Tintin en Suisse by Efdé
'Tintin en Suisse'.

Filip Denis, also known as Efdé, is a Belgian erotic comic artist, infamous as the creator of the porn parody 'Tintin en Suisse' ('Tintin in Switzerland', 1976), which spoofed Hergé 's series 'Tintin'. In 1982, the book was sued by Studio Hergé and Casterman for plagiarism. It was banned in Belgium and France. As a result, 'Tintin en Suisse' became a widely bootlegged collector's item. As the most legendary 'Tintin' spoof of all time, it inspired several similar sex parodies.

Early life and career
Filip Denis was born in Belgium. In the 1960s, he was part of the artistic circle around Pierre Goffin, founder of the Namur-based L'Entonnoir movement. Goffin's provocative stance and artistic vision became important inspirations for Denis. During the 1970s, he contributed to the new wave magazine Soldes, which circulated in Namur. 

Tintin in Switzerland
In 1976, Filip Denis created his infamous 'Tintin' porn parody. It was published by Charles Callico as 'Tintin en Suisse' ('Tintin in Switzerland', 1976). Even though the title suggests the young journalist embarks upon an original excursion, Tintin had already traveled to this country in the official episode 'L'Affaire Tournesol' ('The Calculus Affair', 1955-1956). In a case of severe false advertising, Tintin doesn't even set foot on Swiss soil in Denis' book, it is actually captain Haddock who goes there. The author uses many elements from Hergé's original, though in a seedy way. The story kicks off with the sea captain picking up his quiffed drunk friend in a station. At Tintin's apartment, they play rock music until they are thrown out by Tintin's landlady Madame Pinson (Mrs. Finch), then go to Moulinsart (Marlinspike Hall) to smoke opium from one of the chamber plants. Professor Calculus invites them to come to Switzerland, but it is not explained why the scientist suddenly lives in "the land of yodelling, cheese fondue and skiing". Either way, Tintin prefers to go to Morocco and takes Haddock with him. In Tanger, the duo attends a striptease act with Bianca Castafiore. The fallen opera diva invites Haddock in her dressing room to have sex, while Tintin masturbates in the men's toilets. The next day, the quiffed sleazeball is asked for a criminal favor by Allan Thompson, one of Hergé's recurring antagonists, but Tintin refuses because he can already "leech on Haddock's wealth".

Tintin and Haddock then part ways, with the captain heading for Switzerland on his own. There, he is captured by professor Calculus, Silicone, Kalys and Müller for a mad scientific experiment. They shrink him to the size of an ant. Haddock escapes, is subsequently captured by Abdallah, escapes again and is then recaptured by Calculus and the rest. For no apparent reason, Tintin in the meantime goes to Congo. His car is wrecked by a gorilla (Ranko from 'The Black Island') and he saves a local woman from being eaten by a huge snake. They have a sexual affair, until the woman gets tired of Tintin and runs off with real-life Nigerian singer Sonny Okosun. Broke, the journalist asks his parents in Brussels for cash. With the money, Tintin travels to China, where he is forced by the double agent Mitsuhirato (of 'The Blue Lotus' fame) to do his criminal organisation the favor he rejected earlier on from Allan Thompson. Tintin goes to an opium den, which is set on fire by a terrorist attack. Didi (from 'The Blue Lotus') murders Mitsuhirato, while Tintin drinks sake with his old friend Tchang Tchong Yen. Eventually, the addled addict travels to New York, where he drinks even more in Séraphin Lampion (Jolyon Wagg)'s bar. Two black men drop LSD in Tintin's glass, causing him to wander off and drown in a river. Apparently, it all turned out to be a major revenge plan by the criminal organisation of Tintin's archenemy Rastapopoulos.

Overall, 'Tintin en Suisse' thrives on cheap shock. The world famous reporter is portrayed as a lewd, unshaven junk. The rambling plot is clearly made up as the artist went along. Scenes begin and end abruptly. Familiar characters come and go, usually in a sleazy or weird context. Tintin travels to places without a clear goal. Haddock's kidnapping and the purpose of shrinking him are never explained. Denis jokes with his own continuity errors. Each time he forgot to draw Snowy during a scene, it is later implied that the dog simply ran or swam behind Tintin, out of sight. Nevertheless, many scenes in 'Tintin en Suisse' are pure repetitive filler. Drug-induced trips, hardcore pornography and even instances where characters sing or tell jokes on the radio are stretched out several pages. Much imagery is blatantly and clumsily (photo)copied from Hergé's classic stories. 

Ban and other legal issues
The book's publication did not go by unnoticed. In 1982, Denis and Callico were sued by Studio Hergé and Éditions Casterman for plagiarism and the adult nature of the book. Callico was condemned to a fine of 50,000 Belgian francs (1,239.47 euros or 1,401.22 dollars). The judge ruled the entire print run to be destroyed. In Belgium and France, the book was banned, which only increased its notability. In 1978, the Dutch alternative comic magazine Caramba serialized the story as 'Kuifje in Zwitserland'. Five years later, they too were sued, but this time a judge ruled it not prosecutable, because the book was obviously a parody. As such, the book became legally available in the Netherlands, causing many foreign fans to buy it there. By this point, Denis' infamous comic had such market value that it became one of the most bootlegged comics in Europe. Illegal copies were translated in Dutch, English, German, Spanish and Swedish, often with new cover and interior artwork by anonymous artists. 

Legacy and influence
In retrospect, comic historians feel the legal action against 'Tintin en Suisse' was widely out of proportion. It's arguably not the best, nor the worst 'Tintin' parody. It wasn't even the first 'Tintin' parody to be threatened with legal action, but its ban received more media attention than previous cases. As a result, this average sex parody received a very undeserved reputation and became more widespread than Hergé's estate intended. It most likely even inspired other cartoonists to make their own pornographic spoofs of famous comics! 

In 1982, Belgian provocateur Jan Bucquoy launched a counterattack. In the same month 'Tintin en Suisse' was banned he published another risqué porn parody of Tintin in the alternative comic magazine Spetters. His spoof, 'Kuifje in Holland' ('Tintin in Holland', 1982), was scripted by Pieter-Jans and drawn by D'Arcosta. Not only was the tone far more vulgar, the story was also politically charged, attacking Hergé's war past in far-right magazines by depicting him and Tintin as Nazis. In the same issue, the editors stated that the verdict against 'Tintin en Suisse' was unconstitutional. Oddly enough, Bucquoy was spared from judicial prosecution, but in 1992, he was sued over another pornographic parody, 'La Vie Sexuelle de Tintin' ('The Sex Life of Tintin'), but won his case.

All the fuss about 'Tintin en Suisse' took an ironic turn in 1983, when the parody was subject of a parody itself! 'Kuifje en de Vervalsers' ("Tintin and the Counterfeiters") satirized the controversy around the album. In the story, Hergé reads Denis' comic and is outraged by the behavior of "his son". It turns out that the Tintin in 'Tintin en Suisse' is an imposter. A confrontation between the real and the fake Tintin ensues and leads up to a court case. 'Kuifje en de Vervalsers' was published anonymously, but the artist is nowadays instantly recognizable as Willy Linthout, famous for the 'Urbanus' celebrity comic series.  

In 1994, the Belgian cartoonist Baudouin de Duve also read 'Tintin en Suisse' and felt it was a very "vulgar and badly drawn book." Nonetheless, it inspired him to make a 'Tintin' parody of his own. In 'Tintin in Thailand' (1999), clumsily traced Tintin characters visit Bangkok's red light district. Hardly less "vulgar and badly drawn" than 'Tintin en Suisse', a judge also banned 'Tintin in Thailand' from distribution. 

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