June 17, 2005

Tintin au Congo or a 1930 View of the Congo

From http://www.tintinologist.org/guides/books/02congo.html

Publication history
First published in Le Petit Vingtième between 5 June 1930 and 11 June 1931.
Published in book form in 1931 (black and white, 110 pages).
Redrawn and published in colour in 1946.
Further changes made in 1975.

As with Tintin au Pays des Soviets, Tintin's return from the Congo was celebrated throughout Belgium. On Thursday 9 July 1931, he was welcomed by an enormous crowd at the Gare du Nord in Brussels. Tintin was accompanied by ten Congolese men, and by many animals rented from a circus. There were several rows, as everyone tried to get his share of the 'presents' Tintin had brought with him from Africa. When the 'happy arrival' was repeated in Liège, there was an even larger crowd, and the police had a hard time trying to maintain order.

Tintin au Congo should still be regarded as one of the more silly and youthful albums of Hergé. At the time he was much influenced by his employer, Wallez. Wallez had decided that the Belgian youth needed to know more about the values of Colonialism. Hergé was instructed to show Belgium how the Congolese natives were introduced to civilisation. Throughout the album we will witness further displays of such Colonialism. Tintin shows a condescending - even despising attitude towards the natives. In 1954, as Hergé re-edits the story this attitude would soften, but not disappear.

Tintin doesn't show much respect for the flora and fauna either; in an ultimate effort to put down a comic scene, Hergé lets him kill 13 antilopes. At an earlier point in the story Tintin even kills a rhinoceros with dynamite (after first drilling a hole in the beast's back, where he could place the explosives!). Later Hergé would very much regret these scenes, and he took a firm stand against hunting and poaching.

Laura, this is to answer your question about the Congolese passenger in Tintin's car!


Beaver said...

Yup ! It works ! Got your comment ! Cool that you actually take the time to investigate RG's work !

Anonymous said...

Hey, do you think you could include the actual Tintins on your blog? I could use some new reading material at the office.