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Tintin in the Congo: official word on the colour English edition?

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Gordon Werner
#1 · Posted: 29 Feb 2004 00:47
Hi there ...

I was wondering what the official word is on ever having the Tintin in the Congo color version printed in English?
I have had French and Dutch colour versions for decades now, but only the B&W version exists in English.

While I understand the negative reactions that might come from this story with its colonial look at the Congo and the native Africans (never mind all the animals that are killed), but I cannot see why we don't have this volume.

The same may be said for Tintin in the Land of the Soviets: are we ever going to see a legitimate color version of that story, or did Hergé never re-do that one?

Harrock n roll
#2 · Posted: 29 Feb 2004 01:43
I think possibly only Nick Rodwell could give us the official word, but it's safe to assume that it wont be released. Maybe if the Speilberg film ever gets made and the demand warrants it, who knows?

Soviets was not remade for colour although Hergé toyed with it
#3 · Posted: 21 May 2004 11:06
Sorry to resurrect an aged thread, but a point of interest has arisen.

According to the World of Tintin conference at Greenwich on Sunday, we were told by Michael Turner that after all these years, the colour Congo was coming to English, in the form of one of the facsimile editions; Casterman have apparently asked that all 24 stories be available in English in time for the centenary of Hergé's birth in 2007.

However, the Tintin Shop people were surprised when I mentioned this.

They say they are constantly being asked by cusomers about it (at least once every couple of days), so brought the subject up at the launch party of the Tintin at Sea exhibition, and were told it wasn't in the works...

The news on Sunday was obviously more up-to-date,but it either shows how fast things change, or that there isn't that much communication between the parties involved.

I suppose that means we really just have to wait and see...

#4 · Posted: 1 Jul 2004 02:29
[This post and subsequent replies have been moved from another related (but now deleted) thread. - Moderator]

I just got my facsimile edition of the black & white Tintin in the Congo, and when I read it, I noticed that it is more-or-less the same as the standard color edition.

So, my question is, why did LL-C & MC, or the publishers, choose to put out the facsimile, instead of the standard one?

- Gustav
Trivia Challenge Score Keeper
#5 · Posted: 1 Jul 2004 07:12
I think because, certainly in the UK at least, Congo is regarded as a bit of an embarassment to our modern way of thinking. Sundancer did see fit to publish it in 1991, but they felt that the story being presented as a full-colour 62-page book wouldn't sit very well alongside all the others, given its dubious content. So I believe the decision to publish the black and white original version was in order to present an "archival" edition of interest to the completist collector, but not specifically aimed at children or casual fans who may well have been disappointed or turned off by the outdated attitudes within.
Obviously this view isn't shared by many other countries, especially those in Europe, who have published the colour version. Maybe it's partly a self-reaction to Britain's own embarrassment at her colonial past. I think the book is harmless viewed in its correct context but if the colour version had been available as part of the true series in English then some sort of backlash would be inevitable.
The translators have since announced at the World of Tintin conference that there are plans to issue the colour edition in English for around 2007.
#6 · Posted: 1 Jul 2004 07:18
Because it was more obviously a period piece, and therefore a collector's item.

The publishers (not MT&LL-C, although they might have agreed) made the decision because they believed that any views or expressions in the book which might be deemed inappropriate in the Nineties, were clearly in an historic setting, and to be viewed in context.

It might be thought a little disappointing that the colour edition adheres so closely to the B&W version, because it could be thought that Hergé might have eliminated them when given the opportunity to re-do the book.

He could at any time have produced a totally up-dated version, using a less grotesque style for his black characters (a la how he drew them in Red Sea Sharks, although even there it can be seen as problematic), and giving them a strong rôle.

However, as he didn't, the book had gained the slightly mythic quality of any item which is suppressed. Putting out the B&W edition in English was a compromise position: allow the book out in English, but minimise the chance of offense with an introduction stating that the content could possibly be seen as un-P.C.

As it happens, the public seem to have accepted the situation, as no complaints were received.
#7 · Posted: 1 Jul 2004 09:35
It's also too large, has no writing on the spine, so it's unlikely to be picked up by the casual Tintin reader! Hence probably the few people to have read it would be the more diehard fans who already know what it's about, etc.

I never found it offensive in any way, just a period piece that is now hopelesly outdated in modern times. I imagine other people found it the same way.

Also in today's society people would probably be more likely to complain about all the animals he shot

Trivia Challenge Score Keeper
#8 · Posted: 5 Aug 2004 23:20
I believe the revision with the rhino was only made for the Scandinavian versions; the modern French edition retains the scene where the rhino is blown up with dynamite.
Also Hergé turned the colonial diatribe into a maths lesson in the first colour edition, so this will be in the 1946 facsimile as well as the modern version.
#9 · Posted: 13 Jan 2005 15:45
I just came back from a lecture on Tintin and the moon adventures. At the end of the lecture, there was a short question time with the translator of the new Swedish editions. There came up a question about if anything was changed in Tintin in the Congo to make it less controversial. The answer was no, but for the Scandinavian editions, the rhino part was changed so the rhino wasn't killed. Now, the translator said that he had been contacted by the British publishers because they wanted to have the Scandinavian edition! However, there is no French script for this page, so the Brits wants the Swedish translator to translate himself into English!

Harrock n roll
#10 · Posted: 13 Jan 2005 18:22
Very interesting GurraJG, thanks! That page you refer to is quite unusual in that normally if Hergé changed something it would appear in all editions afterwards - I think this could be the only exception. In fact I plucked up the courage to ask Michael Farr about it at the second of his talks at the National Maritime Museum but he drew a blank as to why that didn't happen with this book.

However I am quite surprised given that the B/W English edition features the exploding rhino. My guess is that the publishers, Egmont, are still a bit touchy about the book and would do anything to tone it down a bit. Egmont turned down the facsimile editions as they see Tintin exclusively as a children's market. Congo is probably testing them to the max...

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