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Made in Belgium exhibition

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tintinuk
Moderator Emeritus
#11 · Posted: 20 Mar 2005 15:36 · Edited by: tintinuk
There was an article about the fiasco in 'The Sunday Telegraph' today (p. 9) - taking a stance against Nick Rodwell, quoting it as 'scandulous and disgusting'. The article includes comments from both Nick Rodwell and Georges Remi Jr. Headline : "Billions of Blistering Barnacles ! Briton prevents Belgium from celebrating Tintin".
edcharlesadams
Trivia Challenge Score Keeper
#12 · Posted: 20 Mar 2005 16:37
Putting the issue of blame for Tintin's absence aside (at the moment it seems to be one person's word against another's), what strikes me is a certain amount of misplaced patriotism that has led to Rodwell's "Britishness" being held up as a reason for him being unfit to protect something so sacred to Belgium.

This is nothing new: I recall mumbles of discontent at Michael Farr's book being championed by Moulinsart as the "definitive" reference work (after Benoit Peeters fell out with them spectacularly), and the presence of both Farr and Harry Thompson speaking as experts in Tintin et Moi. The feeling was that there were plenty of equally good, if not better, Belgian and French authorities to contribute. And there was a fair bit of bad feeling that the official logo for the 75th anniversary said "Since 1929" in English, and that many important Tintin drawings were outside Belgium for a whole six months last year during the Tintin at Sea exhbition in London. But it seems that every time Moulinsart takes a step wrong, a knee-jerk reaction is to point to Rodwell's ethnicity, as if it mattered.

Now I'm not one to blindly support Le Chateau in every decision they've made, and perhaps everyone agrees that this current affair should have been handled much better. Neither do I blame the Belgians particularly; after all, there are those in Liverpool who get incensed about Americans trying to market the Beatles as their own, and no doubt the shareholders and fans of Manchester United would have some sympathy with that view. But I think drawing attention to someone's origin - inasmuch as it has any bearing on their ability - just clouds the issue and does no-one any favours, it really is a cheap shot to take.

Ed
Richard
UK Correspondent
#13 · Posted: 20 Mar 2005 16:58
I have to agree there, and let's not forget that Rodwell did take quite a few landmark steps in his early dealings with Le Château. He spearheaded the translation and publication of Tintin in the Land of the Soviets and the black and white Tintin in the Congo, the original edition of Tintin and Alph-Art - generally regarded as the superior format - and helped to found the Tintin Shop, which I believe was known as Pilote formerly ? I also recall mention of his being involved with the 60 Years exhibition at Chelsea Town Hall in '89, which succeeded in bringing to the UK a huge collection of original artwork. Therefore, to say that he is entirely at fault would be to disregard his early work.

I hadn't heard of the Michael Farr issue before, but I can understand the reasoning behind it. Tintin, a Belgian character being almost adopted by the British would probably cause contention from his homeland. I'm assuming that the other English references - the Tintin et Moi film, and the logo - were used because English is widely-spoken around the world. I'm surprised at the attitude regarding the drawings being outside of the country, though - a chance to spread Tintin's popularity to a wider audience should surely be jumped at ?

I'm guessing that a lot of the dislike for Rodwell and Le Château comes from the policies regarding websites and the COT affair, and also possibly the pricing of the merchandise (which in my view is of an exceptionally high quality, although this doesn't really justify the price). Managing the image of Tintin has been done relatively well, I think - we don't see him everywhere, unlike a certain bespectacled wizard or a yellow family from Springfield - and the Foundation does seem to have respected the wishes of Hergé insofar as derivative works and management of the character is concerned. If you look back to the Lombard days of Tintin Magazine, Tintin's image is used far better nowadays, and we don't see him advertising all sorts of completely unrelated products. Tintin hasn't 'sold out' thanks to the guidance of Moulinsart, and it's just a shame that the recent 'Made in Belgium' incident took place. Now if only the website issue could be resolved !

And regarding the management of Moulinsart - better the devil you know ...

- Richard
tintinuk
Moderator Emeritus
#14 · Posted: 20 Mar 2005 20:44 · Edited by: tintinuk
To be honest, I agree wholeheartedly. I wasn't expressing that to be own opinion; just providing the article's headline. The article did, actually give Nick Rodwell's side of the story - the headline was just particularly biased. I quite agree that Nick Rodwell's early work was quite brilliant, if it wasn't for him, there would be no Tintin Shop, English Tintin and Alph-Art, Tintin in the Congo, Soviets or Hergé & Tintin Reporters. I was previously unaware that he was involved with the 60 Years Of Adventure exhibition, but if so, that is indeed a landmark step. It is indeed a bit unfair to blame someone just because of their origin, I think. The article goes even further, you might be interested to know - describing it as "enough to have the florid-faced Captain Haddock exclaim 'Billions of Bilious Blue Blistering Barnacles !'".

I'm also surprised about the fact that there was resentment over the artwork being overseas. I would have thought, like Richard, that Belgians would be proud that something originating from their homeland should be popular all over the globe (I know I would be !). I expect that most of the dislike for Moulinsart does stem from their website policies; I mean, they do (as Richard says) a great job of managing the public image of Tintin, much better than Lombard did, anyway. Tintin is always used appropriately, which is definitely for the better if a Spielberg film is ever realised. The merchandise is of much better quality than other characters, especially so, as it isn't available everywhere - it's more of a specialist area.

I think that the article was overtly biased, and a bit over-the-top, making a bit of a 'non-story', as it were. The phrasing of the article is somewhat critical : "Mr. Rodwell ... never met Hergé, but said [rather sarcasticly put by the journalist, in my opinion] he realised how important he is to the country". Overall, a very biased and one sided article, I suppose. I just thought it was interesting to see the world of Tintin being covered in the British press.

The website issue is the only Moulinsart annoyance for my part ...
jockosjungle
Member
#15 · Posted: 20 Mar 2005 22:10
To be fair to Moulinsart (as they have had very bad press over this) it is their job to exploit the commercial rights of Tintin worldwide. Basically when someone comes up with a proposal they have to look at how much it is worth to them and whether it helps the Tintin brand.

Truth is it seems that this exhibition wanted Tintin for nothing, I doubt very much that the Greenwich exhibition got use of Tintin for free.

The exhibition seemed to be saying that Tintin is part of Belgium and that he should be in the exhibition whereas Moulinsart aren't against that but want paying for the privelage (what they are supposed to do)

I'd say the Made in Belgium team are trying to use the media to get something for free that by rights they should be paying for.

Rik

PS. I know MS aren't massively popular around here, however I feel they do a reasonable job of protecting the Tintin brand.
Jyrki21
Member
#16 · Posted: 21 Mar 2005 05:19
jockosjungle:
If i was to put my collection of Tintin stuff on display in museum would i be infringing copyright? Surely some private collectors can offer to loan a collection of Herge stuff


You'd be fine, as long as you weren't making any money from it, I believe. Copyright law only covers the reproduction of works, but physically lending the work to someone else is alright for you. Now if they were to charge people to come and see it, well, then I'm not so sure (for them), to be honest...

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