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Black Island: Assorted anomalies?

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insured_by_wagg
Member
#1 · Posted: 22 Feb 2005 18:14
Hi there everyone. This is my first posting - I'm a new member from lil' old New Zealand, down here in the South Pacific.

I know 'The Black Island' has been covered elsewhere, but I was reading this again yesterday (it's probably one of my top five favourite volumes) and there are four things (anomalies, possibly) that are playing on my mind.

I just wanted to see whether anyone else had noticed the same things or had any suggestions/solutions...

1. Look at the topography of the Black Island itself on the cover of the volume. Now look at the island as Tintin approaches it in his motorboat on pg. 43. You can see the bottom of a second steep cliff coming down to the waterline on Tintin's left, like the island has two peaks instead of just one (as shown on the cover).

Possible Solution: Tintin has come around on the island from a different angle to what is seen from the shore?

2. In one of my favourite comic set-pieces of the whole series, the Thompsons engage the reluctant help of an aircraft mechanic as they give chase to Tintin in an old bi-plane. Tintin crashes in thick fog and is assisted by an old Scottish fellow who offers them a bed for the night. The next morning he sets out for a village (which is another day's walk away) and spends that night at the local pub.

The next morning finds Tintin heading out to the Black Island where he encounters the forgers and Ranko the gorilla - and stumbles across a TV displaying an airshow... an airshow which (accidentally) features the Thompsons in their bi-plane, who are STILL FLYING!!!

I'm not really clued-up on aircraft technology, but I don't think even today's modern jet fighters could go two days without refuelling!

Possible Solution: ???

Well, this is a series in which Tintin learns to "speak" to elephants in a short space of time and is also taken aboard a UFO, so perhaps I just shouldn't analyse some things to closely!

3. This is more of a subjective observation but, is it just me or does 'The Black Island' finish very, very abruptly? All the main story loose-ends are tied up in one panel - a newspaper's front page, and then three (from memory) panels are given over to Tintin saying goodbye to the Thompsons... and all of a sudden that's it. Finito.

Maybe because it's one of my favourite volumes I want it to continue on.

Anyway, I'd love to hear other members thoughts on these points.

insured_by_wagg
snafu
Member
#2 · Posted: 22 Feb 2005 23:02
1. I don't have an answer here, but the covers don't necessarily correspond to the content itself. For example, in "King Ottokar's Sceptre", there is no scene that really corresponds to the cover!

Of course, there could have been errors. There are reportedly inconsistencies in the number of stripes on Captain Haddock's suit in "The Shooting Star".

The phenomenom you have reported is similar to what is on the cover of "The Shooting Star". Tintin has apparently been looking at that giant mushroom from different angles!

2. There are many cases of Tintin where you can suspend your disbelief, sometimes for the sake of comedy. For example, in "Prisoner of the Sun", Captain Haddock charges at Zorrino's kidnappers and rolls into a snowball after tripping over. This would never be possible in the real world!

3. Looks like a good resolution to me. The villains are behind bars, the mystery of the Black Island has been revealed, and Tintin is once again friends with Thompson and Thomson, who would never arrest him again. Done!
Harrock n roll
Moderator
#3 · Posted: 23 Feb 2005 00:37 · Edited by: Harrock n roll
I was also bothered by the timelag in the Thompsons aerobatic display. I figured it must be that Tintin was watching a film recording on the TV. The frames which cut to the real event could be flashbacks. This seems reasonable because after Tintin makes his call to the police the Thompsons themselves arrive on the Island very shortly afterwards - they surely couldn't have recovered from their plane crash, got the message from Tintin and dashed up to Scotland that quickly!

The Red Sea Sharks is another example where newspaper reports are used to tie-up all the loose ends (and that one really does end abruptly.) Apparently Hergé had overrun with that book but I'm not so sure the case was similar with The Black Island.

Maybe because it's one of my favourite volumes I want it to continue on.

I'll fill you in. Tintin has a relaxing journey home catching up on the newspaper. He gets back to Labrador road, makes dinner (a haggis he picked up in Scotland) and goes to bed early. The next day he decides to take a stroll through the park and discovers a briefcase on a bench....;)

P.S. Welcome to the forum insured_by_wagg!
insured_by_wagg
Member
#4 · Posted: 23 Feb 2005 01:05
Thanks for your comments snafu and Harrock N Roll!

Now that you mention it, the TV programme Tintin is watching is referred to as a "telerecording" in the book dialogue.

Also I doubt "live" TV broadcasts were very common in those days, so I think I'll sleep a little better tonight knowing that it was - probably - a highlights programme recorded earlier.
Harrock n roll
Moderator
#5 · Posted: 23 Feb 2005 01:56 · Edited by: Harrock n roll
Also I doubt "live" TV broadcasts were very common in those days

Actually, I'd forgotten about the mention of telerecording! Now if we were referring to the original version of The Black Island (1937) then it would have been live as telerecording didn't exist until the invention of video recording in the 50s. In those days showing a “recording” would have meant a live broadcast of a film - literally putting a TV camera in front of a film projection. The original version of the book makes no mention of a recording - the 1966 remake has more credibilty in that respect, explaining better the timelag with the aeronautics.

We know that Hergé hadn't really done his homework on the subject overall because the 1943 colour version includes a colour TV which hadn't been invented by then but this was corrected for the 1966 version.

Edit: See this very similar thread which resurfaced just days before this one

Black Island - anachronisms

Apologies for not spotting it sooner!
OJG
Member
#6 · Posted: 23 Feb 2005 13:00
snafu
I don't have an answer here, but the covers don't necessarily correspond to the content itself.

I agree. I don't think the covers can be regarded as 'canon' for the very reasons said. For example, how can The Castafiore Emerald be?
jock123
Moderator
#7 · Posted: 23 Feb 2005 15:33 · Edited by: jock123
Harrock n roll
Now if we were referring to the original version of The Black Island (1937) then it would have been live as telerecording didn't exist until the invention of video recording in the 50s.

Strictly speaking, telerecording is the process you describe, Chris, of point a camera at a flat screen, and filming the output, rather than a magnetic tape system, and did exist in the 1930s.

It was also possible to reverse the process, and play back newsreel film on a screen to be picked up by a TV camera, so perhaps this is what happened with the Thom(p)sons? The earliest extant telerecording is from 1947, so we are fortunate that Hergé was able to record at least some of this otherwise lost TV treasure...

the 1943 colour version includes a colour TV which hadn't been invented by then

Interestingly the process for colour TV was patented in 1925, but it wasn’t in regular use in 1943 - in fact, there was no television service during the war, colour or B&W.

The BBC broadcast a Mickey Mouse film, I believe, in 1939, which was interrupted by the announcement of war; they resumed the service with the same film after the war (presumably playing it from the beginning...)
Harrock n roll
Moderator
#8 · Posted: 23 Feb 2005 21:13
I bow to your superior knowledge Simon! I thought I was a TV history buff but I've been humbled!

I've read that the magnetic tape in some of the pre-50s recorders could run at speeds of up to 150 kph (90 mph). Video recording in those days was obviously costly and highly dangerous!

interrupted by the announcement of war

Yes, apparently there were fears that the signal would attract German aircraft. It didn't bother the Germans who continued to broadcast I believe.
jock123
Moderator
#9 · Posted: 23 Feb 2005 22:53
Harrock n roll
Video recording in those days was obviously costly and highly dangerous!
Yup - if the tape snapped, it was apparently quite like a band-saw blade going amok: you stood well out of the way!

And likewise, I bow to you - I wasn’t aware that TV signal was thought to be a danger. I wonder if that means we could home in on the German broadcasts in some way? Perhaps that makes a connection between Müller and the fancy-schmancy colour TV set?
yamilah
Member
#10 · Posted: 21 Apr 2005 22:14
By the way, isn't the 'Black Island' an anomaly by itself??

I mean, does it really exist somewhere 'in northern England' as reported in the French language album?

And does its castle have a proper name in the English language edition?
Thanks for your help.

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