Trivia Challenge Score Keeper
· Posted: 23 Dec 2004 21:57
Thought you might all find this interesting. I've missed some things off to be concise (though you may not think so!), but the past year has been a pretty eventful one for us Tintin fans and it's worth recalling. Let's hope next year will bring some surprises!
2004 was probably the year of one of the most significant celebrations yet of Tintin’s “birth”. We’ve seen similar events before in recent memory, notably in 1989 and 1999, but the landmark 75th anniversary of Tintin heralded the kind of press coverage you’d expect to see for a benevolent monarch. Hergé’s art filled the pages of the Francophone press in early January and even the English-speaking media devoted several sizeable commentaries here and there. The usual suspects were invited to give quotes: Michaels Farr and Turner, Jane Taylor of the Tintin Shop, and the Rodwells of Brussels all contributed, speculating on the nature of Tintin’s success and trying to fend off such world-weary topics as “Hergé the fascist” and “Tintin’s sexuality”. After nearly twenty years as a collector’s edition, Tintin et l’Alph-Art was reissued in album format to fit alongside the other titles. A special 10-euro coin was minted in Belgium, and French TV networks showed Anders Østergaard’s documentary Tintin et Moi.
An exhibition concerning Tintin’s seafaring adventures reached UK shores in March and was displayed in London’s National Maritime Museum, rejuvenating the British press coverage. Yves Horeau’s The Adventures of Tintin at Sea (trans. Farr) was published in English to coincide with the event, a very worthy volume which includes some astoundingly detailed analysis and research. By all accounts the exhibition was a resounding success, running for six months and generating plenty of spin-off activity sessions for youngsters, reiterating the educational value of Hergé’s work.
Connected to this was, perhaps for many British Tintinologists, the event of the year. On Saturday May 15th, a one-off “World of Tintin” conference was held with speakers Michael Farr, Paul Gravett, Michael Turner, Leslie Lonsdale-Cooper and Bernard Tordeur. As others on the forums have reported, the event didn’t fail to live up to expectations and it was certainly a day to remember. Among the highlights, in this reviewer’s opinion, was a chance to hear the often forgotten story of the English translations and afterwards to meet the pair involved: a charming experience, with both translators remaining modest in view of their contribution to a worldwide artistic phenomenon, and insisting that all their hard work was a labour of love. It was also the first chance for many to see the documentary Tintin et Moi which is an eye-opening piece of work that is highly reccommended to those wanting to know more of the man behind the art.
Later on in May, Anchor Bay released an attractively-priced DVD boxset of the complete Ellipse-Nelvana television series, with Tintin et Moi included in 500 copies. A pleasant and unexpected surprise occurred when the unavailable-since-1990 English translation of Tintin and Alph-Art was reissued in the new format in late June, though it didn’t reach shops until mid-July. Despite rather lacklustre publicity, the sales figures have been encouraging enough for (hopefully) at least a second impression, and possibly even a paperback edition in the future.
2004 was also the year of an exciting and extremely long-awaited Tintin release: the English translation of the black-and-white 1932 facsimile edition of Tintin in America. For a publication that has been on the cards since at least 1998, it took a great deal of patience to wait this long and many must have wondered if it wasn’t just an elaborate myth. But a few copies trickled on to the UK market (via the Tintin Shop) in August, happily proving that it had been well worth waiting for. A more widespread publication followed in late October, and the volume has reached healthy sales figures. Despite postponements (which seem to be becoming inevitable), a similar edition of Cigars of the Pharaoh is promised next year, and there are plans to reiusse all the facsimiles in English up to The Crab with the Golden Claws.
A final surprise was given at the end of the year: Casterman have announced plans to publish boxset editions of the Tintin adventures, including (in many cases for the first time offically) facsimiles of the stories in their original “serialisation” formats (i.e. in Le Petit Vingtième, Le Soir[-Jeunesse], or Tintin magazine). 2005 may have a lot to follow, but there are certainly treats in store!
Merry Christmas everyone!