Comics History

Tintin (1946-1988)

early Tintin masthead

Tintin was the Belgian magazine for realistic comics during the second half of the 20th Century. It brought forth legendary series such as 'Blake & Mortimer', 'Alix', 'Ric Hochet' and of course 'Tintin et Milou'. The first issue appeared in 1946 and the magazine ran until its final rendition in 1993. The title character, 'Tintin', was created back in 1929 for Le Petit Vingtième by the Belgian artist Georges Rémi, also known as Hergé and was already extremely popular. The idea for a magazine came up after a meeting between Hergé and the Belgian publisher Raymond Leblanc. After dealing with the financial aspects, Leblanc founded the publishing house Lombard and one of Belgium's most prestigious comic magazines was born. Soon a Flemish version followed, titled 'Kuifje'.

Tintin, easter cover, by HergéTintin cover by Edgar Pierre Jacobs

From the first issue of 26 September 1946, a team of talented artists was formed to fill the magazine's pages. Among the first cooperators, besides Hergé, were Edgar Pierre Jacobs, Paul Cuvelier and Jacques Laudy. Cuvelier put out the historical 'Corentin' series, while Jacobs took on his successful science fiction series 'Blake & Mortimer'. In the following years, Hergé restarted the 'Jo, Zette et Jocko' series, which first appeared in Coeurs Vaillants. Although Tintin primarily contained realistic work, Étienne Le Rallic provided a humorous variation with 'Jojo Cow-Boy' and 'Teddy Bill'. Jacques Martin joined in 1948 and created the famous 'Alix' series. At the same time, Dino Attanasio and Willy Vandersteen contributed their work.

Bob et Bobette, by Willy VandersteenWilly Vandersteen's Bob & Bobette

For several decades, Hergé kept artistic control over the magazine. A striking example of his interferences is Willy Vandersteen's 'Bob et Bobette' ('Suske en Wiske') series. This typical Flemish comic had to be rebuilt and drawn in a more Clear Line style. While the magazine gained popularity in Belgium, Raymond Leblanc contacted the French publisher Georges Dargaud to start a French version. In October 1948 the first French issue appeared. The Belgian and French version mostly published the same comics, but there were (mainly editorial) distinctions. Bob De Moor, who already drew for the Flemish Kuifje, joined Tintin in 1949 and drew several gag pages.

Alix, by Jacques MartinAlix by Jacques Martin

The 1950s meant the arrival of new artists and series. Raymond Reding started out illustrating several short stories, but eventually put out several sport comics ('Jari' in 1957, 'Vincent Larcher' in 1963, 'Section R' in 1972). Albert Weinberg also made several illustrations and created the aviation series 'Dan Cooper' in 1957.

L'Affaire Tournesol by Hergé
The famous plaster sequence from the Tintin story L'Affaire Tournesol (1955)
©Hergé/Moulinsart 2012

by Raymond MacherotTibet came up with the humorous western 'Chick Bill' and the detective series 'Ric Hochet'. Another highlight of these newcomers was Raymond Macherot, who put out his brilliant animal series 'Chlorophylle'. Macherot also came up with the 'Clifton' detective series, but he stood out for his animal comics. 'Clifton' was later continued by, among others, Turk, De Groot and Bedu.

Other new series were 'Pom et Teddy' and 'Le Chevalier Blanc' by François Craenhals, 'Lefranc' by Jacques Martin and 'Michel Vaillant' by Jean Graton.

Michel Vaillant, by Jean GratonMichel Vaillant by Jean Graton

Spaghetti, by Dino Attanasio The output of humorous series also increased, with 'Oumpah-Pah' by Albert Uderzo and René Goscinny, 'Signor Spaghetti' by Dino Attanasio and 'Strapontin' by Berck.

Modeste et Pompon, by André FranquinFranquin's Modeste et Pompon

Tintin always had a healthy competition with its rival magazine Spirou. If an artist worked for one of these magazines, it was simply "not done" to equally appear in the other. A notable exception is André Franquin. In 1955 Spirou's most popular artist joined Tintin after a dispute with his publisher Dupuis. The dispute was soon dissolved, but Franquin had already signed a contract for five years with Tintin. Therefore, he created the 'Modeste et Pompon' gag series for Tintin, while he also continued Spirou's title comic. He was relieved to leave Tintin after fulfilling his contractual obligation, but 'Modeste et Pompon' was continued for several years by artists like Dino Attanasio, Mittéï, Griffo and Walli & Bom. Some artists made the leap from Spirou to Tintin, like Eddy Paape and Liliane & Fred Funcken, others went from Tintin to Spirou, like Raymond Macherot.

Bruno Brazil, by VanceBruno Brazil, by Vance

A new boost in the humor section came in the 1960s, with the arrival of Greg ('Rock Derby', 'Zig et Puce'), Géri (several short stories and the series 'Magellan'), Christian Godard ('Martin Milan'), Jo-El Azara ('Taka Takata'), Dany ('Olivier Rameau'), Dupa ('Cubitus'), Bob De Groot, Pierre Guilmard and Hachel. New realistic comics were created by Jean Torton, Christian Denayer ('Alain Chevallier'), William Vance ('Ringo', 'Bruno Brazil'), Hermann ('Bernard Prince') and Eddy Paape ('Luc Orient').

Bernard Prince, by HermannBernard Prince by Hermann and Greg

The magazine returned to its original focus on realistic comics in the 1970s. New work was provided by Claude Auclair ('Simon du Fleuve'), Derib ('Buddy Longway'), Carlos Gimenez ('Dani Futuro'), André Beautemps ('Michael Logan'), Franz ('Jugurtha'), Cosey ('Jonathan'), Ferry ('Ian Kaledine'), Gilles Chaillet ('Vasco') and Jean-Claude Servais. Foreign work also made its way to Tintin, such as Hugo Pratt's 'Corto Maltese' and Will Eisner's 'The Spirit'. Humor wasn't forgotten, Turk and De Groot started the 'Robin Dubois' series and Serge Ernst put out several 'Clins d'Oeil'.

Buddy Longway, by DeribBuddy Longway by Derib

The magazine's sales began to decline in the 1980s. Only few notable artists joined the team, such as Bernard Capo ('Loïc Francoeur'), René Sterne ('Adler') and Michel Weyland ('Aria'). The original Tintin's final issue appeared in November 1988 and was continued a month later under the name Tintin Reporter, this time published by Yéti Presse.

Aria, by Michel WeylandAria by Michel Weyland

The French Tintin was already cancelled in 1972 and continued under several names (Tintin l'Hebdoptimiste, Nouveau Tintin) until 1988. Tintin Reporter lasted only a couple of months and was succeeded by Hello Bédé in September 1989.

This final version, again published by Lombard, was continued until 1993. That year the curtain definitely fell for Tintin, one of Europe's best comic magazines.

Index of the Belgian Tintin at BDoubliees.com

Index of the French Tintin at BDoubliees.com