01.04.18 - 01.06.18
Dr Steven Gerrard
Who was Hergé?
Hello. I am a Tintin fan. I hope you are, too. And if you aren’t, I hope you will be after you have seen this exhibition.
Ever since I was a kid, and when I was first introduced to the adventures of the ginger-quiffed, young, brave reporter and his white fox-terrier Snowy, I felt that we had something in common. It was not just the red hair. I stayed at home. Tintin was a globetrotter. He was adventurous. I was not. He had a dog. I did not, although when I did get it, I called it Snowy. Luckily, the dog was white. I saw in Tintin an underdog. That is why I loved his adventures. When I saw where Tintin travelled – the Andes, Russia, America, and even to the moon – I knew I wanted to follow, even to outer space. I have been to some of Tintin’s destinations. The moon is not one of them. It was obvious. Tintin was me. I was Tintin.
I have great pleasure in guiding you through, however briefly, the Tintin story. If you are intrigued and want a further in-depth look, I would suggest three sources for you. The first is Michael Farr’s Tintin: The Complete Companion, which goes through Tintin creator Herge’s work on a book-by-book approach, and is an excellent piece of art in itself. The second book is Michal Daubert’s (trans. by Michael Farr) wonderful Tintin: The Art of Hergé, from which many of the illustrations in this exhibition derive. Both, in their own way, show the detailed, painstaking approach to Tintin that Hergé and his team of illustrators undertook, and both clearly illustrate the beauty of this sequential art form, the claire-ligne (clear-line) for which Hergé is justifiably famous. And then, of course, there are the books themselves. In the large cabinet (and printed in this booklet) you will find these books laid out in the order in which they were published. You will also find one panel alongside each that I think is representative of the book as a whole.
The story of Tintin is quite amazing, despite its astonishingly banal beginnings. But, it also shows just how these simple, clear-line drawings caught the mood and imagination of millions. From starting off as a few illustrations in a Catholic-run Sunday newspaper’s supplement, through to collections of the comic, to great exhibitions and conferences, and even to the megaphone of Hollywood director Steven Spielberg, Tintin has remained the literary icon of the 20th Century. Now finding his feet on new electronic platforms, Tintin is even more accessible than ever before. So, let us begin on taking a trip through Hergé’s adventures of Tintin…