Book #6: Tintin: Hergé and His Creation (1991)

author: Harry Thompson
language: English
length: 215 pages

book cover I feel disingenuous posting this cover picture, since I got a really old copy out the library and it doesn’t look quite like this, although it does have the same Tintin stamp on the front.

As with my last post about Totoro, I’m going to keep this one short, this time because I’ve already ranted about Tintin on the blog. The book also didn’t really provide me with any new information about Tintin or Hergé – it would probably be better described as a biography of Hergé rather than Tintin, incidentally, although the focus is kept on Tintin rather than other aspects of Hergé’s life most of the time.

It’s also actually getting to the stage where it’s out of date; particularly, Tintin in the Congo has been published in English now, and Spielberg has restarted his film project (mumblemumbleit’llberubbish), which he apparently abandoned in 1983 after Hergé’s death (I had heard that before but forgot about it).

It’s a well-written book, though, if not as good as another very similar book by Michael Farr that I’ve read that was much better simply by virtue of having full-colour illustrations on almost every page. That said, there were some black-and-white photos in the middle, none of which I’d seen before (Hergé with the English translators, for instance, who really look like they’re straight out of the 1950s… which does make a lot of sense, of course…). Hergé’s and Tintin’s life is divided neatly into sections by which book Hergé was writing at the time, and each section is well paced and easy to read, meaning that I zipped through the book in a semi-fascinated way.

The author does go to great pains to explain why he thinks Hergé wasn’t a Nazi sympathiser… I will always think this is one of the most simultaneously tragic and comic things about any biography of Hergé, the way they always have to delve into the can o’ worms that is the whole Nazi thing. Meh; it just got to the point a couple of times when I decided that he must have partly decided to write the book as a rebuttal to those who think that he was a Nazi sympathiser.

Worth it for any Tintin fan, anyway, but I guess you might as well read the Michael Farr book really if you happen to be interested. It gives basically all the same information but with illustrations, which is kind of important when you’re talking about a visual medium such as Tintin.


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