Bob De Moor and Thermozéro, here’s what you can expect

Update: Roger Leloup has confirmed us that he did not work on the page Bob De Moor created for the Jo & Zette version of the “Thermozéro” album.

Last year the news popped up that the unreleased Tintin album “Thermozéro” with a scenario by Greg would get a release after all. Back then we hinted at the possible inclusion of the pages drawn by Bob De Moor for the Jo & Zette version of this aborted story. However, things seem to turn out differently now that Benoît Mouchart, editorial director at Casterman has announced in a post on his Facebook profile that the publication of this much wanted story is put on hold. Mouchart: “Nous discutons depuis deux ans et demi avec Fanny et Nick Rodwell, mais aussi Didier Platteau, pour que cette histoire paraisse… Pour le moment, c’est repoussé sine die. Wait and see…” (English: “We have been talking for two and a half years now with Fanny and Nick Rodwell , but also with Didier Platteau , so that album could be published… For the moment, it is pushed back indefinitely. Wait and see …”) For the good understanding, Didier Plateau co-created Les Éditions Moulinsart together with Fanny and Nick Rodwell.

Copyright © Hergé / Moulinsart
Copyright © Hergé / Moulinsart

We won’t hide our disappointment because this is a project that is a very interesting one, not only because there’s a lot to be told concerning the genesis of the storyboard, but also because “Thermozéro” had undergone several transitions. From being a Tintin album, it was later on pitched to be a Jo & Zette album drawn by Bob De Moor and this after Hergé had dropped the Tintin version. It’s fairly possible that also Roger Leloup (Yoko Tsuno) has been working on the cars for the Jo & Zette version just like he did on the first pages of the Tintin version of “Thermozéro” of which a picture (showing Leloup at work) can be seen on the left. The frame is taken from this video.

Click on the image to see a bigger size - 2 versions of the opening page of the Jo & Zette version of "Thermozéro". Copyright © Hergé / Moulinsart
Click on the image to see a bigger size – 2 versions of the opening page of the Jo & Zette version of “Thermozéro”. Copyright © Hergé / Moulinsart

In the archives of the De Moor family we stumbled on a few pages in different stages of development. Today we present you 2 versions of the opening page. In the 2 versions you can see several differences which we will describe one by one.

The first thing that struck us was the TV scene on top of the 2 pages. When checking the first page you’d think it’s just a doodle, but the same TV scene pops up in a later version which seems to indicate it was to be part of the original page, or was it meant as the heading for a Tintin Journal publication? You’ll also notice the visual similarity with the tabloid journalist in the “Les Bijoux de la Castafiore” album (page 22 in the album).

The first frame is of course more elaborated in the later version, however none of the surroundings were added, just the cars (by Bob De Moor this time and not by Roger Leloup). The 2nd frame has a car put more in the foreground (a Renault front with a Citroën Ami back it seems almost). The 3rd frame has a change in gesture of the moustached tourist, probably to avoid that the same arm pose would be repeated 3 times in a row. In the 6th frame, De Moor went for a less higher position, again probably to avoid too much repetition.

Let’s see if we will get a book in the same style as the excellent “Hergé et les Bigotudos” by Philippe Goddin in the foreseeable future after all (before we are all too old to read it).

To know some more on the genesis of the (Tintin) story, check this video interview with Greg (in French).

More details on the upcoming re-release of the Flemish Trilogy by Bob De Moor

As we reported a while back, the Brussels based editor BD Must is working on the re-release of Bob De Moor‘s Flemish Trilogy which consists of these 3 albums: “Le Lion des Flandres” (“De Leeuw van Vlaanderen” in Dutch), “Les gars de Flandre” (“De Kerels van Vlaanderen” in Dutch) and “Conrad le Hardi” (“Sterke Jan” in Dutch).

The 3 covers + artwork for the back of each book.
The 3 covers + artwork for the back of each book.

You could already see an example of the colour use for “Conrad le Hardi”, plus we also already published the progress on the cover artwork for the “Le Lion des Flandres”. Today we can show you all 3 cover layouts for the 3 albums plus the layout for the back of said books. The layout of back of each book – taking the uncoloured version of the front cover as basis – is still subject to change, but it will give you an idea what to expect.

On the left you see the 3 covers, just click on the image to see a bigger size.

More info soon!

The strange cover of ‘Het Betoverde Zandtapijt’ and the redrawn 4 strips

In 1985, the publisher De Dageraad would release Magnum 50, aka the Snoe & Snolleke story “Het Betoverde Zandtapijt”. This was the 10th story of the series which originally was published in Nieuws van de Dag from May 26 1954 until September 11 1954. The story would only be released once in album format, namely in the Magnum series, and would also be the very last Snoe & Snolleke to be released via De Dageraad (which by then had already slowed down its publication rhythm).

The cover was an enlarged frame from strip 174 with some extra 'retouches'.
The cover was an enlarged frame from strip 174 with some extra ‘retouches’.

But there are 2 things that are quite interesting about this album, apart from a lot of cheek in tongue ingredients: the cover and the presence of 4 redrawn strips in the back of the album as a (nice) extra.

Let’s first check the cover. At first sight you’d think that Bob De Moor didn’t really bother to make an appealing cover, however, it’s actually not a cover drawing at all, but instead the enlarged first frame of strip 174 completed with ‘vivid’ colours plus – you have to look really well – some extra ‘retouches’ here and there (check the bushes in the top center and the brick right under ‘Snolleke’). Did Bob De Moor add those changes? We doubt it. The album itself says that the albumcover was created by Bob De Moor… and Toine Cools, probably the lay-out guy who did his best to find a decent cover since De Moor obviously didn’t provide a drawing. We asked Johan De Moor if he remembered why there hadn’t been a normal cover drawn for the album, but he had no idea.

The redrawn strips 81-84 which were added as extra in the album.
The redrawn strips 81-84 which were added as extra in the album.

Now let’s jump to the second odd thing in this album. In the back you find a redrawn version of the strips 81 till 84. Graphically it’s not very different, although the way the shoes are drawn clearly indicate this is Bob De Moor anno 70-80 at work. But if you look at how the action is shown, a few things have changed. Case 1 of strip 81 sees the action inverted (creating a more readable composition), the same happens for the 2nd case in strip 83 where Uncle Zigomar is now looking to the right (again creating a more readable composition). At the end of strip 84, the scream now goes outwards the page, again to keep the flow of the action going in the correct reading direction.

There is a little bit less black used here and there but there’s also some added, see for example the 2nd frame in strip 81. A version meant for a coloured version of the album? Unlikely, Bob De Moor would never redraw complete pages if there weren’t obvious reasons (also see these articles on “De sigarillos van koningin Thia” and “Het Mollenrijk”). The page we present you here had no reason whatsoever to be redrawn except for some compositional reasons.

The old strips 81-84, here recut to be presented as a page.
The old strips 81-84, here recut to be presented as a page.

So we presented Johan De Moor another theory, what if this page was meant as a test page for a complete redrawing of the Snoe & Snolleke series to show what was possible? Johan De Moor: “That’s indeed possible, I presume Bob quickly realised that this would be too much work. You know, this wasn’t all that strange, because many artists wanted to redraw their old material. But just like other short lived projects, this was never finished and so we ended up with the coloured albums with cleaned out black backgrounds and very minimal corrections. Having said that, you mustn’t underestimate the work that had to be done when correcting the black parts in the pages, it was very time consuming.”

Bob De Moor would start work on the re-edition of the Snoe & Snolleke albums via Rijperman and Casterman around that time. Weirdly enough, the album would never see a reprint via Rijperman, Casterman or De Standaard Uitgeverij.