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WPR features Adventures of Tintin

Wisconsin Public Radio featured two comic scholars (Gene Kannenberg, comic scholar; former Chair of the International Comics Art Festival and author of ComicResearch.com and Alex Buchet, American-French comic lover and scholar) as they talk about the international known comic Tintin.

Tintin is the most well-known comic character worldwide, comparable in popularity only to Mickey Mouse. Tintin’s adventures lead him and his readers to such places as China, the Congo, America, and even the moon! But through time and history, Tintin and his Belgian creator Herg’e have not been spared by controversy. Accused of such a serious charge as racism, Herg’e was forced by history to review some of the depictions of the places Tintin visits. So how has Tintin changed over time? And what explains the enduring popularity of Tintin?

Here’s the link to the MP3.

Community Comments

#1 Michael Kandalaft
January/6/2011
@ 2:32 pm

Herge was a true creative genius. His hard work, attention to detail, and incredible draftsmanship have assured Tintin and all of the adventures a secure place in the history of comics.

If anyone has the chance to visit Belgium, the new Musee Herge is worth the visit, and will only heighten one’s appreciation for Herge’s creations, especially his lesser known non-Tintin works.

#2 Karsten Schley
January/9/2011
@ 2:49 pm

Hergè influenced a lot of comic artists and cartoonists around the world. He was anything but a racist. From the distance of our days, it’s easy to call a man a “racist” who was born in 1907 and grewed up in a very conservative, catholic environment.
It’s as stupid as calling Marc Twain a racist because he used the N-word in his books.

#3 Mike Peterson
January/9/2011
@ 5:12 pm

Herge himself regretted his depictions of racial minorities. He was a product of his times, yes, but he was bright enough to realize the errors his times had exposed him to. He was a racist, he knew it, he dealt with it.

The analogy with Twain fails completely. Twain allowed his characters to whitewash a fence, but he never whitewashed his nation’s past.

#4 Kelly McNutt
January/9/2011
@ 9:21 pm

At the risk of topping it the incredible simpleton, I’d offer the idea that Herge was a man making a living, and did what was fitting of the times, as unseemly as that is to us now (more broadly so, that is). What happened in the end is that Herge became stupendously influential and has paid the price by being judged in historical terms. How many of us would want the chance to have a second pass at an unfulfilled opportunity? Ha… well, except me, of course. The preceding is offered most humbly, only having had the pleasure of being acquainted with Herge’s work for the past six years or so.

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