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Cigars of the Pharaoh: B&W version a stand-alone book?

Roby
Member
#1 · Posted: 3 Nov 2017 04:44 · Edited by: Roby
This is about the original black and white versions of Cigars of the Pharaoh and Blue Lotus.

Reading these books gave me the impression that Cigars was originally meant to be a stand-alone adventure in black and white, only becoming a first of two parts after it was finished, and of course when the adventures were coloured. Here is what I'm basing this on

In black and white, the Cigars ends with the word "FIN".

In B/W the end does not have the ambiguous sentence where Tintin wonders if it's really the end. This is only found in the coloured version.

The leader of the gang falls off the cliff and dies at the end of the Cigars, and the way the fall is drawn in B/W makes it clear Herge did not intend for him to survive that fatal fall.

In B/W Cigars, there isn't a newspaper that mentions on the side that Rastapopoulos is missing. This was added in the coloured version. This indicates that Herge originally intended him to be just the film producer Tintin met in Arabia, not the leader of the gang.

Of course in the B/W The Blue Lotus we see definitive links to the previous adventure, but there is no question that Herge had decided to make the B/W Lotus a sequel by the time he started drawing it. My suggestion is that he did not intend the Cigars to have a second part when he was writing it, and that the decision came after it was finished.

What do you think? Do you find anything in the B/W Cigars of the Pharaoh which indicates that Herge intended it to have a second part?
jock123
Moderator
#2 · Posted: 3 Nov 2017 13:25 · Edited by: jock123
Roby:
Do you find anything in the B/W Cigars of the Pharaoh which indicates that Hergé intended it to have a second part?

Well Cigars starts with Tintin in conversation with Snowy, discussing the fact that they are going to Shanghai, so it certainly looks from page one as if the intention was always that the adventures were going to be at the very least connected, if not one long story.

This is not just found internally in the books, but in the lead up to the start of Cigars too. The Petit Vingtième for December the 1st, 1932 (the week before his departure), Tintin was interviewed by a colleague, and when asked, he says he is heading off to China. A map was published to show his (planned) journey to the readers.

The following week, the cover announces "He's left! Follow from this week, Tintin's Adventures in the Orient"; the section we now know as The Blue Lotus was initially called "Tintin in the Extreme Orient" - so the titles linked thematically, as part of a single journey.

While I agree that the two books are easily separable, and have discussed that before, in light of how the first book came to be slightly reworked by the Studios so that it could become available to those markets (including the English-speaking world) which did not want to carry the second, that I think is as much a pragmatic choice as anything else.

The black-and-white books were already free-wheeling enough, and considerably longer than the colour books became, so there would have to be a break somewhere along the line to allow them to fit into books.

I think it entirely possible that he sent Tintin off without any truly specific idea about how closely the second half would connect to the first, but I'm sure he didn't anticipate them being so different.

Because what he certainly won't have factored in in 1932 was the effect of meeting Tchang, and the impact that that would have, on not just his art, but his approach to his art.

In looking for someone who could help with the Chinese decor, scenery and calligraphy, Hergé found someone who taught him to take his work seriously: that if he was going to put a line on paper, it should be the best, most important line he could do; if he made a cartoon, it should be the best cartoon he could possibly make.

This new sense of purpose, and the wise counsel he received from Tchang to ground the story in a reality, rather than merely falling back on stereotypes and relying on gags to jolly things along when he didn't have any clear ideas, changed the direction I am fairly sure the book would have gone in if he had carried on in the vein set by Cigars.

I'm certain he knew he had to continue the story after Cigars finished, but bringing Cigars to at least a partial conclusion made it easier to address story-telling in a new way in the later part.

So yes, Cigars was intended to be the start of a two-part, globe-trotting adventure from the Middle to the Far East; what we got was something else entirely, due to the circumstances under which Blue Lotus was made.
mct16
Member
#3 · Posted: 3 Nov 2017 19:32 · Edited by: mct16
Loosely connecting one story to the next one had been done before: in "Congo" Tintin breaks up Al Capone's diamond smuggling operation and in the next story, "America", he actually goes to Chicago and confronts Capone himself. This occurs in both the B&W and colour editions.

It has been pointed out that a very Rastapopoulos-like character appears in "America" at a banquet from which Tintin is kidnapped - thus, in a way, providing a link to "Cigars", especially since, in the B&W edition of "America" the woman is he seated next to is referred to as "Mary Pikefort" (i.e. the real-life film star "Mary Pickford"), a suitable companion to a film director.

These loose connections do not prevent "Congo", "America" and "Cigars" from being read as stand-alone books but "Blue Lotus" is more of an actual sequel since it is necessary to read "Cigars" in order to understand certain events such as Tintin staying in the Maharajah's palace, the poison-of-madness (which plays an important part in "Cigars" and "Lotus") and his friendly relationship with Rastapopoulos when he is investigating the Chinese doctor's sudden disappearance.

The question is if Herge actually intended the adventure in China to be a sequel to "Cigars" while he was working on "Cigars". I think he did since there are loose ends in "Cigars" which needed to be cleared (see below). As Jock123 indicates, Tchang's influence made "Blue Lotus" a much more important story than it may have been if Herge had just written and drawn it without benefiting from Tchang's influence. Rastapopoulos' agent in China could have ended up as a Fu Manchu-like villain and Oriental despot ruling over a fiefdom of peasants rather than the Japanese businessman Mitsuhirato.

Roby:
In B/W Cigars, there isn't a newspaper that mentions on the side that Rastapopoulos is missing. This was added in the coloured version. This indicates that Herge originally intended him to be just the film producer Tintin met in Arabia, not the leader of the gang.

The announcement that Rastopopoulos has disappeared appears to have been an improvisation by the English editors since I cannot find it in the French editions.

I actually think that Herge did intend to have him as the villain-behind-the-scenes but did not try to make it obvious, just giving a few hints here and there.

In the B&W edition, when Tintin and Rastapopoulos become friends on the film set, the latter tells Tintin that he has been asked to look out for gun smugglers and asks Tintin to discreetly check out the boat which rescued him from the Red Sea. Tintin finds the guns in the boat and reports this to Rastapopoulos. Later, during the meeting of the hooded leaders, one of them (certainly the Arab colonel) tells of how he disposed of the captain of the boat and his Portuguese second-in-command who were their rivals in supplying guns to the Arabs. It follows that Rastapopoulos got the Arab colonel to dispose of their competitors based on Tintin's information.

Also there is the ambush in the desert when Tintin's water bottle is destroyed just after he has left the film set. The attacker subsequently leaves, satisfied that Tintin will die of thirst, and Rastapopoulos knew the direction Tintin was taking.

Later, in the B&W edition of "Cigars", Tintin questions the writer who tells him about the drug smugglers but is then driven mad by poison. In the French version he muters that the gang leader's name is "Ro... Ro..." and mentions "Le signe... le bras...." ("The sign... the arm..."). "Ro" may be a reference to "Roberto", Rastapopoulos' first name, and the "sign and arm" his tattoo of the symbol of Kih-Oskh on his arm which he shows off in "Lotus".
Roby
Member
#4 · Posted: 3 Nov 2017 23:07 · Edited by: Roby
jock123

Thanks for your analysis. The first version of the Cigars book was labelled "Tintin Reporter En Orient" on the cover, while the first cover of the Lotus Blue was labelled "Tintin Reporter En Extreme Orient". There is indeed a thematic linkage, still this could have been made later when it was time to write the Lotus. In other words, the fact that Le Petit Vingtième would ask us to follow Tintin in Orient is not an evidence that Herge intended to make a sequel. It could simply have been a reference to the Cigars.

I now accept most of your point of view because of the rest of your post and mct16's, but I do not consider this particular point a part of the evidence, if I understood you correctly.

mct16

That bit about "Ro" and "the arm" is incredibly observant. It pretty much proves that Herge intended to make him the bad guy, and intended as well to show us the sign on his arm at one point.

I will now have to figure out why he chose to show Rastapopoulos fall to what would certainly be a certain death, including a follow-up shot in the B/W edition where Tintin looks down and observes him continue to fall (or hit the bottom if that's how one interprets it), which appears to be a confirmation that he did not survive the fall.

Also there is a glaring anachronism (or continuity?) problem between the two books, where in Cigars the empty coffins for Tintin and Milou have death dates of January 1933, which correspond correctly to the date of publishing the strips, yet in Lotus Bleu Tintin observes the Japanese invasion of Manchuria, which took place in 1931!

A strong indicator that Herge still haden't decided what will happen in Shanghai when he was writing the Cigars. As Jock said, meeting real life Tchang might have changed everything he previously envisaged for the adventure, creating that anachronism in the process.

Unrelated point- Looking in the B/W version of the Congo I do not see reference to America, unless I missed it. This appears in the coloured edition, but in the French B/W one Tintin says something to the effect of "I wonder where we will head next after we arrive home". Please correct me if I got it wrong.

Thank you both for the insight.
Mikael Uhlin
Member
#5 · Posted: 3 Nov 2017 23:36
Roby:
Looking in the B/W version of the Congo I do not see reference to America, unless I missed it. This appears in the coloured edition, but in the French B/W one Tintin says something to the effect of "I wonder where we will head next after we arrive home".

That's right, but the connection to Al Capone in Chicago is mentioned a bit earlier in the story when Tintin is questioning a bandit.
mct16
Member
#6 · Posted: 5 Nov 2017 01:45
Roby:
I will now have to figure out why he chose to show Rastapopoulos fall to what would certainly be a certain death, including a follow-up shot in the B/W edition where Tintin looks down and observes him continue to fall (or hit the bottom if that's how one interprets it), which appears to be a confirmation that he did not survive the fall.

Tintin's observation may be on the assumption that the mystery man has fallen to his death, it does not necessarily mean that he has seen the body lying on the ground. In the B&W edition his body appears to be falling very close to the cliff edge. He may have landed on a slope which enabled him to get a grip of the rock, slow his fall and then make his way down.

Or maybe he fell into a lake or river, a bit like Tintin does to escape the train carriage in "Prisoners of the Sun".

Roby:
Also there is a glaring anachronism (or continuity?) problem between the two books, where in Cigars the empty coffins for Tintin and Milou have death dates of January 1933, which correspond correctly to the date of publishing the strips, yet in Lotus Bleu Tintin observes the Japanese invasion of Manchuria, which took place in 1931!

There is also a matter of geography and other issues. Tintin witnesses Mitsuhirato and a Westerner blow up the train track somewhere outside Shanghai. The actual act of sabotage took place at Mukden which is a 1000 miles away from Shanghai and was done by Japanese army officers, acting independently without orders. They carried out the attack in order to provide an excuse which the Japanese government took advantage of after the fact. In "Lotus", Mitsuhirato's action is with the approval of the Japanese government and the result of careful planning, with the propaganda all set once the sabotage becomes public.

In Tintin's world it appears that the Mukden Incident with led to the invasion of Manchuria did not take place and should be the Shangai Incident which leads to a similar event.

Well, if that upsets the historical events, consider how a small Balkan kingdom is the first country to send men to the moon! :)
Roby
Member
#7 · Posted: Yesterday 07:31 · Edited by: Roby
Another question about the black and white book, since the knowledge here is quite extensive :)

In that black and white edition, what is he explanation given for dropping Tintin and Milou in the sea inside the coffins, instead of mummifying them in the king's tomb? In the color edition they were mistaken for the drugs and thrown into the water when the coast guard came to search, but how about the original version and why did they end up in water instead of taking their place besides the previous entrants of the tomb?

Unfortunately I no longer have the black and white book, so I don't even know if Herge gave an explanation for this, or left it unexplained.

Thanks.
jock123
Moderator
#8 · Posted: Yesterday 15:28
Roby:
In that black and white edition, what is he explanation given for dropping Tintin and Milou in the sea inside the coffins, instead of mummifying them in the king's tomb?

It's not really clear what's going on, to be honest...
I mean, really the first question we need to ask is why the gang were mummifying anyone? - it's not just something you do casually, and in the circumstances it seems hardly worth their time...
What with all the secret bases, mummifying your enemies, custom-building novelty sarcophagi to accommodate the very tall Lord Carnival's hat and a small dog, dressing up in hooded robes and such - they have really over-complicated things for themselves.
Obviously the answer is that the hall of mummies is both a striking image and a comedy-scare for the reader when the coffins for Tintin and Snowy are shown, but the story as it has been unfolding doesn't really warrant the preparation.
Nor does Hergé bother to give us any great detail, because he wants to keep the story moving along. Having played the shock value of the mummification threat, he can neither actually carry it out (end of series), nor tie up the progress of his heroes to the east by having them escape again, so he simply has them delivered without further explanation along with the drugs.
Putting in the slightly nightmarish images induced by the knock-out gas covers up a multitude of sins, as it diverts the reader's attention away from detail: how did the smugglers find out about the tomb, when it was lost and buried in the desert? Why, if it is so easy to find, was it lost in the first place - a string of eminent Egyptologists have found it, and, rather than move to a less-easy-to-find location, they have bumped them off one at a time, and mummified them...
Who is in the tomb to trap Tintin, Snowy and Sarcophagus? The questions mount up, and then Hergé effectively wipes our collective memories by knocking us out. There's what may be a slight clue in that Rastapopoulos appears as one of the nightmare figures, smoking a cigar, but by the same token, the Thom(p)sons, Snowy and Sarcophagus are there too, and they are not presumably to be held as suspects.
The crew of the boat aren't any wiser than the reader however, because in the black-and-white version there is no coastguard vessel to come along side, frightening the smugglers into ditching their illicit cargo.
Instead you get a brief dialogue, where an unspecified person (presumably the captain, from information in the previous frame, who becomes Allen in the colour version) who doesn't like the look of the coffins, and has them dumped without ceremony ("And that? Call that cargo? Ditch it... Chuck those old relics overboard right now!").
So I'd say that all we know is that the things that happen happen, without any given reason, and the revised version isn't much clearer.
mct16
Member
#9 · Posted: Yesterday 22:02
There is also the fact that when they enter the tomb, Snowy suddenly develops a pair of bat wings and flies off with Tintin in pursuit (the issue is discussed here).

In other scenes, like when he is with Rastapopoulos, Tintin refers to the events in the tomb as a dream. Perhaps the scenes in the tomb, including the room of mummified archaeologists, was a dream. When they get into the tomb they are actually knocked out by the gang members and put into boxes which the captain then has flung overboard.

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