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Angoulême International Festival of Comics 2014: A new "Tintin" album in 2017?

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jock123
Moderator
#1 · Posted: 3 Feb 2014 11:29 · Edited by: jock123
The annual Angoulême International Festival of Comics is a venerable and influential meeting for all those interested in the "9th Art", and Saturday saw a land-mark session on the future of Tintin, with some remarkable discussions, which many might have thought unimaginable.

One of the founding fathers of Tintinology, Benoît Peeters (author of the essential Le Monde d'Hergé and Hergé, Son of Tintin) chaired the panel, which included Nick Rodwell of Moulinsart and the Studios Hergé, and Benedict Mouchart representing Casterman, the publisher of Hergé's books and now a major partner/ sponsor of the Hergé Museum.

Reports appear to indicate that the session was a success, and maintained a positive attitude to the topic which was to look at what might be done with the character in a world which now has new hands steering the courses of such long-standing respected characters as Lefranc, Asterix and Blake and Mortimer.

Mr. Rodwell suggested that there could be a colour version of Tintin in the Land of the Soviets in the future, even hinting that tests might already have been prepared. He said that Casterman would certainly appreciate the possibility. [See also: "Land of the Soviets: Will a colour edition be released?"]

He compared the situation with Hergé's characters to be similar to that of the Disney organization in the wake of Walt's death: how do you proceed with the work of a creator so heavily identified with his art? Can you just decide to do your own thing? He mentioned that Disney took about ten years to decide to go their own way, and suggested that after thirty years perhaps the same could happen for Tintin.

Benoît Peeters proposed completing the Tintin version of Le ThermoZéro, the Cold War era story scripted by Greg for which Hergé drew eight pages before setting it aside; he liked the script, but felt it was too close to The Calculus Affair in theme, and (perhaps more importantly) found it impossible to adapt his working practice of constantly reworking ideas as he wrote and drew to one which required him to stick closely to someone else's scenario.

M. Mouchart suggested that André Juillard and Ted Benoit, who have worked on the Blake and Mortimer revival would be suitable candidates to adopt the mantle of Hergé and take Tintin forward.

By the end of the Festival a rumour was circulating that a new book could appear as soon as 2017, which many seem to have welcomed.

However, all the above took place firmly in the "virtual" world; in spite of the flights of specualtive fancy, nothing was said definitively about a new book, re-worked old books, or a further life for Tintin. Mr. Rodwell reiterated the status quo: that everything absolutely depended on the wishes of his wife, Mrs. Fanny Rodwell, who as the beneficiary of Hergé's estate has the ultimate say in how the characters are used. Without her approval, things will remain as they are for the foreseeable future.

In spite of that lightly mood-dampening note, these are very positive times in which to be a Tintin fan: this debate followed the recent announcement of a thaw in the relations between Moulinsart and Casterman, which had been going through a rough patch. In addition to becoming a major sponsor of the Hergé Museum, Casterman announced that they are developing archival projects with Moulinsart, starting with a book covering the creation of The Cigars of the Pharaoh.

This brought a further development in the form of a tacit agreement by Moulinsart that new Tintin albums from Casterman might be a means by which the copyright in the character could be protected and extended to safe-guard Hergé's legacy, albeit in 2052 - the first indication that circumstances might dictate a change in the absolute embargo on new Tintin albums which has prevailed since Hergé's death.

Now we have at least "talks about talks", suggesting that there may be further even more exciting developments over the next few years; we will just have to wait and see!

You can read a report on the Le Soir website (in French).

Update: Watch the entire debate (in French) on the official Angoulême YouTube feed.

Another update: In spite of the confidence with which I said it, I obviously crossed a wire somewhere in translating what I read (or perhaps I just read correctly something which was wrong?), but the video makes it quite apparent that Benoît Peeters didn't chair the debate, he participated in it...
mct16
Member
#2 · Posted: 4 Feb 2014 21:15 · Edited by: mct16
A good report, Jock123, very interesting issues being raised. I'm surprised that Peeters and Rodwell shared a platform, I always heard that those two were always at odds. Have they buried the hatchet?
jock123:
He compared the situation with Hergé's characters to be similar to that of the Disney organization in the wake of Walt's death: how do you proceed with the work of a creator so heavily identified with his art?

I'd hardly compare Herge's work, which was produced either solo or with the aid of a small, select group of collaborators, with Disney's factory-like productions. At least Herge had quality in mind whereas Disney was focused more on quantity with hundreds of artists doing the work, be it animation or comic strips, and blow such things as character development and worthy plots.

PS It might interest some people to know that the Grand Prix d'Angouleme which is a kind of lifetime achievement award for comics artists and writers was awarded to Bill Watterson of "Calvin and Hobbes".
jock123
Moderator
#3 · Posted: 5 Feb 2014 09:11
mct16:
I always heard that those two were always at odds. Have they buried the hatchet?

It's not for us here to speculate on here-say like that; as none of us has an inside track on what the relations between the two were like, or are now, it's pointless to guess, and not a little intrusive.
Suffice to say that on the podium the whole affair was conducted with cordiality.

mct16:
I'd hardly compare Herge's work, which was produced either solo or with the aid of a small, select group of collaborators, with Disney's factory-like productions.

Then I think you need to find out more about Disney; Disney may have had a greater quantity of support-staff (he operated in far more areas than Hergé ever did), but in effect he had very tight control and say over all aspects of his projects, especially on the use of Mickey Mouse and the production of feature animation (which were the corner-stones of the Disney brand).
The technicalities aside, the point that was actually being made was that, following the death of Disney, there was a loss of impetus and direction in the studio, as without him there was a vacuum, and there was no definite plan in place as to what to do without him. They had to learn to re-group, revise their processes, and work in a Walt-less world, and it took a decade or so (some might say longer, as successful feature animation dried up, and didn't get back on track until the release of The Little Mermaid).
The comparison was being made to that, with a studio which, with the loss of its head also loses its way.
I thought Mr. Rodwell was quite moving in his recounting of the situation his wife experienced: that she was moving towards having the studio continue, and, with the encouragement of Casterman, was looking at the completion of Alph-Art; however when it came to completing and returning paper-work to the publisher which would have allowed that to happen, she couldn't find it in herself to do so, thinking of what Hergé would have thought and wanted.
So the situations are analogous, as presented in the debate, and I think it's a good comparison of two men who are quite similar in their drive and abilities, and the influence they exerted and exert, post-mortem.
luinivierge2010
Member
#4 · Posted: 5 Feb 2014 12:09 · Edited by: luinivierge2010
A lucid summary is provided here :

http://www.actuabd.com/Angouleme-2014-Tintin-est-mort

Concerning Benoit Peeters, one does not need to be positioned on an "inside track" - readers of the French BD press will know that they he and Mr. Rodwell are now back on (at least reasonably) good terms. And Mr. Rodwell was hinting at this - and at the previous reporting of their disagreements in the press and in various books - during the course of the discussion. No intrusion there.

This suggests to me that Peeters will be given the chance to write a Tintin adventure script when the new series goes ahead.

And it will be going ahead. Aside from myriad factors which indicate this (I don't have time to spell them out, provide references, etc.)there is one deciding factor which will NECESSARILY win the day for the pro-new-series argument, most notably for Mrs. Fanny Rodwell.

That factor is the wonderful but poorly located Herge Museum. It is in dire need of a source of continuous funding (and let us not forget the initial investment of 20 million Euros). For months now hints have been dropped in the Francophone press. (And, significantly, this crucial issue was the "symptomatic omission" in what was clearly a scripted debate).

It seems that a solution has now been found. Tintin will be "reborn", most likely with a series of "one shot" auteur-style adaptations, and the museum will thus receive continuous funding into the distant future.

Overall, I feel that this will be a positive development. The other strong argument - and one can speculate with some degree of justification that Mrs. Rodwell will find that it tips the balance in favour of the new plans - is that new readers, of the kind who only pay attention to series regularly releasing new titles, will be won over and overall sales of the 24 "standard" books will increase, saving Tintin from an almost inevitable decline.

Note the telling absence of the word "No" in Fanny's reported opinion on this debate, "casually" dropped in by Benoit Mouchard...

As fans of Tintin, and notwithstanding a number of ambiguities this situation gives rise to, we should be happy that the longevity and good health of the series will soon (?) be provided with significant new support.
FormulaFourteen
Member
#5 · Posted: 6 Feb 2014 06:16
Man, you guys all bring up some great points concerning the pros and cons of this idea... but it is still just really hard for me to imagine anyone other than Herge himself breathing the life into his characters...

Sure there have been various film and/or animated versions of the stories over the years, but maybe these seem more palatable because they are in a different, albeit similar, medium than those of the original comics.

Either way, it will be very interesting to keep an eye on this developing over the next few years...
jock123
Moderator
#6 · Posted: 3 Apr 2014 21:26
Following a further interview with Benoît Mouchart of Casterman, the intention to at least prepare the colour Soviets and a book about Le Thermozéro have been getting some coverage in the Francophone press; some try to give the impression that the Studios and Casterman are actually working to make it a "new" Tintin book, when in fact the talk is of an Alph-Art style project to collect it as work-in-progress.

I was approached for an interview about the history of the story, and what seems to be happening with it, by British comics blog Comics and Cola; it appears here.
number1fan
Member
#7 · Posted: 4 Apr 2014 12:29 · Edited by: number1fan
Fascination account from Jock123.Its great to hear that both parties are back on track. Now maybe a greater time as ever to be a Tintin fan. I think as discussed as continuation of the series maybe a healthy dose of life injected back in to the series.
As a fan I feel that a minor continuation could be beneficial.
The door can now become more open to future generations.
I feel as a fan feeling that the recent Spielberg film took some liberties and played with different elements of one of Herges greatly loved adventure. It seems that already Herges work really has been continued even though he's expressed wishes were for the series not to continue.

I think now is the time to be more open with the future of Tintin.
mct16
Member
#8 · Posted: 4 Apr 2014 19:52
number1fan:
I feel as a fan feeling that the recent Spielberg film took some liberties and played with different elements of one of Herges greatly loved adventure

Couldn't agree more, and I also think that since Greg's script for "Thermozero" is available then it would be a good basis for a new movie.

Of course, the screenwriters will probably rewrite much of it, but if they stick to the basic story then, short of an actual non-Herge Tintin book (Heresy!), a film version would be the next best thing.
number1fan
Member
#9 · Posted: 5 Apr 2014 14:03
mct16:
Couldn't agree more, and I also think that since Greg's script for "Thermozero" is available then it would be a good basis for a new movie.

That would be fantastic. I have actually seen an original print of Thermozero.
The prospect of a new album is really exciting stuff.

mct16:
Of course, the screenwriters will probably rewrite much of it, but if they stick to the basic story then, short of an actual non-Herge

I think in the new album they will be quite respectful and understand the history but there is always the worry of leaving things how they were in the first place.

Perhaps a Herge legacy series would be a great way forward.
mct16
Member
#10 · Posted: 12 May 2014 23:17
Fanny Rodwell - formerly Fanny Remi, widow of Herge - has stated in an interview with the Belgium edition of "Paris Match" that there will be no new Tintin albums, in spite of hints made by her current husband Nick Rodwell that there might be a new adventure in the not-so-distant future.

She was emphatic: "Non, il n'y aura pas de nouveau Tintin!" (No, there will be no new Tintins!)

Her statements on this issue are reported by the French web site Actuabd.com.

She further states that she rarely discussed the subject with Herge himself, but says that it was his creation and we have to respect the fact that he did not want others to take over, adding "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's!" (Personally, I wish they'd extend that principle to the films.)

When the interviewer pointed out that the copyright would expire in 2052, she suggested that the world would have changed a lot by then and that Tintin "may no longer be in the minds of the young", in fact suggesting that he may be completely forgotten by then. (Tell that to Dickens and Shakespeare, even Homer!)

A curious remark that she made was that it is hard to predict what would happen in the next forty years and that "There is still time."

When Nick Rodwell himself was subsequently approached over the issue, he replied "Avant que l'œuvre ne tombe dans le domaine public, il faut agir d'une façon ou d'une autre." (Before the work falls into the public domain, we will have to act in one way or another.)

Sounds ominous. I wonder if they have plans to get the government to extend the copyright period?

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