he included an image of Tintin in Soviet dress,
Ah, of course he did - another brick in the wall for this theory there, I think!
One lot was the Soviets page hand-coloured by France Ferrari,
An example of a coloured page (at least the third such, given the two earlier "Christmas" pages during the initial run in Le Petit Vingtième
), made in the Studios by one of Hergé's most trusted staff, while he was alive, demonstrates to me at least that he can't have been wildly opposed to the notion.
Again, another nice catch there!
Thanks for filling me in
No problem - we're all learning here!
I had the impression Hergé regarded Tintin in the Land of the Soviets
as a "sin of my youth"
He certainly seems to be quoted a lot as calling it an "erreur de jeunesse
", which may seen as a sin, I suppose, but could just be "mistake"; at that point one would have to delve a bit deeper and ask, was he talking about the book as a totality
, in its promotion of the Abbé Wallez's zealous anti-Communism, as a showcase for his writing skills, in terms of his art, or some other aspect or combination of aspects about it?
The popular story has been that he was writing it off entirely, that the absence of a colour edition meant that he never intended to colour it, that it staying out of print was a sign of his displeasure with the book, and that he was driven to republish only to fend off pirates.
All are decent points and surmises, and there may even be whole strands of truth to it - who is ever totally satisfied with what they have done? But also, who has never looked at something they have done, and at different times thought, "That's terrible!", then later "That's not so bad!"?
However, as more and more work is done to research primary sources, and more time is spent separating fact from legend, such things will be undoubtedly explored and many will be found to be wanting.
Michael Farr is an excellent journalist, and has more first-hand experience at the "coal-face" of Tintinology than most, but I am sure that he would be the first to agree that there are always new things to be found out, new ways of assembling the fragments of data to tell the story.
When Hergé made his comment on the book, he may have just been intending (for example - I don't know) to imply that he was dissatisfied with how it came out - but that now, if he tackled it again, he'd do it differently, or indeed that he intended
to redo it some day, and perfect it.
With M. Peeters's interpretation of the facts, it actually becomes easier to reconcile things with other comments from Hergé.
For example, when asked why he didn't remove Congo
from the line-up, he made a remark to the effect that he'd rather be judged on it, than accused of covering it up; this hardly makes sense if he'd be happy with the dropping Soviets
for emotional rather than pragmatic reasons (I've made a similar argument in favour of dropping Congo
before too: if Soviets
can go, why not Congo
There seems to be little consideration of whether or not Soviets
would have sold in a black-and-white edition during the years it was out of print - perhaps it wouldn't. Perhaps the news that it was being released in pirate editions didn't so much prompt a "we're losing money!" response as "Ah! At last the time is right - if people will buy cheap paper back poorly printed bootlegs, now is the time to put it back into print!"
It also seems to be forgotten that the arrival of Soviets
in the Archives Hergé
volume wasn't just its return, but the first reprinting of the black-and-white Congo
too for many years. Tellingly, it isn't numbered or advertised as the first in a series, so it must have been to test the waters for how the older versions would fair. When it was successful, volumes two, three and four came out.
Hergé and Casterman may not just have been giving in to demand after all, but timing the revival of the long-dormant black-and-white series; and if Hergé was in fact driving for the revival, and pressuring Casterman with threats to have Soviets
published at Dupuis, then we really might all have to revise our understanding of what was going on!