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Video: Through the world of Herge (1907-1983)

Herge became so completely identified with Tintin that whenever he arrived at a reception, it was as if Lewis Carroll was making an appearance at
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Herge became so completely identified with Tintin that whenever he arrived at a reception, it was as if Lewis Carroll was making an appearance at a childrenu2019s tea party. His easy serenity and friendly manner, the gentle magnetism of his presence made everyone forget that the character he created inhabited only a paper universe. Countless number of people claim to be complete strangers to the world of comic strips and never read comic books, then add, u2018Except for Tintin!u2019u00a0

Born Georges Prosper Remi on 22nd may, 1907, Remi was known by his pen name, Herge, from the French pronunciation of his reversed initials, RG.u00a0

Born to a lower-middle-class family in Etterbeek, Brussels, Remi developed a love of cinema, favouring Winsor McCayu2019s u2018Gertie the Dinosauru2019 and the films of Charlie Chaplin, Harry Langdon and Buster Keaton. His later work in the comic strip medium displayed an obvious influence from them in style and content. Although not a keen reader, he enjoyed the novels of the British and US authors, such as u2018Huckleberry Finnu2019, u2018Treasure Islandu2019, u2018Robinson Crusoeu2019 and u2018The Pickwick Papersu2019, as well as the novels of Frenchman Alexandre Dumas.u00a0

Drawing as a hobby, he sketched out scenes from daily life along the edges of his school books. Some of these illustrations were of German soldiers, because his four years of primary schooling at the Lxelles Municipal School No. 3, which coincided with World War 1, during which Brussels was occupied by the German army.

u00a0A few years later, working for the conservative Catholic newspaper u2018Le Vintieme Siecleu2019, he created u2018The Adventures of Tintinu2019 in 1929 on the advice of its editor Norbert Wallez. Hergu00e9 developed Tintin as a Belgian boy reporter who could travel the world with his fox terrier Snowy u2013 u2018Milouu2019 in original French — basing him in large part on his earlier character of Totor and also on his own brother, Paul. The seriesu2019 early instalments u2013 u2018Tintin in the Land of the Sovietsu2019, u2018Tintin in the Congou2019 and u2018Tintin in Americau2019 u2013 were designated as conservative propaganda for children.

After the Allied liberation of Belgium in 1944, the newspaper where Herge worked u2013 u2018Le Soiru2019 – shut down, and its staff u2013 including Hergu00e9 u2013 accused of having been collaborators. An official investigation was launched, and although no charges were brought against Hergu00e9, in subsequent years, he repeatedly faced accusations of having been a traitor and collaborator. With Raymond Leblanc he established u2018Tintinu2019 magazine in 1946, through which he serialised new u2018Adventures of Tintinu2019 stories.u00a0

In 1950, he established Studios Herge, as a team to aid him in his ongoing projects where prominent staff members Jacques Martin and Bob De Moor greatly contributed to subsequent volumes of u2018The Adventures of Tintinu2019. Amid personal turmoil following the collapse of his first marriage, he produced u2018Tintin in Tibetu2019, his personal favourite of his works. In later years, he became less prolific, and unsuccessfully attempted to establish himself as an abstract artiste.u00a0

Hergu00e9’s works have been widely acclaimed for their clarity of draughtsmanship and meticulous, well-researched plots. They have been the source of a wide range of adaptations, in theatre, radio, television, cinema, and computer gaming. He remains a strong influence on the comic book medium, across the world. He is widely celebrated in Belgium: A Herge Museum was established in Louvain-la-Neuve in 2009.u00a0

It is said Herge was the personification of Belgium. He remains one of the last myths of the Belgium Federation. If the character of Tintin was clear-headed and upbeat, then his creator was contradictory and inscrutable. It is difficult to taker at face value this extraordinarily creative person who, after revolutionizing his art form, and leaving an indelible mark on his age, can say in the most unassuming way, u201cletu2019s not exaggerateu2026 I was just happy drawing little guys, thatu2019s all.u201d

u00a0In 2011, u2018Tintin in Congou2019 was banned for children over racism fears. Though, recently, a modified version of the Tintin comic books has been released to address the racism controversy, but it has received mixed responses from anti-racism groups.u00a0

In 1979, Hergu00e9 was diagnosed with osteomyelofibrosis, necessitating a complete blood transfusion. His need for blood transfusions had increased, as he came to require them every two weeks, and then every week. On 25 February 1983, he suffered a cardiac arrest. He had been scheduled to meet with Steven Spielberg, who later made The Adventures of Tintin (2011). He died at Saint-Luc on 3 March, 1983.

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