Thailand In Comics - Pom and Teddy
Hmm, it looks like this is going to be my first post without any photos!
As most kids I grew up with comics and luckily my parents, aunts and uncles didn’t disapprove as I was a ferocious reader of ‘proper’ children books as well.
3 covers: the first 2 for TinTin magazine and the 3rd of the Dutch album.
The weekly comic zines - Donald Duck and Kuifje (TinTin in French) - were eagerly awaited…
In my teens I became a comic book collector, but after I started traveling in the 80s my interests changed considerably.
Thailand - the country of 3 summers and 25 million inhabitants + Wat Benjamabohit
While living in Thailand I developed an interest in comics and fiction situated there, but preferably those of years gone by when this country was still considered ‘exotic’.
Nowadays there are so many fictionalized accounts of Thailand and a lot are not worth looking at.
Our heroes are impressed but need a drink too!
Recently I found a digitalized old (1965) comic book on the Net: De Boeddha van Mwang-Thaï, story and art by Francois Craenhals (1926 - 2004), a well known Belgian comic artist from the past.
Life on the Klongs
The story originally was published in 1964 in Kuifje, I must have seen it but in those days my reading skills were just beginning and I’d completely forgotten about it.
About the artist, his first main series for TinTin magazine debuted in 1953: Pom et Teddy was a series about a boy and a girl and their pet donkey, situated in a circus.
Of course the floating market had to presented as well!
This particular story must have been very exciting for young readers in those days as it features the mysterious Far East, snakes, temples, monks, thieves, jungle, and elephants!
This type of samlor I have only seen upcountry, never in Bangkok.
Whether Craenhals ever visited Thailand in the early 60s I have no idea, but there are quite a few recognizable background scenes in Bangkok and Chiang Mai.
Loy Krathong isn't really explained...
Altogether Craenhals drew 10 stories of which this Thai adventure was the last one.
All 10 albums were re-released a few years ago in a limited edition.
Arrival in Chiang Mai.
The Dutch title ‘The Buddha of Muang Thai’ is rather strange, as the Buddha image of the Emerald Temple is never shown during the story.
Elephants were still used for logging in those days.
The French title ‘Le Bouddha des Eaux’ (= The Buddha on the Lake) isn’t much better, although the Emerald Temple is in a lake.
At last, Teddy has arrived at the Temple of the Emerald Buddha.
The main object is the mysterious white elephant which at the end is given as a present to King Bhumibol and Queen Sirikit, both are very recognizable!
Craenhals did a good job on portraying the King and the Queen I think!
Final comment on the title, the spelling of Mwang-Thaï is odd to say the least, especially as on the first page Muang Thai is mentioned! However the text also shows ‘’Thailand’ as well as ‘de Thaïlandse regering’ (= the Thai government), go figure!
Anyway the artwork is nicely done and I’m quite pleased with it!
Announcement in TinTin magazine of a new Pom and Teddy adventure.