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Bob de Moor: The "Barelli" books

#1 · Posted: 26 May 2004 21:31
I've just ordered a second-hand copy of a book containing five of the adventures of Bob de Moor's character Barelli.

I know very little of this series, other than that Barelli is an actor who winds up in adventures, and that Bob illustrated them in a ligne claire style very close in appearance to that used by Hergé.

Has anyone read any of the books, or have an opinion of them?


Update: Posted: 8 Jun 2004 01:53:48
I have now got the book, and I have to say that after a cursory browse through it, it's a real curiosity...

For a start, the art style changes throughout the adventures, and in a way which suggests it is due to more experimentation than a straightforward improvement of technique seen in Tintin, so it isn't as uniform a body of work, visually.

I have seen an unused page of inks for Barelli (in Bernard Tordeur's biography of de Moor), which was done in an extremely realistic style, more akin to Alix if memory serves, so it is interesting to see he flexed his artistic muscles in the published stuff too (although it always remains, for want of a better term, "cartoony").

Anyway, it was interesting to see that it wasn't a slavish Hergé pastiche all the way, but another artist in his own right.

Secondly, he has a problem with being very wordy - leading to speech balloons dominating many of the pages, and some hilariously frantic lettering, getting smaller and smaller as he runs out of space - although that may have been a by-product of the books being written in Flemish, and re-lettered for French?

The story-telling isn't as compelling as Hergé; he sets out a hook right at the start, making Barelli a great actor and a master of disguise, and then uses that aspect very little, or at least takes the character off into situations where that is completely irrelevant.

Anyway, I'll continue reading them, and see how it goes.
#2 · Posted: 13 Apr 2006 21:46
There is a Barelli/ Hergé cross-over by Bob de Moor. I've recently translated it for myself.
It starts with Barelli in his dressing-room, about to go on to perform; but he gets lost back-stage, and tries a door, only to find himself in Mr Baxter's office at the Space Centre, from the Tintin Moon books!
To make matters worse, the reader sees this as a black-and-white line drawing on a sheet of paper; the now-a-drawing Barelli then sees to his horror a hand with an eraser coming towards him, threatening to rub him out...
...then Hergé is depicted sitting in his office in the "real world", about to rub Barelli out, and Barelli recognizes him, and Hergé recognises him, and asks how he got into his drawing?
Then Hergé draws himself into the story, so that they can meet.
Barelli invites him to go to see his new show, but Hergé insists he must be getting back.
Barelli consoles him by telling Herge that Bob de Moor can finish the work.
#3 · Posted: 15 Jan 2014 15:31
I am great Tintin fan and love anything that looks like Tintin, so I found this Bob de Moor's comic Barelli. Can you tell me more about it, is it avalible in English not just French?

And are there any othere comics that look so much like Tintin, apart from Blake & Mortimer, they're great, but I already know of them.

Thanks for help.

Moderator Note: Please keep your questions limited to one point at a time, otherwise it becomes very confusing.
You should also do a search before starting a new thread - there is an entire section of the forums devoted to comics influenced by Hergé, as well as one for other comic recommendations, so there is little need to repeat that here.

Likewise, there was already this tread about Barelli, so queries and issues of a general nature about the books should be placed here.

Thanks for your cooperation!
The Tintinologist Team
#4 · Posted: 15 Jan 2014 21:14
If you want other comics drawn in the same ligne claire style pioneered by Hergé, then there is his own "Jo, Zette and Jocko" series. Three books of their adventures are available on Amazon.

There is also Willy Vandersteen's "Spike and Suzy", though as far as I know the only English-language books are those drawn by his successor Paul Geerts. These books can be obtained via Amazon as well.
#5 · Posted: 16 Jan 2014 11:25
I'll check those as well, but what about Mr. Barelli?
Are those book translated to English?
#6 · Posted: 16 Jan 2014 11:44
Are those book translated to English?

No, not the regular series, as far as I know.
However, there is a one-off curiosity, which isn't part of the regular run of books, which did come out in English.
It was called Barelli in Bubbly Brussels (1990) (Bruxelles bouillonne in the original French), published by "The Community Secretary of Public Health and Brussels Affairs", which makes it sound like it is going to feature water purification and sanitation systems, and give you information on how to brush your teeth effectively, but instead it's a book put together as a sort of tourist travelogue of the city, in which our hero takes off on a fairly silly chase through the city, which just happens to allow for depictions of land-marks through the city, with a bit of exposition about them.

It's sort of fun, and nice to see any Barelli in English, but it isn't essential, and doesn't really give a flavour of the series proper.
#7 · Posted: 21 Mar 2014 16:16
Barelli never saw a publication in English except for the mentioned "Barelli in Bubbly Brussels". The reason why the albums never made it into english is that de Moor's output was too sporadic (so probably not commercially interesting enough) since he worked so much at the Hergé Studios. Note that BD Must is now re-releasing all the de Moor back catalogue since neither Casterman or Le Lombard were interested in continuing the release of these books.

We'll soon post an interview with the publisher regarding this and other de Moor re-issues on the Bob De Moor Facebook page. All posts are in English on that page btw.
#8 · Posted: 24 Mar 2014 01:10
The Bob de Moor Facebook page includes a video dated July 2009 in which Jacques Martin tells of how he and de Moor worked together on one of his albums.

The video is in French and here is an English translation for people interested in de Moor.

Martin begins by explaining how de Moor got involved with Hergé. In 1948, E.P. Jacobs, who had done most of the background artwork on Tintin, split from Hergé, and Hergé needed to find another artist who was just as talented.
The editor of Kuifje, the Flemish version of the weekly Tintin magazine, recommended de Moor. De Moor's early work on Tintin included the Moon books.
Martin especially goes on about de Moor's talent in imitating the drawing of other artists, but stresses that he was not a scriptwriter. He also describes him as very nice and affable.

Martin then tells of how he was looking for a collaborator for his own series Lefranc which is about a reporter who travels the world fighting crooks (sounds familiar).
De Moor told him that he was interested and since the Studios Hergé was not doing much work at the time, Hergé agreed to let him work with Martin.

Martin himself went to a valley in the Swiss Alps in order to research the area where he was to set the adventure. There he heard of a local story which inspired the plot: about how the local council deceived and ruined some foreign entrepreneurs. The result was Le Repaire du loup (The Wolf's Lair) which is set in a Swiss valley. (As far as I know it is not available in English.)

Martin and de Moor wanted to work on more books together, but this was blocked by Hergé! Martin is not sure why this was, since Tintin stories were only coming out every five years or so, and thus Hergé could have spared de Moor from time to time.

He implies that it may have had something to do with him previously quitting the Studios, whereas de Moor was still under contract, and needed Hergé's permission to work on other projects.

Curiously, it seems that Hergé did not stop de Moor from working on another series where his talent in imitating the work of other artists came in useful. (Martin says that it was the classic French comic Bécassine, but I cannot find any other indication that de Moor ever worked on that series.)

De Moor was "sacked" (Martin's words) from the Studios Hergé in 1985, after Hergé's death, and he and Martin considered working together again but then de Moor was asked to finish Jacob's uncompleted Blake & Mortimer story Professor Sato's Three Formulæ and died soon afterwards.

Martin describes the work de Moor did on Le Repaire du loup: Martin would draw rough sketches describing the action and then de Moor would draw the actual panels that were published. He even kept a file with detailed drawings of each of the characters in the comic. Martin suggests that this was to avoid confusion, such as drawing a scene featuring Gritz, a friendly character, when he was supposed to put in Valadin, an antagonist.

Le Repaire du loup was published in Tintin magazine in 1969-70, but was not collected in book form until fours years later.

Martin explains that this was partly due to him switching to a new publisher, Casterman, which also took his other series "Alix", which is set in Ancient Rome. Apparently he pitched them to Casterman along with Jacobs' Blake & Mortimer and Jean Graton's Michel Vaillant.

He concludes by describing how in about 1991 he was invited to visit the Swiss valley where he set Le Repaire du loup and even made a couple of speeches. Apparently the locals did not bear a grudge for him exposing a local scandal.

[Update: In re. Bob working on Bécassine, as mentioned above, this blog post on the Bob de Moor site has uncovered samples of the work he did in 1962/63, following a proposal that he take over the series - Moderator)

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