· Posted: 4 Nov 2004 14:30 · Edited by: John Sewell
I'm in agreement there, Jock - it's a sweetly touching little scene, and I like the way Tintin (not having had much to do with women in his previous 23 adventures, to put it mildly) seems charmingly at a loss as to how to respond! I'm glad Rodier left it at that though, as I wouldn't want to see Tintin and Martine running hand in hand around the Marlinspike woods throwing flowers about, or whatever!
I really like the last couple of pages, with the low-key "back at Marlinspike" ending too. For me, it's the closest Rodier got to Hergé in feel, after all the disappointment of the long sequence following the unmasking of the villain. As you say, it's dull, and there's something not quite right about spending so long dwelling on Rastapopoulos's intention to lynch Tintin and the Captain.
I find it annoying that what should have been a no-holds-barred final reckoning becomes seven or eight pages of our passive heroes, bound and unable to defend themselves, trudging around a mountainside being forced to listen to Rastapopoulos's rantings.
I've said it elsewhere, but if I had the time or the talent to do something like this, I'd have had Akass (and not necessarily Rastapopoulos) becoming a victim of poetic justice, and ending up falling into his own vat of plastic, becoming the artwork he intended to turn Tintin into! The almost casual way in which Rodier has Rastapopoulos take his dive over the cliff seems, just... wrong somehow.
I do feel a little churlish criticising though, as the whole thing is so obviously a labour of love on Rodier's part. Hasn't he himself expressed dissatisfaction with it, and said he'd like to have another crack at it?
Going to the original question, there are at least two versions of the "car" cover. I've seen one with the car seen from behind, and Tintin (in a rather unfortunate "ooh, I need a toilet!" pose) seen from the front, and another (slightly better, IMO) one from the opposite angle, with a foreground Tintin and Snowy seen from the rear as the Mercedes shoots round the corner.
I'm not sure that Rodier intended the "rocks" cover to be used as such; I've seen four full page Alph-Art illustrations, of which this is one, the others being Tintin looking on as Akass gives his blessing to a follower, Tintin entering the abandoned factory, and my favourite, a startled Tintin viewing a forged canvas in the basement, whilst Akass lurks behind the door.
I reckon they might have been done some time after the completion of the album, as the art style is a lot better on all of them!