Happy Birthday to a Most Famous Belgian

The boy reporter, Tintin, never did get any of his own work into print. However, the stories of his adventures have sold over 200 million copies worldwide over the last 80 years.

Tintin first appeared on January 10, 1929 in a Roman Catholic weekly paper, Le Vingtieme Siecle, published in Brussels. Since then 24 comic books have been published and they have been translated into more than 50 languages.

Despite his enduring popularity in many parts of the world, Tintin remains relatively unheard of in the United States. This is set to change though, with Steven Spielberg planning to produce a trilogy of animated films; the first of which is due for release next year.

Although Tintin always tried to do right thing, accusations of racism, colonialism and anti-semitism have all been put to Tintin's creator Georges Remi who used the alias Herge.

Egmont, which publishes Tintin books in Great Britain deliver their editions of Tintin In The Congo and The Land Of The Soviets to shops with a band of paper around the outside warning about the offensive content and stating: “bourgeois, paternalistic stereotypes of the period — an interpretation some readers may find offensive”.

Hergé has since apologised saying “Concerning Congo as well as Tintin in the Land of the Soviets, the fact is that while I was growing up, I was being fed the prejudices of the bourgeois society that surrounded me,” he said. “It’s true that Soviets and Congo were youthful sins. I’m not rejecting them. However, if I were to do it again, they would be different.”

January 14, will see the unveiling of a fresco in honour of Tintin at the Brussels-Luxembourg train station. During June, the Herge Museum will open its doors in Louvain-la-Neuve, which is south of Brussels.
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