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Hergé: too obstinate to pass the series to an apprentice?

#1 · Posted: 6 May 2007 08:44 · Edited by: Moderator
Well, I'd've been happy for The Adventures of Tintin to carry on to a good number of, say, 35 albums, if Hergé had handed his talent and skills to an apprentice to continue the series.

Any comments on this?
#2 · Posted: 8 May 2007 18:20
Think of any TV or Movie series that has gone on to long, Simpsons for example, and the quality starts to drop and it becomes an exercise in money making.

There have been attempts before at non-Herge Tintin stories, The Blue Oranges, Lake of Sharks, etc. Are any as good as the Tintin true stories?

#3 · Posted: 28 May 2007 23:01
The Asterix books are not as good anymore after the death of Goscinny. Underzo should get a good writer allready, because his ones are forgettable.

Lucky Luke, on the other hand, has been decent with different writers/illustrators.

But either way, I would have prefered if Tintin was continued endlessly even if it ran out of steam. Then I wouldn't have to seek out bootlegs such as Tintin In Barcelona or Tintin in Thailand.
#4 · Posted: 10 Jan 2009 13:23 · Edited by: Amilah
I do confess some intense hatred for Herge's heir and how they instrumentalize Herge's last will (not letting Tintin continue in other people's hands) to self-righteously hunt down any usage of Tintin's image that wouldn't make them richer, but I'm happy no official non-herge Tintin has been produced.

You can't just "teach" Tintin to an apprentice, and with respect to talented fan-made stories, while they are interesting, they’re all horridly clumsy. A Tintin by someone else doesn't make much sense, if someone is talented enough let him start his own series, with his own personality - and if it's close in style and mindset, let it be accidentally so. The official sequels to series whose authors have died pretty systematically turn out catastrophic, at best by lack of something subtle, hard to define and to copy.

If Hergé was still alive, I don't think the series would have run out of steam - Hergé's evolutionary approach prevented it. Indeed, I think it would have evolved very far from the Tintin we know (see the mysticism of Tibet/714, the non-adventures of Emerald, and the bitterness of Picaros).

Hergé would have followed his moods, interests and disenchantments, and the series would certainly have turned to more and more self-reflexive, postmodern, experimental kind of stuff.

This is contrary to the artificial "keep faithful to a sales-defined golden age" policy a new author would have to follow. So, one way or the other (by faithfulness or unfaithfulness), a non-Hergé Tintin would have ended up betraying Hergé.

Still, we all draw little Tintins. And thinking that we're all wanted terrorists because of that Tintin strip we drew when we were 6 years old is a bit nauseating. The pirates Tintin (while lame) should be kept separated from the series, but there's a huge hypocrisy behind their interdiction, given that every Tintin specialist has to consider their existence, and usually have a copy of them. They're part of history too, even if in another category.
#5 · Posted: 28 Jan 2009 04:19 · Edited by: Rajpal
Do you want the series to go on?

Yes - because it would have been fun

No - What if the apprentice had done such a bad job that it would have completely killed the original series as well. Leave a bad taste in the mouth, you know.

Maybe Tintin is so popular because it was original from start to finish.

On the other hand, maybe the apprentice might have been better but I would not have liked this risk.
#6 · Posted: 28 Jan 2009 05:12
I heard that Bob DeMoor had wanted to at least finish off 'Tintin and Alph-Art' after Herge's death, but Moulinstart turned him down...

I actually don't mind Lake of the Sharks or the Blue Oranges/Golden Fleece. Maybe I'm just a sucker for anything Tintin related.

All things considered, I guess I would only really approve of anyone continuing the Tintin series if they had originally worked in Herge's studios... Then, at least, they'd have some semblance of what the stories were about and what the characters were like.
#7 · Posted: 31 Jan 2009 15:25 · Edited by: Amilah
I heard that Bob DeMoor had wanted to at least finish off 'Tintin and Alph-Art' after Herge's death, but Moulinsart turned him down...

If you wonder why, I suggest you read a couple of Barelli, Bob de Moor's own series. It's, hm, interesting, but it gives an idea why so many people pretended not to hear anything when Bob de Moor was suggesting to continue Tintin.

Graphically, it's quite close to Herge (strangely, I find them closer to Jo Jack & Jocko than to Tintin). In fact, it's half-way between Herge and EP Jacobs, which is why De Moor's talent was called for Blake & Mortimer after Jacob's death. But when it comes to the story, dialogues, and visual jokes (oops he slipped and fell haha, ooh they collided and fell too lolz), it's a good reminder that what made Tintin great isn't something that could be just passed forward to an apprentice, or something that the studio's coworkers would be necessarily able to emulate. A person who worked in the studios have a good feeling of the visual style of Tintin, and maybe the characters mentality and attitudes, but crafting a Tintin story, with all the simple-looking-yet-complex humour and plot, demands quite a unique talent.

One great thing about the serious "pirate Tintins" (Rodier's, etc) is that they illustrate well, through their cataclysmic failures, how demanding a real Tintin story is. Reading a few of them, as well (unfortunately) as a few Barelli, makes me happy that the "no new official tintin" policy is still upheld.
#8 · Posted: 26 Nov 2009 03:51
I'm a huge fan of 'The Phantom' and although Lee Falk (it's creator) was the master unquestionally, there have been some fantastic other writers who wrote some great stories.

Some were bad writers, but many were very, very good which has kept the strip popular.
I think there would have to be someone out there who could write a Tintin story which is on par with Herge, but as Herge said 'some could do it worse some could do it better but they would do it differently - and it wouldn't be Tintin.'

He truly had an unwillingness to share credit didn't he?
But hey, if you have made the best strip of all time you would be a little protective wouldn't you?
#9 · Posted: 26 Nov 2009 23:37 · Edited by: 2Orangy4Crows
It's the perennial question isn't it?

On the one hand, we have Asterix which has continued after Goscinny's death and I think it's fair to say that the majority view is that the post-Goscinny books are inferior. Uderzo remains a brilliant artist – in fact, some of his best work is in the more recent books – but he can't match his late partner's satirical wit and the range has suffered as a result.

On the other hand, we have Blake and Mortimer which has also been revived in recent years with some success. I have no idea how these books have been received among B&M fandom but personally – at least based on the two Van Hamme/Benoit books I have read (Francis Blake Affair and Strange Encounter) – I have found the new books as good as the E.P. Jacobs originals. In fact I would go so far as to say that in a blind test, I would wonder if new readers would even be aware of a change in writer and artist. Then again, much as I enjoy B&M, it's not in the same league as Tintin. And this is the crux of the issue.

It's interesting that a thread has appeared on this today as I have just finished another continuation of a series by a deceased author – And Another Thing by Eoin Colfer which continues Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series. I didn't enjoy it and I've been trying to work out why. In many ways it has a lot going for it. Colfer absolutely nails Adams' characters: you can imagine them saying and doing the things they do in the book as though Adams had written it himself. Similarly you can imagine Adams coming up with the plot of the book (at least insofar as any of Adams' books have a plot). Where Colfer falls down though is in the narrative: he just can't match the dizzying leaps of imagination that Adams was capable of. The obvious and classical example of this is in the passage about the Babelfish that appears in the first book by Adams. The Babelfish is a really neat idea: stick the fish in your ear and you can understand any language. But then Adams takes this and develops a stream of consciousness that takes in logic, philosophy and theology that demonstrates that the existence of a silly fish you stick in your ear is proof of the non-existence of God. And then twists the whole thing back on itself to expose logic, philosophy and theology as load of bunk. And this is the difference – the Babelfish-factor, if you will – between Colfer and Adams: Colfer is capable of inventing a notion like the Babelfish; he is not capable of extrapolating the non-existence of God from its presence. So, one author (Adams) is capable of these amazing leaps of imagination and another (Colfer) isn't and so this, I believe, is why this new entry into the Hitchhiker canon does not and cannot match up.

And I think that this is the thing about continuing Tintin with a new writing team. Blake and Mortimer are great but they don't have the Babelfish-factor: that certain spark (of genius?) that elevates something from “great” to “Really Very Special And Unique”. And so it is possible for other talented writers to continue B&M and produce new stories that are the equal of the originals. Asterix does have the Babelfish-factor and without Goscinny they cannot match the originals (even as a child when I did not know Goscinny was dead I could tell that the newer books were somehow different and not as good as the earlier ones). I believe the same is true of Tintin: there is a Babelfish-factor that cannot be repeated and to attempt to do so will only diminish the range, as has happened with Asterix.
#10 · Posted: 24 Nov 2010 11:58
I think that yes, it may be possible that he was too arrogant to pass the flame on, but I do have another way of seeing things...

Consider this for a moment, you are a young aspiring comic strip artist/writer, you come up with a series that is not only popular but also quite adult yet it still has a childlike appeal.

Then come along a load of TV and film makers who destroy it by making overly simplistic and childish productions cos they think that as it's 'just for kids' that they can put out any out rubbish they like.

No wonder he did not like the idea of others continuing his work!

So really you can blame Belvision for this, not Hergé!

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