Tintin’s Global Journey
Editors as Invisible Actors behind the Comics Industry
of the 1960s
The editorial role is a vital contribution to the comics production chain, without
which many comics would not exist –editors are the invisible actors who keep the
industry moving. They are also complicated in terms of agency –in some ways,
they are beholden to the wants of their readers and those of their publishers, but
their agency may alternatively become apparent in the final comics product. This
chapter has the dual aim of bridging the gap between the worlds of comics produc-
tion and of comics academia, aiming to open an ongoing conversation into this
under-studied aspect of production. Despite the crucial nature of the editorial role,
it is often one that goes unnoticed within scholarship. Casey Brienza points out
“an especially urgent need”(2010, 105) for comics production research, arguing
for a sociological approach to its actors. This call has been met with great progress
in recent years, with notable examples considering cross-publisher practices (Les-
age 2018) or histories of individual publishers (Moine 2020). For the most part how-
ever, literature that examines behind-the-scenes roles tends to focus on artists and
writers, usually in the form of general audience biographies (Delisle and Glaude
2019) or, rarer, on working conditions for creators (Kohn 2018). The editors’role in
general has been sparingly acknowledged, and when it is referenced, it uses the
editor as a publishing figurehead rather than their role (Pessis 2006). One notable
exception to the existing scholarship is a proposed publication The Comics of
Karen Berger: Portrait of the Editor as an Artist (Bieneke n.d./forthcoming) whose
call for papers (published in 2019) promises an in-depth look into the specific con-
tributions of one editor as well as into the blurring between editorial and creative
role. It is in this vein of research that this chapter aims to encourage wider consid-
erations of comics’most invisible actors: its editors.
The chapter will examine the role by first briefly considering duties of general
editors and particular tasks of comics editors, specifically reflecting upon the
Franco-Belgian context and on the 1960s as a period of change in terms of the edi-
tor’s role in comics. Within this timeframe, it will assess the comic magazine as a
vessel for editorial voice, or in other words, the relationship between editors and
their readers. Arguably, this is where we see the greatest level of editorial agency
too. The concept of editorial voice underwent an interesting change in this decade,
as the roles of creators and editors merged, and editors were credited and became
well-known to a wider public for the first time. Some of the most famous cases of
Open Access. © 2022 the author(s), published by De Gruyter. This work is licensed under
the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
this occurrence were creators who became Editors-in-Chief of popular comic maga-
zines, including Greg for Journal de Tintin [Tintin magazine] in 1965 and René Go-
scinny and Jean-Michel Charlier for Pilote [Pilot] in 1963. The comic magazine thus
rendered some editors visible, but this was not necessarily the case for most in the
profession, particularly not for those working on comics albums.
The present contribution will therefore draw a distinction between the visibil-
ity of editors in different comics publishing formats, examining the increasingly
visible role through the comic magazine format as well as the almost entirely in-
visible one in the context of comic albums in the 1960s. In this chapter, these
terms are taken to respectively mean youth magazines of around 50 pages featur-
ing a majority of anthology comic strip content with editorial material and games,
on the one hand, and the soft or hardcover book of a minimum of 48 pages con-
taining one story or series of stories relating to the same characters, on the other.
The study is concerned with the Franco-Belgian comics industry.
A case study of two foreign rights comic album editors, Pierre Servais (head of
foreign rights at Casterman) and Per Carlsen (founder of Carlsen Verlag and direc-
tor of Danish foreign rights agency, Illustrationsforlaget), will then be presented.
In examining the corpus of correspondence between the two men in the publisher
archives of Casterman, the chapter intends to contribute to a greater understand-
ing of how international publisher ties manifested through different editorial roles.
Indeed, Servais and Carlsen played a large role in the international diffusion of the
famous Tintin series. Available in over 70 languages and countless transmedia
products, researchers have focused on the series’global diffusion through ques-
tions of translation, its societal issues, and its creator (Cartier et al. 2019). Yet, little
has been discussed about the invisible industry actors behind this global phenom-
enon. It is entirely possible to argue that Tintin could not have reached such world-
wide visibility without the aforementioned actors, and this chapter thus aims to
shed light upon these actors, who, until now, have remained mostly invisible.
The Role of Editors
The role of an editor is a varied one. To begin to understand it, we must first make
some clarifications about the term and the facets it can encompass. The Chartered
Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP)
defines the role as “professional help
The CIEP (formerly the SfEP –the Society for Editors and Proofreaders) is a UK-based profes-
sional editorial body, which offers training, guidance, and a job board for editors and those
wishing to hire an editor.
44 Jessica Burton
correct and complete”(CIEP 2021, n.pag.). Though this is a contemporary defini-
tion, it provides a simple overview that editors give professional help –the person
behind the role has been professionally trained to do so, but they offer assistance
rather than taking full creative responsibility. They are therefore the facilitators
rather than the makers of a published product, working from behind the scenes
in an often invisible capacity. For the Franco-Belgian context, the respective term
éditeur is broad. It can mean the individual who is doing the job or refer to the
publishing house. In some cases, it has been several things all at once, for exam-
ple Dargaud Éditeur which indicated both Georges Dargaud the person in his role
as editor-in-chief and as CEO of the publishing company, which éditeur also refers
to. Questions of crediting are relevant regarding this definition, as albums would
be credited simply with the publisher under éditeur, while magazines would in-
clude the name of the editor-in-chief in this category.
We must then contextualize what it is editors do. This is a difficult task, as
duties are too wide-ranging to give a complete description, but professional ed-
iting bodies attempt to give insights. One such example is describing how “an
editor needs lots of different skills to successfully publish a book [. . .] to be cre-
ative [. . .] to be collaborative and strategic [. . .] as well as really good project
managers”(Seaman 2018, n.pag.). A consensus through these resources is that
an editor’s role is many jobs rolled into one. When we consider the field of com-
ics editing, the role becomes even more varied. The comics editor’sjobisto
make a product the best it can be in terms of story, visuals, and final product.
They are involved in development, script editing, and facilitating working col-
laboration of creators. Once final pages are submitted, it is the editor’s job to
render the pages publishable, which may involve facilitating lettering correc-
tions, art corrections, and proofreading. They can also be involved in the mar-
keting of the book to retailers and are crucial decision makers in choosing
which stories get published.
We may therefore summarize the editorial role via
several key elements: Editors are professionals with many varying duties and
responsibilities and are facilitators and mediators who must have a detailed
knowledge of creation and the production processes. Without them, comics
could not be published.
List of duties taken from professional editorial experience of the author.
Tintin’s Global Journey 45
The Editorial Voice
Though the role may go somewhat unnoticed by the broader public, there can
be a strong link between comics editors and their readers. Comics editors have
several ways of communicating with their audience. In the first instance, it is
the editor’s job to commission books that people will want to read (and of
course to make money through sales). Requiring an extensive knowledge of tar-
get audience preferences, the editor in this case acts as the spokesperson for
reader desires. The editor also communicates indirectly through marketing
copy used to sell the book and directly in the pages of comics, whether through
recap pages or the captions placed within or underneath comics panels that
can refer to previous issues or give a translation. These all allow the editor to
interact with the reader outside of the action of the given story in order to grant
supplementary information. The concept of imagined communities (Anderson
1983) is a relevant point of reference here, as editors in this case are the invisi-
ble glue that unites a fan (imagined) community by mediating the reader expe-
rience through a bridging of story world (the fiction) that seeps into the real
world (the editorial production behind it).
This distinct editor-reader relationship is particularly evident in comic maga-
zines, rendering the role somewhat more visible than in other formats. Magazines
often have some form of “Letters to the Editor”section, where the editorial team
engages directly with reader comments or queries. This interactive section has
been examined in the American context in the construction of arguably the most
well-known editorial persona of Stan Lee, who used the letters to facilitate his
own career and build the community of his linked fans, as outlined by Peter
Bryan Cullen (2010). Such pages have also been an integral presence in Franco-
Belgian comic magazines right through the twentieth century and are examined
in detail for Pilote by Eliza Bourque Dandridge (2008). A strong fan community
was furthermore created through such letters in Journal de Tintin, resulting in of-
ficial fan clubs. Editors reinforced that they were interested in hearing about the
club’sactivitieswithanextentofeditorialcontroloverreaders’lives, as they en-
couraged youngsters to live the morals depicted in the magazine. The bulletin for
the Tintin 2000 club, published in the Belgian edition, is revealing in this regard;
the editorial note (signed by Tintin) insists that clubs “faut tenir ‘Tintin’au cou-
rant de ces activités”[must keep Tintin informed of their activities] (Leblanc
1967b, 27). Inclusive language linking readers into the editorial team such as
“nous, nos, notre”[we, us, our] could be found in abundance, while the editorial
voice would almost always refer to readers as “chers amis”[dear friends] and
make frequent reference to what linked these fans together in a community.
46 Jessica Burton
What is interesting to note in Journal de Tintin, however, is that the persona
of Tintin himself was presented as the editor, somewhat diminishing the public
profile of the actual editorial team. Initially in the 1960s, editors of Journal de
Tintin would take the time to respond to a few letters, publishing the original
short paragraph and a brief response in bold text from the editors in the Entre
Nous [Between us] (Dargaud 1963) section of the reader letters page. The other
half of the page was dedicated to notes of readers seeking pen pals additionally
placing editors in the facilitator-of-fan-contact role, as they were choosing
which letters appeared. The Entre Nous section gradually merged into a conver-
sation between the Tintin character and readers over the decade. At first, the
page was named Tintin Courrier [Tintin letters] (Dargaud 1963), then an image
was added of the character, which appeared above the Entre Nous title, depict-
ing Tintin at a typewriter while his dog Snowy licks envelopes (Dargaud 1965).
In the Belgian edition this was entirely taken over by the character when the
section was named Tu écris . . . Tintin répond [You write . . . Tintin replies] (Leb-
lanc 1967a). We thus see here that the editorial role was certainly acknowledged
and visible through reader letters but became reappropriated to embody the
voice of the Tintin character rather than the real editors behind the content. Ar-
guably, in this case, the character of Tintin does not have the agency, it is the
editors, but their role is reduced to invisibility.
The comic magazine is nonetheless a crucial component in understanding the
visibility of the editorial role. This was particularly true in the 1960s, as creators
were given the role of editors, granting the role a certain level of public visibil-
ity. Some of the most popular publications in this period were the aforemen-
tioned Journal de Tintin and Pilote (the magazine in which the Astérix series
projects, but both editorial committees decided to promote creators already
working for the magazine to editor-in-chief, due to sales decline. It was perhaps
felt that people with more of a knowledge of the business of creating comics
would have more imagination to create a more exciting product (Dayez 1997).
In the case of Journal de Tintin, which had cycled through several editors
from its inception in 1946, this man was Greg who took over in 1965. The maga-
zine had previously encountered the “problem”that Hergé was the creative direc-
tor (and pseudo editorial role) and in the beginning would often not allow strips
to appear if he felt that it did not fit with the image of the Tintin character. Until
Tintin’s Global Journey 47
Greg’s arrival, creators were also under ongoing stress from monthly reader sur-
veys, which the editor would use to decide the titles to be dropped from publica-
tion. Kohn aptly describes the workplace struggle, with editors considered as the
“employers”of creators, and notes
une forme de pression hierarchique exercee par l’editeur ou le redacteur [. . .] qui pos-
sede le pouvoir d’embaucher ou de rejeter [des histoires].
[a form of hierarchical pressure exercised by the editor (. . .) who has the power to dis-
continue or reject (stories).] (2018, 236)
As the magazine evolved, creators as a whole were afforded more creative free-
dom thanks to Greg’s influence and his cancellation of the survey model. Being
first a creator himself, he understood the struggles of his team and used his edi-
torial powers to try and make changes to the magazine model. This is an interest-
ing dichotomy between two forms of creator-editor with Hergé as the unwilling
editor who wanted to maintain the interests of his own creation in contrast to
Greg as the editor who used his visibility and experience to enact creative change
for the anthology magazine.
For Pilote, the role of creator-editor was shared by Jean-Michel Charlier and
René Goscinny, with Albert Uderzo as Artistic Director from 1963. Like Greg, for
these men, the treatment of creators was a key concern. The magazine’s founda-
tion came from a dispute of creators who wanted to unionize in 1956 against
poor treatment working for Journal de Tintin and Spirou, hence them striking out
on their own to publish Pilote in 1959 (Ratier 2013) with the idea to pay higher
wages in recognition of time and talent (Michallat 2018, 85). Publisher Dargaud
bought out Pilote in 1961, and after the purchase the three founding creators
signed away their shares in the magazine and their titles were downgraded to a
more generic conseil de redaction [editorial committee] (Michallat 2018, 82).
The magazine founders Goscinny and Charlier, then key writers and edito-
rial members, were instated to fully-fledged Editors-in-Chief in 1963 after Dar-
gaud wanted to experiment with the magazine to combat falling sales. They
were both a huge influence on the magazine and its creators, thereby changing
the output product. Just as Pilote had wanted to pay its creators more, it also
wanted to give them more of a voice within their magazines, a phenomenon
related to their past experience:
They [i.e., Goscinny, Charlier, and Uderzo] insisted on structuring their office as a collec-
tive in which the opinions of all members were solicited and considered. Weekly meetings
were open to all and attendance was high. (Bourque Dandridge 2008, 25)
48 Jessica Burton
The concept of the celebrity is also relevant. Before the 1960s, Hergé was one of
a few exceptions to the rule of creators behind comics strips getting little recog-
nition or fame from their work. Indeed, writers did not officially have to be cred-
ited on comic strips, as the profession of comics writer was not recognized until
this time. Goscinny himself was a key advocate for this change (Lob 1988). Pilote
played a large role, letting readers get to know the personas of its creators and
editors. The arrival of comics series like Achille Talon [Walter Melon] even sati-
rized editorial policy by depicting parodies of editors like Goscinny within the
strips. This strip is applicable to the considerations of the magazine editorial role
as it was created by Greg, editor of rival magazine Journal de Tintin,andpoked
fun at his own editor
of jokingly named Polite magazine in the strip for his con-
stant exclamations of “No, no, no!”(Greg 1963, n.pag.). It is also an indication of
a change in reflections, giving readers a new comical look into the editorial work
going on behind the scenes. Creators and editors were therefore more publicly
visible in the comic magazines themselves but also started appearing on televi-
sion and radio shows at this time.
The 1960s made many Pilote creators house-
hold names, a legacy that would shape the French comics industry for decades.
The editors named above continued their work creating stories alongside
their editorial duties for the magazines and made vast changes in the format
and tone of the magazines proving popular with increased sales figures, at
least for a few years. While the publishers may have simply wanted someone
with intricate knowledge of the creation process to boost sales, their editors be-
came advocates for creators’solidarity and a greater editorial voice. On the sur-
face, this appears to have also meant a greater cooperation between editor and
creator within magazine publication teams. Cooperation was also achieved on
a cross-publisher scale, aiming at a more widespread distribution for magazines
(Burton 2019), which resulted in close editorial collaboration between individu-
als like Goscinny and Greg. The comic magazine rendered the editor more visi-
ble in several ways, including the direct communication with readers through
letters, a more public profile in terms of crediting, and appearances by editors
in various media forms. The format is uniquely suited to such visibility as it
contains features, letters, and competitions, thereby offering a much greater
chance for editor-reader engagement. The album however, usually containing
only one comic story, did not generally offer this possibility.
The satire was made in good humor and fully signed off by Goscinny, who allowed many
parodical depictions of himself to appear in the publication.
LeFeudeCampduDimancheMatinis one such show, that gave Pilote creators carte-
blanche for a radio comedy sketch show on Europe 1 in 1969.
Creators did however stage an editorial coup in 1968 for more creative freedom.
Tintin’s Global Journey 49
Transnational Publisher Editorial Collaboration
Album editing was therefore a much more invisible field to work in within the
comics industry. While it was the job of a comic magazine editor to select strips
for each issue or write for features and engage with the reader, the role of an
album editor was more akin to book publishing, and they were more involved
in the production process.
Through a case study of editors behind the Tintin global phenomenon,
Pierre Servais and Per Carlsen, we see the process of publishing albums as out-
lined in correspondence, giving a rare glimpse into the intricacies of comics
production as discussed between its invisible actors. The sample of letters be-
tween the two men date almost exclusively in the year 1968, thereby at times
giving a day-by-day update into production issues.
The two also had somewhat different roles, making for an interesting com-
parison. They were both editors in name but had differing duties. Pierre Servais
is very much the embodiment of an invisible actor –he was the driving force of
Tintin’s global journey, but there is little mention of him in the historiography
of the Tintin phenomenon. Per Carlsen’s name on the other hand has become
much more well known by being attached to the Danish/German publisher he
founded, Carlsen Verlag. Arguably though, little is known about the man be-
hind it, or his contribution to the Tintin series’global visibility.
Pierre Servais’s contributions were recognized by those who worked with
him, however. Alain Baran, who acted as personal secretary to Hergé between
1978 and 1983, remarked that Servais was
[l]’ambassadeur le plus extraordinaire que les albums Tintin a connu à travers le monde
parce qu’il s’est voué cause et âme à la diffusion dans toutes les langues possible de l’u-
nivers de Tintin, des albums Tintin évidemment.
[t]he most extraordinary ambassador that the Tintin albums have ever known around the
world, because he dedicated his entire heart and soul to the diffusion of the Tintin uni-
verse, of the Tintin albums of course, in all possible languages.] (2018, n.pag.)
Baran’s reflections are one of the few examples giving specific details about
Servais’s contributions. In the video, Baran describes how Servais’sparents
had lamented that the new comics form was no way to make a career, and yet
this was exactly how the editor did so, with Tintin accounting for the majority
of his professional output.
We see the editor as mediator very clearly in the case of Servais, as it was his
job to consider the merits of and forward multimedia adaptation requests to Stu-
dios Hergé. He was the first point of contact for publishers and media producers
and would then do the research on such a project and forward the details for the
50 Jessica Burton
attention of the Studios. When Hergé had doubts as to the merits of a translation
or adaptation, it was Servais’s job to convince him on behalf of the Casterman
company (Servais 1960). Servais was arguably one of the founders of the foreign
rights industry as we currently know it. Nowadays, there are full companies such
which publishers subscribe to in order to let them deal with for-
eign rights and media adaptation, putting his incredible accomplishments as one
man into perspective.
The 1960s were a period of enormous exports for the Tintin series and Servais
was the uncredited architect behind all of this. His legacy endured, when his suc-
cessor Étienne Pollet (grandson of Louis Casterman) embarked upon the journey
to translate the Tintin series into regional dialects and languages throughout the
1970s and 1980s. In terms of production, Servais was also extremely well con-
nected to all aspects of the production line within Casterman
and their affiliated
international partners. Though Casterman were responsible for the Tintin albums
only, he also forwarded requests pertaining to Journal de Tintin to Lombard edi-
tor Raymond Leblanc. Servais was also responsible for requesting and sending
rights payments. His role was therefore essential to almost every aspect of Caster-
man’sTintin album production.
In a similar fashion to Servais, Per Hjald Carlsen strove to make Tintin as suc-
cessful as it could be in the countries for which he held publication rights (Den-
mark, Sweden, and Germany) from behind the scenes in the late 1960s. Carlsen
had first been trained in print production in Germany, Denmark, the United King-
dom, and France and then worked in the family publishing business. Armed
with this experience and the knowledge from publishing press translations of
comic strips before World War II, he started to publish children’s picture books
such as Petzi [Barnaby Bear/Rasmus Klump (DK)]. Carlsen extended the Danish
publisher into Germany in 1954, and into Sweden in 1967. It was through the Tin-
tin series that the publisher started publishing comics in 1967. Despite these
achievements, it would seem that Carlsen chose to be an invisible actor
og han træder sjældent offentligt frem, [. . .] han ikke ønsker officielle hverv inden for
[and he rarely appeared in public, (. . .) he did not want official positions within the circle
of publishers.] (Hartmann 2014, n.pag.)
A French media distribution company which sells licensing rights to international publish-
ers for comics, derived animations, and media products.
Casterman at the time consisted of two separate entities, the publisher and the printworks.
Servais was very involved in the technical specifications he discussed with the head of the
Tintin’s Global Journey 51
Unlike Servais, Carlsen is frequently referenced within the historiography, but
usually on the surface level, merely as the founder of Carlsen Verlag. His contri-
butions to the international success of the Tintin albums are rarely acknowl-
edged. In this case though, we are presented with another reason for such editor
invisibility: Some, like Carlsen it would seem, simply did not wish to be fully
credited for the work they do.
The working relationship between Servais and Carlsen was close, even though
the Tintin albums were seemingly rather unsuccessful in the territories Carlsen
published them in (Carlsen 1968a). Correspondence between these two men is sig-
nificant and offers detailed insights into the editorial work going on behind the
scenes, placing the editor role as an integral component in the production chain.
They pursued success and cultivated their working relationship despite an initial
lack of sales, with much advice from Servais for ideas to generate more public in-
terest in the series (Servais 1968a). The men address each other frankly but po-
litely, giving us an idea of the true market happenings with no redactions. By
seeing the problematic elements within the production chain, we are able to arrive
at a deeper analysis of how the industry worked than we could if everything had
gone smoothly. The day-to-day business is also conveyed, e.g., via conversations
on lettering corrections though their printer colleagues (Carlsen and Voss 1968;
Servais and Veys 1968). In some letters, Carlsen admits his disappointment at sales
of the first years, but expresses hope for the future, particularly as libraries are un-
expectedly the biggest buyers in Sweden and consistently put in large orders for
books they find to be “of quality”(Carlsen 1968b). The scope of the subjects dis-
cussed in the letters clearly demonstrates that the editors needed to be knowledge-
able about many things beyond the comics content, with issues as wide-ranging as
the value of the Danish krone in relation to the Belgian franc (Servais 1968b). We
can also see that Casterman believed the German/Danish/Swedish territory to be
important, so much so that they gave preferential concessions, allowing Carlsen
double the standard time for rights and printing payment (Servais 1968b).
One specific production element that appears in the correspondence con-
cerns a set of defective Swedish copies of Les Bijoux de la Castafiore [The Casta-
fiore Emerald], which went out to retailers and libraries. They had been printed
at Casterman and then sold on by Carlsen in Sweden. Carlsen expresses his dis-
may that they were getting copies returned on a daily basis and writes multiple
letters to try and find a solution between January 1968 and April 1968. Servais
acts as a mediator between Carlsen and the Casterman printing department.
Eventually it is decided that Carlsen will return the full stock to Tournai for re-
pair, as it was faster than making a new print run of the book (Carlsen 1968c;
Servais 1968c). This production mishap had the potential to be disastrous for
the Carlsen/Casterman relationship and indeed the future of publishing Tintin
52 Jessica Burton
in Sweden (particularly as Carlsen points out the recent removal of Tintin from
a so-called Swedish publishing blacklist and the great shame it would be to
lose the progress made). The two parties remained professional and courteous
throughout this process, each working to find a solution. The relationship
clearly did not suffer too much, as six subsequent Tintin titles were published
later in the year in all three countries.
The letters also give a valuable insight into the markets of the countries, as
well as demand for the books. We see from print orders where the books were
most popular, for instance with the number of printed copies for Les Cigares du
Pharaon [Cigars of the Pharaoh]: Germany was the largest order (10,000 copies
requested), then Denmark (7,000 copies), and then Sweden (5,000 copies) (Ser-
vais 1968b). There is confirmation that Germany and Sweden think of the albums
as books rather than comics, both from the forwarding of positive reviews from
the Buying Centre of Swedish Books and the desire from the German arm of Carl-
sen to receive printed albums in time to exhibit them at the Frankfurt Book Fair.
These letters are a precious detail in showing the importance of editors and
the sheer scope of elements that they had to oversee. Such correspondence is
unfortunately a rarity in publisher archives, given the fact that many of these
conversations were seen as unimportant. We cannot discount the significance
of such partnerships in building an international industry of the 1960s, how-
ever. As demonstrated here, through collaboration of individuals like Servais
and Carlsen, a path was laid out for a more concrete type of working relation-
ship between editors within the industry. In some ways, this was also a recogni-
tion of the power of editors both as an influence on how the industry worked
and on what was published. Nonetheless, the role of an album editor was cer-
tainly an invisible one, as shown by the lack of acknowledgement of these two
men in the multitude of writings on the Tintin series.
This chapter has examined the editorial role and its considerable contribution
to the comics industry. The role is a vital but invisible part of keeping books
progressing into publication. The duties of an editor are wide-ranging, with a
different set of duties for each individual, each project. The variety makes the
role somewhat difficult to quantify, however, and even professional editorial
bodies struggle to define everything an editor might do. Nonetheless, we have
One of the most famous book publisher events to this day.
Tintin’s Global Journey 53
seen that this is a unique and varied profession, one which becomes even more
specialized within the role of comics editor due to the added artistic elements and
higher number of creators to liaise with. This may go some of the way towards
explaining the lack of scholarship surrounding the comics editor; as each respon-
sibility is different for each individual, as well as different for every single comic
published, the scope of these invisible actions can be simply too broad to allow
for a detailed analysis. This is also explained in part by Brienza (2010), who notes
a need for personal-level engagement with creators willing to be interviewed.
This chapter thus also aims to respond to Brienza’s (2010) calls for more research
into comics production, via the only personal traces left of these editors: their cor-
respondence. With comics scholarship increasingly concerned with the produc-
tion chain of the industry and even taking steps towards examining editors with
reflection such as the aforementioned (Bieneke n.d./forthcoming), it is hoped that
these actors will become more visible. There are many more avenues to explore in
future research, however, including questions of the briefly mentioned hierarchy
and how this is affected by gender and class, as well as family connections in the
publishing industry. The examples of editors used in this chapter are all white
men of middle to higher-class, quite typical for the profession of editor in general,
and does not give an insight into the often even more invisible work of female
collaborators, particularly in the 1960s, which of course merits further research.
The editor can have great influence on comics content, as we have seen in
the case of comic magazine editors-in-chief as well as in that of the Tintin albums
in the 1960s. A crucial element of this influence comes from the editorial voice,
which can in some ways be thought of as the editor’s personal stamp on the
product, and indeed a demonstration of their agency. For Greg, Goscinny, and
Charlier, this stamp came in the form of a new tone for their magazines, granting
the rest of the magazine creators more creative freedom, and certainly made the
role of the editor more visible. Format can therefore be a consideration at the
level of editor visibility, with a clear distinction between magazines and albums.
For album editors Servais and Carlsen, meanwhile, their extensive duties did not
necessarily lead to greater visibility. Their mission was to publish Tintin in as
many languages and territories as possible and, arguably, Tintin could not have
reached fame around the world without such invisible actors. Correspondence
between these editors is a rare demonstration of the duties of and relationship
between international editors, showing the necessity for a vast knowledge of
publishing as well as market trends and a shared responsibility for the produc-
tion chain across nations. Mutual respect was key, and without such a collabora-
tive relationship, Tintin may not have travelled as it has.
This chapter has offered a brief glimpse into the editorial world in the con-
text of France and Belgium in the 1960s. It has shown that we must consider
54 Jessica Burton
the role and the power it represents, as well as given examples of some impor-
tant individuals. It must be taken into account that these individuals are the
exception to the rule, and that there are many hundreds, or even thousands, of
comics editors through history who have not been so well known because of
the role’s general invisibility. Just as it could not give a full overview of every
comics editor, the chapter has not sought to give a full picture of the many as-
pects still yet to be studied, but is merely a start of a conversation that is some-
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Tintin’s Global Journey 55
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illustrators in France and Belgium from 1945 to 1968.] PhD thesis, UniversiteSorbonne
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56 Jessica Burton
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Tintin’s Global Journey 57