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Why is Tintin more famous than Jo, Zette and Jocko?

#1 · Posted: 23 Sep 2018 04:30
Both The Adventures of Tintin and Jo, Zette and Jocko contain similar flow of plot with similar slapstick humour and written by the same author. Some of the characters are as good as Tintin and the two series also take place in many similar locales. So this is what I want to ask:
Why is Tintin & co. so much more famous than the characters of Jo, Zette and Jocko? Most of the people here in India have heard of Tintin but the same cannot be said of Jo, Zette and Jocko.
Is it due to lack of publicity? Is it because of the lack of colourful characters? Or is it just because of the Tintin brand name?

What do the others think about it?
#2 · Posted: 23 Sep 2018 23:25
Tintin has always struck me as a very mature adventure strip in which the hero does not just travel the world fighting villains, but also observes many important events which readers of the time would have recognised as being very relevant: the Bolshevik regime in "Soviets" with its corruption and oppression of the people; the Japanese expansion into China in "Blue Lotus"; the Grand Chaco war and how it is instigated by corrupt Western businessmen in "Broken Ear" etc.

Also, eccentric characters like the Thompsons, Haddock and Calculus would have added to its appeal.

On the other hand, Jo, Zette and Jocko strike me as just simple adventures with the heroes taking on pirates, gangsters and saboteurs. The plots are pretty straightforward and there is hardly any political or social issues raised in these stories. Aside from Jocko and the trouble he gets into, the characters are rather standard and simple.

Herge certainly put more energy and thought into Tintin than he did in his other series.

In an early scene of the "Stratoship" story (in "Mr. Pump's Legacy"), Mr Legrand reads a newspaper article about the other companies planning to build aircraft similar to his, yet they are never mentioned in the rest of the story and it appears that his is the only aircraft to be completed and the target of sabotage. I have always thought that it would have been a more interesting story if the other companies' efforts were raised and looked into. It could have been a story about industrial espionage and how the designers would pinch and improve on the ideas of others (as is often done in industry).
#3 · Posted: 24 Sep 2018 16:35
I did a search on the Net about this matter and found out more about this:
-Firstly, Herge had no intention to make the Jo, Zette and Jocko series but was obliged to do so to keep his foothold in the French market in the 1930s. He was urged by the editors to keep the story more relatable with the protagonists having a proper family (unlike Tintin). However, that criterion limited the pace of the story and Herge found himself in unfamiliar grounds and himself got awfully bored in the characters. Apparently, these stories were kept in the backburner(as mct16 says) to make room for Tintin. It would not be wrong to say that Herge was not too eager about this series and which apparently got reflected in the market.
-This series is fairly new to the English audience having first been published in 1986 and that too, only 3 of them. The Secret Ray was published in a limited edition due to the discrimination in the 2 adventures similar to Tintin in the Congo. -Moreover, it has not been translated in as many languages as Tintin thus, decreasing its world market

That is all from me. Feel free to add any further information.
#4 · Posted: 26 Sep 2018 10:31 · Edited by: jock123
I did a search on the Net about this matter and found out more about this

I hope you did a search on Tintinologist first, as most of this information - plus more - is available here; we have multiple threads about the books, both published an unpublished! ;-)

I'd think that as to the over-all popularity, it's simply down to quantity and quality - there aren't as many, and they aren't as good.

I'm not sure of the importance of the "recentness" of their translation to English - 32 years is a pretty long time! - as I don't think that they have that great a following in the French-speaking world either, where they were available from the start. The books remain available, but that's it, really - no merchandise, calendars, toys, etc., to extend the brand, and no animated adventures to increase their profile with the public. If Moulinsart and the regional publishers don't promote the series, it won't do more than just bubble along.

I do think that with a bit of TLC that they could be revived - a film, perhaps, would be a start, but there could be an archival release of the unpublished version of Le ThermoZéro, and what preparatory works was done on the unfinished La Main Noire.

It's purely speculative, and I may have said it before, but were there ever to be a move towards re-establishing the Tintin books as an ongoing series, J,Z&J might be where I would start.
It would allow an entry-point back into the world of Hergé, testing the waters for what might come next. I'd propose that there could be a competition to encourage young artists and writers to develop their style on the principles of Hergé, either through art schools and comics courses at colleges and universities, perhaps with bursaries as prizes, as well as the chance for publication.
To balance some of the sins of the past, I'd promote it as following broadly educational lines, with a positive outlook and a more progressive attitude to issues of race and culture; the father's role as an engineer would allow for science and technology to be looked at, but could be expanded to say that their mother is also an engineer, scientist or naturalist, which broadens the options for stories, and global travel could be a chance to look at environmental issues, or to meet children and people from other cultures, without rendering them simply as stereotypes.
Once a pool of talent in the school of Hergé was available, then perhaps it could at some point be addressed to reviving other series - Quick & Flupke and lastly Tintin.
Were the exercise to prove unpopular, or unsuccessful, then whatever had been developed could easily be retired again, without damage to the Tintin series.

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