This is me in Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium. A great place for a fan of manga and bandes dessinées. Tout le monde knows Tintin, the journalist, his dog Milou, and his friend, Captain Haddock. This museum for Georges P. Remi alias Hergé (1907-1983), the great comic artist from Bruxelles, is at an hour’s ride from Bruxelles Centraal. The museum explains on Hergé’s life and career, and how they are intertwined with the adventures of his hero in knickerbockers.
Tintin travels around the world to fight against villains, criminals, and dictators. His stories first appeared in the youth journal “Le Petit Vingtième”. In 1935, Tintin even made it to Shanghai, occupied by the Japanese. Hergé had made a Chinese friend, who inspired him to design a volume in China. In fact, the Japanese behave badly and ultimately lose the battle against the fearless blue pullover.
“The Blue Lotos” has been translated in many languages and still sells today. In contrast to the 1931 story “Tintin au Congo”, which depicted the local Africans in a strange manner and even provoked criticism of prejudice and racism, “The Blue Lotos” ridicules Western views on East Asia and colonial thinking. Tintin helps the local Chinese against the Japanese occupiers.
As a professional manga artist, Hergé exercised Chinese writing, as well as the drawing of Chinese locations, clothing, and faces for “The Blue Lotos”. Some of his attempts are exhibited in the museum. In general, Hergé inserted many motives from the newspapers into his stories, e.g. technological items like the moon rocket, submarines, or the Concorde.
After two hours of fun, have a good bite at the restaurant “La Petit Vingtième”, or a delicious café crème … Enjoy the cover pages in the restaurant – one of the originals, drawn in 1939 (“King Ottokar’s Sceptre” (??)) was recently sold for € 540,000 to a rich collector.