Page last updated at 09:12 GMT, Tuesday, 22 May 2007 10:12 UK

Belgium honours Tintin's creator

By Lawrence Pollard
BBC News

Tintin. File pic
Tintin is said to embody the myth of the superchild

Belgium is celebrating the centenary of the birth of Herge, the cartoonist who created the most famous Belgian of them all, Tintin.

Commemorative stamps and currency, a new Herge museum and exhibitions of his work are marking the anniversary.

Millions of Tintin fans are also looking forward to the recently announced Hollywood trilogy.

An estimated 200 million copies have been sold of the 23 adventures of the bright eyed, bequiffed boy reporter.

'Clear line'

Tintin was the creation of Georges Remi, who was born in Brussels on 22 May 1907.

Reverse the initials - pronounced zhay-air in French - and you get Herge.

Georges Remi and Capt Haddock. File pic.
Georges Remi and Tintin's companion, Capt Haddock

His creation first appeared in a Belgian newspaper in 1929 as he made an anti-communist journey to the Soviet Union.

Herge quickly developed his hugely influential "clear line", as it is called - a precise immaculate drawing style which brought him huge success.

Among Tintin's adventures was a trip to the then-Belgian Congo, which Herge later redrew, admitting it had too many of the prejudices of its time.

His reputation is still affected by the fact he continued to publish Tintin strips in Nazi-controlled papers during World War II, but he was in effect cleared of collaboration soon after and created a commercial empire based on his success.

Since his death in 1983, Herge has been the subject of serious cultural analysis.

Tintin is said to embody the myth of the superchild, for example, and could even contain the very secret of literature according to one critic.

Herge's instructions that no-one should ever draw another Tintin has not put off fans, pornographers or anarchists from producing spoof Tintin strips.

But now the Herge estate has sanctioned a Hollywood trilogy overseen by Stephen Spielberg which should ensure world domination for this great Belgian.

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