Georges Remi – The cartoonist behind “Tintin”

dan alexander and co tintin herge

Belgian cartoonist Georges Remi wrote 24 bande desinées (comic albums) called The Adventures of Tintin, under the pen-name Hergé. These comic albums are considered some of the most popular and acclaimed comic works of the 20th century. The protagonist, a young boy named Tintin, is ostensibly Hergé himself, or a manifestation of him. At first, the comic began as various drawings depicting Tintin in miscellaneous situations. But in 1934, Belgian Casterman Publishing House became the official publisher of The Adventures of Tintin, and a meeting with a Chinese student marked a pivotal point in Hergé’s personal life and career. Thanks to this student, Hergé became convinced of the importance of a solid storyline for his beloved protagonist, and started adding more and more characters and developing a complex plot. Tintin eventually became an inspirational figure for children and adults alike.

When the Nazis rose into power in 1940, a lot of Hergé’s work was banned, and Tintin had to be put in abeyance. This forced Hergé to publish his work in the only magazine that was permitted by the Nazis. But in 1946, the first full issue of the novel-like plot of Tintin was published in a weekly publication for the youth, curated by Raymond Leblanc, who was a fighter in the French Resistance against the Nazi regime and cladestinally helped homosexuals and Jews hide from German persecution.Leblanc decided to call the entire magazine “Tintin”, since the fictional character was the most celebrated of all other works and characters that were included. Tintin was so famous in his own right that no one even knew who the creator behind this masterful and pervasive work was. To quote Leblanc, “We thought this (the magazine) was an interesting idea, and started looking for a name. We ended up eventually with Tintin, Hergé’s comic book hero. Literally everyone knew that character at that moment. The question however was, where was Hergé?”. Hiding behind this revolutionary cartoon, Hergé (as Tintin) travelled all over the world, even as far as Tibet, in one of his most famous and lauded works.

Georges Remi did a lot of research and met many people before creating each plot, giving readers a realistic and yet enhanced reading and visual experience. Praised for its deft and enthralling plot, and not just the meticulous drawings,The Adventures of Tintin is still considered a revolutionary work of art today. Remi’s bandes desinées have been the source of a wide range of adaptations in cinema, theater, and even computer gaming, and he is an inspiration for all those involved in the comic book medium, as well as top tier universities all over the world that are still teaching this work many years after his death. In Belgium there is even a Hergé Museum, celebrating him and Tintin, which we now know are one and the same.

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