The Metamorphoses of Tintin: or Tintin for Adults

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The Belgian artist Georges Remi's (Herge) legendary creation, Tintin is a figure whose adventures have enchanted readers in Europe for the last eighty years. The series is one of the most popular European comics of the twentieth century, with translations published in over 50 languages and more than 200 million copies of the books sold to date. With the proliferation of Tintin blogs, Steven Spielberg's and Peter Jackson's planned cinematographic adaptations, and a Tintin museum scheduled to open in Belgium in the near future, there are many signs that the popularity of Herge's boy hero continues to grow. The Metamorphoses of Tintin is the English translation of the first critical study of the canonical Tintin cartoons. Published in French in 1984 and republished many times since, this pioneering work examines the long career of both the cartoonist and his creation. Herge's right-wing upbringing, all too apparent in his first two albums, brought accusations of misogyny, anti-Semitism, and racism, but in the endless revisions he undertook over the course of his career, he proved skillful at evading his critics. After the Second World War, Tintin's adventures became more psychological than political, thus appealing to a wider range of readers. He left behind the real world and came to occupy the center of a fictional universe where he tirelessly championed the underdog. A figure without origins, he turned international hero at the very moment that Western nations were becoming homogenized and transmitting their commodities and values on a global scale. Arguing that the series of albums thus offers a reflection on the whole of twentieth-century life, Jean-Marie Apostolides traces the evolution of Tintin's character and reveals the unity of Herge's masterpiece.