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Tintinologists' Review of the Year 2004

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Trivia Challenge Score Keeper
#1 · Posted: 23 Dec 2004 21:57
Thought you might all find this interesting. I've missed some things off to be concise (though you may not think so!), but the past year has been a pretty eventful one for us Tintin fans and it's worth recalling. Let's hope next year will bring some surprises!


2004 was probably the year of one of the most significant celebrations yet of Tintin's "birth". We've seen similar events before in recent memory, notably in 1989 and 1999, but the landmark 75th anniversary of Tintin heralded the kind of press coverage you'd expect to see for a benevolent monarch.

Hergé's art filled the pages of the Francophone press in early January and even the English-speaking media devoted several sizeable commentaries here and there. The usual suspects were invited to give quotes: Michaels Farr and Turner, Jane Taylor of the Tintin Shop, and the Rodwells of Brussels all contributed, speculating on the nature of Tintin's success and trying to fend off such tired old topics as "Hergé the fascist" and "Tintin's sexuality".

After nearly twenty years as a collector's edition, Tintin et l'Alph-Art was reissued in an album-format "uniform edition", to fit alongside the other titles.

A special 10-euro coin was minted in Belgium, and French TV networks showed Anders Œstergaard's documentary Tintin et Moi.

An exhibition concerning Tintin's seafaring adventures, Tintin at Sea, reached UK shores in March and was displayed in London's National Maritime Museum, refreshing the British press coverage.

Yves Horeau's The Adventures of Tintin at Sea (trans. Farr) was published in English to coincide with the event, a very worthy volume which includes some astoundingly detailed analysis and research.

By all accounts the exhibition was a resounding success, running for six months, and generating plenty of spin-off activity sessions for youngsters, reiterating the educational value of Hergé's work.

Connected to this was, perhaps for many British Tintinologists, the event of the year. On Saturday May 15th, a one-off World of Tintin conference was held with speakers Michael Farr, Paul Gravett, Michael Turner, Leslie Lonsdale-Cooper and Bernard Tordeur.

As others on the forums have reported, the event didn't fail to live up to expectations, and it was certainly a day to remember. Among the highlights, in this reviewer's opinion, was a chance to hear the often forgotten story of the English translations and afterwards to meet the pair involved: a charming experience, with both translators remaining modest in view of their contribution to a worldwide artistic phenomenon, and insisting that all their hard work was a labour of love.

It was also the first chance for many to see the documentary Tintin et Moi, which is an eye-opening piece of work, highly recommended to those wanting to know more of "the man behind the art".

Later on in May, Anchor Bay released an attractively-priced DVD boxset of the complete Ellipse-Nelvana television series, with a free copy of Tintin et Moi available with 500 sets as a bonus disc.

A pleasant and unexpected surprise occurred when the unavailable-since-1990 English translation of Tintin and Alph-Art was reissued in the new format in late June, though it didn't reach shops until mid-July. Despite rather lacklustre publicity, the sales figures have been encouraging enough for (hopefully) at least a second impression, and possibly even a paperback edition in the future.

2004 was also the year of an exciting and extremely long-awaited Tintin release: the English translation of the black-and-white 1932 facsimile edition of Tintin in America.

For a publication that has been on the cards since at least 1998, it took a great deal of patience to wait this long and many must have wondered if it wasn't just an elaborate myth.

But a few copies trickled on to the UK market (via the Tintin Shop) in August, happily proving that it had been well worth waiting for. A more widespread publication followed in late October, and the volume has reached healthy sales figures.

Despite postponements (which seem to be becoming inevitable), a similar edition of Cigars of the Pharaoh is promised next year, and there are plans to reiusse all the facsimiles in English up to The Crab with the Golden Claws.

A final surprise was given at the end of the year: Casterman have announced plans to publish boxset editions of the Tintin adventures, including (in many cases for the first time offically) facsimiles of the stories in their original "serialization" formats (i.e. in Le Petit Vingtième, Le Soir and Soir Jeunesse, or Tintin magazine).

2005 may have a lot to follow, but there are certainly treats in store!


Merry Christmas everyone!

Harrock n roll
#2 · Posted: 24 Dec 2004 01:36
Spot on Ed. Personally speaking 2004 was a seminal Tintin year. One of my ambitions had always been to write an article concerning something I felt passionate about - i just wanted to fulfill a personal goal - and that "something" turned out to be Tintin!

I feel I've acheived that this year and I'm smiling :)

The Tintin at Sea exhibition and World of Tintin conference were really just the icing on the cake. The cherry on the top was this wonderful forum - cheers Irene! - life wouldn't be the same without it!

Thanks to all you Tintinologists for a great year! Here's to 2005!

#3 · Posted: 24 Dec 2004 11:41
Great review of the year Ed, thank you. And best wishes to everyone on this forum - it's been fascinating reading so far!
- Garen.
#4 · Posted: 24 Dec 2004 15:30
Very nice review ed! You forgot to mention the relaunch of Cult of Tintin as Tintinologist.org, (though without the pics :/)! :-)

As for the fascimile editions, I hope they launch versions of other albums depicting Hergé's real talent with the pencil like Alph-Art where you get to see the actual sketches and the storyboard.

On a personal point of view, this year was great Tintin year for me as I improved in my sketches and finally bought Tintin and Alph-Art` latest edition ^_^

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all Tintinophiles!!!
Trivia Challenge Score Keeper
#5 · Posted: 24 Dec 2004 19:53
While I didn't want to make the above much more long-winded than it already is, it was remiss of me not to mention tintinologist.org, and especially this forum which has provoked some really good debate over the past year. Many thanks to Irene and the rest of you, and long may it continue!

#6 · Posted: 6 Jan 2005 13:35
Thanks so much for encapsulating the great year we've all had, Tintin-wise, Ed! As I'd not heard of the box-set plans before, it even ends on an un-expected high!

Whilst I have always been an overt Tintin fan, the celebrations have re-kindled my interests in Tintin in particular and comics in general. I think I had become jaded, and 2004 has helped to make things fun again.

My particular high-point was also seeing LL-C & MT at Greenwich - these two must surely rank as the "professors emeritus" of Anglo-Tintinology, so to hear them talk and to be able to see their genuine love of the canon was a rare treat.

Furthermore there were opportunities for me to visit the Tintin in the City exhibition, and also to see the E.P. Jacobs/ Blake & Mortimer retrospective at the CBBD museum in Brussells, both of which were great fun for Tintinologists.

Add to this the extra luxuries of the beautiful coin from the Belgian mint, which I got as a belated 40th birthday present, the new Alph-Art, and the facsimilies - well it has been a year to remember!

I have also enjoyed the debate, deconstruction, reconstruction and erudition of the forum members, and look forward to much more in the coming year!

All the best for 2005!
#7 · Posted: 7 Jan 2005 10:15
I saw the Tintin at Sea exhibition at Greenwich. The four and a half hours in the car (at least two spent trawling through London) were well worth it.

Judging by how packed the museum was, with people of all ages (very much the "seven to seventy" range as expounded by the Master) even these days the Boy Reporter can pull a crowd.
#8 · Posted: 24 Feb 2005 01:54
2004 saw my latest Tintin find: I for the very first time saw "Tintin in the Land of the Soviets". All that is missing is "Tintin in the Congo", "Lake of the Sharks" (actually, is it a movie or a comic strip?), and "Tintin and Alph-Art". Although I then was not aware that 2004 was the 75th anniversary of Tintin, interest in Tintin was suddenly revived during that year. I'm still not exactly clear about the reasons, though...

Anyway, Happy 76th and 77th!!
#9 · Posted: 28 Mar 2005 23:56
Well I am so surprised because I have been reading since the 1970's and finally some credit is due. We still ahve a way to go.
#10 · Posted: 29 Mar 2005 00:28
It looks like people really pay attention to anything on 25th, 50th, 75th, 100th anniversaries. We might have to wait another 25 years before we can celebrate any Tintin anniversary that will capture world opinion. As for us Tintinologists, we shall celebrate EVERY year : )

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