Plotting Tintin’s next move

2014-06-18 00:00

BRUSSELS — After sending Tintin to Hollywood and building a private museum to the glory of his creator Hergé, the couple overseeing the boy hero’s legacy are plotting their next move.

“Our work is to educate people, inform people,” said Nick Rodwell, who married Hergé’s widow Fanny Vlamynck about a decade ago.

“We’re creating a Tintin brand that lies somewhere between graphic novel and contemporary art,” Rodwell added in a rare interview inside the Louvain-la-Neuve museum that he and Vlamynck built five years ago.

“If I die tomorrow I’ll know the work has found its right place.”

Designed by Pritzker prize-winning architect Christian de Portzamparc, and opened in the leafy new university town of Louvain-la-Neuve, some 20 kilometres outside Brussels, the museum has about 80 000 visitors a year.

“Schools, foreigners from across the world, Tintinophiles and Tintinologists,” Rodwell said of the visitors.

“It was a huge investment but it’s given us credibility,” he said of the 15-million-euro project. “Museums don’t make money but we break even.”

The museum is largely dedicated to Hergé’s artistic skill, with a restaurant and quality memento shop — more art-house for adults than comic-strip fantasy for children, a vision that seems to be paying off.

As Tintin’s fame spreads, Hergé’s original drawings are selling like hot cakes at auction. A double-page ink by the Belgian artist from 1937 was going for 2,1 million euros in Paris late last month.

But with the museum housing a mere 10% of his legacy, the couple are hoping to organise temporary shows elsewhere, notably at the Cheverny castle in France’s Loire valley, which inspired the Moulinsart castle in the original work.

The fame of the intrepid boy reporter with the quiff, a children’s bedside classic in much of Europe, spread when Steven Spielberg directed the Hollywood blockbuster The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, in 2011. The film was co-produced with Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson.

It was “gigantic, the best promotion possible” for Tintin, Rodwell said.

Jackson is planning a sequel, he said, but is currently tied up with The Hobbit until 2017 and “has asked for time”.

Should he fail to release a new Tintin movie within five or seven years of the last one, “we will recover the rights”.

Hergé, whose real name was Georges Remi, and was one of Belgium’s most beloved sons, died childless in 1983 at the age of 75, leaving his estate to Vlamynck, a colouring artist 28 years his junior.

She has so far stuck steadfastly to Hergé’s wishes not to hand over the boy hero to another, but Rodwell said the couple need to plan for January 1, 2054, when the copyright will become public domain.

“We must release a new album in 2053, either to extend the copyright, as was the case with Mickey Mouse, or to open up the right path for those who want to continue Tintin’s adventures,” he said.

— Sapa-AFP

• THE Adventures of Tintin, a series of comic albums created by Belgian cartoonist Georges Remi, who wrote under the pen name Hergé, is one of the most popular European comics of the 20th century.

By the time of the centenary since Hergé’s birth, in 2007, Tintin had been published in more than 70 languages, with sales of more than 200 million copies.

• The series first appeared in French on January 10, 1929, in Le Petit Vingtième, a youth supplement to the Belgian newspaper Le Vingtième Siècle.

The success of the series saw the serialised strips published in Belgium’s leading newspaper, Le Soir, and spun into a successful Tintin magazine. In 1950, Hergé created Studios Hergé, which produced the canonical series of 24 Tintin albums.

The Adventures of Tintin have been adapted for radio, television, theatre and film.

• Characters include the hero Tintin, a young Belgian reporter, who is aided by his faithful fox terrier dog Snowy; brash and cynical Captain Haddock; highly intelligent but hearing-impaired Professor Calculus; incompetent detectives Thomson and Thompson; and the opera diva Bianca Castafiore.

— Wikipedia.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


5 top leg exercises for men

Here’s our selection of the five best leg exercises that you can do in the comfort of your own home.


You won't want to miss...

10 best dressed men of 2017
How to open a beer bottle without an opener
WATCH: Man films himself going down water slide upside down as things go very wrong…
WATCH: Conor McGregor: Notorious the trailer
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.