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English editions re-lettered?

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Trivia Challenge Score Keeper
#1 · Posted: 22 Feb 2006 17:35
I was in my local Ottakar's earlier (Tenterden, Kent) and spotted a copy of Tintin in Tibet which was noticeable among the other Tintin books by having a slightly bolder typeface on the spine. It was obviously the newest printing as on the rear cover were all twenty-four English editions, and so must have been produced since the publication of Congo in the autumn.

Imagine my surprise when I opened it to find the entire book had been completely re-lettered in the new computerised "italic" typeface, replacing Neil Hyslop's earlier handwritten font.
On closer inspection I also noticed on the rear cover that the title of Flight 714 now reads Flight 714 to Sydney, as first spotted in a "resource pack" for the Barbican stage show, and discussed here.

To make things more complicated, the copyright information at the front gave no mention of this being a new (i.e. 2005/6) printing. The latest date given was 2002.

Hence the unanswered questions:

1. Have Egmont re-lettered all new editions, or do they plan to do so? If they have started, which other books have been re-lettered?
2. Will the title of Flight 714 be changed accordingly?
3. Has Tibet really been like this since 2002 and we've just not noticed?

Perhaps other Tintinologists could look out for these new editions and report back!

Harrock n roll
#2 · Posted: 22 Feb 2006 18:15
completely re-lettered in the new computerised "italic" typeface

Ah, it's a sad day... :(

I suppose it had to come one day, but that's progress for you.

It's a shame they couldn't have made a Hyslop font, but I suppose they would have needed his permission for that...

Did you happen to notice whether the colouring had been redone?
UK Correspondent
#3 · Posted: 22 Feb 2006 20:14
I'm really quite surprised by this, I can't see why it needed to happen. There's a lot of truth in the adage "If it ain't broke, don't fix it". My guess is that this is an initiative by Moulinsart, not Egmont. Recently they've reissued foreign language editions of the books (Spanish, Italian etc), under the Casterman imprint, that have been newly typeset, and perhaps more importantly, in fresh translations.

Now, considering Hergé's approval of Lonsdale-Cooper and Turner's work, this would seem to be a waste of time for English. I don't suppose you noticed, Ed, whether it was the original translation? I'll check tomorrow in Waterstones to see if there's any new copies.
Trivia Challenge Score Keeper
#4 · Posted: 22 Feb 2006 21:11
Did you happen to notice whether the colouring had been redone?

I'm afraid I didn't notice especially, though the new 'glossy' paper does tend to make the colours look bolder in comparison with my older 'matt' editions.

My guess is that this is an initiative by Moulinsart, not Egmont.

On reflection I agree that this is most likely. I think the first time I saw this typeface was on the English version of tintin.com, which is of course a Moulinsart initiative. Around the same time it cropped up in print (I believe for the first time) in Farr's The Complete Companion which would have been 2001, so it's been around for a few years.

I don't suppose you noticed, Ed, whether it was the original translation?

The copyright page still said it was translated by Michael Turner and Leslie-Lonsdale Cooper, and from a quick glance it did seem to be the original 1962 translation, but I didn't have the time to check thoroughly.

I hope to return tomorrow and have a better look.

labrador road 26
#5 · Posted: 23 Feb 2006 02:16
Recently they've reissued foreign language editions of the books (Spanish, Italian etc), under the Casterman imprint, that have been newly typeset, and perhaps more importantly, in fresh translations.

The Swedish editions was also released in a new translation using a digital font.
From what I gathered it was a decision by the Swedish publisher (Bonnier Carlsen) to make the new version.
#6 · Posted: 23 Feb 2006 07:04
My English translation Egmont versions (with glossy pages) don't have reset type and I'm glad they don't.
#7 · Posted: 23 Feb 2006 09:41
I am gutted by this news - the arrival of the coated paper was bad enough, but the loss of the Hyslop script is tragic: the characters won't sound the same any more!!!
I was shocked the first time I saw a French-language edition how insipid the speech-balloons looked, compared to their English counterparts!

It's been on the cards for a while, I suppose.

I've not got it to hand, but I'm sure it was noted that the Companion had all the frames re-lettered; then the B&W books being computer-lettered to match their original-language selves (well as nearly as Comic Sans matches anything!).
Add to this that the font is based on a script probably covered by Moulinsart's copyright and charter, and the writing (as it were) was on the wall!
I think it has to be at that high a level, rather than individual countries making decisions - it could be that Casterman and their suppliers are moving to an all-digital way of working, and this will allow that to happen.

I suppose that a benefit may be that the new Museum will be able to display material in multiple languages, with vaguely uniform looks to them, or something, but it is a sad day for me...!
Harrock n roll
#8 · Posted: 23 Feb 2006 11:53
I visited my local Waterstones this morning and, sure enough, the copy of Tibet they have has the new lettering. None of the other Tintin books which I checked had it. I bought myself a copy as I wanted a closer look (also it's the only book which I don't currently have in English!) I had bought one 2 years ago (which, incidentally, had the Hyslop lettering) but gave it away as I didn't like the new glossy paper!

As with the new colour Congo the lettering on the bold capitals is a font which looks very much like the "classic" cover lettering (the edges are angled the same).
I feel this looks particularly lifeless compared to the old hand drawn script (for example Haddock sneezing "A-Tchooo!" and sound effects like "Boom!", "Crack!", etc.) It's mostly straight, uniform and certainly doesn't have the same expressiveness or bend and flow as the hand lettering.
Some parts have been left as they were, probably as they were too difficult to reproduce; the porter's rant, question marks, musical notes, etc.

Tibet has sold more than usual recently because of the stage play (it's been second bestselling after Congo in the amazon.co.uk listings for a while now). I expect future printings of all of the books will include the new lettering once the older stock is used up.

So far I have found two places where Mr Hyslop's work has been left. On the note which reads S.O.S! HELP! and The End - quite apt I thought...
#9 · Posted: 23 Feb 2006 12:34
I've sent a message to Casterman to ask them about the change; I'll keep you posted if I get a reply.

UPDATE: From the reply to me from The Director of Rights at Casterman (that was quick!):

Thanks for your mail message.
Congratulations to this member who noticed that the font recently changed on Egmont UK Tintin titles. The is the result of the normal technological evolution.
Books used to be printed from offset films and for Comics and Graphic novels the texts were normally hand-made. Now the printers work from computer files and the lettering for comics is now performed on computer.
Casterman - who run the rights worldwide - and Fondation Hergé tried to keep nevertheless a high standard of quality for the new typesetting. A specific Tintin font was designed and it is the same font that is now used for most of the foreign languages (except Chinese, Russian, Greek, etc.)

So it is to produce a standard for the world. Ah well, at least we now know...
Thanks to M. Fadeur at Casterman for his speedy reply.
And (official!) hats off to ed from Casterman for being the first to notice!
Harrock n roll
#10 · Posted: 23 Feb 2006 16:17
Personally I felt the standard was already high for the English books...

Still, thanks for that Jock, swift reply too!

<shuffles off, bemoaning...>

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