BRUSSELS -- Few reporters claim longer, more adventurous careers. Fewer still boast 300 million avid readers. Or as distinctive a hair style.

Celebrating his 60th anniversary as the "Famous Boy Reporter" of book-length European comic strips, Tintin, a Hardy Boy-Popeye combination in golf pants, appears to be undergoing a renaissance.

First signs of "Ton Tintin Revient" (roughly "Your Tintin Returns") emerged last year when European media fanfared release of "The Lost Tintin," a pencil-rough tale (dubbed "Tintin and the Alpha-Art") that creator Herge' was sketching at the time of his death four years ago.

This year, the printed avalanche continues, fueling the Tintinophilia that stretches far beyond the 24 cartoon adventure books Herge' created from 1929 until 1983. The Christmas-timed onslaught includes several facsimile collector editions, 10- and 13-volume Tintin encyclopedia sets and more than two dozen other books, discussing Tintin in terms of cartoon psychoanalysis, literary criticism, astrological and numerological appreciation. There are Tintin dictionaries, Tintin quizzes and a coffee-table-sized treatment documenting the strip's influence on contemporary filmmakers and graphic artists.

The little unicoifed bulb-head is also pulling crowds of all ages into Paris' Pompidou Center for "The Universe of Herge'" exhibit, which later will tour France for a year before assuming center ring at Brussels' new Centre du Bande Dessine' (comic strip museum) opening in January 1989.

From there, Tintin will be off to London, Japan, Los Angeles, New York, Canada, the Scandinavian countries, West Germany, Australia and elsewhere before returning here, where a statue already stands of the reporter who captured Al Capone and welcomed Neil Armstrong to the moon.

Not bad for a kid who never went to journalism school and spent most assignments globe-trotting the Congo, Soviet Union and the Orient without a note pad; who never met a deadline while seeking such treasure as the Cigars of the Pharaohs, accompanied by his ball-nosed fox terrier Milou, sidekicks Captain Haddock and Professor Tournesal and the twin detectives, DuPond and DuPont.

To fully understand Tintin's robust influence, you have only to see "le kiki," the Tintin-style haircut that is all the rage in Europe, or discover him translated into more than 30 languages including Chinese, Portuguese, Indonesian, Welsh and Esperanto. When asked about Tintin, anyone familiar with him, regardless of age, immediately returns an affectionate childhood smile, and speaks of "Tan Tan" as a well-loved friend. He is Peter Rabbit. He is Pooh. He is Little Orphan Annie, Babar and Stuart Little.

"He is a tradition," says Marie Berny of Editions Rombaldi in Paris. "Tintin is important to parents, children and grandparents. It's part of the culture now to pass Tintin on."

Partly the fascination stems from Herge''s illustrations, which evolved artistically as the series developed, even as characters and moralistic plot lines remained simple. Early episodes are pale pencilings beside the vibrant imagery of later installments, which bear comparison to the work of pioneer American cartoon artist Winsor McCay. Like a cross between the work of Walt Disney and Roy Lichtenstein, Herge''s later strips, rich in texture, pop-color definition and mythology, weave detailed tapestries around their familiar, clean-lined characters.

Current critical reevaluation "goes past the comic strip," Berny suggests, "to the artist and the things he imbued within the stories. He was part animator, part boy scout, part Catholic, many things." Fans also praise the artist's imaginative foresight and accuracy in anticipating space age equipment and rocket design.

"Herge'," says Berny, "was Jules Verne with a pencil."

"Herge' was young until his death," says author Albert Algoud. "He evolved all the time, continuing to search for knowledge, which is why he later created 'Tintin in Tibet.' The stories are an evolution of Herge' and Tintin."

Algoud, whose book "Tintinloatrie" (Casterman, Paris) explores and expands Tintinism, feels the tales appeal to people because, "like Balzac and Zola, Herge' created a world of characters who reappear, a comedy of humans. A family," he suggests, "comprising a modern mythology of our century and our origins."

"While Tintin visits both ancient cultures and the cultures of the 20th century, the real strength of the myth is its foundation and how Herge' transformed the history and voyage of our century. It's our world and also how we dream it to be. It's poetry and realism."

Tintin himself, Algoud concludes, "has become a historical person. A literary reference, like a Don Quixote accompanied by Laurel and Hardy."

What Georges Remi (reversing the initials, in French pronunciation, provided his pen name) began as a weekly cartoon in Belgian Boy Scout Youth magazines branched into books, films and animated cartoons, and is now a growth industry without a production line: an industry now managed by the world's only known foundation financed by a comic strip character.

The 18-month-old Belgian-based Herge' Foundation is actively repositioning mechandising and marketing strategies, but draws the line at continuing the series with another artist, citing Herge''s own will. "It was his philosophy, craftsmanship and spirit," foundation spokeswoman Julie Darras says, that is responsible for the continuing millions of annual sales.

The present traveling show and print onslaught is the foundation's second orchestrated barrage, following last year's "Lost Tintin" release. When the Belgian government reopens the Victor Horta-designed hotel (currently under renovation) next year, it will be the world's first museum dedicated exclusively to the comic strip art form. Its art nouveau glass atrium, according to officials, will house "cartoons of the past within a place to encourage future cartoonists," and the Herge' Foundation is "actively participating" in the project.

And while Tintin has already starred in several live-action and animated films, talks are now in final stages for a major motion picture project within the next year, "with a very well-known American filmmaker {Steven Spielberg} who now holds film rights.

"There's many reasons for the continuing and growing interest," Darras feels. "All over the world, children find the Tintin stories speak to them. The pictures are still fresh toys. And the things Herge' had to say to children will be forever young."

"The passion people feel," Algoud says with a smile, "is love, like that of a lover of Marcel Proust. It's a love story people find in Tintin."

After a moment, he adds: "A love story without the sex."