Herge: the man who created Tintin

Herge(Photo credit by permission of Oxford University Press, Inc.)

(Herge: The Man Who Created Tintin by Pierre Assouline and Charles Ruas (2011), cover image. Image shows Herge with a pen in his hand behind a drawing of Tintin, and the title and author of the book)

One of the most beloved characters to appear in comic books, Tintin won an enormous international following. Translated into dozens of languages, Tintin’s adventures have sold millions of copies.

Yet, despite Tintin’s enduring popularity, most readers know almost nothing about his gifted creator, Georges Remi, better known as Hergé.

Following on from the release of Steven Spielberg’s film The Adventures of Tintin, this is the first full biography of Hergé available for an English-speaking audience, offering a captivating portrait of a man who revolutionised the art of comics.

Granted unprecedented access to thousands of the cartoonist’s unpublished letters, Pierre Assouline gets behind the genial public mask to take full measure of Hergé’s life and art and the fascinating ways in which the two intertwine.

Neither sugar-coating nor sensationalizing his subject, he weighs such controversial issues as Hergé’s support for Belgian imperialism in the Congo and his alleged collaboration with the Nazis.

He also analyses the underpinnings of Tintin, how the conception of the character as an asexual adventurer reflected Hergé’s love for the Boy Scouts as well as his Catholic mentor’s anti-Soviet ideology, and relates the comic strip to Hergé’s own place within the Belgian middle class.

For all his huge success, achieved with almost no formal training, Hergé would say unassumingly of his art, “I was just happy drawing little guys, that’s all.”

A profound influence on a generation of artists such as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, the elusive figure of Hergé comes to life in this illuminating biography. This fascinating book is a deeply nuanced account that unveils the man and his career as never before.

You can find further details of Herge: the man who created Tintin on the main catalogue, available in ‘Catalogues’ on the Library’s website.