Tintin - 'Le Temple du Soleil'.
©Hergé/Moulinsart 2012

Hergé is one of the most important and influential comic creators in history. He singlehandedly launched the Belgian comics industry with his iconic humorous adventure series 'Tintin' (1929-1983). Together with Morris' 'Lucky Luke' and René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo's 'Astérix' it's one of the bestselling European comics in the world. Even though 'Tintin' only counts 23 available album titles they have been translated in every conceivable language, including dialects. The quiffed reporter in plusfour pants later received his own magazine, Tintin (1946-1992), which became one of the most succesful European comic magazines of all time. Other well known series by the maestro are 'Quick et Flupke' (1930-1941) and 'Jo, Zette et Jocko' (1936-1940). More than any other comic artist, Hergé gave the medium tremendous prestige. Both artwork and stories are at the highest quality level. He developed his own graphic style, the "Ligne Claire" ("Clear Line"), which is even regarded as a genuine artistic movement. The man was a master in crafting suspenseful page-turners where humor is never far away. Storylines range from crime thrillers, exotic treasure hunts, intrigueing mysteries to clever political satire. He was one of the first comic artists to deal with more mature themes and still appeal to all ages. A meticulous perfectionist, Hergé documented himself thoroughly for each story. His work is still regarded as a standard for many artists. Particularly in Europe his stories are so well known that they have become part of readers' collective memory. Together with Walt Disney and Charles M. Schulz he is also one of the most analyzed cartoonists in the world. No small feat for a little Belgian.

Early life and influences
Hergé was born in 1907 in Etterbeek, as George Prosper Remi. His pseudonym was based on his initials (G.R.) in reverse (R.G.). Remi was the son of an employee in a confectionery factory. He scribbled his school books full and tried studying art at the Institut Saint-Luc in Brussels, but left after only one lesson. The young man therefore learned drawing by studying other artists. He was influenced by illustrators like René Vincent and classical painters such as Hieronymus Bosch, Pieter Bruegel, Johannes Vermeer, Hokusai and Jean-Dominique Ingres. Yet he was equally fond of more contemporary artists. As an adult he collected art and admired people like Joan Miró, Lucio Fontana, Serge Poliakoff, Constant Permeke, Auguste Herbin and Roy Lichtenstein. In the field of comics he regarded George McManus, Émile-Joseph Pinchon (whose Bécassine has a similar face like Tintin), Benjamin Rabier (who even created a quiffed little boy with the name 'Tintin-Lutin' in 1898), Rudolph Dirks, Winsor McCay, Rube Goldberg (Bertha the dog from 'Boob McNutt' inspired the design of Snowy) and especially Alain Saint-Ogan as his main influences. Later in life he also held Georges BeuvilleAndré Franquin, Moebius, Robert Crumb, Bob van den Born and Milo Manara in high regard, artists whose style was vastly different than his. Hergé also devoured classic authors like Alexandre Dumas, Jules Verne, Paul d'Ivoi, Robert Louis Stevenson and Arthur Conan Doyle, but the art form which had the most profound impact on his work was film. Hergé loved slapstick movies by Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd, which gave him a knack for visual comedy and setting up gags. Action-thrillers sharpened his sense for camera movement, editing and cliffhangers. 'Tintin' has a strong cinematic feel and was always very much of its own time. 

Flup, Nénesse, Poussette and Cochonnet
The people caricatured in the picture are famous journalists of the 1920s, among them Albert Londres, Joseph Kessel and Henri de Monfreid.
©Hergé/Moulinsart 2012.

Hergé often stated that the boy scouts movement was the only thing that brightened up his boring childhood. The official Belgian scouts magazine, Le Boy-Scout Belge, offered room for his graphic debut in 1922. Hergé illustrated covers, articles and short stories. In July 1926 it also published his first comic strip, 'Totor, C.D. des Hannetons' (1926-1929), which would run until July 1929. 'Totor' stars the adventures of a young boy scout, Totor, who travels to the United States. In terms of design and personality Totor was a predecessor of Tintin. Stylistically it was still a text comic, with the sentences written beneath the images. But already Hergé's talent for dynamic, captivating stories shines through. Willy Vandersteen, a much younger boy scout at the time, read 'Totor' too, which motivated him to create personal 'Totor' stories for his own scouts group's magazine. This marked his first attempt at making comics!

Clear Line
Even in those early years Hergé developed his own graphic style. Since the ink in newspaper prints sometimes overflowed, he had to keep his lines thin, bright and clean. He avoided hatches, shadow effects or overly details. This gives his drawings an instant visual appeal, which is very inviting to read. In the 1940s, when he started adding colour, he picked out bright colours. Despite being born out of necessity, rather than an artistic choice, Hergé's graphic style was imitated by numerous artists, particularly in Franco-Belgian comics. It became a genuine artistic movement, dubbed the "School of Bruxelles" or the "Ligne Claire" ("Clear Line") - a term invented by Joost Swarte in the 1970s. Especially in Hergé's own magazine Tintin during the 1940s and 1950s, his "Clear Line" became a norm for most artists who published in its pages. Hergé's assistants had to do tons of research, make preliminary sketches and make everything look as technically accurate as possible. While it all looks gorgeous, even 'Tintin' expert Benoît Peeters felt it all became too precalculated and less spontaneous at a certain point. 

original of the first Tintin story, by Hergé 1929
'Tintin au Pays des Soviets' (Le Petit Vingtième, 10 January 1929)
©Hergé/Moulinsart 2012.

Le Petit Vingtième
In 1925 Hergé joined the right-wing Catholic newspaper Le XXe Siècle. Three years later, on 1 November 1928, he was asked to create a youth supplement, which became Le Petit Vingtième. Hergé was both the magazine's chief editor as well as its main illustrator. In the first issue he created a comic strip, 'Flup, Nénesse, Poussette and Cochonnet' (1928-1929), which ran for five months until 7 March 1929. It was written by a certain "Smettini" (a pseudonym for sports journalist Desmedt) and centered around two young boys, a girl and her inflatable pig. Bland and forgettable, the comic strip was only notable for its use of speech balloons. Hergé had noticed this phenomenon in U.S. newspaper comics and Alain Saint-Ogan's 'Zig et Puce', and imitated it, even though the narration still ran underneath the images. His early one-shot gag comics in the satirical weekly Le Sifflet were also a combination of a balloon and text comic. At the time speech balloons were still a novelty in Europe, so it took until the creation of 'Tintin' in 1929 before Hergé had the confidence to create an uncompromising balloon comic. 

On 10 January 1929 Tintin and his faithful fox terrier Milou (Snowy) made their debut in 'Tintin au Pays des Soviets' ('Tintin in the Land of the Soviets', 1929-30). The plot was commissioned by Hergé's boss Norbert Wallez, an ultraconservative priest who wanted a comic strip which exposed the "threat" of Communism. As such Tintin travels to Russia to write a critical journalistic report, even though he only does this once in the story and even the entire franchise! Right from the beginning "the famous journalist" acts more like a detective, investigating cases and arresting criminals. His hair still looks flat in the first couple of pages, but halfway the story a thrilling car chase kicks his iconic quiff into shape. As the narrative reached its completion in the papers, the idea rose to stage Tintin's return to Brussels in real life as a publicity stunt. An actor and a dog were hired to arrive at the local train station, which was announced in Le Petit Vingtième's pages. Much to everybody's surprise the place was crowded with enthusiastic fans. Hergé was quickly commissioned to write and draw more stories. In 1933 the publicity stunt at the Brussels North Station was imitated at the Amsterdam station by the editors of the newspaper Telegraaf with an actor playing the Dutch comic character 'Flippie Flink' by Clinge Doorenbos and Louis Raemaekers.

For his next story Hergé initially wanted to send his hero to the USA, but at the request of Wallez Tintin travelled to the Belgian colony Congo. After 'Tintin au Congo' ('Tintin in the Congo', 1930-31) Tintin and Snowy went to the U.S. after all, in 'Tintin en Amériques' ('Tintin in America', 1931-32), where Hergé had fun pitting his hero against real-life gangster Al Capone (who was still alive back then) and Native Americans.

Tintin au Congo by Herge
'Tintin au Congo'.
©Hergé/Moulinsart 2012.

Despite their historical value, the first three 'Tintin' stories don't rank as Hergé's best. He just improvised his stories as he went along and did no real research. This explains why the plots are naïve, chaotic and brimful with offensive stereotypes. Hergé felt particularly ashamed about the propaganda nature of 'Tintin au Pays des Soviets'. He never allowed it to be part of the official franchise and only gave it a reprint in 1969 to thwart bootlegs. In 2017 it was republished again, but with the novelty of being colourized. 'Tintin au Congo' (named 'Tintin in Africa' in some translations) gained controversy in later decades because of its pro-colonial tone and nonchalant game-hunting. Black Africans are depicted as primitive and child-like, while Tintin kills off numerous animals. In one infamous scene he even blows up a rhinoceros with dynamite! Nevertheless, 'Tintin in Congo' has always been part of the official franchise, was colorized in 1946 and made available in most countries, even African ones. In Congo it's even the most popular 'Tintin' title. For decades the story was unavailable in English, but in 2005 a translation did came about, with a foreword putting the outdated content into historical perspective. However, this hasn't stopped some people from objecting to certain scenes. In 1975 Hergé changed the infamous rhinoceros scene at the request of Scandinavian publishers, by having the animal escape. In the early 2010s Congolese student Bienvenu Mbutu Mondondo tried to ban 'Tintin in Congo', but in 2012 a judge ruled against the decision. Due to its infamy, 'Tintin in Congo' has been frequently satirized, among others by Picha's 'Tarzoon: the Shame of the Jungle' (1975), Joann Sfar's 'Le Chat du Rabbin' (2002-2006) and Anton Kannemeyer's 'Pappa in Afrika' (2010).

As controversial as most of these early stories may appear today, they ought to be understood in the context of the era they were created in. Hergé was still in his early twenties and lacked the experience, confidence and ambition to take his work seriously. He merely depicted Russia, Africa and the USA as most Europeans imagined it at the time. Plus: he was still under heavy influence and control of Wallez, who would only be fired in 1933, giving Hergé more freedom to do his own thing.

Cover vor Le Petit VingtièmeCover vor Le Petit Vingtième
Covers for Le Petit Vingtième. The first one (30 May 1935) depicts a scene from 'The Blue Lotus', the second cover (19 January 1939) from 'King Ottokar's Sceptre'. 
©Hergé/Moulinsart 2012. 

Maturing as an artist
The next Tintin story, 'Les Cigares du Pharaon' ('Cigars of the Pharaoh', 1932-1934), was already more recognizable as Hergé's own work. It has a tight, atmospheric plot featuring many elements which are nowadays hallmarks of the series: mystery and suspense, nightmarish scenes and adult subject matter such as drug smuggling. The story marked the debut of three new cast members. First of all, the near-identical police inspectors Dupond & Dupont (Thompson and Thomson) who nevertheless aren't related to one another, despite their similar features and last names. In the first stories they frequently try to arrest Tintin until they eventually realize he's an ally. The bumbling officers have a tendency to fall down, make wrong deductions and imbecilicly echo each other's statements. The second important cast member is the Greek millionaire and criminal mastermind Roberto Rastapopoulos, who'd become Tintin's arch nemesis. 

The Blue Lotus
The actual turning point for the franchise proved to be the sequel: 'Le Lotus Bleu' ('The Blue Lotus', 1934-35). As Hergé prepared the story he met a Chinese college student, Zhang Chongren, who taught him a lot about Chinese culture. Chongren encouraged Hergé to do more research. From that moment on, Hergé prepared his plots better, read every book about the subjects he needed and improved his graphics. Characters now carried the stories, instead of the locations themselves. 'Le Lotus Bleu' was his first masterpiece in that regard. The entire story is an accurate time capsule of China in the mid-1930s, down to its landscapes, culture and language. Hergé even takes the time to mock stereotypical ideas about the Chinese. As a tribute to Chongren, Tintin meets a young Chinese boy, Tchang Tchong-Yen, who becomes his best friend. 'The Blue Lotus' is also notable for directly referencing the Mukden Incident (1931), which had led to the Chinese-Japanese War (1931-1945). At the time some Japanese diplomats in Brussels were outraged over 'The Blue Lotus'. Especially because Chongren had hidden various secret anti-Japanese messages in the Chinese texts in the comic's backgrounds. The diplomats even threatened to complain to the International Court of Justice in The Hague. In China 'The Blue Lotus' naturally had a more positive reception. President Chiang Kai-Shek read the story and invited Hergé over for a visit. Due to circumstances Hergé could only take the offer more than 50 years later, when Kai-Shek had already passed away. He therefore met his widow. Today 'Le Lotus Bleu' is seen as one of the most quintessential 'Tintin' stories. In 1999 French newspaper Le Monde placed it at nr. 18 in their list of 100 Books of the 20th century. The book was not only one of the few comics to make the list, but also the highest ranked of all!

'Tintin' in the late 1930s
All the 'Tintin' stories that followed are classics which gained the franchise its high quality reputation. 'L'Oreille Cassée' ('The Broken Ear', 1935-37) brings Tintin to a fictional South American country to track down an ancient tribal statue. 'L'Île Noire' ('The Black Island', 1937-38) takes place in England and Scotland, where the reporter uncovers a counterfeiters scheme. In 'Le Sceptre d'Ottokar' ('King Ottokar's Sceptre', 1938-39) Tintin travels to the Balkanesque country Syldavia to help the local king recover his royal sceptre. The story also marked the first appearance of the loud and obnoxious opera diva Bianca Castafiore. She usually sings an aria from Charles Gounod's real-life opera 'Faust', namely "Ah, I laugh to see myself so beautiful in this mirror" and can sing so shrill that her voice is able to break glass. 

Style and adult appeal
As Hergé improved his 'Tintin' stories in the early 1930s, he built up a huge fanbase. Not just among children, but also adults. A huge part of the series' appeal can be attributed to the vagueness of the title character. Tintin seems to be a teenager, but could easily be somebody in his early twenties too. Not hindered by parents, bosses or a partner, the quiffed hero can effortlessly go on adventure across the entire world. Any reader can easily project himself into his persona and dream along of being free to go anywhere. Yet it isn’t a safe, consequence-free universe either. Everything is rooted in everyday reality, with no physically impossible scenes. When characters hurt themselves it can be played for laughs, but they still react in pain and are often forced to take care of their injury. Some even die, either by accident, murder or suicide, and regardless whether they are villains or not. This aspect makes the stories far more exciting and unpredictable than most child friendly comics. Even when more fantastical narratives are followed, like the Yeti in 'Tintin in Tibet' (1960) or extra-terrestrial intelligence in 'Vol 714' (1968), it's still done in the most plausible and believable way. Hergé was also a master in depicting nightmare sequences, with the same intensity and surrealism as actual dreams. Much like Walt Disney's animated cartoons, Hergé's comics are sometimes considered too disturbing for young readers. Yet his mature themes are also the very reason why both children and adults enjoy 'Tintin'.

Hergé never talked down to his audience. His genius was that he could craft rather complicated plots and still keep them entertaining. He found a fine balance between humor, tragedy and suspense. At the end of each serialized episode, there is always a nail-biting cliffhanger. Whenever a scene features a lot of exposition or a transition to another location, Hergé made sure that there was always something happening. Either a sudden threat or a comical situation. Many (European) comic artists have taken inspiration from this approach to captivate their audience. The adventures of 'Tintin' are epic in their scope. They also evolved along with the times. Hergé sometimes introduced brand new phenomena in 'Tintin' which still had to make their mark in the rest of the world. In 'The Black Island' (1936), for instance, he already showed a television, which wouldn't become a mass medium until two decades later. 'Destination Moon/ Explorers on the Moon' (1950-1953) shows a scientifically plausible space mission half a decade before the Russians launched their first satellites and rockets. In 'The Castafiore Emerald' (1963) colour television is demonstrated, again long before this became common. Halfway 'Destination Moon' and 'Flight 714 to Sidney' actual technical maps of respectively a moon rocket and a hi-tech aeroplane are spread over two pages to give the plot more believability. 

'Tintin' mirrors most of the 20th-century technological developments, but also major historical events. Hergé's political satire is another reason why adult readers adore his work. 'Tintin in the Land of the Soviets' (1929) satirized the U.S.S.R, while Chicago gangsters are prominent in 'Tintin in America' (1931-1932). The Chinese-Japanese War (1932-1945) forms the background of 'The Blue Lotus' (1934-1935), while the Gran Chaco War (1932-1935) is written into 'The Broken Ear' (1935-1937). The early stages of World War II are referenced in 'King Ottokar's Sceptre' (1938-1939), while 'The Calculus Affair' (1954-1956) tackles the Cold War, both in the guise of the dictatorial state Borduria, a mix between Nazism and Stalinism. Hergé's satirical commentary is often biting. In 'The Broken Ear', for instance, an arms dealer sells weapons to both sides of an upcoming war. In 'Tintin and the Picaros' (1975-1976) South American dictators are portrayed as being merely the same ludicrous tyranny under a different name. 

Quick et Flupke by Herge
'Quick et Flupke'
©Hergé/Moulinsart 2012.

Quick & Flupke
On 23 January 1930 Hergé created 'Quick et Flupke' (1930-1941), his second most famous series. The gag comic features the pranks and blunders of two mischievous boys, Quick (the tall one) and Flupke (the shorter one). The kids frequently run into trouble with meddlesome patrolman Agent 15. In spirit the series is comparable to Rudolph Dirks' 'Der Katzenjammer Kids', but with a more distinct Belgian flavour. All episodes take place in Brussels and even the protagonists' names are dialect variations of the names "Patrick" and "Philip". The series is not only more homely than the globetrotting adventures of 'Tintin': it also provided Hergé with far greater creative freedom. Quick and Flupke can vandalize stuff, trick the strong arm of the law and destroy entire buildings. Some gags border to the surreal, with the kids sometimes dying and ending up in Heaven or Hell. Other punchlines break the fourth wall. In one gag Flupke complains that Hergé keeps drawing him with a scarf, despite the fact that it's summer. In another he beats his creator up for letting him ski against the edge of the page's panel. Other gags are direct political satire. One particular 1934 episode featured the kids imitating Hitler and Mussolini, spoofing the dictators' first meeting in Venice that year. These old shames aside, 'Quick et Flupke' is still a classic and reprinted to this day. It inspired several other Belgian comics series featuring street children battling imbecilic police officers, such as Eugeen Hermans' 'Filipke en de Rakkers' (1933), Willy Vandersteen's 'De Vrolijke Bengels' (1947-1953) and Bob De Moor and Marc Sleen's 'De Lustige Kapoentjes' (1947-1965).

During the 1930s the gag comic was popular enough to be adapted into a radio series, broadcast on Radio Catholique on late Friday afternoons. Between 1940 and 1941 episodes of 'Quick and Flupke' were reprinted in Le Soir Jeunesse, the juvenile supplement of the newspaper Le Soir. After World War II the series made a return in Tintin magazine, where it ran from 1947 until 1953. At this occasion many old episodes were redrawn and colorized, mostly by Bob De Moor. Since Hergé felt the series became too old-fashioned and time-consuming he terminated it permanently in 1953. Despite requests to revive it, the two Brussels street rascals only made a brief comeback after Hergé's death, 30 years later. Bob de Moor's son, Johan De Moor and Johan's collaborator Pjotr oversaw a series of animated TV shorts (1984-1986), produced by Graphoui. They renewed interest in the comics and Johan De Moor was given exclusive permission to draw new 'Quick and Flupke' gags for comic book publication. They were written by Roger Ferrari and often based on the TV episodes. De Moor did his job so well that even fans couldn't tell it wasn't the master's original art. 

'Quick and Flupke' have been translated in Dutch ('Kwik en Flupke', later 'Quick en Flupke'), English, German ('Stupps und Stepke'), Spanish ('Quique y Flupi', in Latin America 'Cuiqui y Flupi'), Portuguese ('Quim e Filipe'), Italian ('Quick e Flupke'), Greek ('Ο Κουκούτσης κι ο Παπούτσης'), Danish, Norwegian, Swedish ('Smecken & Sulan'), Finnish ('Kuikka ja Vili'), Indonesian, Korean, Chinese and Japanese. 

Jo, Zette et Jocko, by Hergé
Jo, Zette et Jocko - 'Le "Manitoba" ne répond plus'.
©Hergé/Moulinsart 2012.

Minor one-shot comics
During the 1930s, Hergé created a few short-lived comics. For the Catholic magazine Mon Avenir he drew two episodes of the gag comic 'Fred et Mile' (1931). The title characters were very similar to 'Quick & Flupke', which might explain why he quickly discontinued it. However, a year later 'Fred et Mile' were revived by a different artist, François Gianolla, who remodelled the series into a full-blown adventure series. It ran until the outbreak of World War II. Some sources have suggested that Hergé may have pressured Gianolla to discontinue the comic, because it was graphically and narratively too similar to his own work. In 1932 Hergé drew the gag comic 'Cet Aimable M. Mops' (November 1932), which was published in the catalogue of the department store Le Bon Marché. It featured a Chaplinesque man in slapstick situations, but only lasted eight episodes. 'Dropsy' (1934) was another commercial comic series, this time drawn for the confectionerie Antoine. It was a text comic, with text underneath the images, about two children, Antoine and Antoinette, their pet dog Splash (who looks like Snowy) and parrot Dropsy. Despite the title, Dropsy the parrot is not the star, just a side character. The title actually refers to the company's chocolate bonbon brand, Dropsy. Antoine and Antoinette have adventures in a magical fantasy world, full with product placement. Stylistically it's a predecessor to Hergé's later series 'Jo, Zette et Jocko' (1936-1939). The same year Hergé also made 'Les Mésaventures de Jef Debakker' (1934), a text comic about a disgruntled baker, made for Briquettes Union. Between 7 and 28 December 1939, Hergé drew the gag comic 'Mr. Bellum' for the Brussels magazine L'Ouest. It features an egg-headed man who looks like a predecessor to Professor Calculus. The gags are very political, since L'Ouest advocated Belgium's neutrality in case of a possible conflict with Hitler. At the time Hitler had already annexed Czechoslovakia and Austria and invaded Poland, which led to war with Poland's ally, the United Kingdom. Tension was in the air and Belgium was already mobilizing. Despite its neutral stance, L'Ouest did criticize Hitler and Mussolini. In 'Mr. Bellum' Hergé poked fun at the crisis and people's fear for a new war. Various gags ridicule Hitler and Mussolini too, making the comic his most outspoken political satire. 

Popol & Virginie
Most of these one-shot comics were essentially throwaway stories for Hergé. Only one story would be reprinted and colorized several times in a row: 'Les Aventures de Tim, l'Écureuil au Far West' (1931), published in the free magazine distributed by the Brussels department store L'Innovation. It is notable for being Hergé's only attempt at a funny animal comic. The plot revolves around a bear couple who move to the Far West. There they are attacked by rabbits who look like Native Americans. Hergé recycled the story later under a different name, 'Les Aventures de Tom et Millie' (1933), published in Pim et Pom, the children's supplement of the weekly Vie Heureuse. It was retitled again as 'Popol et Virginie Chez Les Lapinos' ('Popol out West', 1934), when it appeared in Le Petit Vingtième. Historically it's important as the first Belgian western comic (although both Totor and Tintin had been to the Far West before). Still, this cowboy adventure wasn't a success, which Hergé blamed on the fact that it starred anthropomorphic animals. He nevertheless had it reprinted and colorized in Tintin in 1948. The fact that it never caught on seems to have irritated Hergé. When in 1953 Tibet showed Hergé a first draft of his western comic 'Chick Bill' drawn with funny animals the maestro rejected it and insisted that the characters were changed into humans. 

Jo, Zette et Jocko
The third best-known and longest-running series by Hergé is 'Jo, Zette et Jocko' (1936-1939). It debuted on 19 January 1936 in the French Catholic magazine Coeurs Vaillants, where it would run up until 17 September 1939. In Belgium, around the same time, the series appeared in Le Petit Vingtième. At the request of the conservative editors Hergé made a genuine family comic. The boy Jo and his sister Zette are the protagonists, but their father and mother are also prominent characters. The only unusual aspect is the children's pet chimpanzee Jocko. In spirit, 'Jo, Zette et Jocko' is comparable to 'Tintin'. The children have thrilling, humorous adventures in exotic locations. Jocko the monkey provides comic relief and inner monologues comparable to Tintin's dog Snowy. In total five adventures were drawn, two of which are two-parters. After World War II, 'Jo, Zette et Jocko', was reprinted in Tintin magazine, albeit redrawn and colorized. One story, 'La Vallée des Cobras' ('The Valley of the Cobras'), had been unfinished. When it was reprinted in Tintin magazine between 1953 and 1954, the story was given a proper conclusion. Hergé never really enjoyed 'Jo, Zette et Jocko', because he always had to write the children's worrying parents in the stories. Tintin gave him far more creative freedom, since he could at least do whatever and go wherever he wanted. Nevertheless, 'Jo, Zette et Jocko' has been translated in various languages, including Dutch ('Jo, Suus en Jokko'), English ('Jo, Zette and Jocko'), German ('Jo, Jette und Jocko'), Spanish ('Jo, Zette y Jocko'), Danish ('Mads', Mettes og Sjokos'), Swedish ('Johan, Lotta & Jocko'), Finnish ('Veikko, Tette ja Jykke'), Bengal and Indonesian ('Petualangan Yo, Susi dan Yokko'). 

The Crab with the golden claws by Herge
First meeting between Tintin and Captain Haddock in 'The Crab with the Golden Claws'. (Le Soir Jeunesse, 9 January 1941)
©Hergé/Moulinsart 2012.

World War II
On 10 May 1940 Hitler occupied Belgium. Both Le Vingtième Siècle as well as Le Petit Vingtième were forced to close down, halfway the story 'Tintin au Pays de l'Or Noir' ('Tintin and The Land of Black Gold'), leaving Tintin half buried in the sand during a desert storm. On 10 October of that same year Hergé found employment in the youth supplement of Le Soir: Le Soir-Jeunesse. As chief editor he was responsible for most of the paper's content, together with Jacques van Melkebeke and Paul Jamin. Le Soir-Jeunesse published 'Tintin' and 'Quick & Flupke', but on 23 September 1941 the supplement was discontinued due to paper shortage. 'Tintin' simply continued in Le Soir itself, but 'Quick & Flupke' was dropped. Despite the tensions Hergé crafted some of his most beloved stories during this period. 'Le Crabe aux Pinces d'Or' ('The Crab with the Golden Claws', 1940-41) is a classic thriller set in North Africa, where Tintin first met the recurring villain Allan Thompson (in reprints he would be retroactively added to 'Les Cigares du Pharaon' too). In the same story Tintin's best friend Captain Haddock makes his debut. Haddock is a grumpy, sarcastic sailor who enjoys whiskey and pipe smoking. He was first seen in print on 31 December 1940, complaining to Allan, but Haddock and Tintin officially first met in the episode printed on 9 January 1941. He also has a tendency to curse rather eccentric swear words, such as his catchphrase "Tonnerre de Brest" (freely translated as "Blistering barnacles" in English). Rather than use real vulgar language - which wouldn't have passed the censors - Hergé looked up colourful words in the dictionary, which most people wouldn't understand anyway, such as "ectoplasma" and "bashi-bazouk". Haddock's personality provides a sharp contrast with Tintin's incorruptible goodness. Many readers have therefore named him their favorite character. As Hergé grew older he too identified more with the short-tempered and accident-prone sea captain. 

'L'Étoile Mystérieuse' ('The Shooting Star', 1941-42) captured much of the world war fears, albeit indirectly through a huge meteor which threatens to destroy the world. The two-parter 'Le Secret de la Licorne' ('The Secret of the Unicorn', 1942-43) and 'Le Trésor de Rackham le Rouge' ('Red Rackham's Treasure', 1943), on the other hand, is a far more escapist and innocent adventure story about a hunt for pirate treasure. The storyline also marked the debut of butler Nestor and the genius but stone deaf professor Tournesol (Professor Calculus), as well as Tintin and Haddock's new homebase: Castle Moulinsart (Marlinspike). One of Hergé's colleagues at Le Soir, Jacques van Melkebeke, helped Hergé with some of the plots of the 'Tintin' stories, including two theatrical play adaptations. From 1942 on the duo also rewrote, redrew and colorized older Tintin stories for reprints. Between 1944 and  1947 further graphic and narrative assistance came from Edgar Pierre Jacobs, who also co-wrote most of the plots of 'Les 7 Boules du Crystal' ('The Seven Crystal Balls', 1943-46) and 'Le Temple du Soleil' ('Prisoners of the Sun', 1946-48), another two-parter. The books center around the mysterious comas of seven archeologists, the abduction of professor Tournesol and Tintin and Haddock's eventual journey to Peru.

Le Trésor de Rackham le Rouge
Typical slapstick with Dupond and Dupont, and the introduction of Professeur Tournesol in 'Red Rackham's Treasure', published in Le Soir on 4 and 5 March 1943.
©Hergé/Moulinsart 2012.

Accusations of Nazi collaboration
On 3 September 1944 Brussels was liberated by the Allied Forces. 'The Seven Crystal Bolls' was discontinued on 23 September, as the editorial board of Le Soir was arrested for Nazi collaboration. Hergé spent one night in jail, but was freed again because the procurator "didn't want to make a fool out of himself." While he escaped conviction he was blacklisted and 'Tintin' put on hiatus for two years. To a significant number of people Hergé was morally wrong during the war. It didn't help that he had worked for two pro-Nazi and Fascist newspapers, Le Petit Vingtième and Le Soir, before and during the war. Even in Dutch translation 'Tintin' had run in the pro-Nazi paper Het Laatste Nieuws. Many of Hergé's colleagues had sympathized with the Nazis. One of them, Léon Degrelle, was even founder and head of the Belgian Nazi party REX. Hergé had illustrated a book by Degrelle in 1931, 'Histoire de la Guerre Scolaire' (1931), a subjective look at the history of the so-called "School Wars" in Belgium between the Catholic education system and the secular system. However, their friendship had been strained since 1932, when Degrelle used artwork for a propaganda poster without Hergé's permission. The cartoonist took the case to court and eventually won his case after bitter arguments. In 1941 Hergé illustrated Robert de Vroylande's book 'Fables' (1941), which featured mostly innocent children's stories, except for one racist story about two stingy Jews. In Hergé's defense: he originally left these characters from the cover, but De Vroylande insisted to keep them in. The Tintin story 'The Shooting Star' was also contested, because the main villain, Bohlwinkel, looks like a stereotypical Jewish-American. One very random scene, which only appeared in Le Soir and never in book form, poked fun at two rabbis gloating over the possible end of the world, because they won't have to pay off their debts. All these aspects damaged Hergé's reputation. In 1944 the Belgian resistance movement distributed a small booklet, 'Galerie des Traitres' ('Gallery of the Traitors'), listing all people involved with Le Soir. Hergé was mentioned too and even ridiculed with a parody comic named 'Tintin au Pays des Nazis' ('Tintin in the Land of the Nazis') drawn by an anonymous artist.

Even today Hergé's war past and his motivations are stil a source for heavy debate. Though it must be said that Hergé never joined REX and actively refused to have Tintin be used for political propaganda. In the 1930s he even undeniably poked fun at Hitler and Mussolini in some gags of 'Quick & Flupke' and 'Mr. Bellum'. The Bordurian invading army in 'King Ottokar's Sceptre' is clearly modelled after the Nazis, down to their uniforms and a character named general Müsstler. Several Tintin stories favor multiculturalism, with 'Le Lotus Bleu' (1936) debunking stereotypes about the Chinese, 'Cokes en Stock' ('The Red Sea Sharks', 1956-58) criticizing modern slavery of black Africans and 'Les Bijoux de Bianca Castafiore' ('The Castafiore Emerald', 1961-62) attacking prejudices about Roma people. And even though 'Le Lotus Bleu' has an anti-Japanese tone, a more sympathetic Japanese man plays an important role in the plot of 'The Crab with the Golden Claws'.  

Studio Herge in 1956
Studio Hergé around 1958. From left to right: Bob de Moor, Jo-El Azara, Jacques Martin, Michel Demarets (sitting), Baudouin van den Branden de Reeth, Josette Baujot, Hergé, France Ferrari, Fanny Vlamynck and Alexis Remi (Hergé's father).

Tintin magazine
Because of the accusations of Nazi collaboration, Hergé was unable to publish between September 1944 and 1946. He therefore spent most of his time coordinating the restyling of old 'Tintin' albums from the 1930s. He and his assistants redrew certain stories, changed some scenes and had them colorized. In 1945 Hergé applied for a job at the popular Belgian comic magazine Spirou, but publisher Charles Dupuis refused to be associated with a former Nazi collaborator. In hindsight one can only imagine how this might have changed the course of Belgian comics, because in 1946 Hergé was approached by publisher Raymond Leblanc to launch a comic magazine based on Tintin. Leblanc was a decorated wartime resistance hero and could therefore easily give Hergé his certificate of good citizenship back. Thus, in September 1946, the first issue of Tintin magazine became available, with the first episode of the story 'Le Temple du Soleil' inside. Just like Le Petit Vingtième before, Tintin again became the mascot. But this time the magazine wasn't just a vehicle for Hergé alone. Already in the first issue, artists from Hergé's entourage, Edgar Pierre Jacobs ('Blake et Mortimer'), Paul Cuvelier ('Corentin') and Jacques Laudy ('Hassan et Kaddour'), were given the chance to launch their own comic series. In the decades that followed, many other post-war Franco-Belgian comic artists would debut in the magazine's pages. Most were realistic in both content as well as illustrations. They followed Hergé's 'Clear Line' style and spent a lot of time and research to achieve a high degree of craftmanship. This made Tintin the main rival of Spirou and the perfect counterweight to this magazine's more cartoony, loosely drawn comics, drawn in another uniform style, nicknamed "the School of Marcinelle". Though it should also be mentioned that both Tintin and Spirou also featured comic series which didn't really match their official house style. And their rivalry was always good-natured, with both magazines respecting each other. Raymond Leblanc founded a special publishing company, Lombard, to distribute both Tintin magazine as well as albums based on series prepublished in its pages. Only Hergé's albums were published by Casterman. Tintin magazine was also translated and launched in other countries and/or languages. 

From 1946 until 1958 Hergé was creative advisor and held tight control over the magazine's content. During this period he and his assistants designed original artwork for covers, columns and official merchandising in the magazine's pages. Hergé forced new artists to follow his graphic and narrative standards. Gradually his involvement would diminish. Raymond Leblanc felt the maestro was too unreliable. Sometimes Hergé suffered nervous breakdowns which left the magazine without new material by its founder for months. All that time he was often unavailable until he had recovered. Hergé also let his personal taste intervene too much. Certain series in Tintin which later turned out to be very succesful, were originally staunchly rejected by him. Hergé, for instance, didn't like cartoony comics in "his" magazine. But under pressure of Leblanc and more visionary people in the editorial board he eventually had to accept this new direction. This too motivated him to refrain from direct involvement with Tintin magazine from 1958 on. 

Studio Hergé
As early as the 1930s Hergé's workload increased to such a degree that other artists were brought in to supply Le Petit Vingtième with additional comics and illustration work. Jean Vermeire (Jiv), Eugène van Nijverseel (Evany) and Paul Jamin (Jam) were Hergé's first co-workers. During World War II, while drawing comics for Le Soir Jeunesse and Le Soir, his colleague Jacques van Melkebeke wrote some plots for 'Tintin' stories.  From 1942 on the duo also rewrote, redrew and colorized older Tintin stories for reprints and album publications. Van Melkebeke was additionally the scriptwriter behind two theatrical plays based on 'Tintin'. Between 1944 and 1947 further graphic and narrative assistance came from Edgar Pierre Jacobs, especially regarding the plots of 'Les 7 Boules du Crystal' ('The Seven Crystal Bolls') and 'Le Temple du Soleil' ('Prisoners of the Sun', 1946-1948). But after Jacobs eventually left his collaboration with Hergé, since he wasn't given any credit for his contributions. And Van Melkebeke served jail time for being a Nazi collaborator who evaded his arrest for two years. 

So by 1950 Hergé basically had to rebuild his entourage from scratch. This time he founded a professional studio: Studio Hergé. His crew continued redrawing, restyling, shortening, altering and colorizing past comics. But they also assisted Hergé on his newer stories, which eventually boiled down to just his main series 'Tintin'. Since both Tintin magazine and associated merchandising around Hergé's characters required a lot of additional artwork, the studio worked on these projects too. And when Tintin's chief editor Raymond Leblanc established his own animation studio Belvision, members of Studio Hergé had even more work to do. Both Hergé and Tintin magazine now had a certain reputation to maintain. As a result Hergé became very demanding to his co-workers. They sometimes worked months, even years, on new 'Tintin' stories. Certain pages were already fully sketched out when Hergé suddenly felt the plotline or lay-out could be improved and started over again. He and his crew gathered a lot of documentation and sketched out every pose or background. Hergé even organized excursions and travels so he and/or his assistants could go out make atmospheric drawings on location. For certain albums, for instance, Bob de Moor, went to Switzerland ('The Calculus Affair') and Great Britain (the redrawn version of 'The Black Island'), just to make sketches. Although his studio members did most of the work and sometimes suggested ideas and gags, Hergé never credited them. In an interview he compared himself to Walt Disney, who did the same "and of whom the general public also knows that he had a large studio behind him." 

Studio Hergé had a loyal group of contributors. Artists like Bob de MoorGuy Dessicy and Franz Jagueneau were his first assistants, while Josette Baujot, France Ferrari and Fanny Vlamynck (later Hergé's second wife) served as colorists. Dessicy left in 1953 to focus on advertising art instead. In 1954 Jo-El Azara and Jacques Martin joined in. Martin brought along his own assistants Roger Leloup and Michel Demarets. Azara left in 1961 and Leloup in 1969, both to focus on their own comic series. Martin called it quits in 1972, so he could launch his own studio. The only newcomers since were Bob de Moor's son, Johan De Moor in 1982, and Pierre Gay in 1984. The studio ceased to be in 1986. 

Mannen op de maan by Herge
The world's second most famous moon landing. 'On A Marché Sur La Lune'. (1953).
©Hergé/Moulinsart 2012

Tintin from the late 1940s until the late 1950s
After the conclusion of 'Le Temple du Soleil' Hergé decided to rework his unfinished pre-war story 'Tintin au Pays Noir' ('Land of Black Gold', 1948-50). The original 1939-1940 story was set in Palestina. The new version was drastically rewritten, redrawn and given a proper ending. Yet in 1971-1972 the entire story went through another makeover under pressure of British publishers, who asked for the removal to all references to their former colony Palestina. Hergé therefore set the plot in a fictional Middle Eastern country instead and modernized the artwork. With the two-parter 'Objectif Lune' ('Destination Moon', 1950-52) and 'On A Marché Sur La Lune' ('Explorers on the Moon', 1952-53) Tintin experienced his most epic adventure yet, going straight to the moon. The story is notable for being a scientificially accurate depiction of space travel years before the actual space age began and a decade and a half before Neil Armstrong actually set foot on the moon. 'L'Affaire Tournesol' ('The Calculus Affair', 1954-56) is a Cold War thriller revolving around professor Tournesol's kidnapping. The story also marked the debut of the final major cast member Séraphin Lampion (Jolyon Wagg). This obnoxious jolly neighbour would invite himself over to Haddock's castle multiple times, much to the captain's annoyance. A similar running gag was introduced in this album too, namely Boucherie Sanzot (Cutts the Butcher) to whom a lot of people make a phone call, but rarely reach the right number.  'Coke en Stock' ('The Red Sea Sharks', 1956-58) delved into the theme of modern slave trade.

Global bestseller
As early as the mid-1930s Le Vingtième Siècle had published Hergé's comics in book form, though in 1934 the Tournay-based publisher Casterman gained the rights. This opened the doors for translations. By the late 1930s 'Tintin' could be read in France in Coeurs Vaillants, in Switzerland in L'Écho Illustré, in Portugal in O Papagaio and in Flanders in Het Laatste Nieuws. When Tintin became a magazine in 1946 the books conquered the globe as one of the bestselling European (and Belgian) comics of all time, a record which still stands. The franchise found millions of fans in unexpected places such as Latin America, Congo, Turkey, Iran, India, China and Australia. In most languages Tintin's name is the same, or something that sounds like it, like 'Tintim' (Portuguese), 'Tantan' (Persian, Russian), 'Tenten' (Greek, Turkish) or 'Tim' (German), Only in Dutch he is known under the vastly different name 'Kuifje' since 1943, referring to his little quiff. In Afrikaans he is known as 'Kuifie'. 

Celebrity fans
The franchise gathered some notable celebrity fans as well, such as actors Raima Sen, novelists Vikram Seth, Philip Pullman, race car driver Jackie Stewart, vulcanologist Haroun Tazieff  and film directors Alain Resnais, Satyajit Ray, Wim Wenders, Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg. Spielberg had discovered the comic strip when a French film review compared 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' (1981) with the atmosphere of 'Tintin'. Spielberg liked it so much that he modelled the mood of his later 'Indiana Jones' movies more after 'Tintin'. In 2011 he and Peter Jackson even made an animated film adaptation of 'Tintin'. French president Charles De Gaulle once claimed that Tintin was his "only international rival". British Prime Minister Boris Johnson read 'Tintin' both in French as well as English: in 2020, when recovering from a corona attack, he was photographed with some copies of 'The Blue Lotus' in French in his car. Balthus, Alberto Giacometti, Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein named Hergé a huge influence on their style. An image of Tintin reading a newspaper from 'The Broken Ear' inspired Lichtenstein's painting 'Tintin Reading' (1993). Warhol met Hergé in 1972 and honored him five years later by making a silkscreen painting depicting Hergé's face rather than Tintin's. In 1987 painter Keith Haring illustrated the cover of the homage book 'Nous, Tintin' (1987). 

Hergé, by Andy Warhol
'Hergé', by Andy Warhol.

Media adaptations
Naturally, various media adaptations couldn't stay behind. Already during World War II a theatrical play was created around the franchise, followed by a 1947 puppet film based on 'The Crab with the Golden Claws'. The Belgian animation company Belvision created an animated TV series (1958-1962) directed by Ray Goossens and two animated feature films, 'Le Temple du Soleil' ('Tintin and the Temple of the Sun', 1969, directed by Willy Lateste) and 'Tintin au Laq du Requins' ('Tintin and the Lake of Sharks', 1972, directed by Raymond Leblanc), the latter based on an original script by Greg. Two live-action films, 'Tintin et le Mystère de la Toison d'Or' ('Tintin and the Golden Fleece', 1961) and 'Tintin et Les Oranges Bleues' ('Tintin and the Blue Oranges', 1964) starring sports instructor Jean-Pierre Talbot as Tintin, were also created, as well as a CGI Hollywood production, 'The Adventures of Tintin: the Secret of the Unicorn' (2011) by Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson. By the far the finest audiovisual adaptation is the 1991-1992 animated TV series by Ellipse/Nelvana, fondly remembered for its epic soundtrack by composers Ray Parker, Jim Morgan and Tom Szcesniak. Of all 'Tintin'-based works it arguably does Hergé's overall style the most justice by remaining faithful to both plots and artwork.

The Belgitude of Hergé
Tintin's global success is remarkable for a comic strip from such a tiny country. Yet Hergé removed all regional aspects and had the quiffed reporter travel to all corners of the Earth instead. The fact that all countries are depicted with the greatest attention to geographic authenticity might also explain Tintin's international appeal. And still there is a very distinctive Belgian - or better said Brussels - atmosphere in Hergé's comics. Many backgrounds are recognizable as streets in the Belgian capital and/or the Antwerp harbour. Three artificial languages in 'Tintin', namely Syldavian, Bordurian and Arumbayan, are bastardizations of a local Flemish dialect spoken in the Brussels neighbourhood De Marollen. Hergé's mother and grandmother were Flemish and he remembered many phrases, which he used in the dialogues. Other traces of this dialect can be found in names of locations (Khemed, Wadesdah, ...) and characters (Bab El Ehr, Ezdanitoff, Krollspell, ...). The royal palace in 'Le Sceptre d'Ottokar' is modelled after the Belgian one, while certain museum objects in 'L'Oreille Cassée' can also be found in the Brussels Ethnographic museum. Last but not least, when one translates the Chinese handwriting on the envelope Tintin receives in 'Tintin au Tibet' it reads 'Brussels' as his home address. It's no exaggeration that Tintin is arguably the most recognizable Belgian in the world, even though he is just as fictional as that other universal Belgian celebrity: Hercule Poirot. Unsurprisingly, Hergé was the highest ranking comic artist in "The Greatest Belgian" (2005) election and the only one to make the list of 100 nominees on both language borders. In the Flemish version he came in at the 24th place, in the Walloon version at n° 8. 

Tintin au Tibet, by Hergé
'Tintin au Tibet' (1959, sequence unpublished in album).
©Hergé/Moulinsart 2012.

Tintin in Tibet and personal issues
While Hergé's fame and wealth rose his personal life was less idyllic. Being in charge of his studio and his own magazine caused a lot of stress. Some prepublications of new 'Tintin' stories were suddenly interrupted for months, while Hergé recovered from mental breakdowns. In 1956 Hergé fell in love with another woman, but only finalized his divorce and remarriage in 1977. If that weren't enough he also suffered from recurring nightmares. Amidst all this anxiety he desperately wanted to meet his old friend Chang Chongren again, with whom he had lost touch since 1934. As a form of therapy he created 'Tintin au Tibet' ('Tintin in Tibet', 1958-59), in which Tintin travels to the Himalaya in the hope of finding his friend Tchang from 'Le Lotus Bleu' again. The story is the artist's most personal work. There are few action-packed scenes, no villains and aside from Tintin, Haddock and Snowy other cast members play no major parts. With its white landscapes and focus on friendship it's a masterpiece of minimalism and heart-felt emotion. In a case of art imitates life Hergé would eventually meet Chongren again in real life, though only in 1981 in a widely mediatized reunion in Brussels.

Final years and breaks in style 
'Tintin au Tibet' relieved Hergé from his nightmares but also caused writer's block. He felt he had reached his artistic high point and wanted to retire. Most time went to redrawing and updating older albums (with 'The Black Island' and 'Land of Black Gold' undergoing the most changes). Production of new stories slowed down and Hergé started experimenting, which fans didn't always appreciate. The boldest example is 'Les Bijoux de la Castafiore' ('The Castafiore Emerald', 1963), in which Castafiore's jewels are stolen. The entire plot takes place at one and the same location, Moulinsart, and tested how long readers could be kept at the edge of their seat with seemingly banal events. It's therefore a very polarizing story in the series, though admired for its audacity. Hergé also moved away from his earlier naïve idealism. Characters became less easier to define as 'good' or 'bad', such as the guilt-ridden Frank Wolff ('On a Marché Sur La Lune', 1953-1954) and the vain Lazlo Carreidas ('Vol 714 Pour Sidney', 1966-1967). Even the main cast wasn't safe. In 'Vol 714' ('Flight 714 to Sydney') Rastapopoulos and Allan Thompson are ridiculed to the extent that the reader pities them. In 'Tintin et les Picaros' ('Tintin and the Picaros', 1975-76) Tintin suddenly wears jeans instead of his trademark tan pants, practices yoga and is less keen on travelling anymore. Haddock gets a distaste for alcohol, butler Nestor is caught listening at the door and the ending is remarkably cynical. Readers naturally didn't react well to this trolling. 'Vol 714' still was an action-packed adventure, but 'Tintin et les Picaros' felt as if Hergé was getting tired. Rumours that his assistant Bob De Moor did most of the drawing in the final decades were hard to suppress. 

Death and posthumous events
When Hergé passed away from leukemia in 1983, his death made headlines all over the world. Numerous cartoonists and magazines paid tribute to the maestro and his work. Already during his lifetime Hergé had made clear that his series would die with him. Since there was still an unfinished 'Tintin' story in sketch form, 'Tintin et L'Alph-Art', people speculated whether Bob de Moor would be allowed to at least complete it. While De Moor was eager to do so, Hergé's widow, Fanny Rémi, eventually vetoed the idea. 'Tintin et L'Alph-Art' did receive an album release in 1986, though, but presented as the sketches Hergé left behind. A description of the images and dialogue was added, so readers could better follow Hergé's line of thought. Naturally this couldn't prevent some crafty comic artists, like Ramó Nash, Yves Rodier and Régric, to publish bootleg versions of the story, where they completed the artwork and the plot in Hergé's style. In 2004 more pages of Hergé's work-in-progress turned up, leading to an official updated re-release of 'Tintin et l'Alph-Art'.

'Quick et Flupke', on the other hand, did see two official new albums. De Moor's son, Johan de Moor - who worked on the 1984-1986 animated TV shorts based on the two boys - was allowed to create some new gags with the duo in Hergé's style. He did this so well that few noticed the difference. Other than this rare exception, Hergé's work remains discontinued. Contrary to what many expected, it hasn't vanished into obscurity, though. The albums are still global bestsellers and Hergé's oeuvre still influences newer generations of comic artists. Original copies of Hergé's artwork keep breaking record sales at auctions. Studio Hergé was disbanded in 1986. A year later, his widow Fanny Rémi established the Hergé Foundation, renamed Moulinsart S.A. in 1996, to safeguard her late husband's legacy. Hergé's death unfortunately also meant death bells for Tintin magazine. By 1993 it went bankrupt and was discontinued. 

'Red Rackham's Treasure'.
©Hergé/Moulinsart 2012.

Graphic contributions
Throughout the 1920s and 1930s Hergé made many advertising illustrations for companies such as L'Innovation, D.R.U., Victoria biscuits and Casterman, who'd eventually become his publisher. From the 1940s on most of his commercial assignments focused on Tintin-related merchandise. He illustrated a few books throughout his career too. In some cases only the cover and the lettering, like his friend Jacques van Melkebeke's book 'Imageries Bruxelloises' (1943). In other publications Hergé livened up more pages, among them Maurice Schmitz' 'Mile' (1928), Raymond De Becker's 'Le Christ, Roi des Affaires' (1929), Léon Degrelle's 'Histoire de la Guerre Scolaire' (1931), Paul Werrie's 'La Légende d'Albert Ier, Roi des Belges' (1935), R.A. Hédoin's 'L'Oiseau de France' series (1934-1938), Jeanne Cappe's 'Astrid, La Reine au Sourire' (1935) and Robert de Vroylande's 'Fables' (1941). Hergé provided the foreword to Pierre Pelot's 'Dylan Stark 13: Le Tombeau de Satan' (1969) and to a reprint of H.G. Wells' 'War of the Worlds' in 1973, illustrated by his colleague Edgar P. Jacobs. He also penned the foreword to a 1982 reprint of 'Fables de la Fontaine' by one of his main influences, Benjamin Rabier. Hergé was one of several Belgian comic artists to make a contribution to the book 'Il était une fois... Les Belges'/' Er waren eens... Belgen' (1980), a collection of columns and comic pages published at the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Belgium. While his colleagues all published a comic book page inside the book, he was the cover artist.

Already during his lifetime Hergé received various honours and awards such as the Adamson Award (1971), Yellow Kid Award (1972), the Grand Prix Saint Michel (1973) and a special Mickey Mouse statue (17 January 1979) donated by the Walt Disney Company to celebrate Tintin's then 50th birthday. In 1978 Hergé was knighted as an Officer in the Order of Leopold II. Posthumously he was inducted in the Harvey Award (1999) and Eisner Award (2003) Hall of Fame and bestowed with the International Campaign for Tibet's Light and Truth Award (2006) by the Dalai Lama himself. In 1953 Hergé had an asteroid named after him, an honour two of his characters, namely Bianca Castafiore (1950) and professor Calculus (2004), received as well. In 1982 there was also a dwarf planet named after Hergé.

A huge part of Belgian tourism still uses Tintin in its merchandise. On 1 October 1979 Nat Neujean designed a statue of Tintin and Snowy, erected in Uccle and since 2011 relocated in Sablon. In 1985 Tom Frantzen made a statue named 'De Vaartkapoen', located near the Place Sainctelette/Saincteletteplein in St. Jans-Molenbeek/ Molenbeek-Saint-Jean in Brussels, which depicts Agent 15 from 'Quick en Flupke', being tripped over by a sneaky boy in a manhole. As part of the Brussels' Comic Book Route Quick & Flupke received their own comic book mural on 17 August 1995, in the Rue Haute/ Hoogstraat 191, while since 20 July 2005 Tintin's mural can be seen in the Rue l'Eteuve/ Stoofstraat in Brussels, not far from Manneken Pis. In 1988 a huge 'Tintin' fresco was revealed in the Brussels metro station and since January 2007 a drawing from 'Tintin in America'  can be seen in the hall of the South Station in Brussels. The Belgian Comics Center in Brussels also uses Tintin's quiff in a speech balloon as its official logo. Hergé is naturally one of the select few Belgian comic pioneers to be part of their permanent exhibition. Since 25 May 2009 the Hergé Museum can be visited in Louvain-la-Neuve. A decade later, on 22 May 2019, a bronze statue of Hergé was erected nearby the museum, sculpted by Tom Frantzen. A few days later, on 29 May 2019, a bust of Hergé, created by Nat Neujean, was revealed at the Place Theux in his birth place Etterbeek. Apart from the many monuments erected in Belgium there are also streets named after Tintin and Snowy in the Dutch city Almere, as part of the local "Comics Heroes" district. In Ottignies, Belgium, and Angoulême, France, there is an actual Hergé street. 

Since Hergé is such an universal icon it comes to no surprise that his oeuvre has frequently been homaged. Among the three most notable official tribute  books have been the special 'Spécial Hergé: Vive Tintin!' (April 1983), released by comic magazine À Suivre, with homages by all their respective cartoonists. A version by their Dutch-language sister magazine Wordt Vervolgd was published simultaneously. In 1984 a special exhibition was held in Barcelona honoring Hergé's work. The catalogue 'Tintin in Barcelona' showed several graphic tributes made by painters as well as cartoonists. Two other books, 'Nous, Tintin' (1987) and 'Fétiche Arumbaya' (1991), also featured homages by international artists. 

Like any popular franchise 'Tintin' hasn't been immune for parodies, pastiches or downright plagiarism. Disney comics aside, it may very well be the most spoofed comics series of all time! Alain-Jacques Tornare even managed to publish an entire book about the phenomenon: 'Tint'interdit - Pastiches et Parodies' (Éditions de Penthes, 2014). In 1962 Wolinski created the subversive spoof 'Tintin Pour Les Dames' in Hara-Kiri (nowadays Charlie Hebdo), while Roger Brunel drew another sex parody: 'Tientien en Bordélie' in his book 'Pastiches' (1981) and Jan Bucquoy made 'La Vie Sexuelle de Tintin' (1982). Apart from the unavoidable porn parodies Tintin is also a favorite subject for political satire, such as various episodes in Le Canard Enchaîné by J. Lap, Grum and André Escaro in the 1960s, Jo Dustin's 1980 comic strip about Belgium's 150th anniversary, Jan Bucquoy and D'Arcosta's provocative 'Kuifje in Holland' (1983), the anonymous 'Kuifje in El Salvador' (1984), Fred Graver's National Lampoon parody 'Tintin in Lebanon' (1984) and J. Daniels' 'Breaking Free' (1988). Clever stylistic satires are Exem's 'Le Jumeau Maléfique' (1984) and 'Zinzin Maître du Monde' (1985). Since there are only 23 available 'Tintin' titles many cartoonists have created "new" comic books. Some merely make album covers, others draw entire stories to go with them. In the Internet era, the cover illustrations for 'Tintin' adventures "that could have been" by the Canadian Harry Edwood have become fan favorites. Jean-François Bournazel made the odd crossover 'Tintin contre Batman' (1995). And then there are the numerous anonymous illegal Turkish, Laotian, Vietnamese, Malaysian and Chinese comics which depict the quiffed reporter in utterly bizarre and uncharacteristic adventures.

Most of these parodies would probably have remained obscure curiosities if it weren't for the fact that Hergé's widow Fanny Vlamynck and her husband, lawyer Nick Rodwell, actively hunt them down, giving them more publicity. Hergé's estate has fined and banned spoof albums like Filip Denis' 'Tintin en Suisse' (1976), Jan Bucquoy's 'La Vie Sexuelle de Tintin' (1982), Baudouin de Duve's 'Tintin in Thailand' (1999) and Pascal Somon's unofficial 'Tintin' homages (2019), though sometimes limited to just Belgium and France. On 8 March 2021 artist Xavier Marabout, who makes parody paintings mixing famous comic characters like Tintin with iconic artworks, was also officially sued. Even the novels 'Saint-Tin et son ami Lou' (2008-2016) by Gordon Zola, Bob Garcia and Pauline Bonnefoi weren't safe, because the characters and covers imitate classic Tintin stories. Their controversial copyright claims are so notorious that at the opening day of the Hergé Museum Rodwell even prevented the press from taking photographs inside the building "so unauthorized photographs wouldn't surface on the Internet." So far, Didier Savard's 'Objectif Monde' (1999) has been the only 'Tintin' parody comic released with official permission of Moulinsart. 

Legacy and influence
Hergé is still widely regarded as the most influential Belgian and European comic artist in the world. His name has become an eponym, "Hergéan", while the terms "Clear Line" and "Tintin trousers" (another name for plusfours) entered our everyday language. Several album covers and individual scenes rank among the most iconic moments in comic history. From Haddock's pirate story ('Secret of the Unicorn'), over Tintin jumping out of a disconnected train wagon ('Prisoners of the Sun') to the red checkered moon rocket ('Destination Moon', 'Explorers On The Moon'). Countless books, articles, essays and documentaries have been devoted to his work. Much has been written about the art, narratives, characters, politics, geographic locations, language, psychology, dream sequences, cars, ships, even Haddock's eccentric swear words! There have been pop bands from Australia (Tin Tin), the UK (Tintin, the Thompson Twins) and the Netherlands (Slagerij van Kampen - the Dutch name of Butcher Cutts) named after characters from the series. On 3 February 1999 Dominique Bussereau organized an official debate in the Assemblée Nationale in Paris to determine whether 'Tintin' was right-wing or left-wing in nature, but couldn't reach a determined conclusion. 

In Belgium alone Hergé influenced François GianollaEdgar P. Jacobs, Jijé, Bob De Moor, Johan De Moor, André Franquin, Victor Hubinon, Paul Cuvelier, François Craenhals, Roger Leloup, Maurice Tillieux, Tibet, Pom, Willy Vandersteen, Jef Nys, Marc Sleen, François Schuiten, Hermann, Ever Meulen, Didier ComèsErwin DrèzeConz and Merho. In France he inspired Jacques Martin, Albert Uderzo, Claire Brétecher, Stanislas, Dupuy & Berberian, Yves Chaland, François Bel, Kent Hutchinson, Ted Benoit, Moebius and Jacques Tardi. Dutch followers can be spotted in the work of J.H. Koeleman, Joost Swarte, Joost VeerkampTheo Van Den Boogaard, Mark Smeets, Henk Kuijpers, Martin Lodewijk, Dick Briel, Eric Heuvel, Gerrit de JagerRobert van der Kroft and Peter Van Dongen. In Germany we have Nora Krug, while Swiss fans are Cosey and Daniel Ceppi. Spanish followers are Josep Maria MadorellDavid Sanchez and Jorge Arnanz, while in Italy we have Hugo Pratt. Among British followers we find Stewart Kenneth Moore. In the USA Hergé counts Gary Panter, Josh Neufeld, Rodolfo Damaggio, Robert Storr, Rick Tulka, Terry GilliamCharles Burns, Richard SalaPeter Blegvad, Alison Bechdel, Phoebe Glockner, Daniel Clowes, Jason Lewes and Chris Ware among his disciples. Canadian Hergé fans are Robert JulienSeth and Bernie Mireault. In Chile we find Themo Lobos, in Argentina Guillermo Mordillo, in Sweden Ola Skögang, in Congo Mongo Sisé, in Australia Gary Chaloner and in New Zealand Clayton Noone

Books about Hergé
Philippe Goddin counts as the leading expert on Hergé's oeuvre, and served as general secretary of the Fondation Hergé from 1989 to 1999. Among the many books he wrote about the artist and his creations are 'Hergé and Tintin, Reporters' (1987), the biography 'Hergé: Lignes de Vie' (2007) and most notably the seven-volume retrospective 'Hergé - Chronologie d'une Oeuvre' ('Hergé - Chronology of his work', 2000-2011). Benoît Peeters has also written several interesting books about the artist. His biography 'Hergé, Fils de Tintin' was published in 2002, and his book 'Le Monde d'Hergé' (2004) is an excellent effort to put Hergé and his work in context. Equally recommended is Pierre Assouline's biography 'Hergé' (1996). In perhaps the most fitting tribute, Stanislas, Fromental and Bocquet adapted Hergé's life into a comic book: 'Les Aventures de Hergé' (1991).

Prisoners of the Sun by Hergé
Cover drawing for Tintin issue #3, 1947 ©Hergé/Moulinsart 2012.

The Official Tintin website (English, French, Japanese)
Daniel Bellier's site with many scans of historical material (in French)
Kuifje in Lambiek's Stripgeschiedenis (in Dutch)
Kuifje fan club (in Dutch)

Series and books by Hergé in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:


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