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Tintin and Mickey Mouse: Like two peas in a pod?

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Lurker
Member
#11 · Posted: 28 Mar 2012 16:47
Harrock n roll:
Hergé was a big fan of Buster Keaton and saw many of his films.

Gottfredson was working as a projectionist in the 1920's and was also very familiar with Keaton and other silent comedians. So, here we have a undisputed common nominator between Hergé and Gottfredson.

It seems to be so that we have here obvious Murder on the Orient Express -case. Everybody's "guilty"! Both Hergé and Gottfredson directly influenced each other and then they did have a shared source of inspiration: Buster Keaton.

The case is solved! Hopefully we can find more evidence...
mct16
Member
#12 · Posted: 28 Mar 2012 16:54 · Edited by: mct16
If we obtain the evidence that Herge actually copied from Gottfredson, who copied Herge, and that both copied Keaton, then should they be convicted for plagiarism or complimented for homages?
Lurker
Member
#13 · Posted: 28 Mar 2012 17:18
mct16:
If we obtain the evidence that Herge actually copied from Gottfredson, who copied Herge, and that both copied Keaton, then should they be convicted for plagiarism or complimented for homages?

All the great (and not so great) artists copy, modify, adapt vary and synthesise earlier artwork. "Ex nihilo nihil fit", you can't create anything out of nothing.

In a (even more) lighter vein...

Both Hergé and Gottfredson used lots of sweat drops. The characters have frequently quite a few drops of perspiration spraying around the head.
Balthazar
Moderator
#14 · Posted: 28 Mar 2012 18:31 · Edited by: Balthazar
To continue my thought earlier that the early Mickey Mouse animated cartoons must have been a mutual influence on both strip cartoonists. . .

I've just watched an early Mickey Mouse short cartoon, Plane Crazy, from 1929, in which Mickey is inspired by the recent fame of Charles "LIndy" Lindberg to build and fly a plane. There's a sequence where Mickey (trying to impress his passenger Minnie) loops the loop. Minnie falls from her seat at the top of the loop but falls back into her seat as Mickey bottoms out of the loop - exactly the same accidental stunt we see the Thom[p]sons perform in The Black Island, as well as being similar to the Gottfredson strip pilot-catching sequence you describe, Lurker.

Of course Plane Crazy (and both subsequent strips) was directly influnced by the exploits and stunts of real barnstormer pilots of 1920s America (including Lindberg in his younger days). Some of these barnstormers did speciallise in climbing from one plane to another in mid air, notably Gladys Ingle, though I don't think anyone actually performed the stunt of falling from a loop the loop and being caught in the same plane! (And I think the forces from the manoeuver would counteract gravity and hold you in your seat during the loop anyway.)

Anyway if Plane Crazy is the first fictional example of this stunt, I guess we should credit the gag to Walt DIsney, or more properly at least co-credit it to that film's director, Walt's rather overlooked top animator and co-creator of Mickey Mouse, Ub Iwerks.

There may well be other similar examples of stunts and gags in the early Mickey Mouse animations influencing Hergé and Gottfredson's comics. For instance Hergé's Ranko seems to owe quite a lot to Bebbo the Gorilla, who appeared in at least a couple of these early Mickey Mouse animated shorts.

The original Mickey Mouse films would obviously have been an expected and required influence on Gottfredson, but they were probably an inescapable influence on anyone producing cartoon comedy action sequences at the time, given how popular and groundbreaking these early Mickey Mouse animations were.

Hergé was a bit of a magpie generally, but I agree that he adapted his influences and sources into his own work with enough originality and uniqueness for us to call it homage rather than plagiarism!
jock123
Moderator
#15 · Posted: 28 Mar 2012 18:33
Lurker:
The characters have frequently quite a few drops of perspiration spraying around the head.

One of my favourite little details is that, during the shark attack in Red Rackham, Hergé puts the beads around Tintin's diving-helmet to show his anxiety: even under water, Tintin sweats when worried!
Lurker
Member
#16 · Posted: 28 Mar 2012 20:04
Was Hergé the first Belgium comic artist to use American style speech balloons?

In Belgium and in many other parts in Europe there were usually only text boxes in comics or printed text under the panels.

I believe that's the reason why Hergé's balloons are not really balloons but rectangles. He didn't want to "shock" his readers with too modern over-the-top round speech balloons like Gottfredson had. Just too cheeky! He used more conservative text boxes but with a pointer directed towards the speaker.

Of course, this is just speculation....
Balthazar
Moderator
#17 · Posted: 28 Mar 2012 22:48 · Edited by: Balthazar
Lurker:
He didn't want to "shock" his readers with too modern over-the-top round speech balloons like Gottfredson had. Just too cheeky! He used more conservative text boxes but with a pointer directed towards the speaker.

Hmm. It's a valid speculation, of course, but personally, I think even though Hergé's speech balloons are rectangular, he still saw them as proper speech balloons, rather than an attempt to water the comic strip form down. I say this because I'm sure I read somewhere that when the first Tintin strips were being page-set at the Petiit Vingtieme, someone tried to add prose captions below each frame, narrating the story in what they thought would be a clearer or possibly more educationally respectable way, and that Hergé insisted that this was unnecessary and unwanted.

It may be that he simply felt rectangular boxes worked better for his understated, realistic style and utilitarian approach. Hergé's rectangular balloons are certainly one of the things that gives Tintin such a different look from many American and American-influenced comic strips, and Gottfredson's round balloons fit more naturally into the more cartoony Disney style, where many of the character drawings - especially in the studio's early era - tend to be based on circles and spheres.

That said, not all early American strip cartoons have round speech balloons. For example, the great pioneer of comic strips (and animation) Winsor McCay uses quite rectangular speech balloons in his famous Little Nemo strip. As with Tintin, McCay's rectangularish balloons, and his rather sketchy lettering within them, are perfect for the strip - looking rather ephemeral and light, avoiding upstaging the beautiful artwork, and just right for the informal speech patterns of the characters. (When McCay's son, decades later, took it upon himself to try modernising his father's strips to make them more commercial for mid-twentieth century re-publication, his redraws included perfect eliptical speech balloons filled with professionally lettered comic-style capitals, which, like everything else about the attempted modernisation, look totally wrong. But I digress!)
Lurker
Member
#18 · Posted: 29 Mar 2012 12:29
Balthazar:
Hergé's speech balloons are rectangular, he still saw them as proper speech balloons, rather than an attempt to water the comic strip form down.

Nonetheless Hergé used lower case lettering, just like in narrative boxes, not capital letters like usually used in speech balloons (and in Disney comics).

And I don't think that Hergé was watering down the comic strip form, he was just being innovative with this (quite) new art form.

Tintin in the Land of the Soviets' speech balloons are very much like text boxes. Pointer from the balloon, eh, box, is often just a thin line (especially in the beginning, look at the bomb in the train episode), not a tail at all.
tintinsgf
Member
#19 · Posted: 29 Mar 2012 16:01
Lurker:
All the great (and not so great) artists copy, modify, adapt vary and synthesise earlier artwork. "Ex nihilo nihil fit", you can't create anything out of nothing.

Or this, err... saying,"Good artist copies, great artist steal". Might sound disturbing to your mind, but perhaps in several circumstances that could be the case. But before you complaint about this saying, read my comment below.

Balthazar:
(And I think the forces from the manoeuver would counteract gravity and hold you in your seat during the loop anyway.)

The centripetal force, that is. While the plane is going loop de loop, centripetal force acts on the passenger, which helps counteract gravity.

Balthazar:
but I agree that he adapted his influences and sources into his own work with enough originality and uniqueness for us to call it homage rather than plagiarism!

Back to the previous saying (good artist copy, great artist steal), stealing could mean that the artist takes something (ideas and sources) from other people's work, and then elaborate them in his/her own work in a different way (be it with some adaptation, modification, or anything that could change the original form of the ideas/sources the artist steals). If this is the kind of "stealing" that happens, shouldn't it be admitted that this is a good, if not great, thing?
Lurker
Member
#20 · Posted: 29 Mar 2012 16:43
tintinsgf:
If this is the kind of "stealing" that happens, shouldn't it be admitted that this is a good, if not great, thing?

Yup. Otherwise there would be no progress.

Re: Speech bubbles

I tried to check when Hergé's speech "rectangular" withdrew from the upper part of the panel (and didn't look any more like narrative box with a pointer). That seems to have happened after The Shooting Star.

Until that there almost never was any gap between the speech bubble and the panel's upper border.

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