I recently re-bought these two books ('Asterix and the Roman Agent' (1970) and 'Tintin - The Black Island' (1938/1966)) as I have decided to slowly convert my wilting paperback collection of Asterix and Tintin books to hardback albums. The Roman Agent is one of the earliest comic books I owned. It was a Christmas present from my mum in about 1974 or 75. Every year she'd buy me either an Asterix or a Tintin book. The Black Island was my first Tintin adventure, and I think I received that the following year, maybe a couple of years later.
I still have my original copy of The Roman Agent - the figure of Tortuous Convolvulus has been cut out and lost, and there are various numbers in circles and triangles written on in biro - some kind of long-forgotten 'favourites' marking system. The rest is just about hanging together. I re-read a few Asterix books recently and this one really stands out as one of the best in terms of artwork and script.
Throughout most of my childhood, Asterix retained top position in my favourites, and although I also loved Tintin, it wasn't until my early twenties that Hergé's creation took the lead in my affections and I had the money to complete my collection of his adventures. The detail in the modern version of the Black Island is fantastic, and its Britishness may be part of the reason that particular volume attached itself to me so closely. It has an interesting publishing history, the subject of an article I wrote here.
Because I read these comics at such an impressionable age, and I re-read them again and again throughout my childhood and adolescence, they have stamped themselves indelibly on my mind - a particular feature comics have anyway, being so graphically strong. Unlike a film image, a comic panel can be stared and wondered at for many minutes, and returned to at any time. It has coloured my taste in comics ever since, and I am always immediately drawn to European album format comics, with their simple page layouts, clean colours and larger size. That's why when I discovered the work of Edgar P. Jacobs and Yves Chaland much later on, they already had a channel directly into my heart. It extends to my recent enjoyment of Trondheim's 'Dungeon' series too, and not to mention the direction my own comic creations have taken in the past few years (these books may even be the reason I work as an illustrator today). I know I'm not alone in having my strongest attachments to comics that etched their mark on me in my formative years, in fact I wouldn't be surprised if that's what keeps the comic industry going to some degree.
|I have really enjoyed 'The Black Island' myself. One day, someone may (will) call The Rainbow Orchid one of their 'oldest and closest friends', and it may lead them into becoming an illustrator.|
|I must read some of that stuff someday. You've reminded me that I reviewed yor Rainbow Orchid site glowingly for CI #197, out fairly soon. I also wanted to thank you for the beautiful, hand-drawn card while I'm here... these small things really make a difference, and I've needed all the boosts I can get recently. I appreciate it so much.|
|Asterix always just beat out Tintin for me until I was in my 20's and then it switch too, hmmm, curious. Black Island was my 1st Tintin and I remember you article really opening up my appreciation for it back when it ran in Vicious. Mansion of the Gods was my 1st Asterix and it's cover has inspired a children's book I've been working on so the old influences have indeed run deep. European albums are beautiful things, their relative lack of success in England and the US has always irked me, I'm hoping publishers recent interest in comcis will help change that, there's so many other titles that should sit on the shelves next to Asterix and Tintin - as much as it would be a shame for NBM to lose Dungeon I'd love for a big publisher to get it into bookshops. As for the last bit, sadly it's probably true, nostalgia is what fuels much of the comic industry. Not thing wrong with appreciating older works but that's not what seems to be happening, as far as I can tell most modern versions of classic characters (esp. superheroes) tend to denigrate the original versions.|
|I remember an animated series on HBO back in the early '90s called 'The Adventures of Tintin.' Sadly, I don't recall much about any of the episodes, but I really did enjoy it. I haven't read any of the comics. In an interview with the Monty Python troupe on HBO in 1998, Terry Gilliam wore a sweater with a picture of Tintin and his dog, which made me think of the animated series.|
|Hey Garen. Just wanted to check whether you'd received the email I sent you about Caption last week...?|
|Selina - yes, very sorry. Reply on its way to you.|
|I loved both Asterix and Tintin growing up, still have all the old copies in English and a few French versions. I found a little stuffed Snowy doll when I was in Stockholm, there's a whole store dedicated to Tintin and Asterix.|
|This is weird I just read my copy of this just before Caption and it, together with yourself and the positive creative buzz at Caption has got me drawing again! Whether I can meet your challenge of something for the Great Birmingham Custard Show, I'm not sure but I'll give it a go!! Colin M|
|I'll try if you try...|
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