SNIPPETS OF HISTORY: ‘ Herges Adventures of Tintin Success & Failure over Depiction of Africans in the Congo ‘

#AceHistoryNews – March.21: Tintin in the Congo is the second volume of The Adventures of Tintin, the comics series by Belgian cartoonist Hergé. Commissioned by the conservative newspaper Le Vingtième Siècle (The Twentieth Century) for its children’s supplement, it was serialised weekly from May 1930 to June 1931.

The story tells of young reporter Tintin, who is sent to the Belgian Congo with his dog Snowy. Encountering native Congolese people and wild animals, Tintin unearths a diamond smuggling operation run by the American gangster Al Capone. Following Tintin in the Land of the Soviets and bolstered by publicity stunts, it was a commercial success and appeared in book form shortly after the serial’s conclusion.

The Tintin series grew over the 1930s and 1940s to become a defining part of the Franco-Belgian comics tradition. In 1946, Hergé re-drew and coloured Tintin in the Congo in his distinctive style of uniform lines and low contrast for republication by Casterman, revised for a 1975 edition.

In the late 20th century, Tintin in the Congo was criticised for its representation of big-game hunting and for its typically colonial depictions of Africans as unable to fend for themselves and in need of European masters.