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Jo, Zette & Jocko: Another lost album - "La Main Noire"

#1 · Posted: 21 Mar 2013 18:18
There has been discussion here before about the "lost" Jo, Zette & Jocko book, Le ThermoZéro, how it started life as a Tintin plot by Greg, and was then, at Hergé's request, reworked by Bob De Moor to feature JZ&J, and that while substantial work was carried out upon it, it has yet to be released, even in its unfinished form.

I've now come across a reference to another JZ&J project which was abandoned, but which I'd not been aware of: La Main Noire (The Black Hand).

Following up the mention I found of it, it appears that in 2011 the Pierre Bergé auction house (they have offices on the Avenue Louise in Brussels, the same street as Hergé had his, and where the Studios Hergé offices are today) held a sale of works by Jacques Martin, long an associate of Hergé, and a major comic artist in his own right (Alix, Lefranc, et al.).

Amongst the lots on offer were artwork for Tintin magazine, the notorious "gag" page which the members of the Studio once produced to make it appear that they were writing a Tintin book while Hergé was away, and ten pages of notes and rough sketches for the JZ&J project La Main Noire - where it would seem that M. Martin was writing the scenario, and Bob De Moor was supplying artwork.

These ten pages may be all that was ever done on the book, I can't say for certain, but the suggestion has been made that the re-drawing of The Black Island took over the time of the studio, and this other work was set aside, never to be completed.

If you follow this link to the Pierre Bergé website, and then click on where it says "Téléchargez le PDF", you will be able to download a heavily illustrated, 114 page catalogue of the sale (with many other interesting items, such as a pages of story from 1947 called L'Œil de Perdrix which could at first glance be mistaken for pages by Hergé from around the time of The Broken Ear, plus excellent background on M. Martin); the La Main Noire pages can be found on page 20.
UK Correspondent
#2 · Posted: 24 Mar 2013 19:15
Really interesting - I'd never heard of that. It's a shame the images are so small - even the full-page enlargement isn't terribly clear. I wonder if there's any more material apart from these ten pages? The wartime sketchbook drawings in that catalogue are particularly striking, especially the chiaroscuro-heavy pieces like the convey of trucks & the air raid.

Without digressing too much, I'm surprised a book hasn't yet been made of these unfinished Hergé-related projects. It may be due to lack of publishable content, but there would surely be a market for a collected volume of projects like this Jo, Zette & Jocko, plus Le ThermoZéro & the various Tintin's that were never pursued, if the material could be found.
#3 · Posted: 16 Mar 2014 00:17
Hi, has anyone the PDF of that catalogue? The catalogue PDF download link no longer works. Thanks in advance,


Moderator Note:
Hi Bernard and welcome - have you tried contacting the auction house and asking them for a copy? It would seem to be the most straight forward way of going about it: if the link is just broken accidentally, it would bring it to their attention; if there is a reason for them to have removed it (legal, licensing or whatever) then they would be able to tell you.
They also sell printed versions of their catalogues, so that might also be a route for you.
The Happy Tintinologist Team

Update: 24/05/2022 - This link is currently working
#4 · Posted: 16 Mar 2014 13:29
Good thinking :)
#5 · Posted: 16 Mar 2014 17:12
A quick search of Google led to what appears to be the opening of this story, a sketchy page drawn in the manner of "Alph-Art".

A ship is about to set sail. An important-looking man (who may be Jo and Zette's father) gives what appears to be a TV interview before going aboard where he is greeted by the captain. The captain orders a sailor to take the passenger's lugage, which includes several bags, to his cabin. The sailor is followed by two men, one of whom knocks out the sailor before taking one of the bags.

There, mystery and suspense on the very first page and we will probably never know what happened next! Sigh :(
#6 · Posted: 17 Mar 2014 12:06
I received the PDF this morning. There is indeed some nice background info available in there.
#7 · Posted: 17 Mar 2014 12:30
Btw, for those interested, I started a Bob de Moor Facebook page.
I plan to post all new info I can get my hands on there including fragments of some new items I got lay my hand on and insights in my entire Bob De Moor collection.
I know it's trendy to keep info to yourself in this world of collectors, but it's my feeling that fora like this and other ones keep the memory of Bob De Moor alive (and kicking?).



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