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Red Rackham's Treasure: "Into the jungle" frame difference

#1 · Posted: 4 Nov 2021 14:44
Looking through Red Rackham's Treasure for another item, I came across this scene which is worth pointing out as another frame which has been reworked by Hergé (and E.P. Jacobs) between first publication and being collected for the book.
Unlike the example from The Castafiore Emerald which I posted the other day, where light touches were made to the original, this time it's a major reconstruction job, which - while retaining virtually all of the first version - really sets out to expand its boundaries!

You can see the frames in question on the Tintinologist Facebook page.

Having reached the island and discovered the remains of the jolly boat which shows them that they are getting close to their destination, our heroes (and the Thom(p)sons! ???? ) head in land, setting off into the jungle in search of the treasure.
First publication came in "Le Soir" on the 20th May 1943, as a black-and-white, single tier of four panels, in what was the 77th episode of the story to date.
The second frame of the episode is without dialogue, but the drawing conveys a lot of atmosphere - Tintin leads Haddock and Thomson into the unknown, as the jungle undergrowth closes in around them; the figures are small, and diminishing in size from left to right, as if to emphasise the power of the jungle itself.
It should be remembered that to Hergé, the transition of figures from left-to-right in a frame tends to indicate progress, narratively; here there's an additional element of ascent, as the figures are moving from bottom left towards top right, which may be a sign of effort or exertion, so as to say that while they are heading in the right direction (story-wise at least), they are having to work for it.
When it came time to re-work the story for colour, changes were made as the frames of the black-and white strips were repositioned to make up the artwork for the book - whereas the newspaper generally had five or six frames to a daily srip, the tiers of the book have closer to three or four. Given that the match wasn't one-to-one between the original and the revision, while creating the 62 colour pages from 183 daily episodes, Hergé had the opportunity to play around with the pictures in several spots, to ensure that the material fitted the available space, and also enhancing the story-telling.
With this frame, Hergé took the step of making a single small image into a new, expansive, full half-page, which opened up the scene while still retaining its sense of mystery.
The figures remain tiny, and the jungle now extends all around them, a giant creeper-draped tree dominating the scene, breaking the frame into sections, and a large branch indicating the direction of travel.
The addition of Thompson to the back of the party is made, with the figure appearing through a gap in the branches; although the trunk and branches are on the left of the image, the jungle seems less dense there, while the right is a thicket of leaves and creepers, which our group has yet to overcome.
Using the original frame as a reference, it's interesting to see how the new material actually overlaps the old, placing Thomson slightly behind the trunk, and the surrounding foliage behind branches, adding an additional element of oppression to the scene.
It's also possibly worth noting how the same frame size can be tracked across the frame following the diagonal in the direction of travel, so that Thompson is in the first, the main party is in the middle, and the unknown jungle lies ahead in a third "frame"; Hergé loved to be able to convey a sense of motion both in the physical dimensions and that of time. The first frame on page 25, the arrival on the island, showing the Sirius at anchor, the jolly-boat being dragged ashore, and Haddock walking up the beach was a particular favourite of Hergé's, because it succinctly conveyed a passage of time as well as the movement of his characters from ship to shore.
Here we are drawn through time, from entry in to the undergrowth to being swallowed up by the jungle, and whatever lies ahead.

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