Tag Archives: Magnum

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.

A Bob De Moor story which definitely needs a re-edition… with correct full coloring

In 1959 the Tintin Journal published the Bob De Moor story “Pirates D’eau Douce” / “De Zoetwaterpiraten” in the issues 26 till 40. The one-off story of 30 pages featured the adventures of Dic, Vic & Mic (Dik, Vik, Mik in the dutch version). On the flemish side, De Moor would see the story published in Ons Volkske (from issue 50 in 1959 till issue 28 in 1960). The story would mean the final flemish school inspired album from Bob De Moor who would from now on opt for the clear line from the Brussels school with Hergé and Jacobs being the perfect examples.

If you compare this story to the last Johan & Stéphan album (aka Oncle Zigomar) you can notice that Bob De Moor‘s style had undergone quite some influence from Hergé. The drawings are cleaner, preciser. It’s obvious that De Moor was able putting extra work into finishing the drawings as he was no longer under pressure of prepping the pages with the killing rhythm and deadlines which newspapers imposed. And you can say with certainty that this story would never have seen the light of day if it weren’t for Hergé asking him to join the studio.

For some odd reason, it would take De Moor more than 23 years to see the story published in an album format, the fact that it only counted 30 pages is probably one of the main reasons (Le Lombard only wanted to release 44 page stories of Barelli for instance). In 1983 both Magic Strip and De Dageraad (in their Magnum series) would publish the story, with Magic Strip opting for a hardcover.

The color horror (watch the roof of the house). First case is from the Tintin Journal, the second is from the Magic Strip version, the 3rd is from the De Dageraad version.
The color horror (watch the roof of the house). First case is from the Tintin Journal, the second is from the Magic Strip version, the 3rd is from the De Dageraad version.

Color-wise the story suffered a lot of problems though. The coloring in the Tintin journal for instance consisted of several shades of grey and red which turned some of the details invisible especially when the darker grey was used. On top the films weren’t really matched correctly one on another, as a result the colors exited the drawings.

Also the album versions suffered the same faith, more or less. The flemish De Dageraad version got even darker ‘colors’ with another mismatch of the films (you’d think that at least one of the errors would have been avoided, but alas). The Magic Strip version had the same colors as the Tintin Journal (still too dark of course) but the colors luckily stayed inside the lines this time.

Sure thing is that this album needs a reedition with a good coloring in the style of Tintin.

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.

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