BRUSSELS The 1930 debut adventure of fictional young Belgian reporter Tintin and his dog Snowy was republished on Monday, showing his trip to the Soviet Union for the first time in color.
Tintin in the Land of the Soviets is the only one of the series of 24 cartoon stories that has only ever appeared in black and white and the new version will recreate the colors used in the subsequent works.
The nine volumes that followed, including Tintin in America and the Blue Lotus, initially came out in black and white but were re-released in color from the 1940s by Georges Remi, known as Herge, who then switched to color-only cartoons.
Casterman's artistic director Michel Bareau said the new edition had taken since 2014 to get right.
It is not entirely clear why Herge chose not to re-issue Tintin in the Land of the Soviets in color. Some critics consider it Herge's most primitive piece and believe the artist was embarrassed by it.
The story has Tintin narrowly escaping from a bomb on a train in Berlin and then being pursued by Soviet secret police.
Casterman said the thoughts of Herge, who died in 1983, were unknown but a color edition made the story far more accessible.
At an event in central Brussels this weekend, Tintin fans dressed as characters were broadly positive.
"I was very happy with it when it was still in black and white but after all, why not? You have to move with the times. It's the only album that was not in color, so maybe it's a good thing," said Marc Bosmans, a Brussels local dressed as Tintin.
(Reporting by Christian Levaux Writing by Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by Louise Ireland)