Hergé's heirs lose legal battle with Tintin parody artist

Originally published at: Hergé's heirs lose legal battle with Tintin parody artist | Boing Boing


If I wanted to defame Tintin’s reputation I could just refer to some of the earlier works. Go read Tintin in Africa, I’ll wait…

(I checked, still in print, still available from reputable (ymmv) sources.)

Now Hergé DID acknowledge the problems with these albums and did redeem himself (a bit) later on but his heirs are still shamelessly raking it in to this day and should tread carefully if they want to play this game.


I grew up and out of that thing, thank goodness. Good for Xavier for winning his case.
BTW, It’s spelled Moulinsart (from the infamous locale in the Tintin books).


Yeah, Tintin’s “reputation” is already fairly garbage, from colonialism/racism to Nazi collaboration and anti-Semitism I’d say that mild eroticism is a pretty small problem compared to those. Oh, and his ill-informed anti-communist beginning.


I truly never understood why Spielberg and Jackson were SO gung ho about that awful TinTin movie.

It seems like one of those characters that only is appealing now because of nostalgia. Folks who grew up with him before it was all seen as ‘problematic’ still like it, but does anyone else? Do euro-kids still read it?

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It was only infamous in one book (Secret of the Unicorn/Red Rackham’s Treasure). After which, it was simply Captain Haddock’s old pile.

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Because people still love Tintin, so it will make a buck?


That difference would explain why Breaking Free is still available to buy in the UK. I can’t imagine Moulinsart would be happy with the portrayal of Tintin as an insurrectionist anarcho-syndicalist.


Would you rather have the problematic first two Tintin albums not available? They should not really be considered canon, but they are of historical significance (don’t read them if you don’t have a scholarly interest in the series though, as they are very unpleasant with regard to contents).

Worth mentioning also that, according to the presenter in this video, they are not what Hergé actually wanted to produce in terms of story content:

I take it you are not interested in art at all if you can assume that nostalgia was the only appealing factor of the Tintin comics. The art is absolutely amazing, and many of the stories are very well written.
The issues with problematic content you are referring two are only the first two or three, after which the tone of the stories changed significantly.


well, it’s worldwide gross is $370+ mil on budget of $135M, so, right you are, I guess…

It was still awful and the characters fell deeply into the uncanny valley. not QUITE Polar Express level, but close.

– Home is where you wear your hat.

I take it you are not interested in art at all

That is manifestly not true. I do art for a living. I’m VERY interested in art. I just don’t care for TinTin’s art. I can see certain merit in it, but it’s mostly not to my taste, and since I WASN’T exposed to it throughout my childhood, there’s no residual appeal to memory.I didn’t find the stories especially compelling either, but I was coming at them at 40+ when they’re written for 7 year olds, so…

– Home is where you wear your hat.

Even a hat is no cure for heir loss.


Laugh while you can, monkey boy!

I am fine with them being available, there are viler and worse things on the internet. Hergé himself admitted the problems but never pulled them from publication because as he claimed that would be whitewashing history.

And they are masterclasses in understanding the patronizing white-man’s-burden type of racism.

On the other hand I don’t think people should still make money of them, and I certainly think people that do make money of them have no high ground left to stand on and should not sue parody artists.


The US recognizes certain moral rights for visual artists, but only for the original artists lifetime. This makes intuitive sense to me-- that heirs would not benefit from the inaliable rights of the original artist.

But wikipedia indicates that some countries recognize perpetual moral rights.

Maybe this only has the practical effect of not being able to sell a Bowdlerized version of your countreys shakespeare, but it strikes me as obscene. For one thing, who has a right of action? The state? The thousands of descendents?

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it never occurred to me before that “artists’ moral rights” could persist after the actual human creator’s death and be exerted by somebody else

Euro-kids and 'dults still read Asterix and that is also problematic.

I imagine the thinking behind the movie was – adult nostalgia, take the kids to see it, kids start reading the series, Hergé heirs gain more royalties.

I liked it and I wasn’t put off by the animation style either. I was one of those exotic euro kids, though.

I worked on the film (Weta, computer graphics), and frankly loathed it for the full year I did so. Honestly, most of the Americans, and other folks on the crew that DIDN’T grow up with Tintin felt similarly, to greater or lesser degrees. We had one supervisor who simply could NOT wrap his head around the appeal of the film, and found it almost impossible to get through dailies without saying so. He finally asked to be transferred off the show, since he felt like he’d end up approving work he absolutely would not want on his own reel.

A full 50% of that crew spent the entire time wincing at the screen and questioning the European (and NZ/Aus or Canadian) crew as to what possible appeal this had. The only answer we ever got was “Well, we grew up with it, so…”

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