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Tintin in trouble… May 15, 2021

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

In more ways than one. This is a great story, from the Guardian, about how…

The French artist who was sued by the Tintin creator Hergé’s heirs over his paintings that place the boy adventurer in romantic encounters has won his case after a court deemed them parodies.

Xavier Marabout’s dreamy artworks imagine Tintin into the landscapes of Edward Hopper, including a take on Queensborough Bridge, 1913, or talking with a less-clothed version of Hopper’s Chop Suey.


Earlier this year, the Breton artist was sued for infringement by Moulinsart, which manages the Tintin business. Moulinsart’s lawyer argued that “taking advantage of the reputation of a character to immerse him in an erotic universe has nothing to do with humour”. Marabout’s lawyer argued that the paintings were parody.

Interestingly the court argued that the paintings were clearly parodies and with ‘humorous intention’. In a way I wonder why Moulinsart thought it sensible to pursue the case – though I suppose it does set down a marker as to how far one can go with Tintin’s image.

I’ve always liked Tintin, though these days I’d be fractionally more fond of Blake and Mortimer from Hergé’s colleague Edgar P. Jacobs. And there’s a whole world of other ligne claire comic strips – most in French but all well worth a look if you’re interested in the style. Indeed interestingly the style developed as time went on, with a new twist in the 1980s as ‘atoomstijl’ (atomic style). And it has itself been parodic or self-referential or overtly political. As wiki notes:

Contemporary use of the ligne claire is often ironic or post-modern. For example, Van den Boogaard used the simple, clear style to set up a conflict with the amorality of his characters, while Tardi used it in his Adèle Blanc-Sec series to create a nostalgic atmosphere which is then ruthlessly undercut by the story. A recent serious clear line artist is the Dutchman Peter van Dongen, who created the Rampokan series about the Dutch colonisation of Indonesia.

This makes sense too given the roots of the style and indeed as a response to Hergé’s own politics and political development. 


1. Fergal - May 15, 2021

Tarsi is brilliant… politically cool too.

Liked by 1 person

Fergal - May 15, 2021

TarDi… oops!


2. EWI - May 15, 2021

Genuinely thought this was going to be the new E. Harris thread

Liked by 1 person

3. An Sionnach Fionn - May 15, 2021

I’ve developed a taste for Blake and Mortimer myself, though all in e-book form. I’d actually like to get a few hardcopy editions, since I’m still of the view that comics/graphic novels are best enjoyed the old fashioned way 😉

I’m a huge Tintin fan and still have my battered hardback editions, minus a few pilfered by an ex-girlfriend – who at least had good taste in books if not in men! 😆

Hergé is an interesting figure. I agree with the argument that his views seemed to have drifted around to match the prevailing political or cultural winds of the time. I’d see him as essentially a petit bourgeois conservative and that is reflected to some extent in his works. However the way the character of Tintin and most of the later stories developed kind of outgrew the author’s own ideological limitations or instincts.

My one regret in not having kids is missing the opportunity to forcefeed them Tintin, Asterix and all the rest of the golden oldies! 🙂


WorldbyStorm - May 15, 2021

I agree the work did transcend Hergé, and fairly quickly – in the end he kind of identified with national and popular struggles.

B&M is different in that the UK it presents is so French in perspective – not just the translations but the stuff about the establishment etc. If I have a criticism of it it is that the world seems oddly small given who keeps cropping up as the antagonist – really agree that large format paper / hardback is the way to go!

I can only report that force feeding TinTin failed abysmally 😦

Liked by 1 person

4. polly - May 15, 2021

What I wonder prompted the Tintin estate to go after the Breton artist, they must surely know that there is a gallery under their noses in Brussels for years, selling the tourists Tintin canvases that go well and truly beyond dreamy, romantic or erotic into, frankly, shockers.

Agreed as regards Blake & Mortimer, and Adele Blanc-sec. I do like a mainly realistic Paris but with added giant octopuses kidnapping babies for fun.

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - May 16, 2021

Yes, the Tardi stuff is brilliant.


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