Albums, Cigars of the Pharaoh, Herge, Moulinsart

When I first read the news story I thought it was a joke. But as sure as today’s October 21st, not April 1st, these news come in all seriousness. Casterman and Moulinsart plan on creating one more Tintin album, and its release date is set for 2052. Wait, what?

But how? Why? Whatever happened to respecting Hergé’s wishes that nobody continue with the series? Well, I’ll post the article straight from Le Soir (or rather…from Le Soir through Google Translate. I’ve edited parts for clarity only, since I don’t know too much French, but, only at times, I know a little more than Google).  I didn’t fix everything, and some of the verb tenses are hard to straighten out, but you guys are smart…You’ll get the point.

 

In an exclusive interview with the Paris daily “Le Soir” and “The World” with Charlotte Gallimard, new director of Casterman and Mouchart Benedict, the new editorial director of the Franco-Belgian publishing house, Nick Rodwell, the head of Moulinsart, unleashed a scoop.In 2052, Casterman will be allowed to publish a new Tintin adventure, a year before Hergé’s work falls into the public domain.Nick Rodwell said that the mission of the heirs of the master of the clear line is to “protect and promote” his work. With this in mind, a new album will be the only way for him to prevent Bashibazoucks from making Tintin into everything and anything, 70 years after the author’s death.

During the meeting, Benedict and Charlotte Gallimard Mouchart also revealed the signing of a sponsorship agreement of the Hergé Museum in Louvain-la-Neuve and the publishing  next year of the “Secrets of Cigars of the Pharaoh ” by Casterman. This album celebrates 80 years of presence in the catalog Tintin Casterman. He will tell in pictures redesigned by Hergé Studios adventure published in black and white in 1934 to create the color album that we know today. Finally, Moulinsart and Casterman are also considering making a movie or a cartoon Jo Zette.

I’ll be honest, Tintinologists. I have very mixed feelings about this, but they are turning more and more negative the more I think about it.  Hergé didn’t want anybody making more Tintin albums. Tintin was his child, and for many years, Tintin literally took over the man’s life. To continue the series, especially so many years after his death, and still consider it official is really a bizarre and kind of uncomfortable idea. I agree with their intentions: I don’t want counterfeit Tintin’s to sprout up and turn Tintin into “everything and anything” either. But really, if that happens after whenever Tintin would become public domain, who does that really harm?

Such publications would fool nobody, especially 70 years after Hergé’s death. And honestly, as much as Moulinsart and whoever else wants to stop it, people already make Tintin into everything and anything. They just don’t easily get away with selling it. And while sure, some cases are “Tintin and Thailand”, many others are just innocent fan art. But nobody’s trying to say that those are official, “canonical” Tintin albums.

But Casterman and Moulinsart have everything to lose financially if they can no longer control who sells and markets Tintin. So in an effort to protect Hergé’s last wishes, they actually have to break them.

What I fear is that this may not become just “one extra album.” Fans will want more. Kids will want more. Compared with other comic books, 24 albums is a small number of adventures. And if the moneymakers can break the rules once, they may just break them again. I can just hear people ask, “After all the work it will take to produce that one super special album, why not take advantage of whoever creates it and let him make a few more?”

But for better or for worse, a lot can happen in forty years. Forty years ago Hergé was still making Tintin albums! What do you think, fans? Is this a good idea? Should we just wait it out and see? I wouldn’t expect too much news on this for a long, long time.

On the plus side, I think a Jo, Zette and Jocko movie would actually be a really good idea.

Sources:http://www.lesoir.be/344210/article/culture/livres/2013-10-21/un-sponsor-pour-musee-herge-et-un-nouvel-album-pour-tintin

Herge, Moulinsart, Tintin, Tintin Merchandise

I found this on one of the Tintin Facebook fan pages. Apparently a Porsche decorated with Tintin and Snowy on the side one first place in a race in the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia 2012! It seems only appropriate, with Hergé’s love of cars and putting them in his albums, for Tintin to actually be on the side of a modern race car.

This leads to the inevitable question: what was Tintin doing on the side of a Porsche in Asia? And some of us familiar with Moulinsart might also ask: how did Moulinsart ever allow this? Relax. They didn’t just put it on the side of the car’s door because Tintin and Snowy look cool there (though they DO look cool there). Like most every other sticker on race cars, it’s an advertisement from a sponsor. To be precise, an advertisement for the Tintin shop in Singapore.  To me, it’s interesting that the shop felt it worthwhile to advertise their store (and it’s website) in these races, as it must have been rather expensive (not they don’t have the money). But I’m glad they did, and I’m very glad the car one.

Source: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150930090251500&set=a.327760841499.163752.12936316499&type=1&theater

Herge, Tintin, Tintin Magazine, Tintin on the Net

In a recent comment Thierry has pointed out to me the coolest site I have found in months: http://lejournaldetintin.free.fr. I’m not sure if it’s entirely complete, but from what I can tell the site has a scan of pretty much every Tintin Magazine issue that ever came out from 1948 to 1988! I have not been fortunate enough to ever get any of these and rarely even have the opportunity to buy a used one (they are very expensive now), and sometimes it bugs me because I love Tintin so much and don’t want there to be great drawings of him out there I haven’t seen simply because they aren’t in any published albums.  This site has solved that problem, and for that, Thierry, I am extremely grateful.

While you’re free to check the site out yourself, I plan to post an interesting or humorous cover picture from somewhere on the site every Monday. I imagine the covers are Moulinsart’s property, so full ownership credit is to be given to them. Usually, Tintinology is extremely wary of posting any official Hergé art on the site. Nonetheless, these photos, to my knowledge, are not commercially available (unless reproduced in a commentary, companion book, etc) so Moulinsart is no longer making money off of them. Anyway, all of the photos come from the site I previously mentioned. I’m just copying the images. All I’m trying to do is make some Tintin fans’ gloomy Mondays a little brighter.

As far as I can tell, the caption says (more or less) ”Tintin is one year old, and he will continue to grow.”

Journal de TINTIN édition Française N° 53 du 27 Octobre 1949

Here’s the first of those to come, the cover of the October 27th, 1949, issue, when Tintin magazine turned one year old. I love the concept of a one-year-old Tintin, with his hair exactly the same way he has it years later! I heard one movie critic contrast Haddock’s character physically with Tintin’s ”baby face,” and while Tintin´s face honestly didn’t bother me, I guess it is true that Tintin’s face does pretty well as a baby and, dare I say it, even looks kind of cute. I also love the ”angelic Thompsons” (with strangely tiny heads) who, despite not really having legs, still have their canes hanging from their arms. While the drawing is clearly chronologically inconsistent (it’s a cover, it doesn’t have to be),  Snowy is still the one drinking from a bottle and Haddock has a huge bottle of Whiskey stuck in his back pocket. I’m not quite sure why the cradle was so pink…and i’m really not sure what’s up with the creepy little devil in the bottom right corner. I guess Evil can’t triumph over Tintin?

Source: http://lejournaldetintin.free.fr/affiche.php?action=detail&asso=2&annee=1949&numero=53&menu=10&menu_id=42

 

 

Andy Serkis, Bianca Castafioe, Captain Haddock, Daniel Craig, Herge, Jamie Bell, Nick Frost, Paramount, Peter Jackson, Reviews, Simon Pegg, Snowy, Steven Spielberg, The Crab with the Golden Claws, The Secret of the Unicorn, Thomson & Thompson, Tintin, Tintin Movie Cast & Crew, Tintin Movie News, Uncategorized

For those of you who may have found this through google or some other way and are not a regular follower of this site, I can assure you that while you will find many, many reviews of ”The Adventures of Tintin” on the internet, you will find very few written by somebody who has been an avid Tintin fan for years to the extent that he has been following every last piece of information available about the progress of this movie since it was first announced almost five years ago that Spielberg was going to pick up his old project and finally make a Tintin movie. Here you will find two such reviews. One is Chris’ review, the guy who started this blog and wrote everything until his schedule got busy and allowed me to write posts. Shortly after the movie premiered over in Europe he wrote a great review for both the Tintin fan and the man who’s never heard of him until now alike. I recommend you check it out here

The other such review of course is mine. I’m probably the biggest American Tintin fan you’ll ever meet. For those of you clueless people out there, Tintin is a very well known comic the Belgian George Remi (pen name Herge) drew from the late 1920s to the 70s. Tintin is a reporter that always finds himself on incredible adventures with his faithful white fox terrier, Snowy. He’s never been popular in the USA, but just about every other country in the world has heard of him. If you think that’s an exaggeration, check out how well Tintin did in the box offices over seas. I’ve been looking forward to seeing this movie much more than I’ve ever looked forward to see any other movie in my life. Did it live up to my expectations? In a world where movie tickets are expensive, is it worth your cash? What if you’re not a Tintin fan? Will you enjoy it?

I hate spoilers as much as you do so need not worry about reading any here. First of all, if you are new to Tintin you will not be lost. The movie does a terrific job of introducing the movie’s main characters. If you are a fan, you will recognise all of them as the characters you know, not as some horribly distorted version of them Hollywood threw together. Everybody making this movie went to great lengths to make sure that the original stories and artwork were respected as much as possible. The movie actually combines two Tintin albums, ”The crab with the golden claws” and ”The Secret of the Unicorn (there’s also a little bit of ”Red Rackhams treasure” in there, but not much), but you’d never know they weren’t one fluent storyline if you’ve never read the books because they are so magnificently blended together. As a matter of fact, while there are certain things that surely only a Tintin fan will appreciate when they watch the film, there are some things only somebody who is not at all familiar with the storyline will experience fully. I had very few problems while I was watching the movie, but one of them was really my own fault: I know the story of ”The Secret of the Unicorn” like the back of my hand. As a result I already knew almost everything that Tintin discovers little by little throughout the film. At some points I thought that the mystery side of the movie had been a bit overdramatized and that Tintin was taking just a little too long to put all the pieces together (quite literally), but again, the answer to the mystery is obvious once you already know the secret. But even when I knew what was coming, I still thoroughly enjoyed the film. There are lots of hilarious lines in the film, many straight from the books but most just clever new lines the excellent writers came up with. Don’t let yourself be fooled into thinking that actors only did the voices in this film: every movement from their bodies and faces has captured by computer, and the animators then did an excellent job of putting ”digital makeup” on. Jamie Bell did a very good job as Tintin. Some people have complained in other reviews that the movie is so action packed there is little time for Tintin’s character to be really developed. But the truth is that we know very little about Tintin, and Jamie Bell did a great job at not answering those questions for us. We don’t know who his boss is or who his parents are. We don’t really care. What we do know is that once he sets his mind to do something, he heroicly keeps going against all odds no matter where in the world danger takes him. And the movie does a wonderful job at taking us on the adventure with him.Pretty much every frame of the movie is a piece of art…You could get a sense of what I’m talking about by checking out some of the movie stills or watching the trailers, but you really won’t understand just how great it looks until you see it in the movies. Especially the city of Brussels and the port in Morocco are bright,colorful and incredibly detailed. As far as the people go, they look wonderful to me. They still look like the cartoon characters from the comics, but when you see each individual hair on their heads and the sand and the sweat on their faces as they trod through the desert, you have to remind yourself it isn’t real and congrutalute Weta for their great job. The movie is in a number of formats, but I recommend you go see it in IMAX 3D like I did (if you can find one that doesn’t have all of it’s showtimes filled up with ”Mission Impossible 4”). Chris didn’t particularly like the 3D, but I’ve always been a big fan of IMAX 3D and really enjoyed certain sections when it looked like the dust Tintin’s flashlight was hitting or the woodchips that were exploding or even Captain Haddock’s nose were really in front of my face. Aside from a few moments when the camera pans so quickly a few things seem out of focus, this is a movie that the 3D really works well in, especially on the enormous screen. However I’d say that if you see it in 2D you shouldn’t feel like you’re missing too much because the 3D is more of a fun added bonus to the movie experience.

This is a movie you can take your kids to (they’ll LOVE Snowy), but it’s not just a movie for kids. I fear that many people will go to action packed Mission Impossible 4 and miss one of the best movies that came out this year. What really made the movie for me was Andy Serkis’ brilliant performance as Captain Haddock. Haddock is absolutely hilarious. When you’re not laughing at what he’s doing, you’re laughing at his lines, and when you’re not laughing at his lines you’re probably laughing at his face. He has a Scottish accent in the film (most of us didn’t see him that way in the books) but I fell in love with this version of Haddock immediately as Serkis brought it to life before my eyes. There were times when shots Haddock and a flashback of Sir Francis alternate with a fluency that could only really be acchieved using motion capture.The Thompsons also have a great part in the film, and the only thing I regret about their parts is that I wish they had appeared more in the movie! ”Tintin 2”, which has been officially confirmed, is said to give them a larger role. Daniel Craig did an awesome job as the villain Sakharine, and it’s funny to recognise James Bond playing a villain’s part. He is not the most evil of villains, but he certainly beats (in my mind anyway) the ”Bird Brothers” that were the somewhat pathetic villains in the original stories. I disliked to some degree how Allan, who was a main villain in ”The crab with the golden claws” became more of a wimpy sidekick to Sakharine, but it did work well in the story.

For Tintin Fans (the only spoilers here will be spoilers to non-Tintin fans)

If you are a Tintin fan worried that they’ve taken the stories and thrown in too many pointless action scenes, don’t worry about it. There were really very few sections that I didn’t instantly recognise from one of the books,even when the trailers sometimes make it seem like there are more, and they were anything but annoying. Actually I was very pleased that finally Tintin was doing something new because much of the fun for me in watching the movie was seeing what fun new things the writers could come up with for Tintin to do without insulting the fans. As I said before, the storyline was very familiar to me, and it was good to see some changes to it to make the movie more exciting. The scene in Bagghar with a brilliant cameo appearance of Castafiore and the chaos that follows is actually one of my favorite parts. If Herge could see it today, I think he’d laugh. And the other new scene at the end,a final clash between Haddock and the villain,is a great way to finish their side of the story. Never once do the new scenes seem to make the characters do something against their personality, and if they slow down the story at all it’s only so you can take a moment to enjoy yourself and laugh at what’s going on.
Tintin DOES use a gun (just like he does in the books) but as far as I could tell he never once killed anybody and hardly if ever wounds somebody. He shoots at motors or ropes to get what he wants or protect himself.
Any Tintin fan would be a fool not to go see this in theaters while they still can! Herge’s artwork is apparent from the first 3 seconds of the movie, and both the style and music of the intro feels like you’re watching the beginning of ”Catch me if you can” with about 14 million tributes to the different Tintin albums thrown in. It’s fun to watch moments throughout the movie that have elements thrown in from different books. There are more easter eggs in this movie that any I’ve ever seen, and if you have a good Tintin fan that can go with you to watch the movie you’ll enjoy yourself that much more, because you’ll both be the only people in the theater that know why you’re laughing at what’s on the screen. I won’t say what it is, but there’s a magnificent tribute to ”Explorers on the moon” that I really enjoyed. I can’t wait to own this movie on blu-ray and watch it with all the pizza and popcorn I couldn’t afford when I watched it in IMAX, this time with the remote control to pause the image and read newspaper clippings, compare character’s faces with the albums or look for more references.

Conclusion

You really have to see this movie. Europe loved it for good reasons. If you don’t know who Tintin is, you don’t know what you’re missing. If you DO know who Tintin is, you would make a grave error to not watch this because you are worried about ”what they’ve done to Tintin”. Don’t worry about it, trust me. No matter who you are, this is a must see. It’s the biggest installment in Tintin’s history since Alpha-Art was published.
If I could make a suggestion for the next film it would only be that the next story not revolve as much around a mystery and more around whether or not Tintin will be able to complete his clearly defined objective at all (i.e save Calculus from the Bordurians…hint hint…) I love that heroic side of Tintin that will do anything to save a friend, and I hope to see that developed more in the next film.

Go out America, and enjoy the film. Spielberg, Jackson, Weta, and the whole massive team in the credits, I applaud your hard work. The wait was worth it.

Stephen

Albums, Herge, Moulinsart, Reviews, Steven Spielberg, Tintin, Tintin in the Congo, Tintin Movie News, Tintin on the Net

For those of you newbies to Tintin, he is such an icon that the Vatican’s official newspaper actually just recently wrote an article on him. Specifically, on the debate that’s been going on in court on whether or not to ban ”Tintin in the Congo” for racism. Now, one might think that just because of the Vatican’s very nature the article would certainly be defending those poor congolese people of the past that were portrayed far from accurately. But the author actually took the time to look at the facts of the article and has chosen to vigorously defend Tintin as his movie comes out around the world, stating that Tintin has been a good example of Catholic values throughout the ages. The article must be remembered and pulled out in the future to hopefully silence all of those foolish people that talk of Tintin being racist, gay, nazi,…you fill in the blank. The article is especially upset that Tintin in the congo has, in the UK, been ”wrapped up like a pornographic magazine and consigned to the adults-only section” of British book shops.

Like an excellent lawyer in Belgium at the moment arguing that the book is simply showing stereotypes from the time of Hergé, ”L’Observatore Romano” also holds to the obvious fact that ”Tintin in the Congo” is simply a reflection of its time, the fruit of a man who had never seen what Belgium was really doing there and only had false stereotypes to go on. We know how much effort Hergé put into researching his future albums, so it would be unfair to characterize hardly any of his other albums based on this one album. Furthermore, the African people, while certainly shown as unintelligent and naive people, are not even portrayed as villains in the story, but rather the gangsters Tintin deals with there. Tintin has nothing against these people and neither did Hergé. There is really nothing in the book that would lead anybody except the most sensitive of Congolese person to truly be offended by the book, and then that guy would probably just see how his people were drawn on the front and find some other comic to read (or take Moulinsart to court…). As the Vatican put it, ”The comic book was published in the 1930s, and for that reason expresses the values of the era – but can it really perturb young Britons of today, raised as they are on the Internet, video games and fish and chips?”

The Vatican praises Tintin’s character, calling him ”an angel” helping widows and orphans…Tintin is said to be driven by ”a sacred moral imperative – to save the innocent and conquer evil….Tintin is a Western knight of modern times, an unstained heart in an invulnerable body.” It’s great to see people still defending Tintin in the press. ”Le Soir” was a Catholic newspaper when Tintin was around, yet another reason that the Vatican would be pleased with kids reading Tintin. I myself am not catholic, but I certainly support kids reading about Tintin’s heroic virtues rather than all of the junk out there for them to read.

Interestingly enough, while the Vatican sings Tintin’s praises, one zealous worker in Lebanon tried to cover up Spielberg’s name from a Tintin poster. Circuit Empire, in charge of cinemas in Lebanon, commented that ”He knew that Spielberg was blacklisted and he took it upon himself to black out his name,” pointing out that this was not some movement of several men but just one worker. The name was quickly uncovered and the posters are still seen today. Of course this was nothing against Tintin, but it’s funny to watch how different countries react to big American films like this and how it affects Tintin’s release. I found it interesting they also commented that technically according to the strict laws in Lebanon Tintin should be banned, but due to the popular black market selling films the law would be impossible to implement and people are allowed to see it on the big screens.  There’s a unique piece of Tintin trivia you can remember and tell other Tintin friends in the future…

Sources: http://uk.ibtimes.com/articles/246045/20111109/vatican-banning-tintin-book-politically-correct-lunacy.htm

               http://www.nzherald.co.nz/entertainment/news/article.cfm?c_id=1501119&objectid=10765314

Andy Serkis, Editorial, Herge, Peter Jackson, Snowy, Steven Spielberg, The Crab with the Golden Claws, The Secret of the Unicorn, Thomson & Thompson

Its been a week since the Empire Tintin Issue came out and I’ve had time to digest the images in it.

Below are my thoughts on those images. Note, the images, not the film itself. There is a big difference between a handful of stills and a full length film. Not to mention there is still a year to go and a lot can change. When the film is released I will judge it on its own merits and not pre-judge it.

However, several stills have been released by Spielberg and Co. so they are fair game. It has always been my intention with this blog to write what I think about the film. When I like something, I say so. When I dislike something, I will also say so. You are free to disagree with me and voice your own opinions in the comments in a polite manner fitting of Tintin fans.

The Good

Thompson.jpg

Scanned from Empire Magazine

This shot is the cream of the crop.

The texture of Silk’s beard, the look of the Twins, the detailed background, the composition of the shot, the lighting – they are all perfect.

The Not As Good But Still Good

Barnby.jpg

Scanned from Empire Magazine

Dark and moody, full of portent and potential action. The low camera angle and heavy shadows gives the shot a nice feeling of tension.

Haddock.jpg

From Empire’s online gallery

I wrote earlier that I didn’t like “the harsh light behind Haddock”. Interestingly, the print version of this image is much, much darker. This is down to the technological and production differences between VDU displays that emit light and printed matter that reflect light. In the print version, the back lighting looks less out of place and I much prefer the image even though it is harder to make out the details.

The Worrying

TintinOnBoat.jpg

From Empire’s online gallery

TintinHaddock-CloseUp.jpg

A close up of a scanned image from Empire. Click the image for full size

These two images are the only ones from the film that show the full body lengths of our main characters plus Snowy. In both of them, something looks off-key. Haddock in particular look unnatural in his pose in both. Maybe this is just Andy Serkis’s acting of a drunk and it will look OK in context.

Snowy also doesn’t look right. This may be because he is the only true character animation in the film whilst everyone else is motion-capture.

Given the quality of everything else, I willing to bet that in the film everything will look right but it does leave me with a Polar Express type worry.

The Bad

EmpireCover.jpg

I really don’t like this cover. The detail is exquisite but both Tintin and Snowy look really unnatural but without any of Herge’s charm. It would of been much better if they had only used actual images from the film. I suspect that this image is influencing my opinions and unduly increasing my worries about the two previous images.

Am I Excited? You Bet!

Despite all the quibbles and doubts I have about the images, all the signs are that will Spielberg & Jackson capture the look and the spirit of the books. Roll on October 2011!

3D, Herge, Snowy, The Crab with the Golden Claws, The Shooting Star, Tintin

The world has had a chance to digest the first Tintin images for a whole day now. So what is the world thinking?

Based on the comments on this web site, most Tintin fans are excited about it. With only one or two dissenting voices raising concerns about the nature of the animation. In the wider world, reaction is more mixed and seems pretty polorized with very negative and very positive comments in equal measure.

Wading Through the Bullshit

One of the problems with the internet is that people love to hate. The Trolls who live on forum and write blogs vent bile because it gives them a sense of purpose, not because they have anything interesting to say. Filtering out the nay-sayers from those with a genuine ability to analysis and criticise is hard.

Of those commentators and writers who can put together an articulate sentence, most appear positive.

What Do I Think?

Having run this web site dedicated to the Tintin movie since the films were first announced over 2 years ago, what do I think?

My personal feelings about the images is mixed but part of the problem is that the film’s producers / Empire magazine made a mistake.

By having the cover as a specially created image and basing it on an iconic Tintin image, they were only ever going to highlight the differences between Herge’s artwork and the film’s style.

The cover image itself is not that good either. The detail is amazing but most people don’t see the detail, they see something this size ….

EmpireCover-Small.jpg

And it does the film no favours. Tintin looks a bit unnatural but Snowy look stuffed. An albino Scooby-Do was how one person described him and I’m with them on that.

It is in the stills from the actual film that we learn a lot more. Here, the context, the background and the story all come into play. They will also of had more time and attention payed to them than the cover.

This instantly recognisable scene is great because you can instantly recognize it. The world around the characters is wonderfully detailed and lifelike but…

… there is something about the posture of the three charaters, Haddock and Snowy in particular, that looks wrong. Snowy seems stuffed again and Haddock looks like he is suffering from a bad case of rag-doll physics.

Oddly, in this scene, the problem is reversed. I think this is from the first meeting of Haddock and Tintin and here the characters look wonderful. The real emotion on Haddock’s face is there for all to see. His hair and imperfect, aged skin really give a realism to the character.

However, the background could be fantastic but is mostly blotted out by the harsh light behind Haddock. This is a real shame as the sou’wester on the right looks great. The lightning in this still spoils it by distracting from the character and the background.

So What Have We Learnt From The First Images?

The visuals have had a mixed response but the film was always going to generate this sort reaction. Unless it looks 100% like the original artwork it is inevitable that people will complain. Personally I’m excited by them, trusting to the directors to make the look of the film work within the context of a 3d movie, not as a magazine cover.

What is far more important is wether the film captures the spirit of Tintin – the sense of adventure, the humour and above all, the characters. To answer these questions, we must wait another year.

Herge, Moulinsart

There are a lots of words that can describe Nick Rodwell but popular is not one of them.

As head of Moulinsart and husband to Herge’s second wife Fanny, he holds in his hands one of the biggest, most iconic and most loved characters of the 20th Century. A man in this position has to make some hard decisions and will inevitably step on some toes but Nick Rodwell does seem to have a special gift when it comes to annoying people. Not many publishers are on the receiving end of a 200 pages of a book criticising nearly everything they have done.

Stéphane Steeman, Belgian humourist, radio presenter, writer, Herge collector and longtime president of The Friends of Herge has self-published a new book L’escalade. It is not all about Nick Rodwell but about The Friends of Herge and how the actions of Moulinsart destoryed his love for Herge’s works.

… censorship, bans, subpoenas, legal threats, blackmail and so forth, out of decency of our members I never mentioned the name of Mr. Rodwell in our reviews, I never criticized Moulinsart … And yet, I’m in a squad that Mr. Rodwell was nicknamed “The Black List”

It is hard to tell from the sources if this book is born out of personal bitterness against Nick Rodwell and Moulinsart or a genuine, well rounded criticism of the man and the company. Mr Rodwell’s behaviour has certainly been far from the standards set by Tintin and the company’s legitimate desire to protect its copyright has at times appeared self-defeating.

Boycott Moulinsart!

One of the company’s ongoing legal battles is against Bob García. As we reported earlier, Mr Garcia published five Tintin related books. Two of these books used a handful of images that are owned by Moulinsart that the author believed were usable under the idea of Fair Use. At the initial trial, the judge found in favour of Bob Garcia however Moulinsart won on appeal and are now forcing Mr Garcia into bankruptcy to collect damages. Some fans are now trying to organise a boycott of Herge products on behalf of Mr Garcia.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of this particular case, it is certainly doing the image of Moulinsart and Nick Rodwell no good at all.

Sources: Stéphane Steeman consacre un livre à Nick Rodwell, son pire ennemi, Los fans de Tintin amenazan con boicotear la película de Spielberg, L’ESCALADE, de Stéphane Steeman

Herge, Tintin

Win a Copy of Herge: The Man Who Created Tintin

I have three copies of the new biography Herge: The Man Who Created Tintin to give away in a very simple competition:

If Herge was still writing today, what would his next Tintin book be called?

The best suggestions for 21st Century Tintin titles will get a free copy of the biography. They can be silly or serious, I don’t mind. The winners will simply whichever ones I think are best.

To enter, you can put your suggestion in a comment below or send it via Twitter. Just use the hash tag #21cTintin. If you are a winner, I will contact you via a Twitter or email to get your postal address.

A special thanks to Emily at Oxford University Press for supplying the books.

The competition starts now and will run until the end of the week. So plenty of time to get thinking that ultimate 21st Century Tintin title.

EDIT: Copyright Concerns

We have had some wonderful entries and many of you have written plot summaries to go with the titles. Thank you everyone for your imagination and hard work.

However this puts Tintinology in a dangerous place regarding copyright. The plot outlines can be considered derivative works and are not covered by fair usage. To avoid having the 800 pound gorilla of Moulinsart legal team jumping on my head, I have edited out everything except the titles.

Thank you for everyone who has gone over and above the call of duty to write these wonderful and amusing plot outlines but we have to respect the law of copyright.

Herge

Glancing down Pierre Assouline’s own history, it is clear he is perfectly suited for writing a biography of Herge. The targets of his five other biographical studies read like the cast list for a Tintin story: Marcel Dassault (aeronautics pioneer), Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler (art dealer), Gaston Gallimard (publisher), Henri Cartier-Bresson (photographer) and Georges Simenon (detective novelist). But in tackling Georges Remi, Assouline is not documenting the life story of one man, but the story of Georges Remi, his public persona of Herge and his creation Tintin.

With the translation of Herge: The Man Who Created Tintin, English speakers get a chance to read Assouline’s take on this remarkable man and his creation. Thanks to the publishers, Oxford University Press, I got a chance to ask the man himself some questions about the book and his take on Herge.

Remi’s life (1907 – 1983) covered a turbulent time in history and the biography tells the story well over its 235 pages, splitting Herge’s life into three phases: the early years up until 1944; the dark years of isolation and rejection from 1944 to 1950, and the final years of reconciliation and personal growth until his death. Assuoline had full access to the Moulinsart archives and interviewed many people closely associated to Remi. However the results he draws are not flattering to the man.

Compared to the avuncular persona of Herge, Remi is a very different man. He appears a workaholic and a control freak, overly protective of his work, and later his Herge persona. Something that persists today in Moulinsart’s approach to his memory. Even his admirable qualities, such as his loyalty, are flawed and lead into his wartime choices and post-war problems. However Assouline believes this blind loyal was core to who Remi was.

“Hergé has never been a traitor to his country, to his faith, to his friends. [It is ] impossible to separate all his loyalties. That’s the man.”

One area where Assouline’s biography does fall down is his avoidance of Remi’s personal life. His first marriage lasted some thirty years but Germaine rarely is mention, despite his several affairs. When queried about this omission Pierre said “[The] french biographer will be always more discreet about private life than an Amercian or an English one…”. Which certainly is true but in missing an important part of a man’s life out of the book it leaves the reader unable to form a full picture of the man.

If the avoidance of Remi’s private life is an omission, the book excels during the coverage of the most provocative aspect his life, his wartime record. It is here that the friendly image of Herge that he and later Moulinsart tried to create is most at odds with reality.

The facts are not disputed. When the newspaper he was working on was shutdown by the German occupying forces, Remi went to work at the leading french language Belgium daily paper, Le Soir. Whilst not run by the Nazis, it was certainly an approved paper and its content heavily controlled, having been seized from its rightful owners. For producing Tintin (already a national figure) in a German controlled newpaper for four years, Herge was branded a collaborator.

Herge himself explained that he never considered his work any different from being a tram driver or coal miner and they were not called collaborators for working under German rule. However Remi did for work for a right-wing newspaper before the war and his seeming obliviousness to the how other people saw his collaboration will always raise questions about his motives. Assouline’s remarks that Herge “… never expressed any regrets. He never thought he was wrong.”.

We may be judging Remi too harshly. According to Assouline “About the concentration camps, [Herge] always said afterwards that, at the time, it was impossible to know anything about the holocaust”. To Remi, a man devoted to boy scout ethics, it probably seemed natural to keep working and to trust is superiors. In the biographer’s words “… he was loyal to his youth ideas and ideals, loyal to his friends …”

In dealing with this subject, and the similar hot potato of racism / anti-sematism, this biography does not draw any conclusions itself. It presents the facts but does so in a way that that is unflattering to Remi. Whether the man was criminally naive, willfully ignorant or had right-wing sypathies is left for the reader to decide.

This is both the great strength and weakness of the biography. It tells the story of three people: George’s Remi, the public persona of Herge, and Tintin but it never declares an opinion about any them. This is refreshing compared to the near hagiographies some writers have produced but it does leave the reader wanting more.