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E.P. Jacobs: His role in the production of the books?

#1 · Posted: 31 Oct 2011 03:15 · Edited by: Moderator
This paragraph is copied from Edgar's page on Wikipedia:

"...he assisted Hergé in the recasting of his earlier albums Tintin in the Congo, Tintin in America, King Ottokar's Sceptre and The Blue Lotus for book publication. After the project, he continued to contribute directly in the drawing as well as the storyline for the new Tintin double-albums The Secret of the Unicorn/ Red Rackham's Treasure and The Seven Crystal Balls/ Prisoners of the Sun.Can anyone confirm that Hergé received a helping hand in the drawing of Unicorn and Red Rackham?

I'm asking because I've never heard of anyone helping with these two albums. Always knew that the very final coloured editions were 100% Hergé's work.

Also the paragraph says that "after" the project of redrawing America and Congo, he helped with the Unicorn and Rackham. But the project of redrawing America/Congo was in 1946 while the final versions of the Unicorn/Rackham were finished by 1944.

Can you shed any light?
#2 · Posted: 31 Oct 2011 10:15
It sounds wrong to me; according to Jacobs himself, in his autobiography: “Je débutai chez Hergé le 1er janvier 1944…” (“I started with Hergé on the 1st of January, 1944…”).

Alice Devos, Hergé’s first assistant, had started earlier than Jacobs, in March 1942, and she was involved in the re-formatting of black and white stories and did some of the commercial art projects for the Tintin line, but I couldn’t say if or where she had a hand in Unicorn and Rackham. However, I’m sure I have read of Hergé getting help in the colouring of sequences of at least Rackham, but that may be a faulty memory. I thought the air-brush work for the under-sea scenes had been done by someone else, as it wasn’t a technique with which Hergé was familiar, but I could easily be wrong.
#3 · Posted: 31 Oct 2011 14:27
I found the following in the introduction of the Moulinsart editions of Les vrais secrets de la Licorne (“The True Secrets of the Unicorn”) and A la recherche du trésor de Rackham le Rouge (“In Search of Red Rackham's Treasure"), which collect the original black and white strips published in Le Soir.

From Unicorn:

La gloire lui importe pan seul compte le succes de Tintin…

From Red Rackham's Treasure:

…il faut également y ajouter la minutieuse refonte de plusieurs albums parus initialement en noir et blanc…

The online translators miss the parts that matter and different translators give different meanings. So maybe somneone who speaks French can translate them for us? I think these have answers to some of our questions about the involvement of the first associates of Hergé.

Moderator Note: It is best to avoid copying such large bodies of text; it’s all right to quote a short sentence or two, or a couple of lines, but once it gets to several paragraphs, it becomes difficult to justify. We wouldn’t want people to do that to the information we have on Tintinologist.org, so we have to avoid doing it to others. We have edited your quotations accordingly, leaving an idication of the section you mean, should anyone have the books to hand.
mct16 has paraphrased the content for you below, and hopefully this is enough for the purpose of your question.

The Tintinologist Team
#4 · Posted: 31 Oct 2011 15:36 · Edited by: mct16
Combines two posts…

The extract from "Unicorn" is essentially saying that at that stage Herge was still working on his own, without the aid of collaborators. (This was about 1942-43.)

It was when his editor suggested that the early adventures should be redrawn and colourised that he sought the assistance of Alice Devos for the colouring and later "Edgar Jacobs, unemployed baritone very keen on drawing... and Tintin's backgrounds would become more detailed."

(Michael Farr credits Jacobs with the detailed backgrounds in "King Ottokar's Sceptre" (1947), such as the walls of the room where the Sceptre and Crown are kept. In the original B/W book they were blank.)

The extract from "Treasure" states that Jacobs' work on this story was essentially colouring the book edition (1944), though he is credited with spectacularly turning "the small island of the original strips into a magnificent landscape of a treasure island of wild beauty and mystery".

(The panel in which Tintin and Haddock admire the island for the first time, with its mountains and dense forest on page 24 of the book, was not included when the story was published in the Le Soir newspaper (1943).)

The article goes on to say that "This outstanding collaborator would make a more definite mark in the following double episode: 'The Seven Crystal Balls' (1944) and 'Prisoners of the Sun'".

(He certainly did. It was Jacobs who suggested that a house he knew of would be an excellent model for Professor Tarragon's home in "Crystal Balls". He and Herge spent most of the day drawing sketches of the house and it was only when they were leaving that they realised that it was the HQ of the local SS and Gestapo! Brrrr...)

A little editing of the Wikipedia article may be in order, especially to point out that the recasting of "Congo", "Ottokar" and "Lotus" were largely post-war projects.

(Not me, though. I've wiped my hands of Wikipedia.)
#5 · Posted: 1 Nov 2011 02:21
mct16, Thanks a lot for your transaltions. I think this clears up things.


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