The Adventures of Tintin (Les Aventures de Tintin) is a series of comic strips created by the Belgian artist Georges Rémi (1907–1983), who wrote under the pen name of Hergé. The series first appeared in French in Le Petit Vingtième, a children’s supplement to the Belgian newspaper Le XXe Siècle on 10 January 1929. The success of the series saw the serialised strips collected into a series of twenty-four albums, spun into a successful magazine and adapted for film, radio, television and theatre. The series is one of the most popular European comics of the 20th century, with translations published in more than 50 languages and more than 200 million copies of the books sold to date. Its popularity around the world has been attributed to its “universal appeal” and its ability to transcend “time, language and culture.”
Set during a largely realistic 20th century, the hero of the series is Tintin, a young Belgian reporter. He is aided in his adventures from the beginning by his faithful fox terrier dog Snowy (Milou in French). Later, popular additions to the cast included the brash, cynical and grumpy Captain Haddock, the highly intelligent but hearing-impaired Professor Calculus (Professeur Tournesol) and other supporting characters such as the incompetent detectives Thomson and Thompson (Dupont et Dupond). Hergé himself features in several of the comics as a background character, as do his assistants in some instances.
The comic strip series has long been admired for its clean, expressive drawings in Hergé’s signature ligne claire style. Its “engaging”, well-researched plots straddle a variety of genres: swashbuckling adventures with elements of fantasy, mysteries, political thrillers, and science fiction. The stories within the Tintin series always feature slapstick humour, accompanied in later albums by satire, and political and cultural commentary.
I stumbled upon this exhibition in the Belgian Centre for Comic Strip Art in Brussels while trying to find my way back to my hotel.
The Belgian Centre for Comic Strip Art (Dutch: Belgisch Centrum voor het Beeldverhaal, French Centre belge de la Bande dessinée) chronicles the history of Belgian comics. Housed in a former department store in Brussels’ business district, it exhibits examples of comic strips in French, Dutch and English.
The full range of comic art is covered, including science fiction, wild west, crime and politics, as well as children’s comics such as The Smurfs.
It has several exhibits on Belgium’s most famous comic characters Tintin and Snowy and their creator Hergé. The style of the Tintin comics and their history is examined, including life-size models of characters and sets from Tintin’s adventures. There is a shop, research library and restaurant on the ground floor of the historic building, which was designed by the Belgian art nouveau architect Victor Horta.