Infobox Comics creator
name = Hergé
imagesize = 180px
birthname = Georges Prosper Remi
birthdate = birth date|1907|5|22|mf=y
deathdate = death date and age|1983|3|3|1907|5|22
nationality = Belgian
area = artist, writer
notable works = "
The Adventures of Tintin" " Jo, Zette and Jocko" " Quick & Flupke"
awards = full list
Georges Prosper Remi (
May 22, 1907- March 3, 1983), better known by the pen nameHergé, was a Belgian comics writerand artist. "Hergé" (IPA-fr|ɛʀʒe) is the French pronunciation of "RG", his initials reversed. His best known and most substantial work is " The Adventures of Tintin", which he wrote and illustrated from 1929 until his death in 1983, which left the twenty-fourth "Tintin" adventure "Tintin and Alph-art" unfinished. His work remains a strong influence on comics, particularly in Europe. He was inducted into the Comic Book Hall of Fame in 2003.
The notable qualities of the "Tintin" stories include their vivid humanism, a realistic feel produced by meticulous and wide ranging research, and Hergé's "
ligne claire" drawing style. Adult readers enjoy the many satirical references to the history and politics of the 20th century. " The Blue Lotus", for example, was inspired by the Mukden incidentthat led to the Chinese-Japanese War of 1934. " King Ottokar's Sceptre" can be read against the background of Hitler's Anschluss; whilst later albums such as " The Calculus Affair" depict the Cold War. Hergé has become one of the most famous Belgians worldwide and "Tintin" is still an international success.
Childhood and early career
Georges Prosper Remi was born in 1907 in
Etterbeek, in Brussels Belgiumto middle class parents, Alexis and Elisabeth Remi. His four years of primary schooling coincided with World War I(1914-1918), during which Brussels was occupied by the German Empire. Georges, who displayed an early affinity for drawing, filled the margins of his earliest schoolbooks with doodles of the German invaders. Except for a few drawing lessons which he would later take at l'école Saint-Luc, he never had any formal training in the visual arts.
In 1920, he began studying in the collège Saint-Boniface, a secondary school where the teachers were Catholic priests. Georges joined the Boy Scouts troop of the school, where he was given the totemic name "Renard curieux" (Curious fox). Recently an old "strip" by him was found on a wall of this school [ [http://www.scout.org/en/information_events/news/2007/herge_s_scout_mural_found_in_old_school_corridor Old Hergé mural found on the wall of his scout meeting place] ] . His first drawings were published in "Jamais assez", the school's Scout paper, and, from 1923, in Le Boy-Scout Belge, the Scout monthly magazine. From 1924, he signed his illustrations using the pseudonym "Hergé".
His subsequent comics work would be heavily influenced by the ethics of the Scouting movement, as well as the early travel experiences he made with the Scout association.
On finishing school in 1925, Georges worked at the Catholic newspaper "Le XXe Siècle" under the editor Norbert Wallez, a Catholic abbot who kept a photograph of Mussolini in his office.cite video | people = Numa Sadoul | year = 2003 | title = Tintin et moi | url = http://www.pbs.org/pov/pov2006/tintinandi/ | accessdate = 2007-02-25 | medium = Betacam SP | location = Geneva, Canton Geneva, Switzerland | publisher = Angel Films | time= 10:20-10:40] The following year, he published his first cartoon series, "
Totor", in the Scouting magazine "Le Boy-Scout Belge". In 1928, he was put in charge of producing material for the "Le XXe Siècle's" new weekly supplement for children, " Le Petit Vingtième". He began illustrating "The Adventures of Flup, Nénesse, Poussette, and Cochonnet", a strip written by a member of the newspaper's sports staff, but soon became dissatisfied with this series. Wallez asked Remi to create a young hero - a Catholic reporter who would fight for good all over the world. He decided to create a comic strip of his own, which would adopt the recent American innovation of using speech balloons to depict words coming out of the characters' mouths.
Tintin in the Land of the Soviets", by "Hergé", appeared in the pages of "Le Petit Vingtième" on January 10, 1929, and ran until May 8, 1930. The strip chronicled the adventures of a young reporter named Tintin and his pet fox terrierSnowy (Milou) as they journeyed through the Soviet Union. The character of Tintin was inspired by Georges' brother Paul Remi, an officer in the Belgian army.
In January 1930, Hergé introduced "
Quick & Flupke" ("Quick et Flupke"), a new comic strip about two street urchins from Brussels, in the pages of "Le Petit Vingtième". For many years, Hergé would continue to produce this less well-known series in parallel with his Tintin stories. In June, he began the second Tintin adventure, " Tintin in the Congo" (then the colonyof Belgian Congo), followed by " Tintin in America" and " Cigars of the Pharaoh".
The early "Tintin" adventures each took about a year to complete, upon which they were released in book form by the
Castermanpublishing house. Hergé would continue revising these stories in subsequent editions, including a later conversion to colour.
Hergé reached a watershed with "
The Blue Lotus", the fifth "Tintin" adventure. At the close of the previous story, "Cigars of the Pharaoh", he had mentioned that Tintin's next adventure would bring him to China. Father Gosset, the chaplain to the Chinese students at the Catholic University of Leuven, wrote to Hergé urging him to be sensitive about what he wrote about China. Hergé agreed, and in the spring of 1934 Gosset introduced him to Chang Chong-jen(Chang Chongren), a young sculpture student at the Brussels Académie des Beaux-Arts. The two young artists quickly became close friends, and Chang introduced Hergé to Chinese culture, and the techniques of Chinese art. As a result of this experience, Hergé would strive in "The Blue Lotus", and in subsequent "Tintin" adventures, to be meticulously accurate in depicting the places which Tintin visited. As a token of appreciation, he added a fictional " Chang Chong-Chen" to "The Blue Lotus", a young Chinese boy who meets and befriends Tintin.
At the end of his studies in Brussels, Chang returned home to China, and Hergé lost contact with him during the invasion of China by Japan and the subsequent civil war. More than four decades would pass before the two friends would meet again.
World War II
The Second World War broke out on
September 1, 1939with the Nazi invasion of Poland. Hergé was mobilized as a reserve lieutenant, and had to interrupt Tintin's adventures in the middle of " Land of Black Gold". Nevertheless, by the summer of 1940, Belgium had fallen to Germany with the most of Continental Europe.
"Le Petit Vingtième", in which Tintin's adventures had until then been published, was shut down by the Nazi occupation. However, Hergé accepted an offer to produce a new "Tintin" strip in "
Le Soir", Brussels' leading French daily, which had been appropriated as the mouthpiece of the occupation forces. He had to leave "The Land of the Black Gold" unfinished, launching instead into " The Crab with the Golden Claws", the first of six "Tintin" stories which he would produce during the war.
As the war progressed, two factors arose that led to a revolution in Hergé's style. Firstly, paper shortages forced "Tintin" to be published in a daily three or four-frame strip, rather than two full pages every week which had been the practice on "Le Petit Vingtième". In order to create tension at the end of each strip rather than the end of each page, Hergé had to introduce more frequent gags and faster-paced action. Secondly, Hergé had to move the focus of Tintin's adventures away from current affairs, in order to avoid controversy. He turned to stories with an escapist flavour: an expedition to a meteorite ("
The Shooting Star"), a treasure hunt (" The Secret of the Unicorn" and " Red Rackham's Treasure"), and a quest to undo an ancient Incacurse (" The Seven Crystal Balls" and " Prisoners of the Sun").
In these stories, Hergé placed more emphasis on characters than plot, and indeed Tintin's most memorable companions,
Captain Haddockand Cuthbert Calculus(In French Professeur Tryphon Tournesol), were introduced at this time. Haddock debuted in "The Crab with the Golden Claws" and Calculus in "Red Rackham's Treasure". The impact of these changes were not lost on the readers; in reprint, these stories have proven to be amongst the most popular.Fact|date=June 2008
In 1943, Hergé met
Edgar P. Jacobs, another comics artist, whom he hired to help revise the early "Tintin" albums. Jacobs' most significant contribution would be his redrawing of the costumes and backgrounds in the revised edition of " King Ottokar's Sceptre". He also began collaborating with Hergé on a new "Tintin" adventure, "The Seven Crystal Balls" (see above).
The occupation of Brussels ended on
September 3, 1944. Tintin's adventures were interrupted toward the end of " The Seven Crystal Balls" when the Allied authorities shut down "Le Soir". During the chaotic post-occupation period, Hergé was arrested four times by different groups. He was publicly accused of being a Nazi/Rexist sympathizer, a claim which was largely unfounded, as the Tintin adventures published during the war were scrupulously free of politics (the only dubious point occurring in " The Shooting Star", which showed a rival scientific expedition flying the Flag of the United Statesand sponsored by a man called Blumenstein). In fact, one or two stories published before the war had been critical of fascism; most prominently, " King Ottokar's Sceptre" showed Tintin working to defeat a coup attempt that could be seen as an allegory of the Anschluss, Nazi Germany's takeover of Austria. Nevertheless, like other former employees of the Nazi-controlled press, Hergé found himself barred from newspaper work. He spent the next two years working with Jacobs, as well as a new assistant, Alice Devos, adapting many of the early "Tintin" adventures into colour.
Tintin's exile ended on
September 6, 1946. The publisher and wartime resistance fighter Raymond Leblancprovided the financial support and anti-Nazi credentials to launch the comics magazine titled "Tintin" with Hergé. The weekly publication featured two pages of Tintin's adventures, beginning with the remainder of " The Seven Crystal Balls", as well as other comic strips and assorted articles. It became highly successful, with circulation surpassing 100,000 every week.
"Tintin" had always been credited as simply "by Hergé", without mention of Edgar Pierre Jacobs and Hergé's other assistants. As Jacobs' contribution to the production of the strip increased, he began demanding a joint credit. Hergé refused and ended their productive collaboration. Jacobs then went on to produce his own comics for "Tintin magazine", including the widely-acclaimed "
Blake and Mortimer".
The increased demands which "Tintin magazine" placed on Hergé began to take their toll. In 1949, while working on the new version of "
Land of Black Gold" (the first version had been left unfinished by the outbreak of World War II), Hergé suffered a nervous breakdownand was forced to take an abrupt four month-long break. He suffered another breakdown in early 1950, while working on "Destination Moon".
In order to lighten Hergé's workload, the Hergé Studios was set up on
April 6, 1950. The studio employed a variety of assistants to aid Hergé in the production of "The Adventures of Tintin". Foremost among these was the artist Bob de Moor, who would collaborate with Hergé on the remaining "Tintin" adventures, filling in details and backgrounds such as the spectacular lunar landscapes in " Explorers on the Moon". With the aid of the studio, Hergé managed to produce " The Calculus Affair" (regarded by some as his most polished work) in 1954, followed by " The Red Sea Sharks" in 1956.
By the end of this period, his personal life was again in crisis. His marriage with Germaine was breaking apart after twenty-five years; he had fallen in love with Fanny Vlaminck, a young artist who had recently joined the Hergé Studios. Furthermore, he was plagued by recurring
nightmares filled with whiteness. He consulted a Swiss psychoanalyst, who advised him to give up working on "Tintin". Instead, he launched into " Tintin in Tibet", possibly the most powerful of the Tintin stories.
Published in "Tintin magazine" from September 1958 to November 1959 "Tintin in Tibet" sent Tintin to the
Himalayain search of Chang Chong-Chen, the Chinese boy he had befriended in " The Blue Lotus". The adventure allowed Hergé to confront his nightmares by filling the book with austere alpine landscapes, giving the adventure a powerfully spacious setting. The normally rich cast of characters was pared to a minimum - Tintin, Captain Haddock, and the sherpa Tharkey - as the story focused on Tintin's dogged search for Chang. Hergé came to regard this highly personal and emotionally riveting "Tintin" adventure as his favorite. The completion of the story seemed also to signal an end to his problems: he was no longer troubled by nightmares, divorced Germaine in 1975 (they had separated in 1960), and finally married Fanny Vlaminck in 1977.
The last three complete "Tintin" adventures were produced at a much reduced pace: "
The Castafiore Emerald" in 1961, " Flight 714" in 1966, and " Tintin and the Picaros" only in 1975. However, by this time "Tintin" had begun to move into other media. From the start of "Tintin magazine", Raymond Leblanc had used Tintin for merchandising and advertisements. In 1961, the second "Tintin" filmwas made: " Tintin and the Golden Fleece", starring Jean-Pierre Talbot as Tintin (an earlier stop motion-animated film was made in 1947 called "The Crab with the Golden Claws", but it was screened publicly only once). Several traditionally-animated "Tintin" films have also been made, beginning with " The Calculus Case" in 1961.
The financial success of "Tintin" allowed Hergé to devote more of his time to travel. He travelled widely across
Europe, and in 1971 visited America for the first time, meeting some of the Native Americans whose culture had long been a source of fascination for him. In 1973, he visited Taiwan, accepting an invitation offered three decades before by the Kuomintanggovernment, in appreciation of " The Blue Lotus".
In a remarkable instance of life mirroring art, Hergé managed to resume contact with his old friend
Chang Chong-jen, years after Tintin rescued the fictional Chong-chen Changin the closing pages of " Tintin in Tibet". Chang had been reduced to a street sweeper by the Cultural Revolution, before becoming the head of the Fine Arts Academy in Shanghai during the 1970s. He returned to Europe for a reunion with Hergé in 1981, and he would settle in Paris in 1985, where he died in 1998. [ [http://www.thefirstpost.co.uk/index.php?menuID=4&subID=1464 Tintin’s new adventure in Hollywood] [http://www.thefirstpost.co.uk The First Post] ]
Hergé died on
March 3, 1983, aged 75, due to complications arising from anemiacaused by bone cancer, from which he had suffered for several years.
He left the twenty-fourth "Tintin" adventure, "
Tintin and Alph-Art", unfinished. Following his expressed desire not to have "Tintin" handled by another artist, it was published posthumously as a set of sketches and notes in 1986. In 1987, Fanny closed the Hergé Studios, replacing it with the Hergé Foundation. In 1988, "Tintin magazine" was discontinued.
A cartoon version of Hergé makes a number of cameo appearances in Ellipse-
Nelvana's "The Adventures of Tintin" TV cartoon series.
Hergé gave all rights to the creation of dolls and merchandise after his death to Michel Aroutcheff. Michel was Hergé's neighbour and a good friend. Aroutcheff then sold on these rights only keeping the right to make Tintin's red rocket when he goes to the moon.
Only the works marked * are translated into English
In today's life
Hergé was selected as the main motif for a high value commemorative coin: the 100 Anniversary of Hergé's birth commemorative coin minted in 2007, with a face value of 20 euro. In the obverse, a self portrait of Hergé can be seen to the left. To the right of the portrait, there is a portrait of Tintin. In the bottom of the coin, Hergé's signature is depicted.
In 1989, an
Anarchist graphic novelentitled "" was published in England under the pseudonym"Jack Daniels". The propaganda story is not related to any of the original "Tintin" novels, but mimics Hergé's style and includes several "Tintin" characters. Since the book was published without copyrightand was released into the public domain, Hergé's estate could take no legal action.Fact|date=September 2007
This was just one of many cases of unofficial books being released, though often, as in the case of
Tintin in Thailand, Hergé's estate were able to take legal action. For a list of such books see List of Tintin parodies and pastiches.
Adamson Awards, Sweden
* 1972: Yellow Kid "una vita per il cartooning" (lifetime award) at the festival of
Luccacite web | last = | first = | authorlink = | coauthors = | year = 1972 | url = http://www.immaginecentrostudi.org/saloni/salone08.asp | title = History of the Lucca festival | format = | work = | publisher = | accessdate = 15 Jul | accessyear = 2006]
* 1973: Grand Prix Saint Michel of the city of
* 1999: Included in the
Harvey AwardJack Kirby Hall of Fame
* 2003: Included in the
Eisner AwardHall of Fame as the Judge's choice
* 2005: Included in the running for
De Grootste Belg(The Greatest Belgian). In the Flemish version he ended on 24th place. In the Walloon version he came 8th.
According to the
UNESCO's Index Translationum, Hergé is the 9th most often translated French language author, the second most often translated Belgian author behind Georges Simenon, and the second most often translated French language comics author behind René Goscinny. [ [http://databases.unesco.org/xtrans/stat/xTransStat.a?VL1=A&top=10&sl=FRA&lg=0 Index Translationum French top 10] ] 1652 Hergé, an asteroidof the main beltis named after him (see also 1683 Castafiore).
* [http://bdoubliees.com/tintinbelge/auteurs3/herge.htm Hergé publications in Belgian "Tintin"] and [http://bdoubliees.com/journaltintin/auteurs3/herge.htm French "Tintin"] BDoubliées fr_icon;Footnotes
*cite news|title=Spécial Hergé : Hergé et Tintin en Dates|url=http://www.lexpress.fr/mag/arts/dossier/herge/dossier.asp?ida=454468|publisher="L'Express"|date=
*cite news|last=Moore|first=Charles|title=A Tribute to the Most Famous Belgian|url=http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2007/05/26/do2601.xml|publisher="
The Daily Telegraph"|date= 2007-05-26
*cite news|last=Goddin|first=Philippe|title=Hergé: Lignes de vie|url=http://www.amazon.fr/Hergé-Lignes-vie-Philippe-Goddin/dp/2874240974/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=gateway&qid=1201449913&sr=8-1|publisher="
Editions Moulinsart"|date= 2007-11-07
*cite book |last= Farr|first= Michael |title= "The Adventures of Hergé" |publisher= John Murray |year= 2007 |month= October |isbn= 0-7195-6799-8
* [http://www.tintin.com/index.html#home/une.swf&lang=uk/ Official Tintin website]
* [http://www.free-tintin.net/english/herge.htm Hergé biography] on À la découverte de "Tintin"
* [http://lambiek.net/artists/h/herge.htm Hergé biography] on Lambiek Comiclopedia
* [http://www.pbs.org/pov/pov2006/tintinandi/ "Tintin and I"] Documentary based on Interview with Hergé
* [http://www.tintinologist.org/guides/herge/ Herge - mini profile and time line] on Tintinologist.org
NAME = Hergé
ALTERNATIVE NAMES = Georges Prosper Remi
SHORT DESCRIPTION = Belgian
comics writerand artist, best known for " The Adventures of Tintin" (1929–1983)
DATE OF BIRTH = birth date|1907|5|22|mf=y
PLACE OF BIRTH =
DATE OF DEATH = death date|1983|3|3|mf=y
PLACE OF DEATH =
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