2 years ago the ever prolific Brabant Strip team dedicated its 100th album in their Fenix Collection to the 1947 album “Le Mystère du vieux chateau fort”, this time in a Dutch version. This Bob De Moor album was one of the few ones published on a scenario by his brother-in-law John Van Looveren, and it’s one of the most beautiful ones ever released because of its graphic design and the colours used.
The original version had been released in 1947 by the Brussels-based editor Editions Campéador and was a translation of an originally in dutch written story. It’s unclear who had translated the story back then, but sure thing is that there is an original dutch written script for this story which we found back in the archives of Ludo Van Looveren.
More recently a copy of this original version was auctioned holding a drawing Bob De Moor added in March 1976. It’s one of the few of these albums where De Moor created a character (during a signing session?). The drawing depicts the King Pi-Po-Pen which De Moor gave an overhaul in his typical Tintinesque Barelli style.
Out now is the 100th album in the Fenix Collection by Brabant Strip, namely Bob De Moor‘s “Le Mystère du vieux chateau fort” albeit in a Dutch version with the title “Het Mysterie van de Oude Burcht”. The album is released as a hard cover, full color, in Dutch and they have succeeded in keeping the original colors of the book quite intact. We compared both versions and it’s safe to say that they did a brilliant job. Also the special lettering from the original French edition on Campéador (1947) has been included and gives it that specific touch.
The book is limited to 1000 copies and available from your local comicstore in Flanders and Holland. But be fast, this will become a collection item in record time! We had a short chat with Jean Smits, vice-president of Brabant Strip to talk about this first Dutch version of this Bob De Moor classic from 1947.
How come that this album got chosen to be the 100th one?
Jean Smits: For the 100th album in our Fenix Collection we asked the members of the working group for something special in terms of both content and form, and preferably something of a Flemish “master”. Marc de Lint soon suggested we’d go for a Dutch facsimile edition of “Le mystere du vieux château fort”. Everyone agreed that it was a great idea.
For the reissue you have used the original first edition but not the original plates? It’s amazing though how the colors kept the same vividness as in the original first edition.
Jean Smits: The original plates entered the market a few years ago and are now scattered among collectors. We have been able to locate a number of plates and even the films of the whole book. But ultimately, we decided to start from a topnotch copy of the original book. Mike van der Veer scanned everything, cleaned it up, emptied the text balloons and lettered them in Dutch. Mike also worked on the design and layout of the book plus the cover. Afterwards the printing company Cultura in Wetteren did a highly professional color correction to get the colors as close as possible to the original colors of the book. We are very grateful for the involvement of Jan De Meester from Cultura in this project. He helped us a lot and was closely involved in all the steps of the production process.
The translation did not happen from the original Dutch written script which we found in the archives of Ludo Van Looveren. Why?
Jean Smits: We actually were not aware of the existence of this original Dutch written script. Marc de Lint translated everything and Mike van der Veer has proofread it before he added the texts in the text balloons. After that everything was reviewed thoroughly and the text was adapted in the same way as the text balloons in the original book. A PDF was then created and again proofread by several people after which a few corrections were made.
I have heard that you plan to release more older Bob De Moor material. What is exactly scheduled?
Jean Smits: Indeed, there is still a lot of old De Moor material that awaits a rediscovery but it is still too early to let you know what we plan!