Tintin & I Reviewed

By | Tuesday, July 18, 2006 Leave a Comment
Finally got a chance to see that PBS documentary on Herge. I have to say that I was very impressed. I've never actually read Tintin (I know... blasphemy!) but I am at least somewhat familiar with the character and his creator.

I learned quite a bit from the documentary in fact. My understanding is that Herge's life was relatively closed, so I get the impression that this made a lot of things public that were previously known only to the most devout Herge scholars. The work is largely based around some interviews conducted by Numa Sadoul in the 1971, but also has some significant pieces from his widow, Fanny Rodwell, and some Herge scholars.

What was striking to me was that it turns out that much of what is seen in Tintin is symbolic of Herge's own life. While he didn't do a great deal of travelling until late in his life, he used Tintin (and Capt. Haddock) as surrogates for himself often charting his own inner demons through them. While that's certainly true to a degree for all artists, it seems more poignent and conscious in Herge's case. Certainly moreso as he continued to work with the series.

All in all, I found the documentary very well done and very enlightening. I'm certainly disappointed that it hasn't received more press in even mainstream American comic circles as Herge and Tintin are immensely popular throughout the rest of the world. While America has largely claimed the superhero genre as its own, that's not the entirety of comics and Herge's influence on comics, especially European comics, rivals that of Will Eisner or Jack Kirby here in the U.S. That alone, it seems to me, should make him more noteworthy to American audiences.

Of course, I do tend to not be nearly as ego-centric in my worldview as most Americans.
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