Book Review: Hergé: The Man Who Created Tintin

| November 23, 2011 | Comments (0)

 

Title: Hergé: The Man Who Created Tintin

Author: Pierre Assouline

The Tintin comics are amongst the most beloved in our history, its clean lines and simplicity exist in stark contrast to the complicated CGI of today and yet fans are still enraptured by the boy and his dog. Despite having an international following, biographies of the man who created Tintin are just now being made available to the English-speaking audience. Timed to coincide with the release of the magnificent new Spielberg offering The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, Pierre Assouline’s stunning biography Hergé: The Man Who Created Tintin is now available.

This biography is one which has taken a great deal of time to craft. There is almost as much effort put into each and every paragraph as there is into Tintin himself. Assouline, a biographer and journalist by trade, is arguably one of the most dedicated in the business as he leaves no stone in the life of Georges Prosper, or Hergé as he is more widely known, unturned. We are given unprecedented access to personal and previously unpublished letters which give the reader a new insight into the man we have only known to exist behind Tintin. Here we are thrown into the world of the man behind the pen and we gain a new understanding of the characters he created. The text is so lovingly translated by Charles Ruas that the transition is seamless, proving him to be a master in his craft.

The book itself has been thoughtfully pieced together, and like most biographies, we follow a linear narrative, but the difference here is that we are introduced in the preface as if we are an immediate friend of Hergé, rather than being positioned on the outside. We witness the humour and charm of the man for ourselves. This is a very visual text which insists on thrusting the reader into its universe. From the outset we are presented with the colour grey, which is described as being the colour of Hergé’s childhood. This use of colour changes this from the average biography to an emotional experience as we follow the progression of Georges Prosper from a child in a grey world, to Hergé, the man who gained colour in his life, and then injected it into the world around him through his art.

Hergé: The Man Who Created Tintin is a labour of love, almost a portrait in itself which reveals stunning details about the man who revolutionised the world of comics and art with one simple sketch. In conjunction with Spielberg’s offering, this biography is sure to introduce this important character and his creator to an entirely new audience. A must for all comic fans.

Ciara O’Brien

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  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: OUP USA
  • Language English
  • ISBN-10: 0199837279
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199837274
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.5 x 2.3 cm
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Category: Book Reviews, Reviews

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