The Norwegian and Danish editions from the early 1970s are among the most attractive and desirable European books of all. With their smooth glossy hardbound bindings, and atmospheric cover artwork by Danish artist Robert Viby, these are a real find for any Brains Benton collector.
All six Brains Benton stories were published in Norway and Denmark in a near-identical format, with the same cover artwork, binding and exterior design. The Norwegian editions came first in the period from 1970 to 1972, as published by N.W.Damm & Søn. The Danish releases, produced by Skandinavisk Bogforlag, followed in 1973 and 1974.
The four books shown above have identical titles and artwork in both Norway and Denmark. The remaining two books - Counterfeit Coin and Waltzing Mouse - share the same Robert Viby artwork in both countries, but possess slightly different story titles.
The following table records the publication dates and translated titles of the Brains Benton editions in both Norway and Denmark:
Only the Norwegian cover of Waltzing Mouse has surfaced at the present time, but both variants of Counterfeit Coin can be seen above.
Interestingly, it would appear that the Danish publishers did not have access to the original artwork, as their cover has a black bar that was probably added to hide the Norwegian title. Also, the strange colour balance of the artwork on the Danish cover is genuine and not an artefact of the scanning process.
The change in title for the Counterfeit Coin cover seems fairly straight forward (the Norwegian word for 'drachma' is replaced with the Danish word for 'coin'). However, in the case of Waltzing Mouse, the Danish edition dispenses with the 'Brains Benton' prefix altogether (see the table above).
Despite the many fundamental similarities between the editions from both countries, there are also a number of important differences. Not only are both sets of six books translated into their own separate languages, but the Norwegian editions contain the original US internal illustrations, which are absent from the Danish releases. The following table gives a comprehensive listing of the main differences:
The Norwegian copyright pages for Missing Message and Counterfeit Coin contain a line stating that they were printed in the USA, directly contradicting the information given elsewhere on the same page. This line was removed in the remaining four titles and is therefore assumed to be erroneous.
The Danish editions were also assigned ISBNs which are as follows: