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Tintin in the Congo: A review thread

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#21 · Posted: 21 Aug 2012 19:47
...or it's out of print. One story claims that as a result of that lawyer's hostility sales of "Congo" on Amazon actually shot up since everyone wanted to know what all the fuss was about.

Just goes to show: there's no publicity like bad publicity.
#22 · Posted: 1 Oct 2012 16:09
While I sure will agree, that the portraital of the Congolese in "Tintin in Congo" seems terribly dated these days, what do you expect from a young Belgian back in 1930, who had never been to Africa and maybe never even had met an African? Actually, I think it could have been worse. Tintin is very nice and helpful towards the Congolese, and not even the villain treats anyone badly because of their race. Compare it with how the oil barons treated the Indians in "Tintin in America" and how Gibbons treated the Chinese in "Blue Lotus". That's a totally different story.

I'm actually more offended by how Tintin keeps shooting animals. Was this really considered good fun for children back in the 1930s? Because it just disgusts me. I know this was commonplace back then, but really! There was even one page, where Tintin blew up a rhinocerus, which had to be replaced in the 1970s, or the album wouldn't be printed here in Scandinavia. But then again, Hergé came to regret this too.

To sum this up, "Tintin in Congo" maybe isn't my favorite Tintin album, but I don't think it should be banned. Of course, if Tintin hadn't gone on for fifty years after that, it would be long forgotten by now. But as it is, it's a part of a very popular and wonderful series, which is the pride of Belgium, and we can't just ignore how history was.
#23 · Posted: 4 Nov 2013 16:58
Its not just the issue of race. Congo is rather immature in its villain: not only is he a lazily created villain, but he is a stowaway as well. Someone who can afford guns and dynamite should be able to afford a ticket, without drawing unwanted attention to himself. The idolatry heaped on Tintin is downright unbelievable and the violence practised on the wildlife is out of keeping with Tintin's character in the later books. The only redeeming feature is Snowy, who is a good source of laughs throughout.
#24 · Posted: 20 Aug 2014 19:31 · Edited by: Moderator
Yes it's racist, it's basic, it's poorly researched - but it's Tintin, with all it's faults laid bare in the early stages of development, and I love it.
#25 · Posted: 20 Aug 2014 20:00
Take into consideration that this was a very early book and the series was not even close to maturing at this point.
#26 · Posted: 21 Aug 2014 07:53
You can view Hitler's propaganda films to this day on-line, and no talk of banning them, as they are a piece of history and significant in their own way - though not comparing Tintin in the Congo to a Hitler propaganda film obviously, but the sentiment is the same.

It would be a triumph for ridiculous censorship if the album was banned.

Times were very different in the late 1920's early 30's simple as that .
#27 · Posted: 21 Aug 2014 09:21 · Edited by: jock123
though not comparing Tintin in the Congo to a Hitler propaganda film

But in making the comparison in the first place, you are! I agree, I don't think it is particularly profitable to make the comparison either, but as you have brought it up...

There is a huge difference between the status of the two - examining the causes and roots of Nazism and Hitler as history affects the course of our society; it would be possible to include Congo in that class of material, by all means.

However, Nazi propaganda films are generally not being promoted and marketed as entertainment, or sold to promote their point-of-view out of a historical context; doing so, as with films like Triumph of the Will is contentious, and does raise many questions, such as its use to try and re-brand Leni Riefenstahl as an auteur cinéast, rather than a Nazi apologist.

Congo on the other hand is being taken out of a historical context and placed in the entertainment field front-and-centre, and sold widely through channels which would not carry The Protocols of the Elders of Zion or even Mein Kampf, which is completely different.

I am not for one moment saying that you are not genuinely fond of the book for fairly innocent reasons; however, by putting it in terms of a book which you love, could suggest that you aren't making the distinction of it as the historical item, to be regarded as an item out of time, which you is part of your case, nor are you being open to the possibility that others might be genuinely offended by it.
#28 · Posted: 21 Aug 2014 13:07
Can see your point, but I stick by mine: I find it hard to see many people offended by Congo, though contradicting myself again, how would I know?

The point is I suppose in my mind is that it is not intentionally racist, and as I said it's of its time so has to be taken for what it is.

I'm not sure how widely read Congo is - I rarely see it in any book shops or libraries. I'd imagine it's the least popular or known of the all the albums along with Soviets amongst casual readers.

It was many years after first reading the other books that I came across them.

Maybe it's not very PC to declare a love of the book, but for me the series would be poorer for not having Congo part of it.
#29 · Posted: 6 Oct 2014 08:13 · Edited by: Moderator
So now it's a real collectors item!
Don't see why it's been dropped from the Egmont catalogue - it's of its time - but that's life, I suppose.

Obviously thought not good for the Egmont name to publish it.

I think I will read it again tonight.
UK Correspondent
#30 · Posted: 16 Nov 2014 17:45 · Edited by: Richard
A small update: the new printings are now in the shops, and Congo has indeed disappeared from the back cover. No word yet on what will happen to the compact/3-in-1 editions.

Curiously, the book is listed in Egmont's 2014 catalogue (link here - p87) with a content warning.

Moderator Note: The publication status of Tintin in the Congo has been broken off into its own new thread here.

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