In­trepid car­toon re­porter Tintin turns 90

The Prince George Citizen - - A&e - Ma­rine STRAUSS

As the world grap­ples with the con­se­quences of fake news, a Bel­gian icon and time­less hero of many a jour­nal­ist, Tintin, cel­e­brated his 90th birth­day Thurs­day.

It was on Jan. 10, 1929 when the first of the ad­ven­tures of the in­trepid in­ter­na­tional re­porter were pub­lished in Le Petit Vingtieme news­pa­per sup­ple­ment in Brus­sels. Cre­ated by Bel­gian artist Hergé, the ad­ven­tures of the fic­tional char­ac­ter – with his cus­tom­ary blue sweater, rolled pants and flipped cop­per hair – took him and his faith­ful dog Snowy across the world, build­ing an im­age of jour­nal­ists as do-good­ers.

The comic-book hero serves as re­minder of an era when re­porters were por­trayed as seek­ers of the truth, hold­ing those in power to ac­count, in­stead of be­ing de­picted as the “en­emy of the peo­ple,” as U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has called them, ac­cus­ing them of spread­ing fake news.

With more than 250 mil­lion copies of Tintin comics sold world­wide – in mul­ti­ple lan­guages – Moulin­sart, the ex­clu­sive man­ager of Hergé’s es­tate, also known as the Hergé Foun­da­tion, has de­cided to mark the 90th birth­day of the char­ac­ter with a year-long cel­e­bra­tion, start­ing with the young jour­nal­ist’s ex­pe­di­tion in the for­mer Bel­gian colony of Congo.

Moulin­sart an­nounced on Thurs­day that a dig­i­tal edi­tion of Tintin in the Congo re-mas­terised in colour will be re­leased via the ap­pli­ca­tion Les Aven­tures de Tintin.

The comic is prob­a­bly one of the most con­tro­ver­sial works of Hergé, reg­u­larly at­tacked for racism – in­clud­ing in court – for its de­pic­tion of the na­tives of the Congo, and banned in the li­braries of sev­eral coun­tries. Coin­ci­den­tally on Thurs­day, the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo an­nounced the first-ever win by an op­po­si­tion pres­i­den­tial can­di­date.

For Moulin­sart, it’s pure hap­pen­stance – like with the re-re­lease of Tintin’s ad­ven­ture in the for­mer So­viet Union.

“We started in 2017 with the Sovi­ets, strangely it was the 100th an­niver­sary of the Rus­sian rev­o­lu­tion; to­day is the elec­tion in Congo and in two years by chance we’ll have Tintin in Amer­ica,” when Trump is up for re­elec­tion, Yves Fevrier, head of dig­i­tal at Moulin­sart, told re­porters in Brus­sels.

Other cel­e­bra­tion ini­tia­tives in­clude the open­ing of the first of­fi­cial Tintin store in Shang­hai in Fe­bru­ary, the launch of a col­lec­tion of Tintin’s model cars in France and Bel­gium, a com­mem­o­ra­tive five-euro coin, a se­ries of doc­u­men­taries and pod­casts and a po­ten­tial se­quel to Steven Spiel­berg’s 2011 3D movie. In­ci­den­tally, it took 25 years for Spiel­berg to con­vince Moulin­sart to film the first one.

Even with­out new ma­te­rial since 1976, Tintin con­tin­ues to live on in the col­lec­tive imag­i­na­tion, and Moulin­sart plans to keep the jour­nal­ist’s im­age alive, solely based on Hergé’s 24 sce­nar­ios.

AP FILE PHOTO

A six-me­tre high de­pic­tion of Bel­gian car­toon hero Tintin and his dog Snowy is seen atop the Lom­bard Build­ing in Brus­sels in 2011. The ad­ven­tur­ous car­toon re­porter turns 90 years old this year.

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