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|The Adventures of Tintin|
|Formats||Original material for the series has been published as a strip in the comics anthology(s) graphic novels.|
|Publication date||1929 – 1976|
|The Adventures of Tintin|
|Formats||Original material for the series has been published as a strip in the comics anthology(s) graphic novels.|
|Publication date||1929 – 1976|
The Adventures of Tintin (French: Les Aventures de Tintin) is a series of comic albums created by Belgian cartoonist Georges Remi (1907–1983), who wrote under the pen name Hergé. The series was one of the most popular European comics of the 20th century. By the time of the centenary of Hergé's birth in 2007, Tintin had been published in more than 70 languages with sales of more than 200 million copies.
The series first appeared in French on 10 January 1929 in Le Petit Vingtième, a youth supplement to the Belgian newspaper Le Vingtième Siècle. The success of the series saw the serialised strips published in Belgium's leading newspaper Le Soir and spun into a successful Tintin magazine. In 1950, Hergé created Studios Hergé, which produced the canonical series of twenty-four Tintin albums. The Adventures of Tintin have been adapted for radio, television, theatre, and film.
The series is set during a largely realistic 20th century. Its hero is Tintin, a young Belgian reporter. He is aided by his faithful fox terrier dog Snowy (Milou in the original French edition). Later, popular additions to the cast included the brash and cynical Captain Haddock, the highly intelligent but hearing-impaired Professor Calculus (French: Professeur Tournesol), and other supporting characters such as the incompetent detectives Thomson and Thompson (French: Dupont et Dupond) and the opera diva Bianca Castafiore.
The series has been admired for its clean, expressive drawings in Hergé's signature ligne claire ("clear line") style. Its well-researched plots straddle a variety of genres: swashbuckling adventures with elements of fantasy, mysteries, political thrillers, and science fiction. The stories feature slapstick humour, offset by dashes of sophisticated satire and political or cultural commentary.
Georges Remi—best known under the pen name Hergé—was employed as an illustrator at Le Vingtième Siècle ("The Twentieth Century"), a staunchly Roman Catholic, conservative Belgian newspaper based in Hergé's native Brussels. Run by the Abbé Norbert Wallez, the paper described itself as a "Catholic Newspaper for Doctrine and Information" and disseminated a far-right, fascist viewpoint. Wallez appointed Hergé editor of a new Thursday youth supplement, titled Le Petit Vingtième ("The Little Twentieth"). Propagating Wallez's socio-political views to its young readership, it contained explicitly pro-fascist and anti-Semitic sentiment. In addition to editing the supplement, Hergé illustrated L'extraordinaire aventure de Flup, Nénesse, Poussette et Cochonnet ("The Extraordinary Adventures of Flup, Nénesse, Poussette and Cochonnet"), a comic strip authored by a member of the newspaper's sport staff. Dissatisfied with this, Hergé wanted to write and draw his own cartoon strip.
He already had experience creating comic strips. From July 1926 he had written a strip about a boy scout patrol leader titled Les Aventures de Totor C.P. des Hannetons ("The Adventures of Totor, Scout Leader of the Cockchafers") for the Scouting newspaper Le Boy Scout Belge ("The Belgian Boy Scout"). Totor was a strong influence on Tintin, with Hergé describing the latter as being like Totor's younger brother. Tintinologists Jean-Marc and Randy Lofficier stated that graphically, Totor and Tintin were "virtually identical" except for the scout uniform, also noting many similarities between their respective adventures, particularly in the illustration style, the fast pace of the story, and the use of humour. He was fascinated by new techniques in the medium such as the systematic use of speech bubbles—found in such American comics as George McManus' Bringing up Father, George Herriman's Krazy Kat and Rudolph Dirks's Katzenjammer Kids, copies of which had been sent to him from Mexico by the paper's reporter Léon Degrelle.
Although Hergé wanted to send Tintin to the United States, Wallez ordered him to set his adventure in the Soviet Union, acting as anti-socialist propaganda for children. The result, Tintin in the Land of the Soviets, was serialised in Le Petit Vingtième from January 1929 to May 1930. Popular in Francophone Belgium, Wallez organised a publicity stunt at the Gare de Nord station, following which he organised the publication of the story in book form. The story's popularity led to an increase in sales, so Wallez granted Hergé two assistants. At Wallez's direction, in June he began serialisation of the second story, Tintin in the Congo, designed to encourage colonial sentiment towards the Belgian Congo. Authored in a paternalistic style that depicted the Congolese as childlike idiots, in later decades it was accused of racism, however at the time was un-controversial and popular, and further publicity stunts were held to increase sales.
For the third adventure, Tintin in America, serialised from September 1931 to October 1932, Hergé finally got to deal with a scenario of his own choice, although used the work to push an anti-capitalist, anti-consumerist agenda in keeping with the paper's ultra-conservative ideology. The Adventures of Tintin had been syndicated to French Catholic magazine Coeurs vaillants ("Valiant Hearts") since 1930, and Hergé was soon receiving syndication requests from Swiss and Portuguese newspapers too.
Hergé went on to pen a string of Adventures of Tintin, sending his character to real locations such as the Belgian Congo, the United States, Egypt, India, China, and the United Kingdom. He also sent Tintin to fictional countries of his own devising, such as the Latin American republic of San Theodoros, the East European kingdom of Syldavia, or the fascist state Borduria—whose leader, Müsstler, was a combination of Nazi German leader Adolf Hitler and Italian Fascist leader Benito Mussolini.
In May 1940, Nazi Germany invaded Belgium as World War II broke out across Europe. Although Hergé briefly fled to France and considered a self-imposed exile, he ultimately decided to return to his occupied homeland. To ensure their own dominance, the Nazi authorities closed down Le Vingtième Siècle, leaving Hergé unemployed. In search of employment, he got a job as an illustrator at Belgium's leading newspaper, Le Soir (The Evening), which was allowed to continue publication under German management. On 17 October 1940, he was made editor of the children's supplement, Le Soir Jeunesse, in which he set about producing new Tintin adventures. In this new, more repressive political climate, Hergé could no longer explore political themes in his Adventures of Tintin lest he be arrested by the Gestapo. As Tintinologist Harry Thompson noted, Tintin's role as a reporter came to an end, to be replaced by his new role as an explorer.
At the end of the war, in September 1944, the Allies entered Brussels and Hergé's German employers fled. Le Soir was shut down and The Adventures of Tintin was put on hold. Then in 1946, Hergé accepted an invitation from Belgian comic publisher Raymond Leblanc and his new publishing company Le Lombard to continue The Adventures of Tintin in the new Le journal de Tintin (Tintin magazine). While elated to have his work published again, Hergé quickly learned that if Tintin magazine was his deliverer, it was also his demanding employer. He no longer had the independence he preferred; he was required to produce two coloured pages a week for Leblanc's magazine—a tall order. Despite this, Hergé's dedication to detail continued, his artistic standards escalated, even as his pressures mounted.
Finally, in 1950, Hergé began to poach the better members of the Tintin magazine staff to work in the large house on Avenue Louise that contained the fledgling Studios Hergé. Bob De Moor (who imitated Hergé's style and did half the work), Guy Dessicy (colourist), and Marcel DeHaye (secretary) were the nucleus. To this, Hergé added Jacques Martin (imitated Hergé's style), Roger Leloup (detailed, realistic drawings), Edgar P. Jacobs (colourist), Eugène Evany (later chief of the Studios), Michel Demaret (letterer), and Baudouin Van Den Branden (secretary). As Tintinologist Harry Thompson observed, the idea was to turn the process of creating The Adventures of Tintin into a "veritable production line, the artwork passing from person to person, everyone knowing their part, like an artistic orchestra with Hergé conducting." The Studios produced eight new Tintin albums for Tintin magazine, coloured and reformatted several old Tintin albums, and ultimately completed twenty-three albums of the canon series. Studios Hergé continued to release additional publications until Hergé's death in 1983. In 1986, a twenty-fourth unfinished album was released, the Studios were disbanded, and its assets were transferred to the Hergé Foundation. Bolstered by recent adaptations, The Adventures of Tintin continue to entertain new generations of Tintin fans today.
Tintin is a young Belgian reporter who becomes involved in dangerous cases in which he takes heroic action to save the day. The Adventures may feature Tintin hard at work in his investigative journalism, but seldom is he seen actually turning in a story. He is a boy of neutral attitudes with whom the audience can identify; in this respect, he represents the everyman.
Readers and critics have described Tintin as a well-rounded yet open-ended, intelligent and creative character, noting that his rather neutral personality—sometimes labelled as bland—permits a balanced reflection of the evil, folly, and foolhardiness, which surrounds him. His Boy Scout ideals, which represent Hergé's own, are never compromised by the character, and his status allows the reader to assume his position within the story, rather than merely following the adventures of a strong protagonist. Tintin's iconic representation enhances this aspect, with Scott McCloud noting that it "allows readers to mask themselves in a character and safely enter a sensually stimulating world."
Snowy (Milou in Hergé's original version), a fox terrier dog, is Tintin's loyal, four-legged companion. The bond between Snowy and Tintin is very deep, as they have saved each other from perilous situations many times. Snowy frequently "speaks" to the reader through his thoughts (often displaying a dry sense of humour), which are not heard by the human characters in the story. Snowy has nearly let Tintin down on occasion, particularly when distracted by a bone. Like Captain Haddock, he is fond of Loch Lomond brand Scotch whisky, and his occasional bouts of drinking tend to get him into trouble. When not distracted, Snowy is generally fearless, his only fear being arachnophobia.
Captain Archibald Haddock (Capitaine Haddock in Hergé's original version), a Merchant Marine sea captain of disputed ancestry (he may be of Belgian, French, English, or Scottish origin), is Tintin's best friend. Introduced in The Crab with the Golden Claws, Haddock is initially depicted as a weak and alcoholic character, but later evolves to become genuinely heroic and even a socialite after he finds a treasure from his ancestor, Sir Francis Haddock. The Captain's coarse humanity and sarcasm act as a counterpoint to Tintin's often-implausible heroism; he is always quick with a dry comment whenever the boy reporter seems too idealistic. Captain Haddock lives in the luxurious mansion Marlinspike Hall (Le château de Moulinsart in the original French).
Haddock uses a range of colourful insults and curses to express his feelings, such as "billions of blue blistering barnacles" or "ten thousand thundering typhoons", "bashi-bazouk", "visigoths", "kleptomaniac", or "sea gherkin", but nothing actually considered a swear word. He is a hard drinker, particularly fond of rum and of Scotch whisky, especially Loch Lomond; his bouts of drunkenness are often used for comic effect.
Professor Cuthbert Calculus (Professeur Tryphon Tournesol in Hergé's original version), an absent-minded and half-deaf physicist, is a regular character alongside Tintin, Snowy, and Captain Haddock. He was introduced in Red Rackham's Treasure, and based partially on Auguste Piccard, a Swiss physicist. His presence was initially not welcomed by the leading characters, but through his generous nature and his scientific ability, he develops a lasting bond with them. Eventually, by the end of Land of Black Gold, he becomes a resident of Marlinspike Hall. Despite his deafness, Calculus has a tendency to act in an aggressive manner, especially when Captain Haddock accuses him of "acting the goat". He is a fervent believer in dowsing, and carries a pendulum for that purpose. Calculus's deafness is a frequent source of humour, as he repeats back what he thinks he has heard, usually in the most unlikely words possible. He does not admit to being near-deaf and insists he is only a little hard of hearing in one ear.
Hergé's supporting characters have been cited as far more developed than the central character, each imbued with strength of character and depth of personality, which has been compared with that of the characters of Charles Dickens. Hergé used the supporting characters to create a realistic world in which to set his protagonists' adventures. To further the realism and continuity, characters would recur throughout the series. The occupation of Belgium and the restrictions imposed upon Hergé forced him to focus on characterisation to avoid depicting troublesome political situations. As a result, the colourful supporting cast was developed during this period.
The settings within Tintin have also added depth to the strips. Hergé mingles real and fictional lands into his stories, along with a base in Belgium from where Tintin sets off—originally 26 Labrador Road, but later Marlinspike Hall. The role of setting is aptly demonstrated in King Ottokar's Sceptre, in which Hergé creates two fictional countries, Syldavia and Borduria, and invites the reader to tour them in text through the insertion of a travel brochure into the storyline. Other fictional lands include Khemed on the Arabian Peninsula and San Theodoros, São Rico, and Nuevo Rico in South America, as well as the kingdom of Gaipajama in India. Along with these fictitious locations, actual nations were employed such as Belgium, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States, the Soviet Union, Congo, Peru, India, Egypt, Indonesia, Nepal, Tibet, and China. Other actual locales used were the Sahara Desert, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Moon.
Hergé's extensive research began with The Blue Lotus; Hergé stated, "It was from that time that I undertook research and really interested myself in the people and countries to which I sent Tintin, out of a sense of responsibility to my readers".
Hergé's use of research and photographic reference allowed him to build a realised universe for Tintin, going so far as to create fictionalised countries, dressing them with specific political cultures. These were heavily informed by the cultures evident in Hergé's lifetime. Pierre Skilling has asserted that Hergé saw monarchy as "the legitimate form of government", noting that democratic "values seem underrepresented in [such] a classic Franco-Belgian strip". Syldavia in particular is described in considerable detail, Hergé creating a history, customs, and a language, which is actually a Slavian-looking transcript of Marols, the Flemish dialect of Brussels. He set the country in the Balkans, and it is, by his own admission, modelled after Albania. The country finds itself threatened by neighbouring Borduria with an attempted annexation appearing in King Ottokar's Sceptre. This situation parallels the Italian conquest of Albania and of Czechoslovakia and Austria by expansionist Nazi Germany prior to World War II.
Hergé's use of research would include months of preparation for Tintin's voyage to the moon in the two-part storyline spread across Destination Moon and Explorers on the Moon. His research for the storyline was noted in New Scientist: "The considerable research undertaken by Hergé enabled him to come very close to the type of space suit that would be used in future Moon exploration, although his portrayal of the type of rocket that was actually used was a long way off the mark". The moon rocket is based on the German V-2 rockets.
In his youth, Hergé admired Benjamin Rabier and suggested that a number of images within Tintin in the Land of the Soviets reflected this influence, particularly the pictures of animals. René Vincent, the Art Deco designer, also had an impact on early Tintin adventures: "His influence can be detected at the beginning of the Soviets, where my drawings are designed along a decorative line, like an 'S'." Hergé also felt no compunction in admitting that he had stolen the image of round noses from George McManus, feeling they were "so much fun that I used them, without scruples!"
During the extensive research Hergé carried out for The Blue Lotus, he became influenced by Chinese and Japanese illustrative styles and woodcuts. This is especially noticeable in the seascapes, which are reminiscent of works by Hokusai and Hiroshige.
Hergé also declared Mark Twain an influence, although this admiration may have led him astray when depicting Incas as having no knowledge of an upcoming solar eclipse in Prisoners of the Sun, an error T. F. Mills attributed to an attempt to portray "Incas in awe of a latter-day 'Connecticut Yankee'".
Tintin first appeared in English in the weekly British children's comic Eagle in 1951.[nb 1] It was translated in conjunction with Casterman, Tintin's publishers, and starts by describing Tintin as "a French boy". Snowy was called by his French name "Milou".
The process of translating Tintin into British English was then commissioned in 1958 by Methuen, Hergé's British publishers. It was a joint-operation, headed by Leslie Lonsdale-Cooper and Michael Turner, working closely with Hergé to attain an accurate translation as true as possible to the original work. Due in part to the large amount of language-specific word play (such as punning) in the series, especially the jokes which played on Professor Calculus' partial deafness, it was always the intention not to translate literally, instead striving to sculpt a work whose idioms and jokes would be meritorious in their own right. Despite the free hand Hergé afforded the two, they worked closely with the original text, asking for regular assistance to understand Hergé's intentions.
The British translations were also Anglicised to appeal to British customs and values. Milou, for example, was renamed Snowy at the translators' discretion. Captain Haddock's Le château de Moulinsart was renamed Marlinspike Hall.
When it came time to translate The Black Island, which is set in Great Britain, the opportunity was taken to make the scenes more true-to-life; such as ensuring that the British police were unarmed and ensuring scenes of the British countryside were more accurate for discerning British readers. Methuen had decided that the book did not portray Great Britain accurately enough, and had compiled a list of 131 errors of detail, which should be put right, asking Studios Hergé to rework it completely. The resulting album is the dramatically updated and redrawn 1966 version that is the most commonly available today. As of the early 21st century[update], Egmont publishes Tintin books in the United Kingdom and elsewhere.
Unlike in most of Western Europe, the Tintin books have had limited popularity in the United States.
The works were first adapted for the American English market by Golden Books, a branch of the Western Publishing Company in the 1950s. The albums were translated from French into American English with some artwork panels blanked except for the speech balloons. This was done to remove content considered to be inappropriate for children, such as drunkenness and free mixing of races. The albums were not popular and only six were published in mixed order. The edited albums later had their blanked areas redrawn by Hergé to be more acceptable, and they currently appear this way in published editions around the world.
From 1966 to 1979, Children's Digest included monthly instalments of The Adventures of Tintin. These serialisations served to increase Tintin's popularity, introducing him to many thousands of new readers in the US.[nb 2]
Atlantic Monthly Press, in cooperation with Little, Brown and Company beginning in the 1970s, republished the albums based on the British translations. Alterations were made to vocabulary not well known to a non-British audience (such as gaol, tyre, saloon, and spanner). As of the early 21st century[update], Little, Brown and Company (owned by the Hachette Book Group USA) continues to publish Tintin books in the United States.
On 1 June 2006, the Dalai Lama bestowed the International Campaign for Tibet's Light of Truth Award upon the character of Tintin, along with South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The award was in recognition of Hergé's book Tintin in Tibet, Hergé's most personal adventure, which the Executive Director of ICT Europe Tsering Jampa noted was "for many ... their introduction to the awe-inspiring landscape and culture of Tibet". In 2001, the Hergé Foundation demanded the recall of the Chinese translation of the work, which had been released with the title Tintin in China's Tibet. The work was subsequently published with the correct translation of the title. Accepting on behalf of the Hergé Foundation, Hergé's widow Fanny Rodwell stated, "We never thought that this story of friendship would have a resonance more than 40 years later".
The study of The Adventures of Tintin is known as Tintinology, with its followers varyingly known as Tintinologists, Tintinophiles, Tintinolators, Tintinites, or Hergélogues. One notable Tintinologist is Belgian Philippe Goddin, who published Hergé et Tintin reporters: Du Petit Vingtième au Journal Tintin (1986, later republished in English as Hergé and Tintin Reporters: From "Le Petit Vingtième" to "Tintin" Magazine in 1987) and Hergé et les Bigotudos (1993) amongst other books on the series. In 1983, Benoît Peeters published Le Monde d'Hergé, subsequently published in English as Tintin and the World of Hergé in 1988. Although Goddin and Peeters were native French-speakers, the English reporter Michael Farr also published works on Tintinology such as Tintin, 60 Years of Adventure (1989), Tintin: The Complete Companion (2001), Tintin & Co. (2007) and The Adventures of Hergé (2007), as had English screenwriter Harry Thompson, the author of Tintin: Hergé and his Creation (1991).
Literary critics, primarily in French-speaking Europe, have also examined The Adventures of Tintin. In 1984, Jean-Marie Apostolidès published his study of the Adventures of Tintin from a more "adult" perspective as Les Métamorphoses de Tintin, although it would only appear in English as The Metamorphoses of Tintin, or Tintin for Adults in 2010. In reviewing Apostolidès' book, Nathan Perl-Rosenthal of The New Republic thought that it was "not for the faint of heart: it is densely-packed with close textual analysis and laden with psychological jargon." Following Apostolidès's work, French psychoanalyst Serge Tisseron examined the series in his books Tintin et les Secrets de Famille ("Tintin and the Family Secrets"), which was published in 1990, and Tintin et le Secret d'Hergé ("Tintin and Hergé's Secret"), published in 1993.
The first English-language work of literary criticism devoted to the series was Tintin and the Secret of Literature, written by the novelist Tom McCarthy and published in 2006. In this book, McCarthy compares Hergé's work with that of Aeschylus, Honoré de Balzac, Joseph Conrad and Henry James and argues that the series contains the key to understanding literature itself. McCarthy considered the Adventures of Tintin to be "stupendously rich", containing "a mastery of plot and symbol, theme and sub-text" which, influenced by Tisseron's psychoanalytical readings of the work, he believed could be deciphered to reveal a series of recurring themes, ranging from bartering to implicit sexual intercourse that Hergé had featured throughout the series. Reviewing the book in The Telegraph, Toby Clements argued however that McCarthy's work, and literary criticism of Hergé's comic strips in general, cut "perilously close" to simply feeding "the appetite of those willing to cross the line between enthusiast and obsessive" in the Tintinological community.
The earliest stories in The Adventures of Tintin have been criticised for displaying racial stereotypes, animal cruelty, violent, colonialist, and even fascist leanings, including ethnocentric caricatured portrayals of non-Europeans. While the Hergé Foundation has presented such criticism as naïveté and scholars of Hergé such as Harry Thompson have said that "Hergé did what he was told by the Abbé Wallez", Hergé himself felt that his background made it impossible to avoid prejudice, stating, "I was fed the prejudices of the bourgeois society that surrounded me."
In Tintin in the Land of the Soviets, the Bolsheviks were presented as villains. Hergé drew on Moscow Unveiled, a work given to him by Wallez and authored by Joseph Douillet, the former Belgian consul in Russia, that is highly critical of the Soviet regime, although Hergé contextualised this by noting that in Belgium, at the time a devout Catholic nation, "Anything Bolshevik was atheist". In the story, Bolshevik leaders are motivated by personal greed and a desire to deceive the world. Tintin discovers, buried, "the hideout where Lenin, Trotsky, and Stalin have collected together wealth stolen from the people". Hergé later dismissed the failings of this first story as "a transgression of my youth." By 1999, even while Tintin's politics was the subject of a debate in the French parliament, part of this presentation was noted as far more reasonable, with British weekly newspaper The Economist declaring, "In retrospect, however, the land of hunger and tyranny painted by Hergé was uncannily accurate".
Tintin in the Congo has been criticised as presenting the Africans as naïve and primitive. In the original work, Tintin is shown at a blackboard addressing a class of African children. "My dear friends," he says, "I am going to talk to you today about your fatherland: Belgium."[nb 3] Hergé redrew this in 1946 to show a lesson in mathematics. Hergé later admitted the flaws in the original story, excusing it saying, "I portrayed these Africans according to ... this purely paternalistic spirit of the time." Sue Buswell summarised the perceived problems with the book in 1988 as "all to do with rubbery lips and heaps of dead animals",[nb 4] although Thompson noted this quote may have been "taken out of context".
Drawing on André Maurois' Les Silences du colonel Bramble, Hergé presents Tintin as a big-game hunter, accidentally killing fifteen antelope as opposed to the one needed for the evening meal. However, concerns over the number of dead animals led Tintin's Scandinavian publishers to request changes. A page of Tintin killing a rhinoceros by drilling a hole in its back and inserting a stick of dynamite was deemed excessive; Hergé substituted the page with one in which the rhino accidentally discharges Tintin's rifle while he slept under a tree. In 2007, the UK's Commission for Racial Equality called for the book to be pulled from shelves after a complaint, stating, "It beggars belief that in this day and age that any shop would think it acceptable to sell and display Tintin in the Congo." In August 2007, a Congolese student filed a complaint in Brussels that the book was an insult to the Congolese people. Public prosecutors investigated, and a criminal case was initiated, although the matter was transferred to a civil court. Belgium's Centre for Equal Opportunities warned against "over-reaction and hyper political correctness".
Hergé altered some of the early albums in subsequent editions, usually at the demand of publishers. For example, at the instigation of his American publishers, many of the African characters in Tintin in America were re-coloured to make their race Caucasian or ambiguous. The Shooting Star originally had an American villain with the Jewish surname of "Blumenstein". This proved controversial, as the character exhibited exaggerated, stereotypically Jewish characteristics. "Blumenstein" was changed to an American with a less ethnically specific name, Mr. Bohlwinkel, in later editions and subsequently to a South American of a fictional country – São Rico. Hergé later discovered that 'Bohlwinkel' was also a Jewish name.
The Adventures of Tintin has been adapted in a variety of media besides the original comic strip and its collections. Hergé encouraged adaptations and members of his studio working on the animated films. After Hergé's death in 1983, the Hergé Foundation and Moulinsart, the foundation's commercial and copyright wing, became responsible for authorising adaptations and exhibitions.
Two animated television adaptations have been made.
One radio adaptation has been made.
Five feature-length Tintin films were made before Hergé's death in 1983. Nearly four decades later, a new Hollywood movie was released.
One documentary about Tintin was made during Hergé's lifetime. Years After Hergé's death, a new documentary about Tintin and Hergé was released.
Hergé himself helped to create two stage plays, collaborating with humourist Jacques Van Melkebeke. Tintin in the Indies: The Mystery of the Blue Diamond (1941) covers much of the second half of Cigars of the Pharaoh as Tintin attempts to rescue a stolen blue diamond. The Disappearance of Mr. Boullock (1941–1942) has Tintin, Snowy, and Thomson and Thompson track the mysterious Mr. Boullock around the world and back to Brussels again. The plays were performed at the Théâtre Royal des Galeries in Brussels. The scripts of the plays are unfortunately lost.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, two Tintin plays appeared at the Arts Theatre in the West End of London, adapted by Geoffrey Case for the Unicorn Theatre Company. These were Tintin's Great American Adventure, based on the comic Tintin in America (1976–1977) and Tintin and the Black Island, based on The Black Island (1980–81); this second play later toured.[nb 8]
A musical based on The Seven Crystal Balls and Prisoners of the Sun premièred on 15 September 2001 at the Stadsschouwburg (City Theatre) in Antwerp, Belgium. It was entitled Kuifje – De Zonnetempel (De Musical) ("Tintin – Prisoners of the Sun (The Musical)") and was broadcast on Canal Plus, before moving on to Charleroi in 2002 as Tintin – Le Temple du Soleil – Le Spectacle Musical.
The Young Vic theatre company in London ran Hergé's Adventures of Tintin, a musical version of Tintin in Tibet, at the Barbican Arts Centre (2005–2006); the production was directed by Rufus Norris and was adapted by Norris and David Greig. The show was successfully revived at the Playhouse Theatre in the West End of London before touring (2006–2007) to celebrate the centenary of Hergé's birth in 2007.
Tintin began appearing in video games when Infogrames Entertainment, SA, a French game company, released the side scroller Tintin on the Moon in 1989. The same company released a platformer video game titled Tintin in Tibet in 1995 for the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis. Another platformer from Infogrames titled Prisoners of the Sun was released the following year for the Super Nintendo, PC, and GameBoy Color. As computer graphics technology improved, video game experiences improved. In 2001, Tintin became 3D in a game called Tintin: Destination Adventure, released by Infogrames for the PC and PlayStation. Then in 2011, a action-adventure video game called The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, a tie-in to the 2011 movie, was released by Ubisoft in October 2011.
Images from the series have long been licensed for use on merchandise, the success of Tintin magazine helping to create a market for such items. Tintin's image has been used to sell a wide variety of products, from alarm clocks to underpants. Countless separate items related to the character have been available, with some becoming collectors' items in their own right.
The Hergé Foundation has maintained control of the licenses, through Moulinsart, the commercial wing of the foundation. Speaking in 2002, Peter Horemans, the then director general at Moulinsart, noted this control: "We have to be very protective of the property. We don't take lightly any potential partners and we have to be very selective ... for him to continue to be as popular as he is, great care needs to be taken of his use." However, the Foundation has been criticised by scholars as "trivialising the work of Hergé by concentrating on the more lucrative merchandising" in the wake of a move in the late 1990s to charge them for using relevant images to illustrate their papers on the series.
Tintin memorabilia and merchandise has allowed a chain of stores based solely on the character to become viable. The first shop was launched in 1984 in Covent Garden, London. Tintin shops have also opened in both Bruges and Brussels in Belgium, and in Montpellier, France. The British bookstore chain, Ottakar's, founded in 1987, was named after the character of King Ottokar from the Tintin book King Ottokar's Sceptre, and their shops stocked a large amount of Tintin merchandise until their takeover by Waterstone's in 2006.
Tintin's image has been used on postage stamps on numerous occasions. The first Tintin postage stamp was an eight-franc stamp issued by Belgian Post for the 50th anniversary of the publication of Tintin's first adventure on Sept. 29, 1979, featuring Tintin and Snowy looking through a magnifying glass at several stamps. In 1999, a nine-stamp block celebrating ten years of the Belgian Comic Strip Center was issued, with the center stamp a photo of Tintin's famous moon rocket that dominates the Comic Strip Center's entry hall. To mark the end of the Belgian Franc and to celebrate the seventieth anniversary of the publication of Tintin in the Congo, two more stamps were issued by Belgian Post on 31 December 2001: Tintin in a pith helmet and a souvenir sheet with a single stamp in the center. The stamps were jointly issued in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In 2004, Belgian Post celebrated its own seventy-fifth anniversary, as well as the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Explorers on the Moon, and the thirty-fifth anniversary of the moon landings with a souvenir sheet of five stamps based upon the Explorers on the Moon adventure. To celebrate the centenary of Hergé's birth in 2007, Belgian Post issued a sheet of 25 stamps depicting the album covers of all 24 Adventures of Tintin (in 24 languages) plus Hergé's portrait in the center. A souvenir sheet of ten stamps called "Tintin on screen", issued 30 August 2011, depicts the Tintin film and television adaptations.[nb 9]
Besides stamps, Tintin has also been commemorated by coin several times. In 1995, the Monnaie de Paris (Paris Mint) issued a set of twelve gold medallions, available in a limited edition of 5000. A silver medallion was minted in 2004 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Tintin book Explorers on the Moon, again in a limited run, this time of 10,000. It quickly sold out. In 2004, Belgium minted a limited edition commemorative euro coin featuring Tintin and Snowy celebrating the 75th anniversary of Tintin's first adventure in January 2004. Although it has a face value of €10, it is, as with other commemorative euro coins, only legal tender in the country in which it was issued—in this case, Belgium. Then, France issued the Comic Strip Heroes commemorative coin series in 2006–2012 featuring famous Franco-Belgian comics, beginning in 2006 with Tintin. It was a set of six different euro coins honouring Hergé: Three 1½ euro silver coins featuring Tintin and the Professor, Tintin and Captain Haddock, and Tintin and Chang. Also issued were a 10-euro (gold) featuring Tintin with a 20-euro (silver) and a 50-euro (gold) featuring Tintin and Snowy. Belgium then issued its 20-euro (silver) Hergé/Tintin coin in 2007, on Hergé's centenary.
During Hergé's lifetime, parodies were produced of the Adventures of Tintin, with one of the earliest appearing in Belgian newspaper La Patrie after the liberation of the country from Nazi German occupation in September 1944. Entitled Tintin au pays de nazis ("Tintin in the Land of the Nazis"), the short and crudely drawn strip lampoons Hergé for working for a Nazi-run newspaper during the occupation.
Following Hergé's death, hundreds more unofficial parodies and pastiches of the Adventures of Tintin were produced, covering a wide variety of different genres. Tom McCarthy divided such works into three specific groupings: those that are pornographic, those that are political, and those that are artistic. In a number of cases, the actual name "Tintin" is replaced by something similar, like Nitnit, Timtim, or Quinquin, within these books.
The response to these parodies has been mixed in the Tintinological community. Many Tintinologists despise them, seeing them as an affront to Hergé's work. This being the view taken by Nick Rodwell of the Hergé Foundation, who declared that "None of these copyists count as true fans of Hergé. If they were, they would respect his wishes that no one but him draw Tintin's adventures." Where possible, the foundation has taken legal action against those known to be producing such items. Other Tintinologists have however taken a different attitude, considering such parodies and pastiches to be tributes to Hergé, and collecting them has become a "niche specialty".
After Hergé's death in 1983, his art began to be honoured at exhibitions around the world, keeping Tintin awareness at a high level. The first major Tintin exhibition in London was Tintin: 60 years of Adventure, held in 1989 at the Town Hall in Chelsea. This early exhibition displayed many of Hergé's original sketches and inks, as well as some original gouaches. In 2001, an exhibition entitled Mille Sabords! ("Billions of Blistering Barnacles!") was shown at the National Navy Museum (Musée national de la Marine) in Paris. In 2002, the Bunkamura Museum of Art in Tokyo staged an exhibition of original Hergé drawings as well as of the submarine and rocket ship invented in the strips by Professor Calculus. The National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London hosted the exhibition The Adventures of Tintin at Sea in 2004, focusing on Tintin's sea exploits, and in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the publication of Tintin's first adventure. 2004 also saw an exhibition in Halles Saint Géry in Brussels titled Tintin et la ville ("Tintin and the City") showcasing all cities in the world Tintin had travelled.
The Belgian Comic Strip Center in the Brussels business district added exhibits dedicated to Hergé in 2004. The Brussels' Comic Book Route in the center of Brussels added its first Tintin mural in July 2005.
The centenary of Hergé's birth in 2007 was commemorated at the largest museum for modern art in Europe, the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, with Hergé, an art exhibition honouring his work. The exhibition, which ran from 20 December 2006 until 19 February 2007, featured some 300 of Hergé's boards and original drawings, including all 124 original plates of The Blue Lotus. Laurent le Bon, organizer of the exhibit said, "It was important for the Centre to show the work of Hergé next to that of Matisse or Picasso." Tintinologist Michael Farr said, "Hergé has long been seen as a father figure in the comics world. If he's now recognized as a modern artist, that's very important."
Then, 2009 saw the opening of the Hergé Museum (Musée Hergé), designed in contemporary style, and located in the town of Louvain-la-Neuve, south of Brussels. Visitors follow a sequence of eight permanent exhibit rooms covering the entire range of work of Hergé, showcasing the world of Tintin and his other creations. In addition, the new museum has already seen many temporary exhibits, including Into Tibet With Tintin.
Hergé is recognised as one of the leading cartoonists of the twentieth century. Most notably, Hergé's ligne claire style has been influential to creators of other Franco-Belgian comics. Contributors to Tintin magazine have employed ligne claire, and later artists Jacques Tardi, Yves Chaland, Jason Little, Phil Elliott, Martin Handford, Geof Darrow, Eric Heuvel, Garen Ewing, Joost Swarte, and others have produced works using it.
In the wider art world, both Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein have claimed Hergé as one of their most important influences. Lichtenstein made paintings based on fragments from Tintin comics, whilst Warhol used ligne claire and even made a series of paintings with Hergé as the subject. Warhol, who admires Tintin's "great political and satirical dimensions", said, "Hergé has influenced my work in the same way as Walt Disney. For me, Hergé was more than a comic strip artist".
Hergé has been lauded as "creating in art a powerful graphic record of the 20th century's tortured history" through his work on Tintin, whilst Maurice Horn's World Encyclopedia of Comics declares him to have "spear-headed the post-World War II renaissance of European comic art". French philosopher Michel Serres noted that the twenty-three completed Tintin albums constituted a "chef-d'oeuvre" ("masterpiece") to which "the work of no French novelist is comparable in importance or greatness".
Following are the twenty-four canonical Tintin comic albums as named in English. Publication dates are of the original French-language versions.
|Album Number||Title||Serialisation||Album (B&W)||Album (colour)||Notes|
|1||Tintin in the Land of the Soviets||1929–1930||1930||Hergé prevented this book's republication until 1973. It has never been redrawn in a colour edition.|
|2||Tintin in the Congo||1930–1931||1931||1946||Re-published in colour and in a fixed 62-page format.|
|3||Tintin in America||1931–1932||1932||1945|
|4||Cigars of the Pharaoh||1932–1934||1934||1955|
|5||The Blue Lotus||1934–1935||1936||1946|
|6||The Broken Ear||1935–1937||1937||1943|
|7||The Black Island||1937–1938||1938||1943, 1966|
|8||King Ottokar's Sceptre||1938–1939||1939||1947|
|9||The Crab with the Golden Claws||1940–1941||1941||1943|
|10||The Shooting Star||1941–1942||1942||Book 10 was the first to be originally published in colour and, along with books 11 to 15, set a middle period for Hergé marked by war and changing collaborators.|
|11||The Secret of the Unicorn||1942–1943||1943|
|12||Red Rackham's Treasure||1943||1944|
|13||The Seven Crystal Balls||1943–1946||1948|
|14||Prisoners of the Sun||1946–1948||1949|
|15||Land of Black Gold||1948–1950||1950, 1971|
|16||Destination Moon||1950–1952||1953||Books 16 to 23 (and revised editions of books 4, 7 & 15) are creations of Studios Hergé.|
|17||Explorers on the Moon||1952–1953||1954|
|18||The Calculus Affair||1954–1956||1956|
|19||The Red Sea Sharks||1956–1958||1958|
|20||Tintin in Tibet||1958–1959||1960|
|21||The Castafiore Emerald||1961–1962||1963|
|23||Tintin and the Picaros||1975–1976||1976|
|24||Tintin and Alph-Art||1986||2004||Hergé's unfinished book, published posthumously.|
The following are double albums with a continuing story arc.
Apart from the series, a comic album supervised by, but not written by, Hergé was released based on the film Tintin et le lac aux requins.
Hergé attempted and then abandoned one album:
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