Another insight in the color preparation of the Johan & Stephane (Snoe & Snolleke) album ‘De Gele Spion’

UPDATE: Pierre Gay worked on these particular pages. We added his comments.

Between 1987 and 1994 Boogaloo, Casterman, Rijperman, and the Standaard Uitgeverij would re-release 8 Johan & Stefaan (Snoe & Snolleke) albums in color. As we reported already a while back, this coloring included redrawing as well as you can see in this earlier article on “De Gele Spion”, some weird Dutch phrases and words plus brand new covers.

The strips 117-120 from "De gele spion"
The strips 117-120 from “De gele spion”

Today we show you 2 more plates which were adapted by Bob De Moor for a release in color, again from the 1954 story “De Gele Spion”. The pages we show you today include the strips 117-120 and 125-128. As you can see on the first 4 strips the whitening Bob De Moor‘s assistent Pierre Gay applied didn’t only serve to get rid of the black shadows and decors but also to detail people in the front which he originally added in total black (see the last case of strip 118 for instance or the first case of strip 119). He also removed the original strip numbering and wrote them again on in pencil on the border of the pages.

Pierre Gay – the last artist to be hired at the Studio Hergé – worked on this particular pages and recalls: “This is a job I have done (the adaptation). All what you see in bright white used to be inked in black, to look like shadows on the black and white release. The idea was to draw over these shadows to get details for the color release of 1986 (Editor’s note: the album was released in color in 1987). The texts were masked under white parts of paper glued onto them for bilingual versions. The “dirty” marks on the texts are remains of glue.”

As we remarked already, some collectors have restored similar pages in their original form, not all that difficult since the white paint is soluble in water.

The strips 125-128 from "De gele spion"
The strips 125-128 from “De gele spion”

Note that the Dutch version of “De Gele Spion”, although announced for a 1988 release in color in Dutch via Casterman, was only released in French in color in 1987 via the Casterman distributed Boogaloo imprint. As a result Brabant Strip released it in 2004 in their Fenix Collection, the original black and white one in Dutch (à la Bob De Moor) that is with the black still intact. Another album, “De rode caballero” also never saw the day of light in color in Dutch, although prepared and announced by Casterman in 1989. “De zwarte draak” was announced by Casterman but in the end released 4 years later via Standaard Uitgeverij.

The list of (un)released albums in color in Dutch:

  • De gele spion (Casterman – 1988) announced but never released in Dutch
  • Het haatserum (Casterman – 1989)
  • De sigaren van koningin Thia (Casterman – 1989)
  • De schat van Baekelandt (Casterman – 1989)
  • De zondebokken (Casterman – 1989)
  • De rode caballero (Casterman – 1989) announced but never released in Dutch
  • De zwarte draak (Casterman – 1989) announced but never released
  • De zwarte draak (Standaard Uitgeverij – 1993)
  • Het geheim van Vulcania (Standaard Uitgeverij – 1993)
  • De schele zilvervos (Standaard Uitgeverij – 1994)

2 sketches up for auction last weekend (part 2)

A few days ago we reported about 2 drawings which were put up for auction by the Liège based auction house BD Enchères (aka Les Carmes Ltd.). The 2 drawings went for quite low prices, allotment 413 (which we discussed in last week’s article) went for 125 Euros, that’s 150 Euros all costs included. Allotment 414, which we will discuss more in detail today, reached 60 Euros, or 72 Euros with all costs included. The two items were estimated to reach between 80 to 150 euro per piece so it’s safe to say that the auction reached its goal.

The auction house was so friendly to send us some better quality scans so we can get a better view on things. We will also adapt the previous post in the next days and will inform you via our Facebook page when done.

Page 12 of the updated Barelli album "Barelli à Nusa Penida (volume 2)"
Page 12 of the updated Barelli album “Barelli à Nusa Penida (volume 2)”

Allotment 414 offers a sketch plus a synopsis for what is said to be the page 12 of the Barelli album “Barelli à Nusa Penida (volume 2)” which originally was published in Tintin 10/1951 – 20/1952.

However, if you look closely you’ll notice that this page comes from the version Bob De Moor made later on when pages were added to this adventure for an album release. You’ll find it on page 14 of the Le Lombard version from 1983 for instance.

The Spanish version of page 12.
The Spanish version of page 12.

In the sketches you’ll recognize the sequence which comes right after Anna Nannah meets Mario for the first time. A monkey starts shooting at both after which they descend the road in the super old wreckage Mario uses as his car while Mario informs Anna Nannah that Barelli and Moreau are in danger. Note however that Bob De Moor changed the gag later on. Whereas the first 2 strips in this synopsis talk about Mario‘s monkey (Sumba) drinking alcohol (and firing a gun as you can see in the drawings), in the final version De Moor would let the orangutan be a wild monkey only shooting the gun and not drinking from Mario‘s bottle of rum. Also in this early synopsis Sumba returns at the end of the page.

The page we added on the left to show you the final version comes from a Spanish version of the album (here it’s actually page 28 in the album due to a different cutting of the pages with an alternative ending at page 33).

Sure is that De Moor was still working on the texts as several text lines were barred and rewritten, so it’s probably the first version of that page which we see here sketched out. The drawings itself on this page were realized with pencil while the text was written in pen. You will also notice that the drawing was made on an A4 paper of the ‘Journal Tintin‘.

An essay on Belgium as illustrated by Bob De Moor

Belgium is not an easy country to govern politically, and that’s an euphemism really. Officially the Kingdom of Belgium, it is a federal monarchy in Western Europe, a founding member of the European Union (and that’s why it hosts the EU’s headquarters as well as well as those of several other major international organizations such as NATO) with a population of about 11 million people spread over only 30,528 square kilometers.

Belgium’s two largest regions are the Dutch-speaking region of Flanders in the north (62% of the Belgian population) and the French-speaking southern region of Wallonia (30% of the Belgian population). The Brussels-Capital Region, officially bilingual, is a mostly French-speaking enclave within the Flemish Region. A German-speaking Community exists in eastern Wallonia. Belgium’s linguistic diversity and related political conflicts are reflected in its political history and complex system of government.

The cover of "The collapse of Belgium".
The cover of “The collapse of Belgium”.

Why this small history lesson? Well, in 1986 the Paris based imprint La Longue Vue published an essay by Schaarbeek born liberal Etienne Noël. The essay titled “La Belgique enrayée” – which can be translated as “The collapse of Belgium” – held a drawing by Bob De Moor.

The drawing shows Belgium as a car (in ruins) being pushed up a hill by a clearly very tired man. The car itself clearly needs maintenance as it’s falling apart including old tires loosing air.

We’re not sure if Bob De Moor wanted to make a reference to Sisyphus, a Greek mythology figure, but it’s likely. Sisyphus was a king of Ephyra (now known as Corinth) punished for chronic deceitfulness by being compelled to roll an immense boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down, and to repeat this action forever.

Etienne Noël
Etienne Noël

We have contacted Etienne Noël a few weeks ago to know some more about this collaboration but we didn’t receive a message back. When/if we get an answer we’ll update this article.

Etienne Noël also was alderman in Schaarbeek in 2006 for the liberal list “Liste Bourgemestre”. He handled employment, economie and HR for this 127,747 souls counting city near Brussels.

The list obtained 32,74% of the votes in 2012 and thus became again the biggest party in Schaarbeek delivering the mayor. Famous inhabitants in this small city included famous Belgian singer Jacques Brel, Belgian politician Paul-Henri Spaak and the surrealist painter René Magritte.

A look at the 25th anniversary of the Belgian Comic Strip Center

Last Friday 3 October we were at the reception for the 25th anniversary (and it’s 30th if you count from the creation of the non-profit organization) of the Belgian Comic Strip Center at the Zandstraat 20 in Brussels. Present were hundreds of people who came to honor the center and its legacy. The combination of sparkling wine and all kinds of tapas made that the venue stayed very crowded until late that evening.

A brand new permanent exhibition dedicated to Peyo opens.
A brand new permanent exhibition dedicated to Peyo opens.

The celebration was also the occasion to officially open a brand new permanent exhibition dedicated to Peyo we all know from the Smurfs. 3D effects will help the visitors to discover the work of Peyo from a different angle. The CBBD also presented the first results of Google View which visited the building. In the near future you’ll be able to cruise through the building, something which will be of interest to all those living outside Europe. Each year over 200.000 people visit the center but with this new extra many more will be able to see what is displayed.

Feeding the hungry at the CBBD
Feeding the hungry at the CBBD

Present were a lot of comic authors and scenario writers including but not limited to Merho (Kiekeboe), Hec leemans (Bakelandt, Nino, Kowalsky, FC De Kampioenen, …), Judith Vanistendael (“De maagd en de neger”, “Toen David zijn stem verloor”, …), Jean-Pol (Kramikske, Sammy, Kabouter Plop, Samson en Gert, …), Yves Sente (Blake & Mortimer, Thorgal, XIII, …), but also people who have worked with the Tintin journal such as Guy Dessicy and his spouse, Bob De Moor biographer Ronald Grossey and so on. Furthermore there were people active in the promotion of comics such as the team behind the ‘Stripfestival Knokke-Heist‘, distributors and comic store owners. All in all a who-is-who in the world of comics in Belgium and too many names to post here.

Guy Dessicy and his wife in front of the 2 Bob De Moor drawings.
Guy Dessicy and his wife in front of the 2 Bob De Moor drawings.

We had the chance to talk with Guy Dessicy and are planning an extensive interview with him on Bob De Moor and his work for Publiart. More on that later on (thanks to Hec Leemans for the introduction). But he already posed together with his wife in front of the two drawing which Bob De Moor made in 1985 for the comic center and gave to Guy Dessicy, who himself donated them to the comic center.

The non-profit organization “Belgian Comic Strip Center” was created in 1984. It is a private initiative, composed of French-speaking and Dutch-speaking members. The Belgian Comic Strip Center’s presidents have been, in chronological order, Bob De Moor (1984-1992), Jean Van Hamme (1992-2000), Guy Dessicy (2000-2012), and then Ferry Van Vosselen. Jean-Pierre Vanden Branden is its vice-president. The Belgian Comic Strip Center’s aims are twofold: to promote the comic strip as a valuable cultural medium and to maintain the architectural masterpiece which it is housed in.

For those coming to Brussels, there’s a comic tour available on Google Maps, which you can see below.


Parcours BD de Bruxelles / Striparcours van Brussel/ Brussels Comic Strip trail weergeven op een grotere kaart