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The Adventures of Tintin: Black Island (Adventures of Tintin (Paperback)) Paperback – 30 Apr 1975
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About the Author
Herge, one of the most famous Belgians in the world, was a comics writer and artist. The internationally successful Adventures of Tintin are his most well-known and beloved works. They have been translated into 38 different languages and have inspired such legends as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. He wrote and illustrated for The Adventures of Tintin until his death in 1983.
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I bought the black-and-white versions of America and Cigars, and the French 1950 facsimile of Land of Black Gold. When I saw they had The Black Island in English, I went through pains to get it.
And how disappointed I was! There are hardly any differences as there are between the black-and-whites and the real books.
This is no fault of Herge, nor the translators, but of the publishers, since there were no translators! Each page, panel and frame is the same, only the art is older. Nothing is there that is absent in the new version, nothing is missing from the new version. And if that weren't bad enough, Egmont has gone out of their way to kill whatever minor differences there might be, because they didn't translate the facsimile edition, but merely took the text of the new version in English and applied it here. Thus differences that I had expected to see - which I read about in Michael Farr's Tintin: The Complete Companion (Adventures of Tintin), don't exist in the english fax! For example, when Tintin jumps onto a railway car which is "Loch Lomond" in the new version but is "Jonnie Walker" in the old: this fax uses "Loch Lomond!"
The reason I gave 2 stars and not 1 is because, perhaps if you can read French, and buy the french facsimile, you'll find the unknown Tintin that one hopes to find!
Otherwise, this volume is of no value, even to the utmost Tintin enthusiasts: they will find nothing of interest whatsoever in the English facsimile, only perhaps in the french.
Like many of Tintin's earliest adventures, the ones initially serialised in the Petit Vingtième in the late 1920s and 1930s, the story takes the form of a linear line, with a rolling series of events taking Tintin from one place to the next, getting involved in mishaps and picking up clues along the way. Reworked for colour album publication, the story in The Black Island still doesn't get any more complex than Tintin following a trail, being hampered by criminals trying to shake him off along the way - permanently if possible - with a bit more slapstick than usual (Tintin even knocking himself out by standing on a rake at one point). The pacing however is excellent, with twists and thrills on every page and lovely clear-line artwork that has a wonderful sense of openness and movement.
Like all of Hergé's Tintin work, the use of locations and the evocation of mood is superb. Although the book followed the usual route of publication for the early Tintin adventures, moving from a 128 page black-and-white strip to a redrawn and coloured 62-page book, Hergé went to the trouble of revising The Black Island again in 1965, prior to the book's first UK publication, sending an assistant to gather reference materials to ensure relevance and correct some basic errors in the previous editions. You could still criticise the sometimes clichéd olde-worlde mysticism and the fact that Tintin dons a kilt to better blend in with the locals, but the drawings in The Black Island are beautiful and they do capture an essence of Scotland in a manner that would fire the imagination of its young readers and still have resonance for some older Tintin fans.
But this book is not just about scenaries the storyline is brilliant. One particular sequence where Tintin is about to be made to jump down at gunpoint from a high cliff is simply unforgettable. The encounter with Ranko is no less remarkable. The only bit that Tintin lovers might miss is the amazing Captain Haddock.
I am sure that readers of all ages will like to read this book over and over again.
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Most recent customer reviews
A bit too contrived