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Spine colour of Egmont hardbacks

douglas33
Member
#1 · Posted: 8 Dec 2009 14:58
Is there any meaning to the spine colour of the current Egmont editions?

Some of mine are red, some orange, some green, some blue and one yellow (Picaros), but there doesn't seem to be any consistency/order. Or have they just printed the whole set in the 5 different colours and I just happen to have mostly red and orange?
Balthazar
Moderator
#2 · Posted: 8 Dec 2009 18:51
They haven't printed the whole set in the 5 different colours. Each of the modern editions always has it's own spine colour, and I think they've remained the same colour for each book from the modern French editions onwards. Since Hergé was still alive wehen these spine-colours were fixed, I'd guess that he chose the colours. And since there doesn't seem to be any discernible pattern or repeated order to the spine colours if you line up all the books in order, I'd guess that Hergé simply chose the spine colours that he thought looked best with his front cover designs.

The old cloth-spine books also had a similar range of spine covers, and I think that some of the modern books have kept the same spine covers from these earlier books. That said, I don't think all old editions had the same spine colours in all editions or all had the same colours as the modern books. (Others on this forum will know a lot more about the spines of old editions thn me!)

There's an old thread somewhere on this forum in which some of us pondered whether these old cloth spine colours were chosen artistically by Hergé or whether the choice was down to the printer/bookbinder, and based on whatever spine fabric he had in stock.

Personally, I favour the theory that Hergé made the choice on artistic grounds. It would seem unlike what I know about him to leave something as important as the spine to chance. But I don't know if anyone knows for sure. Presumably his widow or members of his studio might remember him pondering what spine colour to give his latest book, but I've not read about any such thing in any English-language book about Hergé.

That's all I know, anyway. If you crack some secret code or meaning concealed in the order of spine colours, let us know!
jock123
Moderator
#3 · Posted: 8 Dec 2009 19:21
Balthazar:
There's an old thread somewhere on this forum in which some of us pondered whether these old cloth spine colours were chosen artistically by Hergé or whether the choice was down to the printer/bookbinder, and based on whatever spine fabric he had in stock.

Yes, indeed there was! It was back in 2007, in this thread, hidden amongst some impenetrable stuff about animals, numbers and colour theory…!
I’m in the “it’s a lottery the colours the spines turned out” camp, and you were in spirited defence of the “Hergé deliberated over it” position.
Looking back, I see that there was a suggestion by Yamilah that the spine colour of Picaros was changing to a darker yellow/ orange, but I’ve still never seen anything other than the process yellow of the original edition. I think that the insipid nature of this spine is my reason for having a problem with Hergé having a hand in choosing the colours - it’s like weak custard, and very unappealing, so if it was a deliberate choice, what was he thinking of?
Harrock n roll
Moderator
#4 · Posted: 8 Dec 2009 21:05 · Edited by: Harrock n roll
Here's another thread about the spine colours which has some fairly interesting observations.

I tend towards the theory that the colours were chosen to offset the dominant colour of the cover; a yellow spine against the green of Seven Crystal Balls, blue to contrast with the red on Lotus, weak custard to offset the green jungle on Picaros, etc.
douglas33
Member
#5 · Posted: 8 Dec 2009 21:37 · Edited by: douglas33
Thanks for linking to the thread.... aaaand after reading it in it's entirety I'm none the wiser!

At least I have learned to avoid yamilah if he ever returns.

Having owned the "whole" series in paperback when I was young (only 21 books back then!) I never really noticed the different spines; but recently I re-ordered all 24 books (+ lake of sharks...ugh) in hardback and the spine-colour is annoying me. I didn't realise I had OCD until now!

Please someone help me find a pattern! I can't display chronologically and I can't display in colour order - both are unseemly for different reasons!

:D

EDIT: Thank you for the link to the other thread Harrock and roll. At least that makes me feel a little better that there doesn't seem to be a definitive colour for each edition... though I echo what some have posted, Herge was very persnickety about much of his work so I expect he dictated the original colours. Does anyone have a run-down of the original colours as the they were published in their ORIGINAL (i.e. not translated) editions?
Richard
UK Correspondent
#6 · Posted: 9 Dec 2009 02:20
douglas33:
Does anyone have a run-down of the original colours as the they were published in their ORIGINAL (i.e. not translated) editions?

I'm reasonably sure that the colours in the French editions remained the same after they first began using the paper spines, whereas the cloth ones used to fluctuate between printings (usually red and orange).

The current English editions use the same colours as the French; the only change I've noticed is the English edition of The Red Sea Sharks, which used to have an ochre spine but has since been replaced by red as per the French.
Seriescompleter
Member
#7 · Posted: 23 May 2016 20:24
Hello Tintinologists,

A newbie here with a question about the spines of the Egmont hardcovers. I recently ordered Tintin and the Picaros, the last title I needed to complete the set of 24 works. Congo excepted, the 23 titles in my possession at that time have the word "Egmont" in white type in an otherwise blacked-in box that extends around the bottom of the spine. But when I received Picaros, the bottom of the spine has the word "Egmont" in black type! But I would like a matching set, without Picaros standing out. My question is, did Egmont ever do a printing of Picaros with a spine that matches the other 22 in the (excluding-Congo) canon? (Also, does anyone have any idea why Egmont changed the spine layout for Picaros?)

Many thanks for your help,
David
jock123
Moderator
#8 · Posted: 24 May 2016 19:09 · Edited by: jock123
Seriescompleter:
does anyone have any idea why Egmont changed the spine layout for Picaros?

What makes you think they did...? What if it's just not changed yet...? ;-)

I don't have any copies with the black box you describe (I'm not sure if I've even seen copies with them, but I've not been looking of late), presumably because I got them before the change occurred.
The spines for many years were exactly as you describe your copy of Picaros, with name of the publisher on the plain background colour; this box must have been added after that.

It sounds like you have bought the bulk of your editions recently, from new stock, and the copy of Picaros is old stock, printed pre-change, suggesting that the revision to the design is fairly recent, and either Picaros has not yet changed, or not filtered through to where ever you bought your copy.

Hope this helps, David!

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