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New release: Tintin in the Congo - English colour version

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#71 · Posted: 25 Oct 2005 12:41
How’s this for a tale of frustration?

I live in New Zealand and I decided, rather than wait for the bookshops here to get organized, I’d order my copy of TINTIN IN THE CONGO (in colour and in English!) through Amazon UK.

Weeks pass...my order has not yet been dispatched...and I’ve now seen the beautiful book for sale here at – not one, not two, but THREE different book sellers!

Billions of blue blistering barnacles!!
#72 · Posted: 25 Oct 2005 23:31
Exactly the same thing has happened to me (living in New Zealand as well). Pre-ordered it from Amazon.co.uk and it finally shipped yesterday (25th Oct) - even though the bookshops here in Wellington are full of the thing.

Talk about ironic and a lesson in patience. One orders it in a pre-order from overseas and it is out here before the pre-order arrives. Usually NZ releases of books and DVDs takes ages to get here - long after the original release over seas.

UK Correspondent
#73 · Posted: 1 Nov 2005 15:45
The Tintin Shop are now saying that the book is out of stock, and it's due for a reprint this month. So either the first printing - which is technically a reprint, but officially the first, hence the complete number line - was very low (most likely) or it sold incredibly well and all the Tintin Shop's stock has gone.

There's no mention of the book on Egmont's site, you still have to delve right into it and search to even find a mention of it. Has there been any publicity about the book? I've not seen anything in Waterstones, but perhaps Ottakar's or some of the bigger branches in London have something?
#74 · Posted: 1 Nov 2005 17:08
technically a reprint, but officially the first, hence the complete number line
Have we established for sure that this is the case? I know that there was talk of the Tintin Shop getting a re-printed batch due to some problem or other, but the early copies sold on eBay weren’t said to be defective, nor did it seem to stop other shops (such as my local Waterstones) getting it. Perhaps the Tintin Shop copies were affected by damage during delivery?

In re: making a fuss over it, I’d imagine that the whole thing is deliberately being left low key, just to avoid it being seen as a flash-point for any criticism. Far better to have it out there quietly, I think.
#75 · Posted: 1 Nov 2005 17:33
I'm not accusing the Tintin Shop of being dishonest but maybe they are saying it is waiting a reprint to stop you going to another bookshop. I was in London last Friday and saw copies in more than one bookshop (didn't get a chance to go to Tintin shop).

As far as the marketing goes there are two lines that Egmont could have taken.

A) Blitzed the shops with expensive advertising and paying money for premium shelf space.

B) Keep it low key and simply add it to the existing books and fans, in time, will discover it.

They probably know that a lot of expensive advertising doesn't really do much good except watse a lot of money. Tintin sells millions a year but is never really advertised.

If it is simply being added to the books available there doesn;t really seem to be a need for it to be marketed as it is more of a steady item rather than something that is going to shoot to the top of the bestsellers

#76 · Posted: 2 Nov 2005 09:43
I'm not accusing the Tintin Shop of being dishonest but maybe they are saying it is waiting a reprint to stop you going to another bookshop.

I think that that is an unwarranted speculation, Rik, and not what I would expect of you. There is no reason to assume other than that there was a requirement for them to get a replacement consignment due to the original not being useable for some reason, as stated, and the matter should rest there: suggesting that it was some sort of ploy (and a weak one at that - the only way to stop someone going elsewhere would be to have it in stock) is un-necessary.
John Sewell
#77 · Posted: 2 Nov 2005 10:00
There don't seem to be any copies round here yet. Neither the branches of Ottakar's in Wells or Waterstones in Taunton have got it in, and when I asked in Wells yesterday I got the same sort of "Arr, well, they might 'ave it in Bristol moi dear" stuff as I did when Alph-Art was published. If Congo follows the same pattern, Ottakar's should finally have it on the shelves sometime after Christmas, and Waterstones just won't bother!
None of the local WH Smiths branches ever have any Tintin books in, so no joy there either (still loads of the new Asterix reprints everywhere though - what are Orion getting right which Egmont aren't?)

Seeing as how Bristol's a 70 mile round trip, I don't feel inclined to go there specifically so see if I can track down a copy, so I think I'll have to order it online, again, as I had to with Alph-Art.
Frustrating really - I'm all for supporting book shops, but if they ain't going to get the stuff in, or order it for me without a month's wait, I'm just going to have to go through other channels!
#78 · Posted: 2 Nov 2005 10:34
Some sad news that is slightly off-topic but may affect future availability of these books (for the worse): Waterstones are very close to buying Ottakar's.
#79 · Posted: 4 Nov 2005 03:35
I was thinking the same thing about the lack of publicity here in New Zealand with this new Tintin release. Most of the big 'chain' booksellers here only have one copy in their stores (although one or two specialist bookshops that have a loyalty to Herge fans have quite a few copies).

Also there has been absolutely no publicity for it at all in any way that I can see. Even the Egmont releases of Soviets and Alph'art had front of store displays and lots of copies of each title in some shops. But I agree that it is perhaps best that this one does have a rather low-key release considering it's content! In 1983 when I was about 12 and 'The Blue Lotus' was released here in New Zealand there were newspaper adverts and competitions (for the entire set in hardback) and free giveaways (cardboard cut out Tintin themed models). There were reviews in children's magazines and bookstores with loads and loads of copies in their windows and big Tintin displays which went on to be used by many stores for years...

After finally getting my copy from Amazon of 'Congo' a few days ago, and sitting down and reading it in colour in english for the first time I can really see why previous publishers didn't want to touch it! It is on a different level compared to the other colour modern versions of the Tintin range in so many respects. It is very childish and simplistic and unrealistic, and obviously the insensitive content is rather disturbing considering the way Herge tried to be more sensitive to other cultures/people and animals only a few years later in such books as 'The Blue Lotus'.

I've read the French version in colour before and somehow it seemed more mild and more of an historical curiosity when read in another language. But reading it in English I can see why Sundancer decided to release the B&W version in 1991 instead of the final version of the book. Somehow that certainly does put it into context of it's period and the level of sophistication that herge had got to in his story telling and artistic techniques.

I must admit that I woudn't give this book to a person who is new to Tintin until they'd read the rest of the series and then only with the proviso of telling them the context in which it was written and it's 'historical' place in the Tintin series.

Don't get me wrong. I am glad that it has been released 60 years after being re-drawn and coloured and published in french!! But it sure is a book that is no where as satisfying as the other colour titles in the series. I think that with a beer or two in me (I don't drink alcohol) I'd probably be able to have a relaxed and amused laugh at it as a work of comedy and childish silliness. Being stone-sober though, it is kind of hard for me to ignore such hideous scenes as Tintin shouting at the Africans to get to work and upright the train with his hands on his hips wearing that pith helmet.
He comes across as a bit of a wee colonialist bully there... I was thinking about something someone said in an earlier post regarding this title, that Herge could have changed the plot and characterisation considerably when he redrew it in 1946, but he didn't avail himself of the opportunity.

I was pondering whether this would have been possible and I really do think he could have (and probably should have) done so. For example, the really bad guys in this book are the white/western criminal gang working for Al Capone (apart from the evil witch doctor character). He could have redrawn the book with the crime gang's attitude being similiar to Gibbons' and Dawson's towards the Chinese people in 'The Blue Lotus' without destroying the plot of the book. This could have been contrasted with Tintin standing up for the people who were being so abused. Surely the Africans didn't have to be portrayed as thick and lazy did they?

Also Tinin's own meetings and interaction with the Africans could have been portayed in the newer version with a much more equal footing, and with the respect that Tintin came to be known for in his later titles when dealing with anyone else from around the world. It wouldn't have been to hard for Herge to redraw the Africans (as someone else pointed out on here) in a style more akin to the Africans in 'The Red Sea Sharks, rather than their 'gollywog' look that he gave them here as well.

Herge wouldn't have been able to get away with this more real and sensitive kind of portrayal of The Congo when he was basically doing the bidding of his employer when he was working on the original B&W version in 1930. They wanted him to show the Congo in the light in which he did, but in 1946 he surely had more independence and foresight to have reconsidered the plot and characterisations?

Oh well, as a Tintin fan and a Herge collector I'm still (somewhat shamefacedly) glad that this book has made it's way into English in it's final colour form at last.

#80 · Posted: 4 Nov 2005 22:54
Perhaps it was just a matter that Herge didn't want to spend too much time with his earlier book when his new books were flourishing. You know, maybe just forget about it. Yeah I know, pathetic explanation :)

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