Hergé’s dialogue is succinct, yet powerful – with the delivery of iconic lines like “Thompson with a ‘p’, as in psychology” retold to this day. It is this dry wit and humour that has left a lasting impression on readers, and helped to set Tintin and his sidekicks apart from other crime-busting protagonists that have followed suit.
Tintin and Symbolism
Setting himself the task of creating a fantastical world where a boy-reporter could rid the streets of evil was no mean feat. But Hergé achieved this with apparent ease.
The cartoonist is credited with creating both a character and a universe that were representative of the social climate – a time when tensions were rife. Though remembered most for his unique style of drawing, Hergé’s subtle approach to the narrative weaved throughout The Adventures of Tintin
plays an equally important role in creating symbolism and allegory.
In King Ottokar’s Sceptre
, Hergé’s villain presents himself as Müsstler, an amalgamation of Hitler and Mussolini in name, and a representative of the Belgian public’s fear of fascism in character. Throughout the narrative, Hergé capably demonised select characters. In Flight 714 to Sydney
, Dr Krospell draws parallels with the Angel of Death, Nazi officer Josef Mengele, while notorious American gangster Al Capone takes centre stage in Tintin in America
– no disguises necessary.
Hergé deployed subtler techniques through the use of imagery, however. Take, for instance, the Kingdom of Syldavia, which features prominently in King Ottokars Sceptre
, The Calculus Affair
and Tintin and the Picaros
, among other adventures. On the Kingdom’s flag, Hergé depicts a black pelican. Known to be a Christian symbol for sacrifice, the pelican speaks of the way King Muskar II is willing to martyr himself and abdicate the throne for the greater good. The sceptre itself serves as a symbol for power – a concept which is continually wrestled with throughout Tintin’s tales.
The HOCA Foundation, in collaboration with The Hergé Museum, presents THE WORLD OF TINTIN
Wednesday – Sunday, 17 November – 10 December at the new ArtisTree. Due to popular demand, the exhibition will be open daily from 11 – 26 December.
See the Tintin programme page
for more details.
Follow @artistreehk on Instagram for all the #tintin_Artistree action