Tag Archives: georges remi

TINTIN: Hergé’s Masterpiece

30 Dec


I visited the TINTIN: Herge’s Masterpiece exhibition at Somerset House. I went into it knowing next to nothing about The Adventures of Tintin. I saw Spielberg’s film adaption a few years back, and I don’t really remember anything about it except that it was enjoyable.

You see, I was born in the United States. In fact, I lived there until four months ago. While Tintin holds a special spot in Europeans’ hearts, it has next to no following in the States, where the likes of Schultz, Larson, and Watterson reign supreme. I never even heard of Tintin until high school. Hell, I have had no exposure to any comics of the Franco-Belgian comic movement. Except for The Smurfs.


The worst exposure you can get

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to review the exhibit. For those also unfamiliar with this work, The Adventures of Tintin is a collection of comics created by the Belgian artist Georges Remi under his penname Hergé. The series is easily one of the most influential European comics in the world. The comic’s initial 1929 edition of Le Petit Vingtième was so popular that it led to 24 Tintin albums as well as several radio, television, theater, and film adaptions. In the comics, the titular Tintin faces adventure and mystery as a reporter alongside his fox terrier Snowy and friend Captain Haddock. 


The above placard served as the introduction to the exhibit. Now, the text in the blue box is especially interesting. One of the high points of the exhibit was placing drawings on the room’s windows to suggest action. The above quote states that, “visitors are given the opportunity to view the art of Hergé through one of his favourite architectural and story telling devices- the window”. I thought that this was a very clever way to use a exhibition hall’s small amount of space to tell Hergé’s  story. Below are some examples.

Even the walls without actual windows ran with this architectural theme.

The below picture has one of my favourite quotes from the exhibit: “For me, the only way to tell a story was with drawings”.


Aren’t cartoonists adorable?


Above is some pictures of newspaper in which Tintin first captured the imagination of readers. Another fun bit was the chimney, which had different pictures inside it on either side.

The exhibition was presented in a linear order, beginning with Hergé’s childhood drawings and ending with the influence Tintin has to this day.



Did anyone make Spielberg aware of this?

I also learned a new term! The French refer to comics as the 9th Art, placing the ‘funnies’ aside the likes of sculpture, dance, and poetry. I am a big advocate of regarding animation and comics as art, so I of course fell in love with the idea. Hergé no doubt helped solidify comics as an art form, with his clear lines and realistic drawing style.



The Dalai Lama reading a Tintin adventure, 2003


An original Tintin comic.

I enjoyed the exhibit and am glad that I went. My one criticism is that it was small and low on information. And maybe that’s why for those reasons why it’s a great exhibit for families and children. It didn’t seem to get too boring for children, and focused a lot on graphics and interactions (there were a pair of fun house mirrors, for example). Overall, a wonderful way to spend 45 minutes or so in London. And for free too! The gift-shop is worth a check out as well.


I’m really digging the top two books.

You can see the exhibit yourself at Somerset House in London, until 31 January 2016. Have a Happy New Year everybody!