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Secret of the Unicorn: “Le naufrage de la Licorne”

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#1 · Posted: 2 Mar 2004 12:32
This 37-page book is almost identical to the original Unicorn album, except this version is in black (actually, dark tan) and white; it has a different cover, title, and it contains some extra frames and slightly modified dialogues.

Does anyone have more information on this numbered edition book, published by Jean Lafitte of Geneva? My French is too rusty to follow what the album's preface says. Is this a legally published book? Did Herge draw the extra frames and write the additional lines?
Trivia Challenge Score Keeper
#2 · Posted: 2 Mar 2004 13:02
The story is taken directly from the original strips published in Le Soir during the war, so yes they are all Hergé. Some frames would obviously have had to be dropped in order to make the published book fit into 62 pages. I don't reckon this was legally published - Moulinsart probably wouldn't allow it.
Harrock n roll
#3 · Posted: 2 Mar 2004 17:58 · Edited by: Harrock n roll
Leaving out the first bit of blurb, the second part of the preface translates something like this:

The initial story “THE WRECK OF THE UNICORN” was to be entirely redrawn by Hergé and improved, becoming thereafter “THE SECRET OF THE UNICORN” by Editions CASTERMAN.

The release of this new album in black and white thus represents a very great way for the numerous fans to admire this great Master.

The basic material of this album is the fruit of long years of research, because this story appeared in daily strips during the German occupation in a Belgian big national daily “LE SOIR” and was preciously preserved by a young collector of the era.
Many readers had fun at that time gathering all the strips that appeared in the newspapers on paper sheets to make for themselves their own complete stories.
We therefore repeat: THE RELEASE OF THIS ALBUM “THE WRECK OF THE UNICORN” is a happy event and we can affirm to be the only ones in possession of such scarce material.

This work constitutes the original edition of the album THE SECRET OF THE UNICORN in black and white.

This is one from a THOUSAND EXAMPLES numbered from 1 to 1,000

Cheif Editor in GENEVA
#4 · Posted: 3 Mar 2004 10:53
Thank you, Ed and Chris, for answering my questions.
Ed is probably right about the book not being a Moulinsart endorsed publication.
Does either of you know if Editions Jean Lafitte ever released any more Tintin titles besides 'The Wreck of the Unicorn'?
Trivia Challenge Score Keeper
#5 · Posted: 3 Mar 2004 11:27
That seems to be the only Jean Lafitte publication I can find - interestingly, it seems to be a psuedonym, named after a famous pirate!
Moderator Emeritus
#6 · Posted: 3 Mar 2004 11:54
I did a quick search on Google for the title, and then used Google's translator to view some pages...however, I didn't find out much.

Are there any differences with the finished book form?

Harrock n roll
#7 · Posted: 3 Mar 2004 13:14
Within 'Naufrage' there are a few frames which were cut to fit the new format. The sizes of some of the frames are obviously smaller than some of those in the published book (the battle with the pirates on the Unicorn, etc). Otherwise it is the same version as the book.

I have seen similar versions of the original (unfinished) Land of Black Gold and Seven Crystal Balls, both of which are very interesting.
Black Gold is the completely different version published in Le Petit Vingtième, with some very significant differences between the final finished book. Crystal Balls is also taken from daily strips published in Le Soir. Neither say the publisher's name.

I'm absolutely certain that these are all pirate books.

#8 · Posted: 3 Mar 2004 15:30
When I was in Lille a few years ago I bought the 'Version Originale' of Le Temple Du Soleil, published by Casterman in long newspaper strip format (facsimilie from Tintin magazine). It has a fascinating introduction (in French). Some of the strips are only two tiers per page (most are 3) and include the 'Oui etaient les Incas?' bits used to fill out the space.

As with the versions that Chris mentions, it is very interesting to see the cut scenes and odd panel here and there that was dropped when it was converted into album format.

Sorry.. a bit off-specific-topic, but along the same lines.

- Garen.
Trivia Challenge Score Keeper
#9 · Posted: 3 Mar 2004 16:11
I'd definitely recommend the unfinished 1939 version of Land of Black Gold for its interesting historical perspective. However I'm still trying to get my hands on the 1948 Tintin magazine edition.
Belgium Correspondent
#10 · Posted: 3 Mar 2004 22:13
You 'll find a picture of the cover of all these unautorized books and some other details on this site:

Broken link removed

I hope to see you soon on my internet page with more then 150 links to Tintin sites (French, English, Swedish, ....)

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