Philippe Godin, was for ten years general secretary of the Hergé Foundation, biographer of the belgian cartoonist and president of the association of the Friends of Hergé. He has also written many books on Georges Remi and helped with the screenwriting of the Museum dedicated to him in Louvain-la-Neuve in the Flat country. This great specialist of Tintin publishes a monograph in which he traces the genesis of the comics of Hergé.
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The book, The adventures of Tintin in the Congo (Casterman/Moulinsart) presents a unique version of the adventures of the reporter at houppette in Africa. “Tribulations” originally published in 1940 in the daily belgian Dutch-speaking Het Laatste Nieuws . This monograph is indispensable to all tintinophiles, also makes account of the transformations undergone by Tintin and Snowy among the publications of the boards of origins in Le Petit Vingtième in the 1930’s and the album in color, sixteen years later.
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In this version unknown to the COMIC, Hergé has made a few adjustments to the drawings here or there with a bit of gouache and white ink China. In particular, the silhouette of Tintin. Then, he multiplied the number of planks, to reach a total of 110 – the version published in 1946 was shortened to 62. Even if the majority of the changes is not as obvious, they are innumerable,” says Philippe Godin.
“This is the time that was like that”
Sold more than ten million copies around the world, Tintin in the Congo is the “favorite album for children” of the entire series of Hergé, ” says the editor of the monograph. It is also the most controversial album. The BD has been accused of racism because of the colonialist attitude of the characters are white, including Tintin, vis-à-vis the congolese. These last are expressed in French in a wrong with a lot of respect and admiration for the reporter, this “very good missié”, “very clever” and “very fair”.
“I tackled head-on the prejudices of the era, which are reflective of the colonial era,” explained Godin at BFMTV about accusations of xenophobia from Tintin. If there is to be unhappy today, it must be dissatisfied that our parents and grandparents were, with this mentality which has prevailed for a long time. (…) Of course, there is that talked about Blacks, these are things that you can blame, but not solely dedicated to Hergé. This is the time that was the way it was”.
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A controversy had seen the light of day in 2007, on the occasion of the centenary of its author. The british authorities had required the insertion of a warning contextualizing Tintin in the Congo to be able to sell it in the country. In the aftermath, a student of congolese had filed a complaint against the album in Belgium for “racism and xenophobia”, before being dismissed by the justice five years later. Some countries have even gone so far as to ban COMICS for children.