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English editions re-lettered?

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Tournesol
Member
#11 · Posted: 23 Feb 2006 17:48
The digital font supplied by Casterman for use in the new editions of Tintin worldwide can be utterly lifeless if used wrongly (it has a remarkably bad kerning, for example). The samples in "Tintin - The Complete Companion" bear witness to this.

You really need to work with the font to give it life. The recent Swedish re-translation and new edition is a successful attempt in that regard.

The previous Swedish editions were lettered by many different hands - most of them horrificly bad. The new digital version in Swedish is way better.

However, I concur with our English tintinologists in their sadness: the lettering by Mr. Hyslop was truly a labour of love and artisticly very well done, almost up to par with the original Belgian lettering.

It will be very interesting to see whether Casterman decides to finally digitally re-letter the original French versions as well!
Harrock n roll
Moderator
#12 · Posted: 23 Feb 2006 18:40
the lettering by Mr. Hyslop was truly a labour of love and artisticly very well done, almost up to par with the original Belgian lettering.

Well said Tournesol. Michael Turner called him an “unsung hero”. Comparing his draughtmanship with the new ‘standard’ font I appreciate him even more now! I almost can't bear to look at the new edition it's so bad (sorry Casterman, but it is!)

It will be very interesting to see whether Casterman decides to finally digitally re-letter the original French versions as well!

Indeed, if they complete the colour facsimile editions they may have more reason to. Something I'm not too sure about which maybe somebody else can answer; did Hergé letter some of the French language colour books? (I know he did for the b/w editions). I think he might have done some and others were by the studio but I'm not sure which, the editions I own have slightly different lettering.

I also have to correct my earlier assumption that Hyslop lettered the “S.O.S! HELP!” note; he didn't as it's the same in the French edition. I did spot another though - Tintin's address on the letter from Chang. So it isn't completely de-Hysloped!
Richard
UK Correspondent
#13 · Posted: 23 Feb 2006 18:54 · Edited by: Richard
Tournesol
The digital font supplied by Casterman for use in the new editions of Tintin worldwide can be utterly lifeless if used wrongly (it has a remarkably bad kerning, for example). The samples in "Tintin - The Complete Companion" bear witness to this.

I agree with this, it looked terrible at places in the Companion. However since then an update has been released, with improved font kerning (I recall there was a major problem with the letter 'k'). It didn't look too bad in Congo, although it wasn't a patch on Mr Hyslop's labours.

almost up to par with the original Belgian lettering.

I'd say in the case of Destination Moon it surpassed the original; for some reason the French edition uses, in that book only, a very italicised and formal font.

I'll add my voice to the crowd and say that I'll miss the original lettering. Well, I won't personally - my books are going nowhere - but it's a shame for future readers who won't see it. It's not as bad as the new Asterix books, though ... at least it's easy on the eye.

Edit:
Harrock n roll
did Hergé letter some of the French language colour books? (I know he did for the b/w editions). I think he might have done some and others were by the studio but I'm not sure which, the editions I own have slightly different lettering.

I thought that Hergé used a chap called Arsène Lemey for the colour books; I don't know if he did all of the series but he definitely did some of the 1950s books - Cigars of the Pharaoh, for example.
edcharlesadams
Trivia Challenge Score Keeper
#14 · Posted: 23 Feb 2006 19:03
One problem could be that the artwork in the earlier stories is aesthetically more free-flowing. Years later Hergé's technique became more painstakingly thorough and I think this style lends itself better to having a printed typeface. In Picaros, for instance, the speech-bubbles are uniformly square and Hyslop's hand fits neatly inside them - while it might be a loss to have the text typed it probably wouldn't detract from the overall feel too much. Contrast this with page 2 of The Broken Ear (to take a random example), in which the speech has had to be crammed tightly into more irregular-shaped bubbles, weaving its way around the tops of the characters' heads. A rigid typeface wouldn't deal with this very well.

And (official!) hats off to ed from Casterman for being the first to notice!

Kudos to you too jock, for seeking out the official explanation!

A specific Tintin font was designed and it is the same font that is now used for most of the foreign languages

So this would suggest that all the books in languages using the Western alphabet are to be re-lettered. I remember seeing a German edition where the font used was a rather boring typeface, similar to Arial. In this case I would consider the new font to be an improvement.

As a further thought, perhaps it was the desire to standardise the series that provoked the recent republication of Alph-Art and Congo in English, so as to have a uniform 24 books to every language? There's also been more of a widespread translation of the black-and-white facsimiles lately (notably in China where they were released all at once).

Ed
tintinuk
Moderator Emeritus
#15 · Posted: 23 Feb 2006 19:54
Just noticed this ... terrible news. :o( The character of the English editions will now certainly be lost. I'm just glad that I own all the books already !

I'll try and find a copy, I think, to compare it with the old edition.

I suppose this is just proof that progress isn't always an entirely good thing ...
Harrock n roll
Moderator
#16 · Posted: 23 Feb 2006 22:22
I remember seeing a German edition where the font used was a rather boring typeface, similar to Arial.

That might have been an older edition. I believe Carlsen updated them quite recently, the ones I have are hand lettered by Dirk Rehm. Although all in capitals it doesn’t look too bad to my eye (see this scanned sample). If Casterman are asking for a universal font then these will evidently require yet another update.

I also agree that the new main typeface isn’t that bad. Annoyingly I don’t have an original English Tibet to compare to, but it’s the nice little details like the cracked lettering on “Crack” as the ice-sheet breaks (page 43) and the “POOOAAA” sound of the Tibetan horn with the last ‘A’ breaking up (page 61); just two examples from the original (if I remember correctly) which are now sadly no more. I would have thought Hergé and his team intended these kind of details to be included.

I thought the reason that panels were re-lettered in Companion, Tintin at Sea and tintin.com was for technical reasons - avoiding pixelation when blowing them up large, etc. However it looks as though they've been softening us up!
yamilah
Member
#17 · Posted: 23 Feb 2006 22:24 · Edited by: yamilah
Could please someone be so kind to scan some frames of the new Tibet so that we could see its fonts?

Maybe this change is connected with something special in the typography, such as two different series of fonts, liable to write a story in the story, in the way imagined by Sir Francis Bacon in the 16th century?

Thanks in advance.
Harrock n roll
Moderator
#18 · Posted: 23 Feb 2006 23:11 · Edited by: Harrock n roll
scan some frames of the new Tibet

Here's a scan from Tibet which shows the new font. It includes the old-fashioned (at least in England) letter ‘z’, which looks like a number 3.

And here's the aforementioned “POOOAAA” from the new Tibet alongside a scan from the facsimile edition, to emphasize my earlier point. As you can see, the new version doesn't convey quite the same message as the original.

My guess is it's Egmont who are responsible for this. As publishers of the English edition they are ultimately in charge of the English text, subject to certain stipulations from Casterman, and would have employed the designers who have remade it.

I've probably been working too long as a designer but I feel could have made a much better job of it myself. Still, in my experience, when you're working for somebody else you're always at the mercy of publishing deadlines, editors and other (bad) desicion makers so I have some sympathy for them. I suppose it underlines how things have changed in the publishing industry over the last 50 years as much as anything else.
Tintinrulz
Member
#19 · Posted: 24 Feb 2006 04:59
The 1st scan isn't so bad, but the second is too mechanical. The font isn't bad at all, its just that it doesn't suit Tintin comics and the 'z' looks like a three.
I bought Red Rackham's Treasure today (Egmont) and the lettering is the same good old Tintin font.
John Sewell
Member
#20 · Posted: 24 Feb 2006 09:38
I agree - it's a decent enough font, but it looks, to my eyes at least, rather flat and lifeless compared to the Hyslop lettering. Oh well, such is the price of progress, I suppose...

Interesting note about the Swedish re-translation. I wonder, if, as we can probably assume, Egmont are eventually going to apply the new lettering to all the books, could they take the opportunity to tweak the text slightly to correct the continuity errors in Cigars and Seven Crystal Balls, or would that irk the purists even more?

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