“The Black Island” is the 7th volume of The Adventures of Tintin and was published in its original version in Le Petit Vingtième weekly from April to November 1937. In 1943, “The Black Island” was coloured and re-drawn in Hergé‘s distinctive ligne-claire style for republication. In the early 1960s however, Hergé’s English language publishers, Methuen, planned on translating and publishing “The Black Island” for the British market.
But they drew up a list of no less than 131 errors that they asked Hergé to rectify before they would publish it in English. This would mean quite a lot of extra work.
At the time, Hergé was busy producing the twenty-second Tintin story, “Flight 714”, and with no extra time on his hands he sent his assistant Bob De Moor to Britain in October 1961 to undertake research into contemporary British society and culture. For De Moor it was a dream trip, which he would later talk about – completed with funny events (true and false) that happened along the voyage – to friends. He was a true story-teller after all.
While in England, De Moor sought out various contemporary uniforms to use as a basis for more accurate illustrations. A police constabulary for instance lent him a police uniform, but when he asked British Rail if he could borrow one of their uniforms, their staff were suspicious and refused.
Bob De Moor, Roger Leloup and Jacques Martin would work on the new version from 1961 till 1965. Leloup for instance would redraw the multiple aircrafts and Jacques Martin the cars featured throughout the story. Noticeable in the updated version was that the old steam railways had been replaced by electrified alternatives. Adverts for the genuine Johnnie Walker whisky were replaced by adverts for the fictional alternative, Loch Lomond whisky, while a Sussex County Council signpost was added to page 11. Various English towns and villages were renamed, with Puddlecombe becoming Littlegate, and Eastbury becoming Eastdown, while Scottish pub Ye Dolphin was renamed The Kiltoch Arms. The police were no longer depicted as carrying guns. Note that the journalists Christopher Willoughby-Drupe and Marco Rizotto, who had first appeared in “The Castafiore Emerald” (1963), were retroactively added into the background of one scene.
At the same time Jacques Martin and Bob de Moor had also started on a new Jo et Zette album, “La Main Noire“. But they had to abandon the project because the work on “The Black Island” took too much work.
While being on holiday on Sardinia, Italy in June 1965, Hergé received 8 projects for the cover of the new edition. These were created by Bob De Moor and can all be seen on the left.
The new version would be serialized in Tintin magazine from May 1965, before Casterman published it in a collected volume in 1966.
A large format album depicting all 3 versions, “Dossier Tintin – L’île noire”, was published in 2009 and if you didn’t pick it up then, you can still buy it via Amazon France.
In 1957, in issue 36 of the Tintin journal, you could find the Meester Mus / Monsieur Tric story “Vedette de cinema”/”Filmster”, a story by Bob De Moor on a scenario by René Goscinny. In the story he meets film director Lecri, a self-proclaimed cinema celebrity, who says that Tric is the perfect man for a scene in his new ‘fine’ comedy. Tric already dreams about becoming as popular as several other actors. But whereas these faces were familiar to readers back in the 50s, this is no longer the case.
The 3 other actors portrayed next to Tric with a posh mustache are American actor James Dean (1931 – 1955), French actor and singer Fernandel (1903 – 1971) and Russian born actor Yul Brynner (1920 – 1985). While James Dean will be well known with most of you – if not all – Fernandel and Yul Brynner might be lesser known names. So here’s some extra info.
For more than forty years Fernandel would be France’s top comic actor. He was widely known for his portrayal of the irascible Italian village priest at war with the town’s Communist mayor in the Don Camillo series of motion pictures. His horse-like teeth – which De Moor also depicted – became part of his trademark. He did also make a few Italian and American films including 1956’s “Around the World in Eighty Days” in which he played David Niven‘s coachman. Fernandel died from lung cancer and is buried in the Cimetière de Passy, Paris, France. You might remember Yul Brynner from his role as Rameses II in the 1955 Cecil B. DeMille blockbuster “The Ten Commandments”, or in his role as General Bounine in the 1956 film “Anastasia” and as Chris Adams in “The Magnificent Seven”. Also Yul Brynner died from lung cancer.
This story can be found back in volume 4, page 12 of the 5-volumes strong complete Monsieur Tric collection as published by BD Must. Note though that the version published by BD Must has a different coloring as compared to the version published in the Tintin journal. You can check the version from the Tintin journal on the left. You’ll see that the original coloring differed from the coloring Hergé’s Tintin got for instance. BD Must chose to use the same style of coloring as in the Tintin albums.
Good to know, there is no consensus as for who drew the faces of Fernandel, James Dean and Yul Brynner. It’s our guess that François Craenhals gave a helping hand.
On 29 september 1984 the daughter of Bob De Moor, Annemie, married with Luc De Meulenaere. For the occasion Bob made a drawing representing the couple. For the actual wedding party invitation card Bob would have the drawing he made of the couple placed into the Moulinsart setting. As you can see the inclusion was smoothly and could as well have been part of the original frame which you can find on page 29 of the 1963 Tintin album “The Castafiore Emerald”.
For many it will also be the first time they see this particular drawing without colors. You will notice that the drawing was made longer left & right, and higher in order to fit the couple into it. Bob De Moor also added a smile to the faces of Captain Haddock and Tintin.
The drawing Bob De Moor made can be found below and was sent to us by Annemie De Moor.
Bob De Moor’s choice for this particular case is not surprising as the De Moor family has besides drawing another passion, and that is music. Dirk De Moor for instance is the director of the European Union Choir and both Chris and Stefaan De Moor are active singers with Chris having built out a successful career as bass while Stefaan continues to work in finances. But the key element for this setting was that Annemie’s husband Luc De Meulenaere is a well known Tenori 1 singer attached to the Brussels theatre “La Monnaie / De Munt” since 1984. He also was attached to the Bayreuther Festspiele and has sung allover Europe. Bob De Moor would keep on making drawings for his family, here’s another one which he made for Luc De Meulenaere.
Expect more of these jewels as the De Moor family opens its vaults for us to have a look into it.
Here’s a rarity which not many will know/remember. In 1987 the french written Belgian weekly Vlan added an article under the heading “La dynastie de Moor dans la B.D.” (English: The dynasty De Moor in the comic world”). The article was accompanied by this drawing.
Interesting about this drawing is that Cori (as well as the head of Bob De Moor) on the left were drawn by Johan De Moor while Gaspard/Kasper (as well as the head of Johan De Moor) were drawn by Bob De Moor. But both signed next to their own characters to make the confusion complete.
Johan would finish the last pages of the final Cori album, Bob De Moor being too ill to continue.
In January 1990 Lombard launched a brand new comic talent seeking magazine for the french speaking and dutch speaking market: Jet. The plan was to release 10 issues every year. The issues were sold separately for more or less € 3,40 or for € 28,20 if you chose a yearly subscription. Distributed in France, Belgium, Switzerland, Canada and The Netherlands, the magazine would however fold after 11 issues in a market where comic magazines were selling less and less.
The magazine’s editorial staff consisted of Rob Harren (general director/editor), Jean-Luc Vernal (editor in chief), A.-P. Duchateau (scenario writer/literary editor), Bob De Moor (artistic director/comic author) and Georges Permin. The aim was to launch new talents and show them to the public because as Rob Harren would prophetically write in his editorial: “… the options for young comic authors have become close to inexistent”. Little would he know that Jet would suffer exactly the same faith 13 months later.
Positive as always Bob De Moor says that the stories in that (and the following) issue promise a brilliant future for the participating comic authors. For the occasion the magazine launched a € 2.500 contest. While the winner would take that nice amount home, other prizes for the 4 runner ups would include the Deluxe edition of Hergé as published by Lombard, 50 and 25 Dargaud/Lombard albums of your choice and a one day visit at Lombard.
The cover Bob De Moor created shows Pieter Breughel having a go at winning the € 2.500 contest. The subject of his comic: the fall of Icarus (with Icarus thumbing down right into the sea just in front of him). In Breughel’s comic version he lets Icarus alive though (in Greek mythology, Icarus fell into the sea and drowned). It’s a comic after all.
Note that the drawing itself (the front rock part & plants, the sea with the boat, the falling Icarus in the sea, the city in the background) refers to Breughel’s own painting “Landscape with the Fall of Icarus“. Technical examinations in 1996 showed that it could as well have been a good early copy by an unknown artist of Bruegel’s original, but that’s just a discussion between ‘specialists’. The lines are very sketchy for this cover and serve the purpose as De Moor probably wanted to look the drawing dated as if it were an actual old ink sketch.
Included in this issue are also 3 cartoons by Peter de Smet showing a mustached gentlemen in a suit judging the entries for said contest. Yeps, indeed, de Smet made cartoons of Bob De Moor. As you can see on the left, they are quite funny. For the non-french speaking readers, the first cartoon has a text balloon saying “Of course this is a blanco page, you need to give some freedom to the reader’s imagination!”, the second says “What do you mean with ‘not innovative’ enough?”, and the last one says “Belive me or not, but the moment I saw her I knew we didn’t stand a chance.”
The biggest revelation for the clear line fans will be the drawings by Teun Berserik (son of the well known Dutch graphic artist Hermanus Berserik) who also drew his version of what you would think is probably Barelli. But it’s actually a self portrait by Berserik. The story he published in Jet, “Le chat”/”De Kat”, is completely in the style of Hergé/De Moor (reminding also that of Eric Heuvel). It would remain one of his few published stories in said style as he is a lot more active as illustrator. More recently he released “Vincent van Gogh – De vroege jaren” which got quite some positive feedback for its aquarel style.
In 1960, the French publisher Editions de l’Ecole published the book “Histoire de mon pays: histoire de Belgique. Degré moyen”. The book, written by E. Billebault and A.-M. de Villers was written for Belgian students of the ‘Degré Moyen’, the intermediate level in the education which would be kids from 6 years and older if we understand correctly. The book counts 64 pages and includes 9 pages featuringall featuring drawings made by Bob De Moor (only 2 were signed as being from Bob De Moor, though but it’s safe to assume that the rest was also by him). The cover was not by Bob De Moor (indeed, although it doesn’t look like a Bob De Moor drawing we did find the original drawing in black and white in the archives of the family De Moor). Remarkably enough Bob De Moor was not credited in the book, except for those 2 signatures.
It was Petja van den Hurk who sent us some pictures you can see here. We’ll show you 9 of these pictures (and expect to see more in the future). In order not to ruin the book, we have not been able taking proper scans, but, as you can see the pictures already give you a very nice idea of the drawings which were included.
The introduction text of the book explains that the drawings in the book are there to provide a better experience for the students. You might as well say it’s the only attractive thing about the book :).
So what do the pictures tell us?
The first drawing on page 4 handles the prehistoric humans. If you look well, you will recognize the typical rock formations in the background which are De Moor‘s trademark.
The text is – as is often the case in these (older) schoolbooks – rather naive telling a quite simplified story of the cavemen and their descendants.
Next is page 28 which offers us a small chef d’oeuvre, as it brings us back to the themes which pleased Bob De Moor the most.
Artistically it clearly refers to the Flemish trilogy Bob De Moor completed. Thematically, the drawing is about the “Battle of the Golden Spurs”, known also as the “Battle of Courtrai”.
The battle was fought on July 11, 1302, near Kortrijk (Courtrai) in Flanders. Since 1973, the date of the battle is also the official holiday of the Flemish community in Belgium.
On page 29 De Moor drew a French (right) and a Flemish soldier (left). You’ll see that the Flemish soldier is equipped with a “Goedendag”, a weapon used to crush the skulls of opponents, amongst other things. The French archer has a leather suit which is enforced by metallic points. According to legend, the Flemish identified the French by asking them to pronounce a Flemish phrase, “schilt ende vriend” (English: “shield and friend”) and everyone who had a problem pronouncing this shibboleth was killed (French speaking people would say “skilt end frint” or something similar). Again, this school book says it was a fact whereas it’s common knowledge that this was most probably a legend.
On page 37 Bob De Moor depicts the decapitation of Egmont and Horne, two noblemen. It would be considered the definitive signal to start the the “Dutch Revolution” (1566 or 1568–1648) which was the successful revolution of the Northern, largely Protestant Seven Provinces of the Nether Countries against the rule of the Roman Catholic King Philip II of Spain, who had inherited the region (Seventeen Provinces) from the defunct Duchy of Burgundy. (The southern Catholic provinces, that is Flanders, initially joined in the revolt, but later submitted to Spain.)
On page 38 Bob De Moor created a drawing of the port of Antwerp, the city where he had lived all of his (childhood) life before moving to Uccle (Brussels) where he would live for the rest of his life.
Considering that the description under the drawing is quite elaborate and also touches on the constructions (including the crane) seen on the drawing, you can be pretty sure that De Moor was told what had to be in the actual drawing. It’s pretty safe to assume that this was the case for all the other drawings as the descriptive texts also show too many details related to the drawing.
Page 44 mentions Napoleon’s debacle in Waterloo and shows a Belgian-Dutch battalion during the Battle of Waterloo fought on Sunday, 18 June 1815, near Waterloo in present-day Belgium, then part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands. A French army under the command of Napoleon was defeated by the armies of the Seventh Coalition, comprising an Anglo-allied army under the command of the Duke of Wellington combined with a Prussian army under the command of Gebhard von Blücher.
On page 46 we see a drawing depicting the Belgian revolution against the Dutch occupation, and more exactly the attack on the Park of Brussels. The Belgian Revolution was the conflict which led to the secession of the Southern provinces from the United Kingdom of the Netherlands and established an independent Kingdom of Belgium, in front of where the royal palace is located. Following the installation of Leopold I as “King of the Belgians” in 1831, King William made a belated military attempt to reconquer Belgium and restore his position through a military campaign. This “Ten Days’ Campaign” failed because of the French military intervention.
Page 54 depicts Father Damien taking care of people with leprosy on the island of Molokai. After sixteen years he eventually contracted and died of the disease, resulting in his characterization as a “martyr of charity”.
On October 11, 2009, the Vatican canonized Father Damien. Note that this drawing has a few elements that indicate into the direction of Bob De Moor. You’ll for instance recognize De Moor‘s way of drawing hands (watch closely the women assisting Father Damien) and the plants (the palm tree and the plants behind the assistant). For the rest little makes you think that this is Bob De Moor at work. The fact that he could not use a cartoonesk way of drawing in this history book probably is the reason for this.
The final drawing we present you here is on page 56 and shows the Yser Front, also known as the Flemish Front, which was a section of the Western Front during World War I held by Belgian troops from October 1914 until 1918. The front ran along the Yser river in the far North-West of Belgium and defended a small strip of the country which remained unoccupied.
The front was established following the Battle of the Yser in October 1914, when the Belgian army succeeded in stopping the German advance after months of retreat. The drawing refers to the period when the Belgian army decided to flood a large expanse of territory in front of their lines, stretching as far south as Diksmuide. Note that the Belgian High Command, under King Albert I, vetoed all Belgian involvement in Allied offensives, which he felt to be both costly and ineffective. As a result it were mostly French, Canadian and English soldiers which died on the battlefields.
If you have a copy of this book and were able to scan the pages, don’t hesitate to contact us.
In 1973 Casterman released the album “Tintin and the Lake of Sharks” based on the Belvision produced animation film with the same title. The album held still images from the film as illustrations for the decors in the album with redrawn characters by Bob De Moor. We have discussed this album (and its various non commercially available versions) in the past, but this time we will focus on the cover artwork for the commercial album.
Both Hergé and Bob De Moor would work on a cover idea, but in the end it would be Bob De Moor’s version which would make it to the album’s final version.
As you can clearly see the 2 versions were very different with Hergé going for a rather calm design with characters standing still, while Bob De Moor went for a more active approach with Tintin, Niko and his sister Nouchka running for their lives as the moment of the bomb explosion is coming closer. Up to you to decide which versions was the best.
In the upcoming weeks we’ll also check on the different promotional drawings Bob De Moor executed for the promotion of the animation film.
In 1978 Tibet‘s Chick Bill celebrated its 25th anniversary. On that occasion issue 39 of the Tintin Journal of that year was dedicated to Chick Bill with tributes from Bob De Moor and his colleagues Walthéry, Peyo, Derib, Franquin, Paape, Greg, Craenhals, Denayer, Morris, Dany, Leloup, Géri, Roba and Reding. Bob De Moor chose to have Monsieur Tric travel through the desert with a cake that risked to turn bad. The text balloon says: “Let’s not hang on too long, otherwise this anniversary cake risks to turn bad”. Tric had another 1523 miles to do before reaching Wood City… Typical humor from Bob De Moor.
Chick Bill is a Franco-Belgian humorous Western series created by Tibet. It was first published in the Franco-Belgian comics magazines ‘De Avonturen van Koenraad’ and ‘Chez Nous Junior’ in 1953, and began serial publication on October 19, 1955 in Tintin magazine under the title ‘Les aventures de Chick Bill le cow-boy’. Unfortunately Hergé didn’t like the animal faces used in the series because they were according to Hergé too similar to the Disney style. So Tibet had to change the faces into humans. I say ‘unfortunately’ because the very first Chick Bill adventures had a very special aura, especially because Tibet had succeeded in selecting very well what animal would represent which character. Note also that these first albums were directed at a younger audience, just like the first Tintin albums actually.
Tibet (aka Gilbert Gascard) worked with scripts by Greg, André-Paul Duchâteau and René Goscinny.
In 1991 the French publisher Groupe Graphique released the album “Fétiches” as a tribute to Hergé in its Variations collection. Among the comic authors who participated we find Moébius, Mézières, Enki Bilal, Bob De Moor, Johan De Moor, Ted Benoit, Yves Chamand, Juilliard, Loustal, Margerin, Nicollet, Pétillon, Martin Veyron and Serge Clerc. In total 40 comic authors would lend their pen to this album, of which the cover was made by Bilal.
The drawing Bob De Moor contributed to this album is the one you see on the left and was also the opening drawing for the book followed (and not preceded indeed) by an introduction text by Philippe Goddin.
Truth to be said, the album is a rather (very) mixed bag, and you often have the impression to watch some cheap, very badly drawn pastiche album. Especially some of the arty farty pages hold extremely badly drawn material. I honestly couldn’t avoid to have the impression that this album was just a quick money maker. Why the Fondation Hergé decided to give its ok to this release remains a mystery. Add to this a not to successful artwork for the edition, as ugly as many of the drawings inside the album actually.
The best drawings were made by our dear Bob De Moor next to Jean C Denis, P. Narès, Delius (twice), F. Avril, (a very pleasant take by) Johan De Moor and Luc Cornillon. That’s correct, even the drawing by Moébius was far from being great. A very meager total for an album that is now being traded online for over 100 euros. Note that the drawing by Bob De Moor was also released as a postcard in the Elysa collection, limited to 201 copies.
In 1969 Belvision was asked to create a small Tintin promotional animation film for Société Générale, a French multinational banking and financial services company headquartered in Paris, and more precisely for the Société Générale des Minerais (SGM). This company specialized in the transport of metals in Congo. Congo was at that time already decolonized (since 1960) and being pillaged by Colonel Joseph-Désiré Mobutu (aka Mobutu Sese Seko) who amassed over 4 billion dollar during that time, as much as the total debt the country had.
The 7 minutes 45 seconds animation short saw several people collaborating on it: Greg completed the (rather naive) scenario, Nic Broca designed the storyboard while the Studios Hergé created the model sheets. Bob De Moor was asked to draw the decors in pencil while Claude Lambert would color them. Lambert would also work on the “Tintin and the Temple of the Sun” also released in 1969 just like Broca.
The film would be produced on just a few 35mm color (and super 8 mm?) copies, and as you will notice, the available material on the net is not really excellent as far as viewing quality goes (see below).
You’ll also notice Tintin for the very first time in jeans (!), something we would see again in the “Tintin and the Picaros” album completed and released a few years later.
From this animation also a 50 page booklet (if you also count the frontpages) in small format (10 x 11 cm) would be produced in 1970 by Editions Publiart having one frame per page with text written underneath it. In the example on the left you see page 10 of the booklet. Note that the character drawings used for these frames were not always the same as in the actually animation short. Not that this is odd, in the end the same changes would be seen for the albums made from the animation films “Tintin and the Temple of the Sun” (1969) and “Tintin and The Lake Of Sharks” (1972).
It’s unclear who made the drawings in this booklet, but the quality differs from frame to frame with page 42 and 49 showing frames that look like they might have been adapted by Bob De Moor. If you are able picking up the booklet from an auction or flee market, don’t hesitate, it’s a rare gem which hides more than just a silly SGM story. Let us also hope that a good copy of the animation itself will pop up soon.