Autumn is here!

Dossier ~ Monday 2nd October 2017

Now is the time to read or re-read our beautiful journal first published in 2013. A Chinese proverb says: “A man lives only one life; a grasshopper lives only one autumn.”

Autumn is here!

Autumn does not make its official appearance on a fixed date – it depends on different calendars, cultures and countries. For example in Russia autumn begins on September 1st whilst on the Celtic calendar it begins on August 1st. On the French calendar autumn agrees with the autumn equinox (22.09 – 23.09 for the northern hemisphere).

The Tintin 2018 calendar depicts the colour version of Tintin in the Land of the Soviets. We see no frames in this adventure acknowledging the season that prepares us for the dormancy of winter.

Desk Diary and Calendar 2018

Somewhat strangely, in The Adventures of Tintin Hergé did not draw any landscapes in the autumnal colours of red, yellow, bronze and brown… (in any case, none that we have found!) The predominance of green landscapes leads us to assume that the melancholy accents of autumn, despite the flamboyancy of its colours, was not in tune with the adventures of our favourite hero, who has a more sunny disposition!

A word from Tintin about autumn

We found in the yellowing pages of an old issue of Tintin Magazine, a note about the autumnal mood. These few lines of old-fashioned, charming French will undoubtedly make some feel nostalgic while evoking beautiful images for others.

Tintin Magazine dated 21/09/195

And some pictures…

Although The Adventures of Tintin do not depict autumn, Hergé still used his talent to represent the seasons, especially autumn. The most beautiful portrayal can be seen in the 1955 Tintin Magazine calendar. Its abundance of humour as we see Professor Calculus wading in the river, the Thom(p)sons in sailor uniforms and short pants, while Captain Haddock takes a pot shot at a lucky grouse!

Tintin Calender from 1955

1943 also deserves a mention as Hergé proposed a calendar project “Tintin & Snowy 1944” for the Company Photopress. He produced two draft illustrations for October and November that exude the weather through the undergrowth, the driving rain and falling leaves. Unfortunately this calendar was never completed.

Tintin Calendar project 1944

The Fall Equinox

The autumnal equinox (September) marks the beginning of autumn. For those living in the southern hemisphere, it is in March. An equinox is the moment at which the plane of Earth’s equator passes through the centre of the Sun, and it occurs twice a year, around 20 March and 23 September. On an equinox, day and night are of approximately the same equal duration all over the planet. (Source Wiki).

Earth as seen during the equinox

A festival of colours (a nod to our friends in Quebec)

In autumn the countryside is transformed into fireworks of colour: green, yellow, red and brown…enchanting those walking through it. In the Belle Province of Quebec the Fall is transformed into a festival of colours that celebrates the advent of this season that literally inflames the trees!

Autumn landscape of the Haute-Gaspésie

Fall brings with it a gradual decline in temperatures. Sunshine decreases rain, clouds and wind arrive. Vegetation changes colour. Leaves lose their chlorophyll (there is less light and therefore photosynthesis is less active) and reveal underneath other rich pigments other than green. “The green colour is no longer dominant and allows yellow/orange pigments to be revealed: xanthophyll and carotene, which are usually masked by chlorophyll. In turn these two pigments disappear; they are supplanted by a bright red pigment, anthocyanin”. (Source: Man and Nature, Maude GEISSMAN & Cyrielle JOUGLA).

Dead leaves gathered by shovel

Trees, helped by high winds and rain, get rid of what is “useless”, in this case leaves. This is so that it can spend the winter in hibernation mode regenerating for the future. Minerals and leaf nutrients are recycled. First, these materials are stored by the tree even before the leaf falls, and second the substances of the “dead” leaves give rise to new “living” materials. As for the forest it sleeps gently in golden light!

Long evenings with Quick & Flupke and the Scouts!

The Quick and Flupke series sometimes “plays” with the seasons. In the illustration below autumn serves as the backdrop for a sequence in which Flupke appears. Why not take advantage of the lengthening of the evenings today to reread these hilarious one-page wonders!

Long live the colours of Autumn!

To complete this autumn tale, beautiful illustrations relating to autumn adorn certain pages of the scout calendars that Hergé designed in the forties (from 1940 to 1948).

Page de calendrier déssinnée par Hergé - Septembre 1940
Page de calendrier déssinnée par Hergé - Octobre 1947
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