Release: Apr 19, 2015 - Author: -Der-Tribun - Translator: -Der-Tribun
The Adventures of Tintin is one of the most famous franco-belgian comic book series, well known internationally, but sadly pretty unknown in the US.
For the following report, some explanations first.
It is not exactly well known, that only starting with volume No. 10 - The Shooting Star - we still hold the comic as it was originally created in our hands. (said story got somewhat altered due to WW2 politics, but this is not important here) The only exception to this is volume No. 14 - "Land of Black Gold" - which has a very confusing history that's not relevant for the issue at hand.
Generally, the first eight volumes were first created by Hergè in black-and-white, and later a second version was created when he colorised all of his works and trimmed them down to 62 pages each. The second version either could be completely newly drawn (like Hergè did with "Cigars of the Pharaoh"), or there were just small adjustments while the story simply got color added to it. To visualise this, here the same scene from "Tintin in America":
First from 1931
and now from 1946.
The one big exception to this is the story "The Black Island", in which the English publisher blaked that the England and Scotland shown in it are completely unrealistic. Hergè accepted the challenge and after intesive research created a third version.
Now that this is cleared, here the reason for the report for volume No. 9 - "The Crab with the Golden Claws".
In this volume, Hergè didn't have to change too much to create the color version. The drawings by this point were good enough that little alteration was needed, just layout changes and some page-filling panels (since the story was five pages short of the 62-pages limit). Problems only started when Tintin was about to be published in the US starting in the 60's. The American publisher's demands were harsh and hergè accepted under protest. It meant some panels had to be changed, a definite censorship due to outside forces. One reason was, that the publisher had to unmovable opinion that Blacks and Whites could never appear in a comic together, regardless of role. They also had a problem with Captain Haddock drinking alcohol. Even more annoying, this altered version is now the international printing master.
Hergè later commented the whole issue in his own, sarcastic way: "Everyone knows that Americans never drink whiskey and that there are no blacks in America.".
Compared are the black-and-white Original Version, which is available from a belgian reprint, with the Altered Version, which is sold worldwhide and here represented by the German edition.
There are no Blacks
Since the publisher insisted that no Blacks and Whits could interact in a comic book, regardless in which way, two persons had to be altered. Notice: only selected panels are shown.
The first is the sailor Jumbo, who is on Allan's ship watching the porthole, not knowing that Tintin is outsmarting him by hiding in the locker under the bed. He was changed from a Black to an Asian. (The panels of the Altered Version are moved around a bit by me for easier comparison, their contents were not altered)
The second is the man who's beating the captured Captain Haddock with a bat and is later running from him through the streets of the city. The Black man was altered to an Arab (since they are in northern Africa, it even makes sense in this case).
"Alcohol? That's forbidden!"
The publisher's stance against Captain Haddock drinking alcohol resulted in very strange demands. It was OK for him to drink alcohol, as long as the drinking itself would only happen off-panel. The scene in the lifeboat therefore was changed and two panels where Haddock is drinking from the bottle were replaced (in the first he's looking at the bootle, in the second we see the lifeboat from further away).