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Cigars of the Pharaoh: The trip to Shanghai?

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UK Correspondent
#11 · Posted: 7 Sep 2022 11:23
Apologies for resurrecting an eleven-year-old thread, but leafing through a recent printing of Cigars of the Pharaoh (with the digitised type), I spotted that the English translation has been tweaked so it finally corresponds with the map showing Tintin's journey to the East. It only affects panels 4 and 6 (the rest of the page, including Snowy's wistful comment about Marlinspike, remains unchanged).

1971 edition, with Mediterranean cruise map:
Panel 4: "Our next stop will be Istanbul. We'll go ashore there too."
Panel 6: "Piraeus, Naples, Marseilles, then home through the Straits of Gibraltar."

Reset edition, 2000s, final destination Shanghai:
Panel 4: "Then the Suez Canal, and Aden. We'll go ashore there, too."
Panel 6: "Bombay, Colombo, then right on round, to finish in Shanghai."

It's interesting that the decision was taken to replace the map and rewrite the itinerary in the first instance, considering that although Tintin does eventually reach Shanghai, it's not by the original intended route. It's a nice bit of narrative foreshadowing to mention Shanghai so early on, but not essential since his journey is interrupted anyway.
#12 · Posted: 7 Sep 2022 13:31
Apologies for resurrecting an eleven-year-old thread

None needed! This is an excellent addition to the history of this much-mauled about scene!

I'm sorry in a way to lose the mention of Istanbul, which sort of ties that part of the world into the comics while linking spiritually to the movie world of The Golden Fleece, but it does tidy up some long-dangling loose threads of narrative, so that's good.

Now, how long before we get a printing with this new dialogue, but the old Mediterranean circular cruise map...? ;-)
#13 · Posted: 7 Sep 2022 13:35
Interesting! Considering the fact that the original change could have been made due to a number of factors during that particular time period - the uncertainty of the publication of The Blue Lotus in some languages, the blocking of the Suez canal and hence the need for an alternate route(?). These changes are what subsequently led to the inconsistency between the dialogue and the map in the first place, since the map was eventually changed to the original one but the dialogue wasn't.

I wonder if it was because the original map could have been shown in the later publications without any problems but changing the accompanying text would have been too costly or could only be done if the book was translated from the ground up as in this case. So this tweaking could be seen as an example of both updating the text as well as correcting the mistake!

Anyway, to add to this list, the facsimile version of the english Cigars of the Pharaoh ,which was published by Casterman in 2006, sees Tintin plotting out his journey to Snowy as was originally shown by Herge and as it should be. No map is included though.
#14 · Posted: 7 Sep 2022 22:57
I don't think it's ever been confirmed why the map was changed to begin with. The changes first appeared in the 1970 French printing of the book. This is also the first edition in which the sheik owns Destination Moon instead of Tinin in the Congo. Although I've never seen it confirmed anywhere, it seems likely that these changes had to do with the then-upcoming English-language translation, especially with the Destination Moon change. The most likely reason for the map change is the closure of the Suez Canal at the time, but that may not be the reason.

The French edition from 1970 to 1983 used the Mediterranean map but used the original Asian dialogue. The map was changed again to an Asian journey (but a different drawing) in 1983. This change first appeared in English in 1984 (for paperback editions specifically the second 1984 printing), though I have seen it in the first American edition of the original Tintin three-in-one album featuring Tintin in America, Cigars of the Pharaoh and The Blue Lotus. So for most English language editions from 1984 until the mid-2000s, the dialogue is incorrect, describing a European cruise but featuring a map with an Asian journey. This confused me to no end as a child, as we had the 1994 MAmmoth edition.

I assume it wasn't changed due to the hand-lettering. It's not entirely clear when Neil Hyslop retired, but it may have been between 1987, when the last books he lettered came out (Mr. Pump's Legacy and Destination New York) and 1992, when Double Trouble and Two of a Kind came out. it is likely he would have lettered these if he wasn't retired. I'm excluding the facsimiles of Tintin in the Land of the Soviets in 1989 and Tintin in the Congo in 1991, as whether Hyslop lettered them or not, they were clearly done in a style that mimics the original French lettering. So if Neil Hyslop retired a few years later, that could be why the wasn't changed for so long.

It became possible to change the dialogue easily when the digital lettering was introduced, which seems to have happened in 2005 or the first two months of 2006. Certainly the colour facsimile, published in 2008, has the correct dialogue, so that was the latest that the change was made.
#15 · Posted: 8 Sep 2022 15:03
In the English version of the book, the name of the ship is written as MS ISIS but in the French version, it has always been MS EPOMEO. So the English translators possibly had gone so far as to change the name of the ship because of this route change that they had implemented in their translations. I can't think of any other reason to change the name of the ship given its insignificance to the story.

Interestingly in the Bengali edition that I possess, the name of the ship is shown as MS EPOMEO but the route that Tintin charts out to Snowy and the corresponding map shown mismatches. More on that here. But recently as I went through the new Bengali translations in the Tintin app, I noticed that they had corrected Tintin's dialogue so as to match with the map but the name of the ship had been changed to MS ISIS! It's inconsequential but just an interesting detail that happened to catch my eye.
#16 · Posted: 9 Sep 2022 09:22
the English translators possibly had gone so far as to change the name of the ship because of this route change that they had implemented in their translations.

That may be a bit of a leap to be honest; it's not possible to say, at this time, who changed the name of the ship, or indeed who altered the route - it might have been Casterman, or Studios Hergé, who initiated the change to the itinereary, and perhaps renamed the liner.
I'm certainly of a mind that the re-routing was a decision taken a stage further back than the transaltors, although I wouldn't rule out the possibility that Michael Turner was shrewd enough to have seen that it was possible to present Cigars as a stand-alone story, or that Hergé wouldn't have looked to him and Leslie Lonsdale-Cooper for advice about how to proceed when Blue Lotus proved problematic in overseas markets.
#17 · Posted: 9 Sep 2022 21:16
Now, how long before we get a printing with this new dialogue, but the old Mediterranean circular cruise map...? ;-)

Apparently this mistake originally occurred in French when the Cigars of the Pharaoh was being re-serialised in the Tintin Magazine around 1976. Tintin talks about going to Singapore, Honk Kong and Shanghai, while the map showed the Mediterranean cruise. So there is definitely a precedent for this happy instance to take place in the new version too.

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