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Valley of the Cobras: When did "Cœurs Vaillants" cease to exist?

#1 · Posted: 10 Oct 2007 16:15
At what point did Jo et Zette au pays du Maharadjah/ Jo and Zette in the Land of the Maharajah (which later became better known as The Valley of the Cobras in revised book form) get interrupted?
And when exactly did the children's paper Cœurs Vaillants cease to exist? When the Nazis invaded?

I know Jo and Zette in the Land of the Maharajah started publication, in serial form, on April 9, 1939, but I haven't been able to find the date when it ended.

Can anybody help?
#2 · Posted: 10 Oct 2007 16:56
Hi Borschtisov!

According to the Wikipedia article on Franco-Belgian comics, Coeur Valliants didn't cease to exist when the Nazis invaded France, and in fact continued to be published throughout the war.

Here's the relevant passage:
Interestingly, a lot of the publishers and artists who had managed to continue working during the occupation were accused of being collaborators and were imprisoned by the resistance, although most were released soon afterwards without charges being pressed.

As an example, this happened to one of the famous magazines, Coeurs Vaillants ("Valiant Hearts"). It was founded by abbot Courtois (under the alias Jacques Coeur) in 1929. As he had the backing of the church, he managed to publish the magazine throughout the war, and was of course charged with being a collaborator. After he was forced out, his successor Pihan (as Jean Vaillant) took up the publishing, moving the magazine in a more humorous direction.

That doesn't answer your question about when Jo and Zette in the Land of the Maharajah ended its serial run in Cœurs Vaillants. But, if the story started in April 1939, maybe it just had time to reach its conclusion before France fell to the Nazis in May-June 1940.

In any case, if the magazine kept going for the duration of the war, then presumeably Hergé would have able to keep drawing the strip and sending it in, even after the fall of France, if he'd needed to. Though I don't know what the logistics of posting artwork from occupied Belgium to occupied France would have been.

I couldn't find much else on Cœurs Vaillants on the web, though logic tells me there must be more details about the magazine on a French website somewhere, given how seriously they take their BD history.
#3 · Posted: 10 Oct 2007 18:10
Thanks for the reply, Balthazar.

What you suggested about "The Valley of the Cobras" being finished before the Nazis invaded makes sense; I did the math myself, and it had more than enough time to finish. However I always thought that "The Valley of the Cobras" was interrupted because of the war, and only finished a couple decades later in "Tintin Magazine". All the information seemed to suggest that.

For instance, on the back of the book it reads:

"Here [The Valley of the Cobras] is one of the best, begun originally in 1939, but only achieved its final form nearly twenty years later."

And also this on the "Jocko's Jungle" website:

"Although the book was originally published in 1957, Hergé began work on the adventure in 1939 with a working title of Jo, Zette and Jocko and the Maharajah referring to the Maharajah of Gopel. Hergé stopped [see that; 'stopped'] working on the title during World War II where in occupied Belgium..."

So I don't know. But it would appear to be as you suggested; that it was finished before the invasion.

Thanks again for your reply.
#4 · Posted: 10 Oct 2007 18:57
I've just remembered something else, though. At the outbreak of war in September 1939 Hergé (who had already enlisted as a reservist) was called up and posted to an infantry company in the North of Belgium. (That info's from Harry Thompsons's biography.)

Apparently, he still managed to draw and send in his weekly two pages of Tintin (The Black Island) for Le Petit Vingtieme, but it occurs to me that he may just not have found time during his army life to continue produce the Jo, Zette and Jocko pages for Coeur Valliants as well. That bit's just speculation on my part, but it could mean that, even though there would have been time to finish publishing the story before the Nazis took control of France, and even though Coeur Valliants kept going throughout the war anyway, Hergé may have actually stopped working on the story as early as September 1939 (ie: sometime before the Nazi occupations of Belgium and France.)

That's mostly more guesswork, though! Jockosjungle probably knows more. I'd temporarily forgotten his excellent website.
#5 · Posted: 10 Oct 2007 19:49
I seem to have accidentally stumbled upon the answer to my question on this Casterman discussion board.

It's in French, but if that is no hindrance to you go to the post for 10-12-2003. It's talking about the French Box Set which contains the original black & white versions of JZ&J. For you strictly English-speakers it says:

"...the choice of republishing the Belgian version from Le Petit Vingtiéme, rather than the original one from Cœurs Vaillants deprives us of the square artwork, a few images... and especially the beginning (23 pages) of In the Land of the Maharajah, which will become The Valley of the Cobras in '57."

Again I did the calculations, taking into account the 23 pages given, and it shows that In the Land of the Maharajah stopped publication on September 10, 1939; which lines up perfectly with the speculation given by you, Balthazar.

Of course, this information might not be correct; but it is very surprising indeed that it matches the date in which Hergé left for the North of Belgium to take up his duties. So in the light of all that, I am inclined to think that September 10, 1939 is the correct date for the stoppage of JZ&J.
#6 · Posted: 26 May 2022 12:05
especially the beginning (23 pages) of In the Land of the Maharajah

A long time in coming, but I just came across a mention of Cobras in my copy of Benoît Peeter's Le Monde d'Hergé, which gives the figure of 25 pages having been published before the war interrupted its run.

Further research, which has taken place in the interval between the start of this thread and now (and to be found in Geoffroy Kursner's striking volume, Hergé et la Presse), gives the dates for the run of Jo et Zette au pays du Maharadjah in Cœurs Vaillants as being from the 9th of April (spot on, Borschtisov!) to the 17th of September, 1939, a period of 24 weeks (by my arithmetic with a 1939 calendar) - so there were at least 24 pages, it would seem. A 25th page would have taken the story up to the last Sunday in September, so it could be that the episode was prepared, just not published?

It's also worth noting that, since Balthazar's comments above, the piece he quoted from Wikipedia no longer is there, as the article he links to has been updated, ammended and combined with other articles.
M. Kursner confirms Balthazar's theory that the mobilization of Belgium on the 3rd of September 1939 (and thus Hergé's period of active service) brought the series to a halt.

From other reading on Wikipedia, I see that, "From 1940 to 1942, Cœurs Vaillants was prohibited in the Zone occupée (Occupied Zone)", so that would have put an end to it all anyway, as even if Hergé had waanted to continue with it after he demobbed, he would have lost the ability to have it appear in Cœurs Vaillants.

Also interesting is a follow up message to the post quoted from the old Casterman forum, from Étienne Pollet, (grandson of publisher Louis Casterman, no less, and a trusted and respected Tintinologist) which talks about how much he would like the Cœurs Vaillants pages to be reprinted. However, he points out some very prctical obstacles - firstly, the square format used would hamper inclusion in any collection that had to accomodate art of a different size, and secondly, the number of survivng issues is much smaller than that of Le Petit Vingtième, and the story ran on the cover, so was prone to damage, thus making good copies in a fine condition required for reprinting very difficult to source.
#7 · Posted: 27 May 2022 01:32
The Cœurs Vaillants version is included in Hergé: Le Feuilleton Intégral Volume 8. What was published in that version is up to and including page 29 of the modern album, where the group are warned not to cross the river by the fakir. Everything from page 30 onwards first appeared in Tintin magazine.
#8 · Posted: 27 May 2022 08:35
What was published in that version is up to and including page 29 of the modern album

D'oh! I feel a bit dense about that; it didn't occur to me to check if it had actually been reprinted – thank you so much for that!
Could you please confirm for me if it says how and when those 29 pages ran?
There's not enough time between those two dates to have 29 episodes, so:
a) have I simply got the dates wrong?;
b) did it run two pages in some issues?; or,
c) did later re-formatting it for the album turn 23-, 24-, or 25-pages Cœurs Vaillants pages into what are the first 29 pages today?

Once again, it was good of you to check, and I feel better informed!
#9 · Posted: 27 May 2022 22:00
So the original version of The Valley of the Cobras (then called The Adventures of Jo, Zette and Jocko in the Land of the Maharajah) was first published on 9th April 1939 and continued weekly before being interrupted by the imminent possibility of Hergé being called up to the army. The final part of the story was published on 17th September 1939. This consisted of 24 weekly pages. In the final album, these make up 29 pages. I'm not sure how this is the case, but I'll compare the two to check (I'd be interested myself).

Interestingly, Hergé: Le Feuilleton Intégral Volume 8 gives the dates as 9th Aril to 24th September. This matches up to what you wrote above about 25 issues. But the last one published (which matches up to page 29 of the album, as specified in the same publication) is definitely 17th September. It also specifically mentioned 24 issues.

The story was run from the start under its current title, and completed this time, in Tintin magazine from 30th December 1953 to 22nd December 1954. That's another one to check - does it match the album? I have it in Hergé: Le Feuilleton Intégral Volume 11.
#10 · Posted: 1 Jun 2022 05:46
I've had a look at Feuilleton volume 8 (a great volume, because it also includes the black and white version of Black Gold). I can see why the story takes up fewer pages in Coeurs Vaillants. The panels are packed in more tightly, with the effect that each book page corresponds with roughly four-fifths of a page in Coeurs Vaillants.

The layout in the book actually disrupts the flow of the story, because a cliffhanger or punchline is often written to appear in the final panel of a Coeurs Vaillants page but has been shifted to the middle of a book page.

The Coeurs Vaillants version also contains one lengthy extra sequence. The location in the story is the middle of page 12 of the book. The maharajah tries to bend the fire poker, fails, storms outside, and then comes back in. It's pretty pointless, so I can see why it was cut.

Beyond that, these two versions have only quite minor differences, as far as I can see. And the third version (in Journal de Tintin) is even more similar to the book.

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