the year the company released its last titles. Tom Leighton was the IT arm of the firm as well as the translator from French until 1989. Jeff Lisle translated from Italian and Spanish.
Some outstanding books published by Metz were Jacques Loustal's Love Shots, Lorenzo Mattotti's Fires, Massimo Mattioli's Squeak the Cat series, and Barcelona artist Marti Riera's The Cabbie, with an introduction by Art Spiegelman. Published in five languages, Trip to Tulum by Federico Fellini and Milo Manara, with essays translated by Elizabeth Bell, was selected by Publishers Weekly as one of the best trade paperbacks of 1990. PW reviewed:
- A beautiful woman falls into a pond chasing Fellini's windblown hat. Under the water's surface is an eerie world of preserved shipwrecks and planewrecks, a resting place for ghostly references to Fellini's films. Inside a submerged seaweed-encrusted 747 the woman is astonished to find Fellini himself. He sends her off with a very handsomely drawn Marcello Mastroianni—Fellini's alter ego—to make a movie of unknown content. They stop in Los Angeles and finally reach a grand hotel on the Mexican coast where magical transformations abound. Fellini and Manara have brought the dreamlike beauty of Fellini's cinematography to the comics medium. A consummate linear draftsman, Manara's deft portraits of Fellini and Mastroianni are complemented by his dazzling imaginary architecture, his characteristic lyrical eroticism and the playfully self-referential exchanges between Fellini and the characters in his story.
In 1989–90, Catalan expanded its line with the "Comcat" line of comic albums aimed at all ages, focusing on non-adult European comic albums such as Blake and Mortimer, The Adventures of Yoko, Vic and Paul, Code XIII and Young Blueberry.