One of the most beloved characters in all of comics, Tintin won an enormous international following. Translated into dozens of languages, Tintin's adventures have sold millions of copies, and Steven Spielberg is presently adapting the stories for the big screen. Yet, despite Tintin's enduring
popularity, Americans know almost nothing about his gifted creator, Georges Remi - better known as Hergé. Offering a captivating portrait of a man who revolutionized the art of comics, this is the first full biography of Hergé available for an English-speaking audience.
Born in Brussels
in 1907, Hergé began his career as a cub reporter, a profession he gave to his teenaged, world-traveling hero. But whereas Tintin was "fully formed, clear-headed, and positive," Assouline notes, his inventor was "complex, contradictory, inscrutable." For all his huge success - achieved with almost
no formal training - Hergé would say unassumingly of his art, "I was just happy drawing little guys, that's all." Granted unprecedented access to thousands of the cartoonist's unpublished letters, Assouline gets behind the genial public mask to take full measure of Hergé's life and art and the
fascinating ways in which the two intertwine. Neither sugarcoating nor sensationalizing his subject, he meticulously probes such controversial issues as Hergé's support for Belgian imperialism in the Congo and his alleged collaboration with the Nazis.
He also analyzes the underpinnings of
Tintin - how the conception of the character as an asexual adventurer reflected Hergé's love for the Boy Scouts as well as his Catholic mentor's anti-Soviet ideology - and relates the comic strip to Hergé's own place within the Belgian middle class.
A profound influence on a generation
of artists such as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, the elusive figure of Hergé comes to life in this illuminating biography - a deeply nuanced account that unveils the man and his career as never before.
Part I: Truths
1. A Life in Grey, 1907-1925
2. Scoutmaster in the Twentieth Century, 1925-1929
3. The Many Births of Tintin
4. His Friend Chang
5. Neutral in the Turmoil, 1936-1940
6. The Golden Age, 1940-1944
Part II: Solitude
The Plight of the Inciviques, 1944-1946
8. The Dark Years, 1946-1950
Part III: Recognition
9. Toward Fulfillment, 1950-1958
10. The Color of Liberty, 1958-1960
11. Final Touches, 1960-1973
12. The End of a Life, the Culmination of His Work, 1973-1983
Abbreviations Used in Notes
List of Works by Hergé
Index of Names
Index of Hergé's Works
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Pierre Assouline is a prominent French journalist and writer. He has written several novels as well as acclaimed biographies of photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson and detective novelist Georges Simenon. He is also a film producer and was the 2007 winner of the prestigious Prix de la Langue
Française. Charles Ruas is the author of Conversations with American Writers and a frequent contributor to ArtNews and Art in America.