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Fantagraphics to publish Herge

French cover for 'Peppy and Virginny'

In a comment thread on The Comics Journal website, Fantagraphics Co-Publisher Kim Thompson revealed the company will publish an early work by Tintin creator Herge (a.k.a. Georges Remi) titled Peppy and Virginny in Lapinoland.

Also known as Popol Out West, and called Popol et Virginie au pays de Lapinos in French, the book follows the adventures of “a couple of haberdashers who journeyed to the Wild West in search of new clientele, accompanied by their trusty horse Bluebell — where they ran into savage Indian tribes, evil bandits, and much more,” according to the PR details. As far as I can tell, it’s Herge’s only long-form funny animal series, with the lead characters drawn as bears and the Native Americans depicted as rabbits with feathers for ears.

Originally published in 1934, the book is one of several lesser-known and short-lived series that Herge did before giving his artistic life over to Tintin completely (and includes the Quick and Flupke and Jo, Zette and Jocko series).

The 56-page book, which costs $16.99, will be in stores July 2013. It will be part of Fantagraphics ongoing all-ages Eurocomics line, which includes such titles as The Littlest Pirate King and Murder By High Tide.

In other, unrelated Herge news, the comment thread also calls attention to this book, yet to find a publisher, which apparently suggests that Herge and Tchang, the model for the Chang character in The Blue Lotus, had an affair. Bleeding Cool has not-at-all sexy previews of the book here.

Comics A.M. | IDW Limited launches; Swedish libraries grapple with Tintin

IDW Limited

Publishing | IDW Publishing CEO Ted Adams discusses the company’s new IDW Limited program, which will produce small print runs of deluxe editions that will be marketed direct to the consumer. How small? The print run for the Blue Label edition of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Vol. 1 Deluxe Limited Edition will be 10 copies. “The only fair thing to do is to give the fans direct access on a first come first served basis,” he said. “We’re putting an incredible emphasis on quality, and that directly affects the quantity of books IDW Limited can produce. We’re designing new covers, building custom cases and paying the artists to do hand drawn sketch work to go with these books. The reality is that that’s all very expensive and unfortunately it makes it difficult for us to offer this line at the deep discount needed for traditional retail distribution.” [ICv2]

Libraries | Following the firestorm sparked last month when a youth library in Stockholm briefly removed Tintin comics because of their racial caricatures of Africans and Arabs, a survey finds that 10 percent of Swedish libraries have removed or restricted Herge’s books due to “racist content.” [The Local]

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Tintin in the Congo: It’s complicated

A youth library in Stockholm pulled Tintin comics from its shelves on the grounds that the racial caricatures of Africans and Arabs are not suitable for children before quickly backpedaling after the removal triggered a media firestorm in Sweden.

“I wanted to highlight an opinion piece about issues of discrimination, but realize now that it’s wrong to ban books,” explained Behrang Miri, the Kulturhuset library’s youth director.

Although the articles don’t specify which Tintin books were pulled, it’s safe to say the primary culprit was Tintin in the Congo, published in 1930, in which the Belgian creator Herge depicted Africans in crudely stereotyped ways. The book has come under heavy criticism in the United States and in Europe, and several attempts have been made, some successful, to remove it from libraries and bookstores (in February, a Belgian court rejected a five-year-old bid to ban the book).

So it’s something of a surprise to learn that Tintin is actually quite popular in the Congo, with locally made statues of the characters and mockups of the covers selling briskly to European tourists. While the director of the national museum objects to the proliferation of Tintinabilia, preferring to focus on the rich native heritage of the country, artisan Auguy Kakese, who makes and sells Tintin figures for a living is more sanguine:

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Talking Comics with Tim | Bandette’s Paul Tobin & Colleen Coover

Bandette 2

One of the clearcut hits from the first wave of Monkeybrain Comics digital line is Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover‘s Bandette, a great mixture of Tintin and Nancy Drew-type adventure. Today marks the release of Issue 2 — for the great price of 99 cents — where (as you can see by the preview CBR ran yesterday) Bandette foils a bank robbery in her own unique way.

To help get people as riled as I am for today’s release, I recently barraged Coover and Tobin with a series of questions. As a longtime fan of Tobin’s run on Marvel Adventures: Spider-Man, it pleased me immensely that Tobin is building somewhat upon the Blonde Phantom/Chat substories/genre he explored in the former series. I also appreciate a turn of phrase that Tobin used (“zest for life”) in discussing the new digital collaboration with Coover. I think zest for life is a quality that fuels Coover’s art.

In addition to the digital Issue 2 coming out today, on Saturday Coover will be at the Jet City Comic Show in Seattle. My thanks to Coover and Tobin for their time.

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Comics A.M. | Kirby4Heroes campaign to benefit The Hero Initiative

Jack Kirby

Organizations | Jillian Kirby, the 16-year-old granddaughter of Jack Kirby, makes a pitch for Kirby4Heroes, a campaign to encourage donations to The Hero Initiative on Aug. 28, which would have been the legendary creator’s 95th birthday. [Los Angeles Times]

Comics | Roger Rautio, who’s spearheading an effort to establish a physical Comic Book Hall of Fame, said he’s received responses from officials in four cities — Chicago, Cleveland, New York City and San Jose — and he may meet with a Chicago city council member as early as next month. [North Country Now]

Creators | Cartoonist Reinhard Kleist discusses his graphic novel The Boxer, the true story of  Polish Jew Harry Haft, who had to fight other prisoners at Auschwitz for the entertainment of the Nazi soldiers. [Deutsche Welle]

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Shelf Porn Saturday | Something is awesome in the state of Denmark

Hello and welcome to Shelf Porn, where we give fans the opportunity to show us their collections, both big and small. Today’s submission comes from artist and collector Jens Lund in Denmark, who sent in photos of his shelves, statues and art studio.

If you’d like to see more Shelf Porn, I can’t do it without you–so send your pictures and write-up to jkparkin@yahoo.com. Let’s make it happen!

And now here’s Jens …

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Comics A.M. | Court rules Zunar’s arrest is lawful, books seizure is not

Zunar

Legal | Human Rights Watch reports on the lawsuit filed by Malaysian cartoonist Zunar after he was arrested and his books seized by authorities. The court ruled that while the arrest, on grounds of sedition and publishing without a license, was lawful, the government’s continued possession of his materials was not. Zunar was never formally charged — a judge threw the arrest out after authorities could not point to any actual seditious material in his book, Cartoon-O-Rama — and therefore, the court ruled, the government had no right to continue to hold the books and must return them and pay him damages to boot. [Human Rights Watch, via The Daily Cartoonist]

Legal | Rich Johnston reports that copies of Howard Chaykin’s super-erotic Black Kiss 2 have been held at the border by U.K. customs. Diamond Comic Distributors is in talks with customs officials and hopes to get the books into the country next week. [Bleeding Cool]

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Wish This Was Real | Les McClaine’s adventures of young Doc Fiveash

Les McClaine (Middleman, The Tick, that incredibly awesome Batman poster) has a webcomic called Jonny Crossbones about the adventures of a skeleton-suited mechanic and the niece of a wealthy adventurer. They hunt pirate treasure in the first story and you should read it, but that’s not what this is about. It’s about these outstanding Tintin-esque covers that McClaine created to go on the wall of one of the characters in his comic. The character is Father Muzzey, companion to the aforementioned wealthy adventurer, and the covers depict the duo fighting Egyptian sewer-monsters, hunting Nosferatu and having their own version of a Nancy Drew adventure … with sledgehammers.

I’d read any of these, but the fact of the matter is that Johnny Crossbones is already very Hergé-like itself. Okay, maybe this post is about how you should go read that.

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Comics A.M. | Todd McFarlane cover sells for record $657,250

The Amazing Spider-Man #328

Auctions | Todd McFarlane’s original cover art for The Amazing Spider-Man #328 sold at auction Thursday for $657,250, shattering the record for a single piece of American comics art set last year by a splash page from The Dark Knight Returns #3 ($448,125). However, the price falls well short of the $1.6 million shell out last month for the original cover art for Tintin in America. A 9.8 graded copy of X-Men #1 was also sold by Heritage Auctions for $492,937.50, more than twice the previous record for that comic. [ICv2]

Publishing | Lily Rothman takes a look at iVerse’s newly announced comics-only crowdfunding platform Comics Accelerator, which will allow immediate delivery of digital rewards in a more sophisticated format than an e-mailed PDF and cap its share of the take at $2,500. As Laura Morley of Womanthology points out, it can go both ways: Being on Kickstarter, a trusted platform with wide visibility, helped boost the project, but on the other hand, “Any site that’s able to take advantage of the fact that comics online already work as a big community, as a place where people talk to their friends and promote things they’re interested in, is likely to do well.” [Time]

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Muzski’s Tintin vs. Lovecraft

Artist Murray Groat (aka Muz, aka Muzski) has a fondness for the dementing elder gods of H.P. Lovecraft, but lucky for us, he also digs Tintin. The result is a series of fake covers pitting Hergé’s boy adventurer against C’thulhu and his kind. I can’t help but feel bad for the hero, but I’m sure Snowy will figure out how to take those demons down. Geek Art has the entire portfolio.

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Rare Tintin cover art sells for record $1.6 million

Rare original artwork for the cover of 1932’s Tintin in America sold at auction Saturday for a record $1.6 million, BBC News reports. The same Indian ink-and-gouache piece sold in 2008 for $943,000.

Purchased by an anonymous private collector in Paris, the piece is one of only five original Tintincovers known to exist. Just two of those are held privately. The buyer was represented by a friend identified only as Didier, who said, ” “If he’d have been able to get it for less I think he would have been happy. The aim was not to beat a record; the aim was to obtain the work, before anything else. … You don’t come here to beat the world record, to spend money, that doesn’t make any sense.”

By contrast, the record for American comic art was set in May 2011 by a Frank Miller splash page from The Dark Knight Returns #3, which sold for $448,125.

Saturday’s auction was part of a larger sale of rare Tintin memorabilia that included early sketches, as well as a copy of Explorers on the Moon signed by astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins.

Comics A.M. | Judge refuses to suppress evidence in Justiniano case

Josue Rivera (aka Justiniano)

Legal | Don MacPherson, who covers the courts for his daily newspaper, updates the case of Josue Rivera, aka comic artist Justiniano, who pleaded not guilty in May 2011 to charges of possessing more than 100 photographs and videos containing child pornography. Rivera was arrested in Connecticut following a July 2010 incident in which police say he mistakenly gave a funeral home director a thumb drive containing 33 files classified as child pornography instead of the one containing photos of a deceased relative. Police later seized Rivera’s computer and found 153 files of suspected child pornography. A judge has denied a motion to suppress the thumb drive, which Rivera’s attorney had argued was obtained by police through an illegal, warrantless search. However, the judge ruled the search valid, as the material on the drive was brought to the attention of the police by a third party, the funeral home. MacPherson’s summary of court documents provides more details on the case. [Eye on Comics]

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Comics A.M. | Eisner ballot change; more on March comics sales

Eisner Awards

Awards | The Guy Davis short story “The Phototaker” has been removed from the 2012 Eisner Awards ballot after it was determined to be ineligible. “The ‘Phototaker’ Eisner nomination was a mix up,” Davis wrote on Twitter. ” Jackie Estrada messaged me after I posted asking about the original English version, which came out in Metal Hurlant #9 (2003). So it’s not eligible for the 2012 Eisner nomination and has been removed. Thanks for all the congratulations yesterday, but I’m happy to clear this up and have it removed from the running.” [Eisner Awards]

Publishing | DC Comics’ Senior Vice President of Sales Bob Wayne and Vice President of Marketing John Cunningham respond to March’s direct-market sales estimates, which saw Marvel claim three of the Top 10 spots after a February shutout. “We are pleased that we gained share, and we never expected that we would hold ten out of ten at the top of the chart for ever,” Wayne said. “I think it is better for the business if everybody is firing on all cylinders, that our competitors are doing interesting things, and we are doing interesting things. It keeps everybody on their toes and it keeps enthusiasm in the readership. The retailers remain involved wanting to make sure that they have enough of everything. I think it’s a good thing all around.” [ICv2.com]

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Comics A.M. | Belgian court won’t ban Tintin in the Congo

Tintin in the Congo

Legal | A Belgian court has rejected a five-year-old bid by a Congolese student to have the 1946 edition of Herge’s Tintin in the Congo banned because of its racist depictions. “It is clear that neither the story, nor the fact that it has been put on sale, has a goal to … create an intimidating, hostile, degrading or humiliating environment,” the court said in its judgment. Bienvenu Mbutu Mondondo, who launched the campaign in 2007 to ban the book, plans to appeal. [The Guardian]

Publishing| John Rood, DC’s executive vice president of sales, marketing and business development, discusses the results of the New 52 readership survey, noting right of the bat that it’s “not indicative of the actual system wide performance,” which makes you wonder what it’s good for. He has some interesting things to say about bringing back lapsed readers and the demographics of DC readers in general, though. [Publishers Weekly]

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Comics A.M. | Matt Groening donates $500,000 for UCLA chair

Matt Groening, by Matt Groening

Creators | The Simpsons creator Matt Groening has given $500,000 toward the creation of a chair in animation at the University of California, Los Angeles. The Matt Groening Chair in Animation at UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television will “allow visiting master artists to teach classes” and “bring working professionals with wide-ranging expertise” to work with students. The cartoonist, a graduate of Evergreen State College in Washington, makes an annual $50,000 donation to UCLA to help students who create socially conscious animated shorts. [The New York Times]

Legal | Attorneys for comics retailer and convention organizer Michael George, who’s serving a life sentence for the 1990 murder of his first wife Barbara, made arguments Monday on a motion for acquittal or a new trial — that would make George’s third — on the basis that there was insufficient evidence for conviction, and that the prosecutor raised a new issue in closing arguments. [Detroit Free Press]

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