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

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Harrock n roll
#31 · Posted: 30 Jan 2005 03:04
Frankymole They can hand-wring however much they want in the preface. Just get the colour book out in English, already! Does "racism" matter less in French?

I think it's more the fact that the colour version has always been available in French - since 1946! - whereas an English version is as yet unreleased. To be fair, a preface in the French edition might not be such a bad idea! It's been argued here that Congo should be put in an historical context to set the record straight - by giving it a preface - and that could apply to all language versions.

Actually, I wonder whether MT and LLC made their translation years ago and it was turned down by Methuen? (And it would be nice if Mr Hyslop had already made his lettering too.)
John Sewell
#32 · Posted: 30 Jan 2005 14:56
From a Tintin fan's point of view, it is frustrating not to have a colour Congo in English, but I can sort of understand why Egmont would be wary. With the slightly more naive earlier style of drawing, the B&W English edition is far easier to place as a historical artefact, and can be aimed squarely at a much more specialist market (ie, people like us and enthusiasts of the development of cartooning).

A colour version could be seen as problematical, as it would instantly acquire a place in the "official" canon; the colour books than most readers are familiar with. There may well be fears that this could be seen as giving the out-of-date ideas and presentation of Africa some sort of legitimacy. A preface explaining the background would be a way of explaining that, and, as Harrock says, would put it in the correct historical context.

Blue Lotus remained untranslated for decades due to similar concerns about the depiction of the Japanese, and its place in a definite historical timeframe (unlike the majority of the adventures, which, fashions apart, have a strangely "timeless" quality to them). In that case a preface was added (is it only in the English version, or do other editions have something similar?), of only a few lines, which seemed to do the trick. For Congo I wouldn't mind seeing something a bit more elaborate, along the lines of the introduction to the English edition of The Secret Ray (which is arguably even more offensive than Congo in its treatment of the natives on the island); more detail about the origins of the story, illustrated with comparisons between the two versions, PV covers and so on.

One of my friends is married to a girl from West Africa, and around Christmas, she had a look at my copy of the B&W English version, and oddly enough, she didn't find it racist at all!
#33 · Posted: 24 Oct 2005 17:23
Tintin in the Congo has just been released in english in colour, by Egmont. It has an explanation on the front as to the depiction of black people and the treatement of animals.
#34 · Posted: 3 Nov 2005 13:55
I have a friend at Egmont, she told me once they every year they discussed releasing Congo in colour but bottled out - I'm glad they've finally released it.

One reason why Britain has been so reluctant is that here Tintin is solely a children's book. Most other countries I've been in Tintin displayed in big comic/graphic novel sections which clearly cross-over between adult and children markets. With a few exceptions, in Britain you will only find Tintin in children's departments in bookshops.

Moderator Note: As the book has now been released in English and in colour, please make use of the thread on the subject here . Many thanks! The Happy Tintinologist Team

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