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Cigars of the Pharaoh: Which do you prefer, black-and-white or colour?

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#1 · Posted: 3 Jan 2019 02:05

Which edition of Cigars of the Pharaoh do other Tintinologists prefer?

I personally prefer the black-and-white original over the colour version, because the drawings flow better. It reminds me of when other Tintinologists complain that the new version of The Black Island seems more wooden.

The edition itself is also nicer - many books don't get cloth spines these days, and I just happen to like cloth spines. The red cloth matches the mustard-yellow perfectly.

What's more, the story's longer!

What do you think?

#2 · Posted: 3 Jan 2019 18:46
It is kind of a tricky question because the two different editions are the two sides of the same coin - one is the head and the other is the tail. Herge basically just reformatted the black and white edition to the standard 62-page format, and hence had to cut some scenes and expand on the ones that already existed.

I agree there are some extra scenes on the facsimile edition but there are also some in the colour format (like Allan).

No, to be precise, I am quite conflicted. I like both the books for their own reasons. So, maybe that's a tie?

But if there is a choice between the two (and if you can't have both), then I would go with the revised edition because continuity-wise and art-wise (obviously!), it fits better into the Tintin canon.
#3 · Posted: 3 Jan 2019 20:14
"Cigars" is one of my favourite adventures!
It was the second Tintin story I read as a kid, back in 1977,
in weekly installments in the German magazine "Fix und Foxi" :-)

I really can't decide which version I like the best. Both are great.

Some of the drawings in the colour version are definitely better.
But the black and white has also its advantages.
Take the frame where Tintin jumps onto a train
(page 85 in the black and white, page 47 in the colour version):
In the black and white the impression of speed is much better, IMO.
And Tintins pose is more dynamic. I think that in the colour version the sense of speed
is nearly lost because the drawing of the train and the background is too detailed.
That scene looks better in the black and white.

I also like those sequences towards the end, that had to be cut in the colour version.
It's like watching a special version of a movie that contains additional sequences ;-)

I wonder what the colour version would have looked like, had it been created in the 1940s.
There are subtle differences between the earlier, 1940s colour editions
and the later variations, especially for the covers.
For example the LES AVENTURES DE TINTIN text was different then and
there were sometimes white coloured title texts (for "Congo" and "Crabe"),
and also some of the title texts on the inner pages were in colour, not just black.
Unfortunately, in the 1950s the covers and inside titles were kind of "standardized",
so that all text was now black, etc.
So I really wonder what a 1940s colour edition of Cigars would have looked like...
#4 · Posted: 1 Feb 2019 04:22
Like others, I really can't decide. While I do prefer the original drawings to the ones made for the colour edition, there are some interesting changes to note in the modern version, like Allan appearing before his official debut.

To answer the question though, I've gotta go with the black and white edition. I just can't resist the cream coloured cover and the cloth spine, and that classic paper quality.
#5 · Posted: 29 Oct 2020 11:51
If it's just about enjoying the story, I much prefer the newer edition (for any of the adventures). I happen to have two versions of the colour edition of Cigars (different lettering and different sail route map on the opening page), I guess don't know which of them I like more. :P

I have a B&W facsimile of Cigars, which I adore for the colour plates, the quality of the materials used, the deleted scenes, and for Herge's old style that I like to take a look at. But not for plain fun reading. Also, if you're talking about the B&W English editions with the Comic Sans font - oh boy, that font is a HUGE bummer in these books (and I thought it wouldn't bother me much).
#6 · Posted: 3 Oct 2021 11:13
I'm not sure if this is the best place to ask this but does anyone know the difference between the two different versions of the B&W facsimiles (lemon-coloured covers) of Cigars of the Pharaoh and The Blue Lotus, please? I've seen covers with 'Tintin in the Orient Vol 1' or 'Vol 2' and some covers without those and the font colour of the title is different, too. Is there any difference?

Thank you in advance!
#7 · Posted: 5 Oct 2021 16:33
I've seen covers with 'Tintin in the Orient Vol 1' or 'Vol 2' and some covers without those and the font colour of the title is different, too. Is there any difference?

I can't say for certain, but I don't think the covers showing the "Orient" line ever made it into production, or ever were released generally - I think that they may have been mock-ups used in advertising to announce the coming of the facsimiles (and to solicit sales from bookshops in advance, which helps estimate how many copies should be printed).

This isn't at all unusual in the book trade, and cover designs are often changed between pre-publication and the final book gets into the hands of the reader.
I've dug around on line, and haven't come across any photos of actual physical books showing the "Orient" line, only "static" pictures of the design as an image file, although that some might exist isn't impossible, as dummy books can be made for use at book-fairs and other publicity events.

For example, at least a couple of early copies of the colour Tintin in the Congo have been found that are completely textless (the covers have no titles, and the balloons are blank), which were made for Casterman salespeople to show potential clients.

Another example of a similar discrepency is the "Tintin and The Broken Ear" cover image, which was used for years (may still be around, I haven't bought a new book in a long time) in publicity, including in the back-cover gallery of albums, when the book that people got is in fact simply called The Broken Ear on the cover (although spines may say Tintin and The Broken Ear).

Still, I'm happy to be immediately proved wrong, and for people to pop up with their "Orient" copies, but I've not seen one myself, as far as I can recall. So not a definite answer, but the best I can do!
#8 · Posted: 6 Oct 2021 11:38
Hi jock123! After doing more research while I've been trying to buy my own facsimile copies, the 'Orient' line seems to appear on copies published under 'Last Gasp', the copies sold in North America. The copies sold in Europe don't seem to have that line, so I'm assuming they've tweaked the cover slightly for the American audience?
#9 · Posted: 6 Oct 2021 15:16
the 'Orient' line seems to appear on copies published under 'Last Gasp', the copies sold in North America.

I've seen that on their site, but they look to be using the publicity image, rather than showing a real book; as I mentioned, I've not found any pictures of actual, physical, books with that cover.

I have found photos (on eBay, for example) of American editions for sale (in shrink wrap with the dollar price label still attached), without the "Orient" line.
You also have to bear in mind that the advanced publicity here in Europe also pre-promoted the Pharaoh and Lotus facsimile books as "Orient" titles, with that on their covers (you can still find threads of discussion about them in these forums using those names) but they never appeared here as that, and I suspect it was the same in the U.S. too - I can't rule it out, but I'd have thought it likely that there would at least be a picture of a real book somewhere on the net if that had happened.
As for why Last Gasp continue to promote them that way, I suspect that they are trying to get higher sales of both books, and that they think customers will be more likely to buy both volumes of a two-part story together.
But there's still time for someone to produce the evidence of actual copies - it would be an interesting variation to add to many collections, I'm sure!
#10 · Posted: 7 Oct 2021 13:59
My apologies jock123! In my quest to try and find copies of these facsimiles, my memory seems to have got hazy along the way and I've been confusing stock images with images of the actual book. You're spot on, there aren't any actual copies with the 'Orient' line on them. Like you, I find it really strange it's still being used for publicity and quite widely at all. If there are any at all, I imagine they're in tiny quantities!

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