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Other Hergé Studio Artists: Blake and Mortimer, etc

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Big Ren
#11 · Posted: 27 May 2004 17:00
jock123, would you say it's worth trying to get hold of the two 'ugly, shrunken' Catalan English editions?
#12 · Posted: 28 May 2004 07:29 · Edited by: jock123
I suppose the answer is, “How important is it to you that you have them in English?”

I may be unfairly tarring the reputation of Catalan Comics, who at least made an attempt to get the books out; their editions may be faithful to the originals. However, they have slapped publication and price info over the cover art, and used an awkward guage of cardboard for their cover, which is too thin to be called hard-back, but too thick to bend easily.

My feeling is that they have been reduced in size: they are smaller than my “Yellow ‘M’”, which is the same size as a Tintin album, and they are the same size as other Catalan books I have seen. As tybaltstone says elsewhere, the books can be rather wordy, and given Jacobs’ more muted palette, density of frames and the sheer volume of text, I would have appreciated them being a larger size. The effect is rather dark.

Those reservations (largely aesthetic) aside, the English text seemed fine to read story-wise, and it is nice to have these seminal, (sort of) British characters available in their “mother tongue”, so, yes, you should get them if you saw them.
#13 · Posted: 28 May 2004 08:56
I agree with jock123 - they are worth having but don't compare well with the Edtions Blake & Mortimer (Dargaud, I think) versions available on the continent. The Catalan/Comcat books are likely to fall apart after a few years (depending on how well you look after them!) and they have a horrible font for the balloons which is quite often not set very well.

But you still get the story and the great art. If you can pick up a French edition (eg. from Amazon.fr) then do so, as they are lovely books.
#14 · Posted: 28 May 2004 10:42
I don’t like to be wholly negative about anything, so a positive thing about the Comcats (and the Dargaud book too) is that they are on matte-finished paper, not the coated stuff the Tintin books now come on, which I feel is unsympathetic to the colouring of Hergé’s work.

And while not as good as the Tintin lettering, the Blake & Mortimers’ font is still not as horrible as the Asterix books. I liked the style in the first early editions, and then as they started to come out more frequently the writing deteriorated. Now they appear to have re-lettered the early books in an even worse face, which is really disappointing...
#15 · Posted: 27 Aug 2005 03:40 · Edited by: thundercars
Being a dedicated fan of the Blake and Mortimer strips it's not too difficult to make a few comments here: size does matter in this case. The bigger the plates the more impressed you are. Editions Blue Circle released (in 1985/86) 3 books in Dutch (The yellow M, The Atlantis enigma and SOS Meteorites) and 5 (the sames three as in Dutch plus The mystery of the great pyramide parts 1 and 2) in French on the format they were originally drawn (35 cm x 46 cm), with a hardcover (unfortunately not laminated), a linnen spine and a slipcase. These were in full colour and had a limited run.
Since the question of the rights has been resolved, new Blake and Mortimer books have been released, 5 sofar since 1996. These were accompanied by a very limited run of about the same format as the Blue Circle editions, but in black-and-white and they come with sketches, annotations and a large print. You can imagine that they don't come cheap. Be sure to wear your photo-gloves, because the parchment-like paper is very susceptable for fingerprints...
If it is masterly colouring you want, forget the albums. The colouring plays a big part in building up the atmosphere of the stories. If you don't do it right the whole atmosphere is gone. The seventies Dutch albums were horrible, with all the pastel teints that were in vogue then. The fifties Lombard albums are not at all bad, but compare that with the original publication in Tintin magazine and especially the Dutch weekly Pep. The yellow M (published 1965/66)and SOS Meteorites (1966/67) are unsurpassed.

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