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Tintin in the Congo

Tintin in the Congo

Legal | A Belgian court will rule next week whether Herge’s 1931 collection Tintin in the Congo will be banned because of its depictions of native Africans. The decision, originally expected today, following a nearly three-year-old effort by Bienvenu Mbutu Mondondo, a Congolese man living in Belgium, to have the book removed from the country’s bookstores, or at least sold with warning labels as it is in Britain. [Guardian, Mail Online]

Libraries | Robot 6 contributor Brigid Alverson reports on a C2E2 panel devoted to helping librarians deal with public challenges to graphic novels. On a related note, she also talks to Jeff Smith about a Minnesota mother’s attempt to have Bone removed from libraries in her school district. [Publishers Weekly]

San Diego Convention Center

San Diego Convention Center

Conventions | San Diego has sweetened the pot to keep Comic-Con International from leaving the city by offering $500,000 in hotel tax revenue over the next five years to help defray the cost of shuttling attendees to the event. The offer comes from the Tourism Marketing District, a nonprofit coalition of hotel operators, at the urging of Mayor Jerry Sanders and the San Diego Convention Center. Organizers are expected to decide within three weeks whether Comic-Con will remain in San Diego past 2012. [Union-Tribune]

Publishing | President Obama on Monday praised Kuwaiti Publisher Naif al-Mutawa for promoting international understanding of Islam with his comic series The 99: “His comic books have captured the imagination of so many young people with superheroes who embody the teachings and tolerance of Islam.” [CNN.com]

Retailing | Heidi MacDonald samples retailer opinion on digital distribution. “Our store is located under a music store, and we’ve already seen what can go wrong,” says Katie Merritt of Green Brain Comics in Dearborn, Michigan. “Fighting digital delivery didn’t do the music industry any good.” [Publishers Weekly]

Retailing | Citing high rent and increased competition from chain stores, owner Ethan Peacock will close Vancouver’s seven-year-old Elfsar Comics & Toys in Vancouver on May 23. [Straight.com]

Publishing | Fantagraphics Books and Rosebud Archives have partnered to sell prints, posters, framed art and other products related to vintage comics, advertising images and illustrations. [press release]

Icon

Icon

Publishing | Ryan K. Lindsay offers an overview of Marvel’s Icon imprint. [The Weekly Crisis]

Creators | Clifford Meth provides an update on the health of artist Gene Colan. [20th Century Danny Boy]

Creators | Daniel Clowes chats about his new graphic novel Wilson: “I liked the idea of Ice Haven as this little travel book or something. I wanted it to look like a postcard. Wilson — I just wanted everything about it to be sort of easy to read. I wanted it to just have the feel of a kid’s book, almost — sort of heavy, weighty. I wanted it to feel like it could take a bullet — like you could hold it in front of your chest, and it’s like, the bullet didn’t make it all the way through! It’s really the thickest board I’ve ever seen on a book. I told Chris Oliveros at Drawn & Quarterly, ‘I want the thickest board you can get me.’ I thought, there’s something so great and strong about it. I felt like in a world where everybody is downloading books, it was saying, ‘I’m a book, damn it — deal with me’.” [Time Out New York]

Doctor Solar

Doctor Solar

Creators | Christopher Irving profiles legendary — or perhaps infamous — industry figure Jim Shooter, focusing largely on Valiant Comics and Defiant. [Graphic NYC]

Creators | Jonathan Ross talks briefly about Turf, his Image Comics series with Tommy Lee Edwards. [FEARNet]

Creators | Actor Michael Chiklis discusses Pantheon, his new miniseries with Marc Andreyko and Stephen Molnar from IDW Publishing. [USA Today]

Creators | Writer Jim McCann is interviewed about his Marvel work and his creator-owned graphic novel Return of the Dapper Men. [Creative Loafing]

Creators | Artist Chrissie Zullo chats about her covers for Vertigo’s Cinderella: From Fabletown With Love. [Major Spoilers]

Comics | Owen Vaughan rattles off 55 facts you probably already know about superhero comics and movies. [News.com.au]

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Comments

3 Comments

Roquefort Raider

April 28, 2010 at 10:03 am

“Tintin au Congo” was written 80 years ago. It isn’t more offensive in its caricatural depiction of Africans than were other contemporary works like the Tarzan novels, and is certainly less so than the racist works of Lovecraft. If Belgium wants to do a meaningful Congo-related gesture, it could start by apologizing and pay reparations for forcibly imposing its rule on the land instead of castigating funnybooks that are almost a century old.

The plaintiff, Mr. Mondondon, states that even though the book was created a long time ago it is still being read today, and that he’s offended that Africans could be depicted, today, as childlike and superstitious. That’s a fair point, but at the same time the Europeans in the book are depicted as racist, greedy, and insufferably pretentious.

Much better, I think, to leave the book as is and to explain to anyone who actually needs it (all five of them) that the book’s skewed view of reality is just what you’d expect from the myopic viewpoint of a colonial mindset.

“Much better, I think, to leave the book as is and to explain to anyone who actually needs it (all five of them)”

You have no idea how big Tintin is in Europe, do you?

Roquefort Raider

April 28, 2010 at 10:35 am

William,

“All five of them” referred to the few people who’d need to be explained that Tintin au Congo is a product of its time.

I grew up on Tintin, Astérix and Spirou, so I’m well aware of their importance. Which is partly why I find this suit ridiculous. A classic is a classic, even when it was written in less enlightened times. I’m against changing Fagin’s character in Oliver Twist, too.

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