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Tintin in America: English black and white facsimile review

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Trivia Challenge Score Keeper
#1 · Posted: 20 Aug 2004 10:43
I've just received my copy of this and can give you my first thoughts of it:

The cover is not quite the same as the advance design Last Gasp put out some time ago that you can see on amazon.co.uk – it's creamy-yellow rather than white, much closer to the original, with neater writing and looks more professional in my view.

The first real surprise is before the story starts: "Translated by Michael Turner". What happened to Leslie Lonsdale-Cooper? In Chris Owens' interview they clearly talk about doing the new translations together, and at the World of Tintin conference in May there was no mention at all of any changes to their working procedure.

For the most part the translation is heavily based on the modern colour version, but as far as I can tell, where the text of the black-and-white French version differs from that of the French colour version, the English text has been changed to reflect this.
This has been skilfully done – compliments to the translator(s)! It is also translated more literally from the original French and not as liberally as the colour edition – obviously playing up to the idea of being an archvial edition.
Tintin remains Belgian, working for Le Petit Vingtième.
Bobby Smiles (as yet unnamed) says "Dammit!" rather than the exotic "Sing Sing and Alcatraz!".
Pietro the gangster has lost his Spanish accent, though Pedro Ramirez (originally Ramona) retains his.
At one point, a character exclaims "Purple pineapples!".
The Blackfeet are now the Big-Toes, and some of the tribe's members have different names (my personal favourite being Duck-stuck-in-the-mud).

Pleasingly, the four colour hors-texte pages of the later black-and-white Casterman editions have been included.

In all, Tintin in America is an adventure where very few original scenes were cut out of the modern edition.
The most significant is probably one where two cruel-looking Chinese men are introduced by the boss of the GSC (page 59 of the modern version). They are the ones who throw Tintin into Lake Michigan, and Snowy's fate is revealed to be having his head served up on a platter for them: "As for your mangy dog, my oriental friends can have him: they're partial to small dogs!".
Of course such crude stereotyping would be unthinkable for Hergé only two years later, and this scene is interesting in being perhaps the last example of his naivete regarding other nations.

There are only a couple of minus points: one is that the text in the speech bubbles is fairly obviously produced by computer - not that this is necessarily a bad thing, but occasionally the text outgrows the space it fills and the whole effect is rather sterile. Quite a few people will miss Neil Hyslop's better flowing, flexible hand. Another is the complete absence of page numbers, which is annoying for the purpose of making references - as I'm sure Tintinologists would like to do with a historical edition such as this.

The most encouraging sight for me is saved for the back page. Tintin and Snowy smile and point upwards under the text: "In the same series", followed by the English names of the first nine adventures up to The Crab With The Golden Claws. Let's hope they don't take too long!

#2 · Posted: 24 Aug 2004 11:54
Just recieved a copy of the new book also from The Tintin Shop!

Have to agree with everything Ed said there, really looking forward to collecting the whole series.

A minor disapointment like with Congo, there is no writing on the book spine, not sure if that is more authentic, but perhaps some gold lettering would have been nice. It seems likely that each spine will be a different colour though.

Definitely heartened by the "In The Same Series" on the back cover as well,

#3 · Posted: 26 Aug 2004 12:18
I've recieved my Tintin in America and am well chuffed.
I am also very much looking forward to collecting the lot.

I got my edition from The Tintin Shop in Covent Garden, and when I called them they told me they only had 10 copies left. How many were printed?

I have a printing error in mine (good or bad?), one corner of one of the pages was folded and had a slight excess of paper. I could cut it off and the page would be perfect except for a slight crease but as with collecables and first editions it is a unique feature (I try to tell myself).
Harrock n roll
#4 · Posted: 1 Sep 2004 12:35
The first real surprise is before the story starts: "Translated by Michael Turner". What happened to Leslie Lonsdale-Cooper?

I was quite suprised by that too, although Michael Turner did say to me that he had been working on Cigars by himself.
Leslie L-C also mentioned that she had just returned from visiting family in NZ or Australia, which could be the reason she was left out...? Hmmm, mysterious.

the translation is heavily based on the modern colour version

I'm not so sure that the new translation is "heavily based" on that of the colour book.
I made a comparison, and while there is the odd line which is identical, mostly it's different.

During my interview with him I actually asked him whether he was referring to the colour translations or working from scratch (in regard to Cigars) and he seemed emphatic that he was working from scratch. He pointed out that "the 'Ur text' has never been translated" - Hergé had made many modifications himself for the colour versions, and he and LL-C would use the most up to date one for their translation.

I also agree that the typeface isn't as nice as the hand lettering used in Congo and Soviets (not sure who did those).
Personally, I'd like to have seen a font resembling Hergé's original hand-written script in the French editions. Not sure whether they could have legally used the homemade "Licorne" font, which was recently created by a fan, but it would look nicer.
The letter "I" with serifs doesn't look so good IMO.
Trivia Challenge Score Keeper
#5 · Posted: 1 Sep 2004 15:18
Certain phrases are common to both versions which could easily be translated differently but are not: for example, on page one of the colour version, "not one single day does he [Tintin] spend in Chicago", and "Shutters down! Sucker's walked right into the trap!", are reproduced as they were.

However if he himself says that it's a completely new translation, then of course that must be the case.
My compliments to him for giving a version that reads as well as the modern one but retains the archival element of the original!

It seems to me that for the most part, wherever the black-and-white French text differs from the colour French text, the black-and-white English text has been suitably modified from the colour English text to reflect this (maybe I'll compile a table of examples – when I get time...!).
We find that in the original versions the language is less expressive – perhaps its week-by-week construction in serial form did not allow for easy modification?
Also, the B&W book's translation steers clear of the more free approach taken with the old one, so the new English text is a much more literal translation of the French.
There are fewer American idioms present than in the English colour version which had started to creep into the French text by 1946, perhaps due to the influence of the Golden Age of cinema?

Big Ren
#6 · Posted: 3 Oct 2004 14:30
The London Tintin Shop got this back in stock last week, I finally managed to get one yesterday. Apparently their new stock is going fast.
The cover was a slight surprise in that the picture is printed directly on it. (Or is it just my copy that's like this?) The French facsimiles have the picture section pasted onto the cover, giving it a more traditional feel. I wonder whether the Last Gasp version will be like this. Perhaps someone from the USA/Canada can let us know in two months.
#7 · Posted: 6 Oct 2004 15:00
Mine is printed on. I don't have the French ones to compare it to though

#8 · Posted: 9 Dec 2004 16:43
It looks like the Last Gasp 'Tintin in America' facsimile is now available (Amazon.com), has anyone bought it? I was wondering whether it's any different from the UK edition (its cover looks different on the website).
UK Correspondent
#9 · Posted: 9 Dec 2004 22:26
I would think that the copy on Amazon is the same as the UK edition, and the cover that is shown on Amazon's site is the original mock-up, before the finished layout had been arranged. I think the same can be said for the Cigars cover shown on Amazon - it will (hopefully) look more like the original French edition when it's printed.
#10 · Posted: 30 Dec 2004 02:25
I was wondering if anyone responding to this thread was from Australia? and what information they would have on the availability of facsimile editions in Australia. I did see a rather shabby looking facsimile copy of America in a rather shabby looking comic store in a Chinatown - but what about mainstream bookstores (Dymocks, Borders, Kinokuniya etc)
[Note from Admin: g'day, Tom! The album has yet to hit the major bookshops here (Sydney/Illawarra region; will be checking Melbourne soon) - for any news regarding the album's availability, just keep an eye on the "Tintin in America black and white facsimile - news, release date" thread.

The "Tintin in America - English black and white facsimile" thread (this very one you are reading) is for in depth discussion on the album.

For general discussion on the facsimile books, there is the thread, "Tintin black and white facsimiles - general discussion".]

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