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Tintin & Snowy: After what or whom were they named?

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marsbar
Moderator
#1 · Posted: 15 Jul 2007 02:05
Hamish McLeod, of New Zealand, would like to hear our thoughts on the question of what and/or whom was Tintin and Snowy named after.

Hamish thinks he stumbled upon the answer ten years ago when he was travelling in Venezuela; I quote him:
There is a mountain town in the northern end of the Andes (in Venezuela) that has a famous myth/story. The charactor is an indian boy and his name is Tinjaca and his dog is named Nevado (Spanish for snowy (not just snow - which is nieve). There is a statue of them in the middle of the town.
I know Hergé had a bit of a fascination for South America so when I saw this I found it hard to believe it was a pure coincidence. Although if the dog is Milou in the French versions, then?
What do you think. Or is the origins a foregone conclusion?
SakuraT5
Member
#2 · Posted: 1 Sep 2007 04:38
I think Tintin must have been some kind of a nickname acquired by Herge's brother,Paul Remi, when he was a boy scout, since you know boy scouts often acquire totemic names as Herge did when he was one. Well Snowy's French name i.e. Milou, was based on the name of Herge's ex-girlfriend.
Tintinrulz
Member
#3 · Posted: 1 Sep 2007 10:31
Tintin was apparently the name of several rebellious schoolboys in comics featured in Belgian newspapers back in the 20's.
Maybe Herge was inspired by these.

Hamish's idea sounds ridiculous at it's best. Ridiculous but interesting (remember Herge was pretty much an armchair adventurer until later in his life, when he could afford to travel more widely).
NikkiRoux
Member
#4 · Posted: 23 Dec 2008 10:14 · Edited by: NikkiRoux
I'm not sure about Tintin, but Milou came from Hergé's ex-girlfriend, Marie-Louise (van Cutsem), whose nickname was “Milou”.
The Blue Lotus
Member
#5 · Posted: 24 Dec 2008 05:26
So Herge named a dog after his ex girlfriend eh? No comment! :)
appletree
Member
#6 · Posted: 30 Dec 2008 02:25
Just a small input. In “Hergé, son of Tintin” (Flammarion, 2003) Benoit Peeters writes about the birth of our hero explaining the liaison between Totor and Tintin via a double board published in the satirical weekly The Sifflet (nowadays published in “Hergé chronologie d’une oeuvre” Moulinsart, Vol I pg 216) in which a behaved little boy and his small white dog stared causing an impression on Hergé’s boss, Father Wallez. He further explains «Hergé has no time to think twice. The new series is already announced. He picks the first name that comes to mind: «Tintin», without remembering that Benjamim Rabier had already used it. And for the white doggy “Milou” seems perfect».
Abhishek Ghosh
Member
#7 · Posted: 26 Jul 2011 04:04
Is Milou's name really based on Herge's first girlfriend?
mct16
Member
#8 · Posted: 13 Nov 2020 19:57
I was just looking at Thomson and Thompson's Wikipedia entry which notes that inspiration for them came from "a picture of two mustachioed, bowler-hatted, formally dressed detectives who were featured on the cover of the Le Miroir edition of 2 March 1919. They were shown escorting Emile Cottin, who had attacked Georges Clemenceau — one detective was handcuffed to the man while the other was holding both umbrellas."

Émile Cottin was an anarchist and according to his Wikipedia entry and other sources, his nickname was "Milou"!

It's possible that "Milou" was the nickname of a girlfriend of Herge's, but I wonder if the name was mentioned in the reports following Cottin's arrest, trial and conviction. That would shed a new angle on one of fiction's most sweet and innocent doggies.
jock123
Moderator
#9 · Posted: 16 Nov 2020 17:00 · Edited by: jock123
mct16:
inspiration for them came from "a picture of two mustachioed, bowler-hatted, formally dressed detectives who were featured on the cover of the Le Miroir

That's the story (sort of) given in Michael Farr's Complete Companion, although in that instance he says only that it is "probably" the inspiration.

I think that elsewhere it's been said that the magazine only became known to Hergé very much after the fact, and that as ever, he maintained that the inspiration rested with his father and his uncle.

mct16:
It's possible that "Milou" was the nickname of a girlfriend

That's actually quite definite, it really was the nickname of Marie-Louise Van Cutsem.

However, the Cottin nickname thing is at the very least an interesting coincidence, so it's a good spot, and suggests that it was a name-form in some degree of common use, rather like Tintin being a name which circulated as a nickname over and above our boy reporter.

Cottin was "Louis Émile", so I would wager that in his case the nickname was a portmanteau formed from the start of "Louis" and the end of "Émile", reversed in the manner of Hergé's own initials forming his pseudonym.

mct16:
a new angle on one of fiction's most sweet and innocent doggies

It's only the good angel on his right shoulder keeping him from a life of whisky and anarchy, eh...? ;-)

Since I first heard about her, I've always thought it interesting that Marie-Louise became Milou, rather than Malou; it may be in spite of, or because (I don't know which) that just round the corner from Hergé's family home in Rue Philippe Baucq is the Avenue Jules Malou, named after a somewhat controversial former Prime Minister, who caused rioting in his day by undoing the laws which had made the Belgian education system secular, allowing the Catholic church to gain influence - perhaps the Van Cutsem family didn't look favourably on his legacy?

Update:
In re: your point
mct16:
I wonder if the name was mentioned in the reports following Cottin's arrest, trial and conviction

It's not a definite indicator of currency, but I think the fact that I could come across this local American paper, The Woodville Republican, of March the 1st, 1919 (I think that we can sidestep the gross typo in the dateline, which renders the month as "Mcarh"!) - which not only carries the story of the attempt on Clemenceau's life (if we learn only one thing from this, it's that standing still to tell everyone that the first shot missed is a mistake if someone is trying to shoot you, as the next half dozen or so might hit you...), but also that his nickname is indeed Milou.
If local papers abroad had that detail, then most likely the papers in Europe would have had this too.
mct16
Member
#10 · Posted: 16 Nov 2020 22:40 · Edited by: mct16
jock123:
I could come across this local American paper, The Woodville Republican, of March the 1st, 1919... that his nickname is indeed Milou.

Well done for finding this. I did not think of checking archives of the US and other newspapers.

jock123:
Cottin was "Louis Émile", so I would wager that in his case the nickname was a portmanteau formed from the start of "Louis" and the end of "Émile", reversed in the manner of Hergé's own initials forming his pseudonym.

It is funny how some people reverse their initials rather than use them in the standard order, like the stereotype leading businessman - J.R. being the best example. Come to think of it, Georges Remi could have become "Géher".

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