Jo, Zette and Jocko
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|Jo, Zette and Jocko|
The Adventures of Jo, Zette and Jocko is a comic book (or bande dessinée) series created by Hergé, the Belgian writer-artist who was best known for The Adventures of Tintin. The heroes of the series are two young children, brother and sister Jo and Zette Legrand and their pet monkey Jocko.
Jo, Zette and Jocko appear on the rear covers of some editions of The Adventures of Tintin series but never appear in the stories, while there are a few allusions to the cosmos of the Tintin adventures within the Jo, Zette and Jocko albums.
In 1935, six years after Tintin had first appeared in the pages of Le Petit Vingtième, Hergé was approached by Father Courtois, director of the weekly French newspaper Coeurs Vaillants (Valiant Hearts). Coeurs Vaillants also published Tintin's adventures, but while Father Courtois enjoyed Tintin, he wanted a set of characters that would embody classical family values — a young boy, with a father who works, a mother, a sister and a pet — in contrast to the more independent Tintin who, the whole of his career, has had no mention of relatives at all.
Inspired by a toy monkey called Jocko, Hergé created Jo Legrand, his sister Zette and their pet monkey Jocko as well as their aircraft engineer father, Jacques, and housewife mother. Their first adventure, The Secret Ray appeared in the pages of Coeurs Vaillants on January 19, 1936 and ran until June 1937. It was also published in Le Petit Vingtième itself.
Between 1936 and 1957, three complete Jo, Zette and Jocko adventures would be published, spread across five albums. Hergé however often felt restricted by the family set-up: whereas the older, more independent Tintin could just head off on any adventure, either alone or with Captain Haddock or Professor Calculus, this was not possible for Jo, Zette and Jocko whose parents had to figure large in any adventure — usually to act as their rescuers. The stories also lacked the social and political messages of the Tintin stories. In the end, these constraints led him to eventually abandon Jo, Zette and Jocko in the late-1950s.
The Secret Ray
1. The ‘Manitoba’ No Reply
2. The Eruption of Karamako
The Stratoship H.22
3. Mr. Pump’s Legacy
4. Destination New York
The Valley of the Cobras
5. The Valley of the Cobras
Influence on other works
Aspects of the animated film Tintin and the Lake of Sharks (1972), which was not produced by Hergé himself but issued under his name, appears to borrow some elements from the Jo, Zette and Jocko adventure The Secret Ray:
- like in The ‘Manitoba’ No Reply, two children, Niko and Nushka, attempt to escape from an underwater base in a tank-like vehicle;
- like in The Eruption of Karamako, the underwater compound is destroyed by its evil leader, Rastapopoulos in an attempt to drown his pursuers;
- there is the interaction of children and adults during the final escape;
- and the friends waiting above water and thinking the heroes have been killed when the compound explodes.
Le Thermozéro is the sixth, incomplete, Jo, Zette and Jocko adventure. It began in 1958 as a Tintin adventure of the same name. Hergé had asked the French comic book creator Greg (Michel Regnier) to provide a scenario for a new Tintin story. Greg came up with two potential plots: Les Pilules (The Pills) and Le Thermozéro. Hergé made sketches of the first eight pages of Le Thermozéro  before the project was abandoned in 1960 – Hergé deciding that he wished to retain sole creative control of his work.
Sometime after this, Hergé sought to resurrect Le Thermozéro as a Jo, Zette and Jocko adventure and instructed his long-time collaborator Bob de Moor to work on an outline. Bernard Tordeur of the Hergé Foundation has suggested, at the World of Tintin Conference held at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich on May 15, 2004, that a complete draft outline (similar to what survives of Tintin and Alph-Art) was completed before the project was terminated  This draft version of the book apparently survives in the Tintin Archives.
- Gopal: fictional country in the Himalayas, where Jo and Zette's father builds a bridge for the king and keeps the peace.
The Valley of the Cobras was the first Jo, Zette and Jocko adventure to be translated and published in English in 1986. Mr Pump’s Legacy and Destination New York followed in 1987.
The ‘Manitoba’ No Reply and The Eruption of Karamako remained unpublished (possibly due to Hergé’s unsympathetic depiction of the primitive natives of the island of Karamako, similar to Tintin in the Congo) until 1994 when they were published together in a single limited-edition double volume titled The Secret Ray.