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Tintin at 85: A Conference Review by Paddy Johnston

Tintin at 85 was a one-day symposium at UCL, scheduled for the 85th anniversary of Tintin’s first appearance in Le Petit Vingtième. Organisers Tyler Shores and Tom Ue had been working on a forthcoming academic book on Tintin for a year before the conference, pursuing a personal interest in Tintin, before being inspired to put together a conference after meeting with Moulinsart, the Hergé foundation. This meeting inspired Tyler and Tom to organise a conference which would interest scholars from various disciplines, fans of the Tintin series and the growing number of Tintinologists. In its bringing together of these communities, the symposium was the first of its kind in Anglophone scholarship. With the broad aim of examining and celebrating Tintin’s cultural legacy, the conference attracted a number of international scholars and, most notably, Tintinologist Michael Farr. Farr has written numerous books on Tintin, many of which are in-depth studies of the characters, and he has translated works from Francophone scholarship into English, including those of comics scholar Benoît Peeters.

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The International Bande Dessinée Society: February 2014 by Lisa Tannahill and Chris O’Neill

The International Bande Dessinée Society (IBDS) was founded in 1999, aiming to encourage scholarly discussion of the French-language comic or bande dessinée, in all its forms. Their journal, European Comic Art, (ECA), is published twice-yearly, with previous issues focusing on national identity, caricature, narration, 19th-century comic art, adaptation and other diverse themes in the European comic medium. IBDS conferences have taken place bi-annually since 1999; the most recent conference was held at the Universities of Glasgow and Dundee in June 2013.

However, English-language bande dessinée scholarship is still in relative infancy, and French-language works are seldom translated. The purpose of this new, twice-yearly column is to draw attention to both recent English-language work on bande dessinée and francophone scholarship which may otherwise go unnoticed in anglophone countries. We do not aim to cover all relevant work; the popularity of bande dessinée in the francophone world means many books on the subject are published every year. Instead we will highlight a selection of the most notable or interesting works which appear throughout the year. In this first edition we will look back at books published in 2013.

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The Colonial Heritage of Comics in French by Mark McKinney

The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, a movie directed by Steven Spielberg and produced by Peter Jackson, is scheduled for release before the end of 2011. The film reportedly combines the stories from three books in the world-famous comics series by Belgian cartoonist Hergé (Georges Remi): The Crab with the Golden Claws, The Secret of the Unicorn and Red Rackham’s Treasure. Most movie-goers will have no idea about the historical context in which these three stories were first drawn and published. All were originally serialized by the cartoonist in Le Soir, a newspaper then controlled by the Nazis during their occupation of Belgium. And in the same newspaper, in between the first of these stories and the other two (which constitute a diptych), Hergé drew and published The Shooting Star, whose original version was clearly an antisemitic libel. This was at a time when the Nazis were preparing to kill the Jews in Belgium. Leafing through those old newspapers is a sobering experience, as one reads positive reviews of antisemitic movies and public speeches, and official notification of administrative measures designed to identify and isolate Jews in preparation for the genocide. Today Hergé is mostly celebrated as a creative comics genius, but historical facts like this should encourage us to delve deeper into the relationships between the form, the content and the context of his comics.

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Posted by on 2011/07/01 in Guest Writers

 

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