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Tintin Black and White Facsimiles: General discussion

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#1 · Posted: 29 May 2004 22:22
Thinking about the forthcoming facsimiles, I've started to wonder if they will stick more closely to the original Belgian continuity than the colour English language books have. My gut feeling is that they will, as they are coming out more or less at once; but MT & LL-C have talked about their copious notes on continuity, to maintain the structure of their "parallell universe" World of Tintin, so it may not happen - they may stick to the ideas they have already given us.

I throw open for discussion some of the following points:
Should the B&W books follow the original or the reworked continuity?

Would anyone else like to see a revision of the colour books, to follow the original order (especially as we will soon have all 24 volumes of the canon)?

Would you revise the books to return Tintin to Belgium, from his curious sojourn in "England"?

What about a compromise: facsimilies of the original books, in the earliest colour incarnation ("Soviets" aside), with the continuity restored and the geographical changes restored (I don't know what I'd do with the later books which weren't in more than one edition)?

Over to you, ladies and gentlemen!
#2 · Posted: 29 May 2004 23:19
Yes I'd revise them back to Belgium. It'd follow on from Soviets and Congo so much better, as he is clearly Belgian in those. I think there should be a color and a b&w world that would fit much better.

But then again, I like the names Thompson and Thomson, but they are for more serious tintin fans, and i'd like the fascimiles to be as literal a translation as possible for cross referencing purposes.

I'd leave the colored versions well alone though, they are fine the way they are, and while not set in Belgium they are the stories i grew up with

#3 · Posted: 30 May 2004 13:11
If it ain't broke don't fix it.

Leave the colour one's as they are - they're not really set in England anyway, just 'Tintinland' which readers have no trouble accepting. Translate all the black and white one's literally, they are for collectors who have read the originals and know what order they are in, where Tintin comes from, etc. Generally, there's enough 'inconsistencies' in the Tintin universe for us not to worry about continuity. The only continuity I'm bothered about is continuity within individual adventures, and that's fine.

No kid reads them in order anyway, and I think puzzling it out is part of the fun. I first read Tintin in America in 1978 or 1979, and had to wait 26 years to read in English how Tintin busted Al Capone's 'diamond racket in the Congo!' It's also a fact that far more people have read 'Red Rackham's Treasure' than the 'Secret of the Unicorn'! Did that ever spoil anyone's enjoyment? No.

Leave well alone with the colour books; translate the b/w ones literally.
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#4 · Posted: 30 May 2004 17:50
I agree entirely. Readers, especially children, are often underestimated. They are not so unintelligent as to not appreciate that books may have been translated in a different order to which they were originally published.

I think it is worth pointing out that when the pre-war books were revised into colour, the explicit references to Tintin's nationality were removed by Hergé himself. Congo is the best example: where originally Tintin rejoiced at being rescued and flown back to Belgium, in the modern colour version he is less specifically bound for Europe, reflecting the beginnings of Tintin's global popularity.

So while the modern colour editions should remain as they are, true to Hergé's intentions, the black-and-white versions could be translated more literally to give an archival impression of Tintin's origins. Since the main market for them is likely to be fans with more knowledge of the history behind the books, they will be able to appreciate Tintin's nationality more than the casual reader.
#5 · Posted: 31 May 2004 14:18
Yes, I agree. Leave the color ones as they are, and translate the black and white ones more literally, such as changing Marlinspike Hall to Moulinsart Castle, etc. But, that doesn't really go for the names, as I think they should be left as they are.

#6 · Posted: 31 May 2004 17:34
I havent heard of B/W facsimiles being translated, when will they be published and in the shops in England? I had seen some when I was in France last, and just thought they wouldnt be translated, as too many great continental comic books are not. Please can you give me some more information on these B/W books!
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#7 · Posted: 31 May 2004 17:53
They're being published by Last Gasp of San Francisco - "Tintin in America" has been delayed but is due any time now. "Cigars of the Pharaoh" has been given a July publication date but will probably be delayed as well. The translators, Leslie Lonsdale-Cooper and Michael Turner have confirmed that there are plans to release all of the original facsimiles in the next few years.

#8 · Posted: 31 May 2004 19:40
Annoyingly you can't even order the black and white 'Tintin In America' in advance from Amazon.co.uk anymore (it ludicrously gives you the option to 'order it used' when it hasn't been published yet), and I can't find it on Last Gasp's website by doing a search for 'Tintin In America'. Does anyone know a good way of geting hold of it in the UK?

Of all the facsimiles 'Cigars of the Pharaoh', in my opinion, is the best, because of it's charmingly dated retro-pulp art, and because it has the largest amount of unused material (the 'snakes' episode from the end of the book). Still, I'd like to get all of them.

Three cheers for Last Gasp - if only Egmont had as much respect for the real fans/ collectors. Perhaps they think we're all weirdos...?

I read somewhere that there are 8,000 Doctor Who fans in the UK, because every time a new Doctor Who DVD is released that's how many it sells. That sort of figure is an accountant's dream - why doesn't Egmont work out how many serious Tintin fans there are, and then meet their requirements? I'll buy a copy of every black and white facsimile; a copy of the Secret Ray; I'd love a Tintin magazine facsimile (in English) of the Moon books, including the deleted scenes which I had to read for free on the Unknown Tintin site (but which I'd much rather pay Moulinsart money to read); an English translation of the original colour version of The Black Island; I'd love to buy facsimile's, in English, of the original black and white newspaper strips of 'Unicorn' and 'Red Rackham's Treasure'...everything, in fact!

While i'm ranting, does anyone know who Egmont's relationship manager/ brand manager is for the Tintin brand? We could do with getting them to drop by this site. I bet it's some doe-eyed Oxbridge English Graduate in her early twenties called Arabella with no love or understanding of Tintin...but I'd love Egmont to prove me wrong!
#9 · Posted: 1 Jun 2004 09:58
I'm a little surprised at the negativity towards Egmont: they seem to be keeping the books coming into the shops, albeit in trickles (a feat which Mammoth failed to do for a long time, when many bookshops seemed to go for months without), while Last Gasp seem to have done one print run of one facsimile, which while a good thing is hardly outstanding. I don't think we need to resort to stereotyping when discussing Tintin.

I'm also not so sure about Last Gasp, before people sing their praises too highly. The Tintin Shop seemed to think LG would be unlikely to want to bother with anything other than "Congo", as the subject matter/ controversial nature of the work apparently gave it a market in the US in its own right, and that's why they took it, not from an appreciation of Tintin and Hergé per se. It might explain why they don't make mention of any new facsimiles on their site.

Again, if LG *are* the publishers, they haven't met the deadlines for the B&W America, so why are they better than Egmonnt?

Frankly, I don't want to put down *any* company which is keeping the flame alive in English.
Hard as it is to accept, maybe the books aren't as popular as they once were, and are a bit of a hard sell for anyone. I'm sure to many children Tintin is a TV character predominantly, and the books of any stripe are bought by middle-aged types (such as myself!) as gifts for children, or, mostly for themselves!
So three cheers for Moulinsart, Casterman, Last Gasp, Egmont... (and for all of us!).
#10 · Posted: 1 Jun 2004 12:32
Agree with Jock there, Egmont if nothing else do seem to keep the books coming into shops, I've started to see more of the rocket ship stands in bookshops that i've not seen in years

Also they would need to sell a significant amount of books to make it viable, especially since it takes two people to translate them.

To be honest I don't think there'd be that much demand for them, I don't think Tintin has that large a community of hardcore fans that such facsimiles would appeal to.

At the end of the day Egmont/LG are in it to turn a profit, if there isn't one they won't bother, perhaps there might be a way for fans to buy the rights to produce a limited run, I don't know.


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