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FAQ - Who Created Tintin? Herge The Early Years


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The upcoming Tintin movie trilogy has heightened interest in all things Tintin. Hergé the creator of the well known comic character Tintin will once again be in the mainstream consciousness. Hergé was the pen name of Georges Prosper Remi who was both writer and illustrator of all 23 Tintin albums dying before he could finish the 24th Tintin and the Alpha-Art.

Georges Prosper Remi was born in Etterbeek in Belgium in 1907 and was to become the father of the ligne claire style of illustration that was to influence artists such as Warhol. Remi was a keen sketcher from an early age and his primary school books were filled with doodles of the invading Nazi regime who occupied Belgium during the First World War. Remi was a natural and throughout his life had no real formal training apart from a few lessons taken at l’ecole Saint-Luc during his teenage years.

On reaching the age of 13 Remi studied at the college Saint-Boniface being taught by Catholic priests and joining the Boy Scout troop of the school. He was to be given the moniker “Renard curieux” (Curios fox). It was where Remi was to initially experience his illustrations being published firstly in Jamais assez, the school scout paper and then later to a bigger audience in Le Boy-Scout Belge, the scout monthly magazine where the pseudonym Hergé first appears.

It is within this environment that many believe heavily influenced Remi’s work and especially the character that became Tintin. It is clear that the ethics of the scout movement and the traveling Remi did with his group make up a great part of Tintin’s spirit.

In 1925 Hergé went to work for Le Petit Vingtième a Catholic newspaper edited by an abbot Norbert Wallez. Hergé was to publish his first cartoon series the following year, The Adventures of Tortor again in Le Boy-Scout Belge. It wasn’t until 1928 when Hergé was put in charge of producing material for the children supplement of Le Petit Vingtième that Hergé really came into his own.

Hergé began illustrating the adventures of Flup, Nenesse, Pousette and Cochonnet written by a member of the sports staff. Fortunately for the rest of the world Hergé wasn’t particularly enamored by this chain of events. It led to Wallez asking Hergé to create a young hero that would fight good all over the world and be a reporter to boot. Hergé filled with brio created a comic strip of his own influenced by the American innovation of using speech bubbles to depict the words coming out of the characters mouths.

Hergé created the now legendary Tintin in the Land of the Soviets that appeared in Le Petit Vingtième in January 1929 and ran until may 1930. The strip was a wonderful adventure through the Soviet Union, the young reporter Tintin with his trusty fox terrier Snowy. The character of Tintin is also said to be inspired partly by Remi’s brother Paul who was an officer n the Belgium Army. Tintin was a popular stip from day one. Remi was to produce other comic strips such as Quick and Flupke but Tintin was the one character that was to make him.

In June 1930 Tintin began his second adventure, Tintin in the Congo (which was at the time a Belgian colony) to be followed by Tintin in America and the Cigars of the Pharaoh.

The first Tintin adventures would take about a year to complete and then would be released by the Casterman publishing house. Hergé would continue to revise the adventure in subsequent editions, including later turning them into colour. These early works were also to age quickly as the century moved at break net pace with Tintin in the Congo having to be revised due to the fact Tintin in the original tale is seen giving a lesson to native students in a missionary school and proclaims “My dear friends, today I am going to talk about your country: Belgium” that was later edited into a math lesson.

Hergé soon began to learn some of life truths as he got older and there is definite water shed in his work around the time of his 30th birthday when he introduced Tintin and The Blue Lotus to the world. It can be seen as the start of a new era in the life and works of Hergé.

Herge is going to be very popular search topic as the movie draws near. John Helios has been a big Tintin fan for a number of years. He is very much looking forward to the new Tintin movie trilogy with the first film due for release in 2009.


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