Tag Archives: Casterman

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).

The sketch for Lefranc’s ‘Le repaire du loup’ cover of the Journal Tintin of April 21st, 1970

In 1970 the Journal Tintin started with the pre-publication of the Lefranc album “Le repaire du loup”. As you all know, this album was drawn by Bob De Moor under guidance of Jacques Martin. The 4th album in the Lefranc series would surprisingly only be released some 4 years later by Casterman.

The sketch as made by Bob De Moor for the cover of the Journal Tintin number 16 of the 21st of April 1970.
The sketch as made by Bob De Moor for the cover of the Journal Tintin number 16 of the 21st of April 1970.

In the archives of Olivier Marin, we found a pencil drawing on Schoeller’s Parole paper of what seems to have been the sketch for what was to become the cover artwork of the Journal Tintin number 16 of the 21st of April 1970. The cover shows a falling Lefranc. But let’s take a closer look to the first and the final version, because there are some differences to be seen.

On the left you see the sketch which has a Lefranc falling in a slightly different angle, with his body more bent. His arms also point upwards and not downwards like on the published version. This is probably due to the different postures one sees in the Lefranc albums, where the bodies always tend to be a bit more stiff. Next we see that Bob De Moor put the album title followed by “par Jacques Martin / Bob De Moor”. This was omitted in the final version and we are not sure why. Perhaps it was considered that the Lefranc series was known enough to go without the name of the authors? Nevertheless you can already see the initial design of the front cover with that very powerful wolf’s head on a red background taking 1/3 of the page.

The cover of the Journal Tintin number 16 of the 21st of April 1970.
The cover of the Journal Tintin number 16 of the 21st of April 1970.

Note also that the Journal Tintin logo and baseline have not been ‘framed’ like in the sketch but instead are shown over the actual drawing letting the action flow untouched in the background.

This cover is by far considered as one of the best De Moor did for the Journal Tintin, and now you can finally see that the strength was already there in the initial sketch.

Reminder, this year, 41 years later, the French editor Ludovic Gombert will actually release a ‘remastered‘ big format (28,5 x 38 cm) of this album, limited to just 250.

1954 Snoe en Snolleke album ‘De zwarte draak’ finally to be released in original version in 2015

Good news reaches us from the Brabant Strip headquarters. The team behind Brabant Strip have been able to find the original newspaper clippings of the 1954 Snoe and Snolleke story “De zwarte draak” (“The black dragon”) during a foray at the Vossenplein in Brussels.

Notice the difference in language in both versions.
Notice the difference in language in both versions.

This re-edition is important for many reasons. First of all, as you probably know, the original version of this story as published in De Nieuwe Gids (and related newspapers) from 12 October 1953 until 30 January 1954 was in a flemish dutch. That very cosy language got annihilated when the Casterman and Standaard Uitgeverij re-editions replaced it by a dutch which was way too much ‘dutchified’. Both editors (and especially their translator) seemed to have forgotten that Snoe and Snolleke were Flemish and not Dutch to start with.

Next, we also showed you in the past that a lot of drawings for these re-editions were adapted because they were printed in colour. A move which makes sense. Also, some drawings were completely changed as you can see here and in the case of this upcoming album, no less than 4 strips were missing in the final re-edition (it’s not sure why these 4 strips were not included, perhaps Bob De Moor didn’t find them useful enough or the originals were missing or it simply wouldn’t have fit in the 46 pages that were planned for the album version – we’ll update this when we find more info). Brabant Strip will edit this album in black & white in its Fenix Collection including the 4 missing strips. On the left you can see an example of the newspaper clipping versus the version as edited by Standaard Uitgeverij.

Note that the re-furbished “De zwarte draak” was originally supposed to be published by Casterman in 1989, but in the end it was Standaard Uitgeverij which would edit it in 1993. 22 years later we now will finally also have the original version in black & white!

And that’s not all, it seems like it that also the newspaper clippings from the “Het Geheim van Vulcania”, the follow-up album from 1954, have been retrieved. Also these ones will be released in album format, in 2016. Until now only a poor photocopy bootleg version of the album was being sold here and there.

Lefranc album ‘Repaire du Loup’ by Jacques Martin & Bob De Moor to be reissued in a big ‘remastered’ format

“Le Repaire du loup” was the 4th volume in the Lefranc series by Jacques Martin, but unlike the first 3, this 4th volume was drawn by Bob De Moor. Pre-published in the Belgian Journal Tintin between April 21st 1970 and 8 September 1970 it was finally published in album format in 1974 by the Belgian editor Casterman.

This year, 41 years later (!), the French editor Ludovic Gombert will release a ‘remastered‘ big format (28,5 x 38 cm) of this album, limited to just 250 copies! The re-edition will be published in black/white. The full technical info can be found here.

Before and after the cleaning.
Before and after the cleaning.

When we say ‘remastered‘, we mean that every page will have been cleaned in order to offer you the best possible printing. To show you how the editor will proceed, we received 2 examples showing you in detail what this ‘remasterisation’ will entail. The first detail is a drawing and as you can see the first picture shows some artefacts while the second has been cleaned out completely. This is a manual job, which means lots and lots of work hours to get the job properly done.

Before and after the cleaning.
Before and after the cleaning.

The second example shows a text balloon, before and after, and again you can see that there is a lot of working being executed right now to give you the best possible printing quality. Expect the album to be ready by the 2nd trimester of 2015 with a price of 99 Euro. We’ll post pre-order links when the become available.

The other volumes are planned to follow in chronological order later on, but more when we the info is confirmed.

Bob De Moor introduces ‘Tintin and the Picaros’ with a polonaise (kinda)

When ‘Tintin and the Picaros’ was pre-published in Journal Tintin in 1975, the 2 pages before the actual first pages of the pre-publication included a typical Tintinesque ‘dance’ (in Flanders we would call that a type of ‘Polonaise’) featuring kids running in a ‘3’ shape way from the extreme left to the extreme right hopping over and through the letters “Tintin et les Picadors”. The double page was drawn by Bob De Moor and started with a small quiz on Tintin. Today we present you this page which many have forgotten.

The double 'Polonaise' page by Bob De Moor
The double ‘Polonaise’ page by Bob De Moor

“Tintin and the Picaros”, the twenty-third volume of The Adventures of Tintin, saw a pre-publication in the Journal Tintin which began in 1975 and ended in 1976, the same year the first edition of the album was released via Casterman.

The double page we present you here showcases perfectly the then popular dressing code for kids including the now almost totally extinct dungaree. You’ll also notice a twin, which is not a reference to the twin brothers Igor and Grichka Bogdanov, they would only gain notoriety with their 1976 book “Clefs pour la science-fiction”. If anyone remembers what those twins could have stood for, let us know!

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)

The detail that got erased for the Cori reboot in 1978

From 1977 (starting on 22/11/1977) to 1978 Bob De Moor saw his reboot of the Cori saga, “L’Invincible Armada – Les Espions de la Reine”, published in Nouveau Tintin, Eppo, Junior, … The cover used to announce this brilliant first part of the rebooted Cori saga on the first glance looks exactly the same as the one used for the album version to be published in 1978 by Casterman.

The detail which Bob De Moor cleaned out in the final album cover.
The detail which Bob De Moor cleaned out in the final album cover.

But Bob De Moor changed a detail that not everyone noticed at the time (and still now a lot are not aware of it). He removed the part where several drowning men are trying to hoist themselves in a dinghy.

Geert de Sutter who assisted Bob De Moor for several years explains it as follows to us: “Bob De Moor saw that there was too much happening in that drawing in order to be the ideal cover. An ideal cover is an image that can catch your attention in the blink of an eye: Cori and Harm in the front and the explosion in the background. The drowning men in-between are otiose, redundant and make the image too complicated. This perfect control of the drawing technique serves the atmosphere.”

Too much detail in this drawing? © Hergé / Moulinsart
Too much detail in this drawing? © Hergé / Moulinsart

And according to de Sutter, that aspect is visible in every Cori album since “L’Invincible Armada – Les Espions de la Reine”: “In the realistic Cori albums there is nothing too much in contrast to the some over the top decorated decors in the 1966 version of “The Black Island”. For instance look at the flowers in the background of page 21 where the fire chief bumps into his wife.”

Bob De Moor didn’t only change the cover. When the story was pre-published in the Dutch magazine Eppo, he also removed a few lines representing vertical reef ropes because those didn’t exist when the Armada, the Spanish fleet that sailed against England in 1588, existed.

The corrected version by Bob De Moor as re-released by BD Must.
The corrected version by Bob De Moor as re-released by BD Must.

The recently released Cori album set by BD Must holds the corrected version, that is without the drowning men. In case you have not ordered this re-release, you’d better be fast, only 1000 were made. You can still order yours straight from BD Must.

“L’Invincible Armada – Les Espions de la Reine” was welcomed as the comeback or revival of Bob De Moor after years of working for the Studio Hergé and it paved the way for more Cori albums.

Fanny Rodwell says NO to new Tintin album

"La veuve d'Hergé sort de l'ombre" - Paris Match 8-14/05/2014
“La veuve d’Hergé sort de l’ombre” – Paris Match 8-14/05/2014

Since Bob De Moor wanted to complete the unfinished “Tintin and Alph-Art” album, but was refused to do so in the end, we thought that this particular newsbit might interest more than just one reader (and that’s probably an understatement).

Note: It’s not the intention to start posting Tintin news on this website, but when it’s relevant to Bob De Moor, we will.

The Belgian edition of Paris Match (8 – 14 May) has an interview with Fanny Rodwell, the wife of the late Hergé , and although it’s one of the very rare Fanny Rodwell interviews, it was as a direct hit. Yes, the interview is worthy of a headline that has already made it to the Belgian-French speaking Tintin world in record time, and will soon reach the English-speaking fans as well.

The interview, done by Emmanuelle Jowa, is quite an interesting read (and accompanied by rather nice pictures of Fanny Rodwell), although it’s mainly human interest-minded – it’s for Paris Match, after all. You’ll learn for instance that Fanny Rodwell eats meat while her husband Nick Rodwell is a ‘végétalien’. Yes, with an ‘l’, which means he is a die-hard vegetarian. Not really information one would call interesting. But after one page of more small talk, Fanny Rodwell says a few things which are more interesting, with the no-bomb falling on page 68.

"La veuve d'Hergé sort de l'ombre" - Paris Match 8-14/05/2014
“La veuve d’Hergé sort de l’ombre” – Paris Match 8-14/05/2014

Fanny Rodwell is very clear: there will be no new album of Tintin, not now, not in 2017, not in 2050, not in 2053 and not in 2054. In short, there will never again be a new Tintin album, “Out of the question” she even says further on in the interview when the journalist keeps insisting. However, that doesn’t exclude unfinished albums such as the “Thermozero”, of course, as we all know by now since that option is currently being studied by Moulinsart and Casterman.

It’s interesting to see that Fanny Rodwell is very laid back when it comes to the future of Tintin. Regarding possibly losing Tintin to the public domain she says: “That’s life, it’s like that. And anyway, I will no longer be alive by then.” She continues by saying that society might again have changed by then and “maybe Tintin will no longer be in the mind of the youngsters (…) he may be forgotten by then.

From the interview we also learn that she has no info on when the next Tintin film by Steven Spielberg will be released and that she is pretty sure that the first film wasn’t a big commercial success “or Spielberg would have already started with the next one“. When asked who she considers to be as talented as Hergé she names Paul Cuvelier and Jacques Laudy.

To be continued…

When cigarillos became cigars and Uncle Zigomar a Softy

On the right the Casterman version from 1989, on the left the Magnum series version from 1979.
On the right the Casterman version from 1989, on the left the Magnum series version from 1979.

Today you’ll see a very good example of how an album in the Oncle Zigomar series got rewritten, renamed, partially redrawn, and a bit brutalized (for the dutch market?). Victim of today is the album “De sigarillo’s van Koningin Thia” (Eng: The cigarillos of Queen Thia) which was published from 26 March 26 1952 till 18 July 1952 in the newspaper De Nieuwe Gids and related titles.

Continue reading

The squint-eyed silver fox cover artwork as it changed overtime

The original cover drawing
The original cover drawing

In 1956 the album “De schele zilvervos” (dutch for”The squint-eyed silver fox”) by Bob de Moor was released. This 4th album in the ‘Nonkel Zigomar, Snoe en Snolleke‘ series has a peculiar twist in the original cover artwork if you compare it to later editions. In the very first artwork (which you can see on the left) you see a fox next to the gunman. In a later version that fox would be replaced by a real squint-eyed fox – the animal also appeared as such in the album. De Moor completely redrew the cover adding more details to the sleigh and to the equipment of both the gunman and Uncle Zigomar.

The reworked version
The reworked version

Note that the later versions saw the dutch tekst rewritten (with less Antwerp-flemish) too. Luckily enough the adaptation kept the flemish character (with a humor that was quite like the one from Willy Vandersteen) very alive. Next to this the pages also underwent a facelift as de Moor was well aware that the stories were from his hectic period when he was working both at the Hergé Studios and also still delivering strips for the daily ‘Nieuws van de dag’. The biography “De klare lijn en de golven” (order here) learns us that Bob de Moor found an assistent, Geert de Sutter, who reworked the pages re-drawing the text balloons (which in the original versions were quite irregular), he also removed the shadow silhouettes in the foreground and replaced them by line drawings. The albums were then published in color by Casterman and Standaard Uitgeverij.

Also noticeable, in the early days the series was called ‘Nonkel Zigomar, Snoe en Snolleke’ whereas later on it would be renamed as ‘Snoe en Snolleke’ and even later would be completely rebranded as ‘Johan en Stefan’ in 1987 (not coincidently the names of 2 of Bob de Moor sons though they never were asked if they were ok with it so it seems).