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Court to rule if comic must carry warning label

A Belgian court will rule next week whether the comic Tintin in the Congo should carry a warning label after a Congolese man asked teh rout to pan the comic for its racist stereotypes.

Tintin in the Congo, the second book in the comic strip character’s adventures, appeared in 1930. It has crude, stereotyped depictions of Africans which Belgian cartoonist Herg’e later said were reflecting racist, colonialist views of the time.

A Belgian court will hear the case for banning the book Tuesday, but Mondondo’s case might be undermined because he may have lied about his profession, according to the online comic strip magazine actubd.com. And there are some reports that he has not been able to pay the lawyers representing his case.

The UK’s Commission for Racial Equality called for the book to be banned three years ago, and the book is now sold with a paper label warning of offensive content.

Community Comments

#1 dan reynolds
April/29/2010
@ 11:34 am

Phew! When I read the heading, I thought they were talking about my daily cartoon. :)

#2 Mike Cope
April/29/2010
@ 12:10 pm

A disclaimer seems reasonable. Even the Disney Treasures (ex. Silly Symphonies) and Looney Tunes Golden Collections that have been coming out on DVD start with disclaimers from either Leonard Maltin or Whoopi Goldberg.

It keeps the material intact for historical value, but puts the content in context with the beliefs and attitudes of the time.

#3 Pat Crowley
April/30/2010
@ 8:41 am

Whoopi is a national treasure but I don’t believe that she alone can protect us all.

Just to be safe I thinks its best to burn the old stuff and for all the world’s cartoonists to design a generic stick figure on a blank background that only communicates in gestures.

#4 Tom Pappalardo
April/30/2010
@ 8:57 am

I don’t think this should be a court-ruled decision, but the publisher should probably use a little discretion in presenting something like this on their own. I have Twain books with a small intro paragraph after the title page – something along the lines of “…written in the 21st century and carries language and attitudes typical of that time”. Unobtrusive, unapologetic, straightforward. I think it’s fine. Something like a court-ordered parental advisory logo or something on the cover, on the other hand, would not be so fine.

#5 Tom Pappalardo
April/30/2010
@ 9:14 am

(PS – typo in the headline)

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