Update: Also Editions Le Lombard have no clue what the card was used for.
In 1987 the Lombard publishing house would release a postcard featuring Barelli, Anne Nannah and what seems to be 4 other colleagues in an office. On the back of the card we can see ‘Copyright by Lombard 1987 De Moor’ plus the phrase “Pour ta promotion, sincères félicitations”. The card comes from the archives of Olivier Marin. But that’s not the only reason why we present you this card today. We actually found back the counterpart (the sketch that is) in the archives of the family De Moor, which kinda gives you a very good idea what the early beginning of this postcard looks like.
We tried to obtain some information on this postcard and especially for which particular occasion this postcard had been created or commissioned. We talked to Yves Sente, who referred us to André-Paul Duchâteau (Belgian comics writer and mystery novelist who worked with Tibet on Ric Hochet). Unfortunately André-Paul Duchâteau couldn’t recall for what the postcard had originally been created but he thought that it could have been for the promotion of Bob De Moor himself that year as artistic director at Lombard. However, that only happened in 1989.
It’s our guess that the card was used throughout the company, but if anyone knows a bit more on this, please contact us.
Let’s check the sketch Bob De Moor made. He didn’t change a lot compared to his first sketch (which was OK’d as you can in the upper left corner. The only difference is actually that Anne Nannah wasn’t in the first sketch or at least he had not yet chosen her to be the character on the right of Barelli.
This is a nice example of what various archives can deliver. We’ll continue to match various archives to present your further examples.
During the 60s and 70s, Lombard would publish several collections at a rather moderate price. The low price also had as a result that the French versions didn’t come in the normal hardcover versions but – very unusual on the French speaking bookmarket – in a cheaper paperback version. The stories were often also shorter, 32 instead of 44 pages.
In the Collection Vedette, released between 1970 and 1977, Lombard would present 50 titles. It was a follow-up to the Histoires du Journal Tintin collection. A few authors only saw a release of their albums in this format and thus never saw a hardcover release. Nevertheless, the collection holds several pearls and this not only from Bob De Moor‘s Barelli but also from Mitteï (Les 3 A), Uderzo (Oumpah-Pah ), Dupa (Chlorophylle), Greg (Rock Derby), Attanasio (Spaghetti), Tibet (Le club des Peur-de-rien), and so on. In short, it would be rather short-sighted to consider this collection to be the graphic dustbin of Lombard.
One of the Barelli stories published in this collection is the 1976 paperback “L’énigmatique Mr Barelli”, originally published in the Journal Tintin in 1950 – 1951 and in 1956 in album format.
This 1976 version stays faithful to the original version and thus holds 14 pages less than the later released versions in the 80s. The 14 extra pages were added to fit Lombard’s new album concept demand. The original last page from that 1950/1951 story is the one you see on the left. We’ll get back on all these differences later on.
But let’s get to the point of this post. Bob De Moor would create several cover projects for the release of this particular album in 1976, and more than just one design would make it in album format one way or another (the 1980 version is different from the 1976 one for instance). But one project never made it to publication and that’s the one we present today (thanks Alain Demaret for the hint!). The cover shows Barelli in various disguises including The Merchant of Venice – he is an actor after all – with Inspector Moureau looking quite surprised. Perhaps this project looked a bit too disturbing or unclear, so it never made it to the next stage.
A small print of this cover was released in the big-sized “Le Lion de Flandre” released by Éditions Michel Deligne in 1976. This proves that the drawing indeed comes from the very same session as the final artwork for this 1976 Collection Vedette album.
12 years after he released his last Barelli story, the second part of “Monsieur Barelli à Nusa Penida”, in 1964 a brand new Barelli adventure would pop up in the Tintin Journal: “Barelli et les agents secrets” (French for “Barelli and the secret agents”). On the left we show you the original black and what drawing made for the Tintin journal cover. For this story Bob de Moor switched to a totally different way of drawing, away from the clear Hergé line. Although not amongst the favorites of many clear line fans, artistically it’s one of the best works he did in the Barelli series – for being completely different to start with – and scenario wise it really holds the road, he had written it out before and added enough twists to the story to keep the pace going.
Sure thing is that Bob de Moor wanted to try out a new style, as he felt he was too anchored into Hergé’s style. When Hergé pointed out to him that his excellent sketches deserved to be inked in the same way, he eventually chose to do exactly that: ink them in a sketchy way. After one album however he felt that working like this would cost him more time as he was so used to draw in the clear line style by then…
Although this 32 page story was released in 1964 in the Tintin journal it would only see an album release some 9 (!!) years later via Lombard. Luckily enough it’s now available again in a proper edition via BD Must. You will have noticed that the cover artwork used for the album edition was again in the clear line. Too bad, because the cover de Moor created for Tintin is more in line with the rest of the album.
Note that band The Coconuts as featured in this album would make cameo appearances on several drawings afterwards, from publicity ones to even a plate in the last finished Tintin album “Les Picaros” (check page 54 and look at the band playing on the left of the red Picaros bus…).