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Land of Black Gold: 07/17/09

Someday I hope to read the Tintin comics in French. So many of the puns just don't translate to English. My local library has a bunch of Tintin comics and I selected one of the volumes at random. It contained Land of Black Gold, Destination Moon and Explorers of the Moon.

Land of Black Gold focuses on an oil crisis. Oil isn't running out here but it isn't working right either. Automobiles, planes, ships and anything else running on oil based fuels are suffering from exploding engines.

Tintin and his compadres first look at the auto repair company, sort of like a Belgian auto club. They seem to be profiting from all these automobiles breaking down on the highway. I personally would have loved to see the story play out as a case of local terrorism but instead Tintin must go to a fictional Arabian country.

Now here's where things start to go pear shaped in my review. The original adventure was serialized in 1938. In that version Tintin and his friends go to Palestine and the comic strip apparently plays up the tensions between Britain, the Zionists and the Palestinians. By the time the comic was being bound into book form, Israel was a fledgling country the old gags were dated and tacky.

So starting with the 1950 edition Hergé moved the location to a fictional Arabian country. The resulting editing hack job leaves most of the plot without any coherence, being strung together by a bunch of really stupid gags involving mirages, a brat of a kid and Thompson and Thomson being even stupider than normal.

Comments (2)

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Comment #1: Saturday, July, 18, 2009 at 08:13:55

Chris Tregenza

Both Black Gold and Black Island suffer from being rewritten. The strengths of the original versions are lost and the new material is weak.

Comment #2: Saturday, July 18, 2009 at 22:42:06


Land of Black Gold seemed disjointed with all the rewriting.

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