|Georges Remi, aka Hergé|
However, amid all of this eclectic fiction, The Adventures of Tintin has been the center of controversy for the past few years, more so than in earlier decades. As time passes, the outdated imperialistic patronization depicted in the earlier books becomes more a target for censorship. The Belgian character's capers are being pulled from children's sections in libraries, and some have even banned the books altogether. Such a case was the series' near-banning from the children's section at the Jones Library in Amherst, Massachusetts. Understandably, there has been some fervor over the explicit debauchery of the native Congolese and other instances of worldwide stereotypes.
|The condescending mentality behind "Tintin in The|
Congo" was just a manifestation of Eurocentric national pride
The cartoonist himself developed certain stories against his own will, such as Tintin in The Land of the Soviets and Tintin in The Congo, in which very biased oeuvres coincided with the fascist views of the newspaper for which Hergé worked. Perhaps this is why he later created fictitious nations such as San Theodoros (alluding to Latin American countries going through coups d'état) and Borduria (Syldavia's rival border sibling, aggressive and militaristic), so as to not insult or directly criticize any nation during the period Hergé worked. He also began to display villains as old-school stereotypes—prejudicial, cold-hearted men—and the main character himself as a selfless, unbiased Good Samaritan.
Now that a bit of light has been shed, we proceed to the main event: how is Tintin a unique comic? For starters, it is aimed at children and covers adventure and science fiction. The catch is that the books deal with politically charged story lines, espionage, opium smuggling, and even slavery. Not your average Saturday morning schtick.
|Tintin goes on to defend the rickshaw driver from the villain's senseless attack|
|The questioning of honesty in the Soviet political system|
|Ahead of it's time, Tintin reaches the moon in|
1954's "Explorer's on the Moon"
Such was the way with the Belgian journalist boy-wonder. He was part Sherlock Holmes, part James Bond, part tourist. Always referred to as a young man, or sometimes a boy, it was impossible not to fall for the character and his peers as you learned more and more about the environments and cultures he came across. Thanks to him, I am sure that my world view is broader, and he gave me genuine real-world knowledge of history, science, and even cryptozoology.
|Hergé museum in Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium|
I do wonder how popular is Tintin in different parts of the world. Have you ever read a Tintin book? Or at least seen the movie? Was it racist or prejudicial? Comment, blistering barnacles!