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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Fans’ delight as Tintin celebrates 90th year

Fans of comic book hero Tintin recently celebrated the 90th anniversary of the courageous young Belgian reporter, who first appeared in Catholic newspaper Le Vingtième Siècle.

The Adventures of Tintin, by Belgian cartoonist Georges Remi, better known as Hergé, was first published in Le Petit Vingtième, a supplement inside Belgian conservative Catholic newspaper Le Vingtième Siècle. Tintin first appeared along with his faithful dog Snowy in the first installment of Tintin in the Land of the Soviets on 10th January 1929.

Fans of Tintin and Snowy have also celebrated reports that Casterman, which publish the comic book series, said a new film by director Peter Jackson, producer of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, is in the pipeline, as well as a new book featuring the Belgian icon and childhood hero.

However, Tintin’s 90th birthday celebrations have been marred by allegations of racism raised in a new colour edition of his adventures in Africa.

Tintin in the Congo, which was first serialised in 1930, has been described as racist, a comment ‘highly sensitive in a country [Belgium] marked by post-colonial guilt over its record in Africa’, The Times reported.

Hergé’s cartoons of Africans with fat, red lips and wearing loincloths have been widely condemned by, among others, Britain’s Commission for Racial Equality, who said the cartoons make black people ‘look like monkeys and talk like imbeciles’.

Barly Baruti, a Congolese cartoonist, also warned that it was the wrong time to bring out a new edition of the book, with a rise of far-right parties across Europe.

Picture: A toy model of Tintin based on the comic series The Adventures of Tintin is seen at a gift shop in Brussels, Belgium, on 10th January 2019. The Adventures of Tintin recently celebrated its 90th anniversary. (Xinhua/Zheng Huansong).