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Hergé

Hergé , pen name of Georgés Remi (born May 22, 1907, Etterbeek, near Brussels, Belg.—died March 3, 1983, Brussels), Belgian cartoonist who created the comic strip hero Tintin, a teenage journalist. Over the next 50 years, Tintin’s adventures filled 23 albums and sold 70 million copies in some 30 languages. Throughout the years the young reporter remained recognizably the same, with his signature blond quiff and his plus fours.

Hergé, whose pen name derived from the pronunciation of his transposed initials, published his first comic strip—Totor, de la Patrouille des Hannetons (“Totor of the June Bug Patrol”), for Le Boy-Scout Belge (“The Belgian Boy Scout”)—at age 19. In 1929 he created Tintin for the children’s supplement (a weekly feature called Le Petit Ventième) of the daily newspaper Le Vingtième Siècle. Tintin’s first adventure was later published as the album Tintin in the Land of the Soviets, but it was not until 1958 that The Black Island became the first Tintin album in English translation. It was followed, with growing success, by other albums taking Tintin and his friends on adventures in many different countries (though Hergé himself traveled little, preferring to live quietly in Brussels). The stories, which appealed to children because of their gentle humour and eventful plots, were never violent; the villains might be menacing and the plots filled with action, but in almost every case heroes and villains emerged largely unscathed. The drawings, especially in the later albums, lovingly portray the details of Tintin’s world, though they clearly reflect the attitudes of the era.

A museum dedicated to the work of Hergé, designed by French architect Christian de Portzamparc, opened in Louvain-la-Neuve, Belg., in June 2009.

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