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Land of the Soviets: remake attempts?

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#21 · Posted: 20 Oct 2004 08:57
It seems likely that Herge could have done it, after all there were discussions on releasing the book. And the argument as far as I can tell was either for Herge to release a new edition or only allow a facsimile.

He went for the facsimile but he could easily have drafted a page or so to gauge the feeling of a reworked edition

#22 · Posted: 21 Oct 2004 17:54
It looks that way from, I doubt he did much more. It would be interesting to have a more 'thematic' remake, rather than a a frame for frame version.
UK Correspondent
#23 · Posted: 21 Oct 2004 19:05
Actually, looking at that page again properly, I'm not convinced that it comes from the hand of Hergé; I would say it's Bob De Moor's work. The handwriting is not the same as we'd find on any of the original Hergé pages - for example, the three pencil pages of Alph-Art. However, I am still very impressed with the drawing, and it shows that Soviets had the potential to be a fully reworked story.
#24 · Posted: 21 Oct 2004 23:20
Richard said: I'm not convinced that it comes from the hand of Herge; I would say it's Bob De Moor's work. The handwriting is not the same as we'd find on any of the original Herge pages

That is a very good point, and I realise now that that was the detail that made me think of B de M; I am just dragged out the biographical book, and I'd say that the handwriting is very similar in style (there are several pages of pencils for various projects, plus the end-papers show pages of his doodles).

Conjecture here - I wonder if Bob did for the Soviets material more or less the same as he did for “ThermoZéro” (albeit converting it to JZ&J at Hergé’s suggestion)? Even if only partially done, it would go some way to explaining his frustration at not being allowed to finish “Alph-Art”: he would have done a complete JZ&J, two complete movie adaptations (“Lake of Sharks” and “Prisoners”), as well as all the storyboards for “Lake”, plus this possible “Soviets” re-working, and much of the publicity related work for the Studio - in effect, there would have been a period between “741” and “Picaros” when he probably had more “Tintin” output than Herge.

I think this could be a real find. Was there any more detail about the source? After getting M. Tordeur to reveal the extent of the “ThermoZéro”, I am only sorry I didn’t know to pursue him on this one too!

My other guess is that there would be more than just this one page: I think that there are signs that the figures have been reworked over the back-grounds, reaching a stage of development akin the early pages of “Alph-Art”; I’d guess that they wouldn’t have worked up just one page. Following this pattern, I could see there being roughs for at least a few more pages, to see how the re-formatting would go.
UK Correspondent
#25 · Posted: 21 Oct 2004 23:57
The image was once available on the now-closed "Canal RG" site - it was in the section made up of a series of general rare images, some parodies, some genuine works. There was, sadly, no more information on the image.

My other guess is that there would be more than just this one page: I think that there are signs that the figures have been reworked over the back-grounds, reaching a stage of development akin the early pages of “Alph-Art”;

This is just a vague recollection here, so it might be absolutely nothing to do with this reworked Soviets - but I'm sure that I've seen another version of the first frame, somewhere - it was a fairly heavily-worked one, with the perspective construction lines drawn in for the train carriage and the electric wires overhead. The problem is I can't remember whether it was for this Soviets, or something completely different, maybe a Harry Edwood piece. However, it did look remarkably like a finished technical drawing for the first image.

Trying to guess a source for where it came from originally - it looks like it's printed on newspaper, what with the colour of the plain paper, the grey print of the image border, and the dent on the left-hand side. So this image has been published before, somewhere - but where ?
#26 · Posted: 22 Oct 2004 08:09
maybe a Harry Edwood piece.

Harry Edwood would certainly have the skill to produce an entire page to this standard, if the “Lagoon” panels are anything to go by. He could easily have worked up a frame from these pencils - he may even have done the pencils too!

it looks like it's printed on newspaper, what with the colour of the plain paper, the grey print of the image border, and the dent on the left-hand side.

I’d seen it as a page of paper/art-board lying inside the front cover of a book or possibly an artist’s folio, rather than a printed page in a book. If it is lying inside a book, from the possibility that it is a “Tintin”-sized volume, then the artwork is curiously small, which might indicate that it is a fan produced piece, or very early draft. However, looking at it again, I think I’m wrong.
UK Correspondent
#27 · Posted: 22 Oct 2004 19:43
I think it's a piece by De Moor, the style is very close to Hergé's, and drawn loosely enough in his manner of work - the rough layouts, the doodles etc. The inclusion of a title bar suggests that it was done for serialisation in 'Tintin' magazine. I still think the scan itself is from a newspaper - there's a page number in the corner (18), and if it is in a paper, then the size of the page is larger than a Tintin volume (perhaps why the whole page is not on the scanner, as it wouldn't fit).

Trying to date this page, if you look at panel C2, Tintin wears shoes with a buckle across, which he sported for the first time in "The Calculus Affair", in 1956. To determine the date of this Soviets page, I’ve come up with this theory.

"Tintin in Tibet" began serialisation in 'Tintin' magazine in 1958 (the whole story having been completed by this stage) so at this point Hergé was looking for a new idea. The idea for "Le Thermozéro" was put forward in the same year, yet was stopped after eight pages of pencil drawings by Hergé himself (and, as we have discovered, Bob De Moor took over and reworked the story to feature Jo, Zette and Jocko).

Whilst looking for more ideas, it would seem that Hergé considered the idea of reworking Soviets, and set De Moor on the job, hence the page we have now. I can’t find any mention of a reworked version of Soviets in any reference book (apart from the concept of doing it, nowhere seems to mention it actually being done).

The idea must have been abandoned around 1960, as according to Benoît Peeters in "Hergé Fils de Tintin", the first notes for what would become "The Castafiore Emerald" appeared in that year. These were obviously followed through, and a new version of Soviets never saw the light of day.
#28 · Posted: 23 Oct 2004 10:36
The doodling appears to have been endemic in Studio Hergé! I saw the Tibet artwork a few years ago, and the margins and even some of the frames were covered in hundreds of tiny sketches, notes, studies, and even a 'phone number or too! So it wouldn't be conclusive, but I agree these have a de Moor feel to them.

The number puzzles me, as the "18" seems to be superimposed on the image, rather than on the page. I still think the photo seems to show the inside of a book cover, which makes the figure even more of a puzzle.

Anyway, I agree with your logic rgarding the date, and the point about the shoes is an interesting one. Also the use of the banner as an indicator that it would have been in the magazine seems good (there is a further doodle in the bottom margin for a variant logo, with the letter s reversed, presumably to see if it could be made to look slightly Cyrillic).

I can't recall having seen corridor trains on the Belgian railways when I have been there, but I have never attempted to travel first-class on a train to Russia, so I wouldn't swear that that dates it to the fifties or sities, but it might. The newsman with the ciné-camera also gives it a period feel.

As to another point, I'd say that the figure with whom Tintin shakes hands before the Tannoy interrupts, is Raymond Leblanc, publisher of Tintin magazine; I think the face is well enough defined, and it would be a nice in-joke, as it's Alfred Zwaenepoel, then editor of Le Petit Vingtième who sends him off in the original version.
Belgium Correspondent
#29 · Posted: 23 Oct 2004 14:47
As I was very sceptical about this page, I ask another French Tintinologist, Jacques Langlois. Jacques Langlois was a contributor of the Canadian site "A la découverte de Tintin" and is now a regular contributor of "Objectif Tintin". He has also a large Tintin collection.. He told me he thinks it is a recent pastiche.Nothing in Hergé 's or studio Hergé's letters never mentioned anything about this new version. Hergé himsef told some people in the 60's he had no Soviet album for himself. Numa Sadoul (Tintin et moi) found some originals of this album in a cupboard of the studios. We had to wait till 1969 for a first limited re-edition.
If Hergé wanted to make a new version of this album,He would have make a new scenario and would not only modify the first page with the Gepeou -man and his bomb. The text on this page is not from him.
I don't think it could be from Bob De Moor either.
#30 · Posted: 23 Oct 2004 16:42
It's a beautiful page, whoever did it...
However I don't think it could have been Herge either, it looks too slick and polished to be a real Herge I'm afraid. I also don't believe it's a de Moor because of the way Tintin moves in the pictures, de Moor had a clearer, straighter way of drawing him, this doesn't look like it's done by either of them... It would be really cool to find out who had done it. By the way, it looks to me like it's been printed in the inside of a book cover or something, maybe a Rodier joke?

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