Apologies for digging this old thread up, but I didn't want to start a new topic for a discussion that has already made appearances in a couple or more threads, most recently the Son of Tintin (Tristan)
We know that when the original Congo book was published in the UK (my edition is 1991) it included a foreword by Michael Turner and Leslie Lonsdale-Cooper concerning Hergé's portrayal of the Belgian Congo, and how he "reflected the colonial attitudes of the time" while Hergé himself "admitted that he depicted his Africans according to the bourgeois, paternalistic stereotypes of the period".
With that in mind, I thought it might be interesting to quote from the introduction to Dark Horse's English translation of Osamu Tezuka's Astro Boy.
"Many non-Japanese, including people from Africa and Southeast Asia, appear in Tezukua's works. Sometimes these people are depicted very differently from the way they actually are today, in a manner that exaggerates a long time past or shows them to be from extremely undeveloped lands. Some feel that such images contribute to racial discrimination, especially against people of African descent. This was never Tezuka's intent, but we believe that as long as there are people who feel insulted or demeaned by these depictions, we must not ignore their feelings.
We are against discrimination, in all its forms, and intend to continue to work for its elimination. Nonetheless, we do not believe it would be proper to revise these works. Tezuka is no longer with us, and we cannot erase what he has done, and to alter his work would only violate his rights as a creator. More importantly, stopping publication or changing the content of his work would do little to solve the problems of discrimination that exist in the world.
We are presenting Tezuka's work as it was originally created, without changes. We do this because we believe it is also important to promote the underlying themes in his work, such as love for mankind and the sanctity of life. We hope that when you, the reader, encounter this work, you will keep in mind the differences in attitudes, then and now, toward discrimination, and that this will contribute to even greater awareness of such problems."
- Tezuka Productions & Dark Horse Comics (© 2002, as information).
Much longer than the Casterman forword, but nicely put I thought, and echoing similar sentiments.