Tintin Creator's 100th Celebrated
Monday, May 21, 2007; 5:34 PM
BRUSSELS, Belgium -- Blistering barnacles! Talk about a bunch of birthday presents for Tintin: a movie trilogy by two major Hollywood directors and a brand-new museum.
Herge, the cartoonist who created Tintin, was born a century ago on Tuesday and although he died in 1983, his hero is as young as ever.
With exhibits in Belgium, France, Switzerland, Spain and Sweden, Tintin does the tour of Europe this year.
On Monday, the first stone was laid for an Herge Museum outside Brussels and an exhibit on his drawing skills opened at the Belvue Museum, which is normally dedicated to Belgium's royal family. Last week, Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson each plan to direct at least one film in a series of three movies based on the "Tintin" adventures.
"We are delighted. We think it is a real dream team," said Nick Rodwell, the head of Studios Herge, which owns the rights to the Tintin trademark.
Both the museum and the first movie should both be ready to open in 2009.
The films will be produced with motion-capture technology, in which digital renderings are made of performances by live actors, with computer imagery added to create a combination of live action layered with digital animation.
It is a huge leap from the simple black-and-white drawing with which Herge, the pen name of Georges Remi, first drew Tintin and his trusty dog Snowy in 1929 and sent them on their first adventure to "The Land of the Soviets." The exhibit at Belvue traces those stark beginnings and leads it through his artistic development, right up to the sleek rocket with which he went up to the moon in an exciting double-album adventure.
Now speculation is hot over which albums Spielberg and Jackson will use for their screenplays. "We feel that everything is in the books," said Rodwell. "But there are many ways of combining certain albums."
From getting lost in Egyptian tombs to chasing treasures on deserted islands or finding meteors in the Arctic, there are few places the reporter Tintin has not visited with his sidekick Capt. Haddock, famed for "blistering barnacles" and other stentorian nautical oaths.
Tintin lacks a romantic interest, though, often an essential element in Hollywood movies. But it has not stopped him from becoming world famous. His 23 books have sold 220 million copies worldwide and have been translated in 77 languages, making Tintin a national treasure in this nation of 10 million.
"Tintin has conquered the world," said Vincent Baudoux, who set up the exhibit at the Belvue. "Everyone knows him."