“I made ‘Tintin au Congo’ without a lot of enthusiasm…. Practically everyone was Colonialist (at the time)…. ‘The white’s role was to bring civlization to the blacks.’ Tintin wasn’t racist, he was Colonialist like everyone was in the epoch.”
Bravo for Casterman’s decision not to re-publish Hergé’s “Tintin au Congo” — as part of a general re-edition of the graphic novels to mark the 90th anniversary of the character — whose drawings, like his depictions of Indians in “Tintin in America,” are racist, colonialist garbage.
Hergé’s disengenous argument — let’s call it lache — that he was just reflecting his epoch doesn’t hold water for anyone who’s red Eugene Sue’s 1842-43 “Les Mysteres de Paris.” Eight-six years before Hergé sorted his bug-eyed, pink-lipped Africans, Sue’s most noble character — perhaps the only personage in the 1,000-page serialized saga beyond reproach — was the African-American Dr. Paul. And when I visited Antwerp in 2003, the same bug-eyed, fat Black people could still be seen peering from post-cards geared to tourists. Belgium has a long Colonial history of racism which was still showing its vestiges in this millenium, and it’s this tradition that begat the father of Tintin.
— Paul Ben-Itzak