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Hergé: Relationship with Goscinny & Uderzo?

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#1 · Posted: 27 Mar 2004 04:46
This is a rather off-topic question, but would any know if there was some rivalry (hopefullly friendly) between the Tintin and Asterix authors?
Even though I used to read Asterix before, and still respect it today, I stopped reading them after the last 15 titles or so after the storylines got tired and bland.
Either way, I knew inside that Tintin was more elaborate and intelligent than recycled plotlines about 'eating wild boar' and 'beating up Roman legionnaires'.
But back to my question: was there any tension between the authors?

Just wondering...
#2 · Posted: 27 Mar 2004 06:18
I'm not sure, but there might be some rivalry between them, I don't know. They are both Belgian and very popular but I think I read somewhere that Hergé and the Asterix guys were on friendly terms.
Tintin books are far more intellegent than Asterix, but don't forget Asterix is a pop era character for humour purposes and telling history in an alternate way. I enjoyed Asterix books, but have enjoyed Tintin books a lot more!
Here in Australia Asterix is far more popular than Tintin, probably because humour comics are the only sort that sell really well here! I've asked people why the don't like Tintin and they say it doesn't have any humour like Asterix, but I disagree. There is humor in Hergé's books, it's just a more clever humor and that is probably too much for most Australian's to handle! (Ha, ha)
Um.. yes.
#3 · Posted: 27 Mar 2004 12:29
I agree with you, Asterix is more slapstick (though Tintin has its wonderful moments of that too), and I would say that Asterix may be more popular than Tintin in the UK as well, maybe because the humour is a bit more obvious. I do like a bit of Asterix myself (got all the books!), and think the storylines are good, though the puns do get a little irksome after a while. I never tire of Tintin.

The Asterix authors and books, by the way, were French, not Belgian. I get the feeling they had a healthy respect for each other. Hergé was the senior comics creator - both the Asterix creators were born just a couple of years before Tintin made his debut.

The Thom(p)sons make an amusing appearance in Asterix in Belgium, and Asterix can be seen in Tintin and the Picaros, as you probably know.
UK Correspondent
#4 · Posted: 28 Mar 2004 01:28
I don't think there was much rivalry between the two (well, three) - their work is too different.
If Jacobs, for example, hadn't worked with Hergé, and just launched Blake & Mortimer separately, then there could have been some rivalry then, due to the tone of the stories, the artwork etc. being closer to Hergé's work than Goscinny-Uderzo's was.

The Astèrix albums cater for a different audience (or a fan's different tastes) - Astèrix is ultimately variations on a theme, whereas Tintin, whilst starting out by adhering to the 'adventure' formula that Hergé created, quickly changed and became more complex - for example, The Blue Lotus onwards.
I would say Tintin is definitely a more mature creation - the artwork (I can't remember who pointed this out, possibly Harry Thompson) is an accurate line-drawing of a figure, simply with a cartoon-style face. Everything else - vehicles, landscapes, machinery etc. are all perfect depictions of their subjects.

Astèrix, also, is always able to resort to the magic potion to get him out of a spot of bother.
Tintin cannot do this, and has to rely on his wits. This is an advantage that Tintin has over the 'superhero comic books' - he has no super powers, and can't overcome anyone by using any such powers.
This demonstrates Hergé's deeper plot construction than the US superhero comic books.
It also explains the output of the authors - US comic book authors often have a huge output - sometimes a hundred collections of strips or more - whereas Hergé produced only twenty-four (twenty-three and Alph-Art) over a period of fifty-four years. There may only be twenty-four, but they are twenty-four perfectly crafted works of genius, and show Hergé's mastery of the format.

Whoah, a little off-topic there, but never mind !
UK Correspondent
#5 · Posted: 19 Apr 2004 21:50
I came across this quote, originally in Tintin et Moi; it shows the respect that Hergé had for, in this case, André Franquin (creator of Gaston Lagaffe):

"...When I see a Franquin [drawing], for example, I say to myself 'But how can we be compared? He is a great artist, next to which I am nothing but a mediocre draughtsman'..."
the Yeti
#6 · Posted: 6 Mar 2006 09:48
Everyone here has failed to realize that Obelix has a little white dog (Dogmatix). It seems obvious that the creators of Asterix (Goscinny-Uderzo) were inspired by Hergé and were Tintin fans and put the little white dog in there as an homage to Snowy.
#7 · Posted: 6 Mar 2006 21:14
..and put the little white dog in there as an homage to Snowy.

I think a 'boy and his dog' has long been a staple of stories and adventures (whether the boy be a man or the dog be a kangaroo)! There's a possibility Dogmatix is hommage, but it's more likely coincidence (and not much of coincidence at that). But I've no doubt the Asterix creators were influenced to some degree by Hergé, as just about every European comic artist has been since Tintin became the dominant force in continental BD.
#8 · Posted: 6 Mar 2006 23:27
Asterix creators were influenced to some degree by Hergé, as just about every European comic artist has been since Tintin became the dominant force in continental BD.

True, though I was under the impression though that Pilote, in which Asterix appeared, was set up by René Goscinny in many ways as a reaction to Tintin - Asterix being more sharply satirical than Tintin, while elswhere in the magazine the works of the likes of Moebius and Enki Bilal brought a more adult dimesion to French comics than seen in the previously dominant Tintin and Spirou magazines.
John Sewell
#9 · Posted: 7 Mar 2006 02:35
But I've no doubt the Asterix creators were influenced to some degree by Hergé, as just about every European comic artist has been since Tintin became the dominant force in continental BD.

I used to have a copy of the special issue of Tintin magazine, produced just after Hergé's death, which had a series of tribute drawings by other BD artists. One of them was a lovely Uderzo picture of a smiling Asterix shaking the hand of (a very well drawn) Tintin, and saying "Merci, Monsieur Tintin!"
I thought it was a nice way of acknowledging the debt and influence of Hergé and Tintin. I wish I still had the mag - there were loads more tributes featuring characters I wasn't familiar with at that time. The only other one I can remember was Alix, pictured carving a Roman bust of Tintin!
#10 · Posted: 31 Jul 2009 14:17
Found this video of a 1969 interview with Albert Uderzo, René Goscinny, and Hergé, talking about each other's works.
It's in French I'm afraid.

Also in the line-up are André Franquin (Spirou, Gaston Lagaffe) , Pierre Tchernia (screenwriter and animator), and Alain Saint Ogan (author of Zig et Puce, a favourite of Hergé's).

You could describe this as a meeting of the greats of the French-language comics industry, whose work are still major achievements.

A lot of this clip is about Goscinny's early career in America, and how he gave up drawing for writing. One notable thing is that Hergé claims that his stories are more believable, though that does not make "Asterix" any less of a major work.

Goscinny and Uderzo counter this by pointing out that Hergé develops a storyline in which he includes gags, whereas they develop gags which include a storyline. Hergé agrees with this.

Notice how, at the very start, Hergé appears almost to be a headless ghost! Some TV technicians have some answering to do!

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