«The original first three albums from the early 1930s, Tintin in the Land of the Soviets, Tintin in  the Congo, and Tintin in America, were ripe with colonialism, racism, anti-communism, antisemitism, nationalism, and Catholic religiosity and placed Tintin within very particular  historical places and moments. What is most fascinating in book one is that Apostolidès  analyzes these original volumes (not available commercially for quite a long time) on these  terms but also contrasts them with the profound shift in tone of the albums produced after the  Second World War. Furthermore, these original pre-war volumes were substantially altered by  Hergé in the immediate postwar period to minimize, if not eliminate entirely, such objectionable  elements; it was a kind of purge reflecting that of Nazi collaborationists, among whom many  counted Hergé for his wartime work on the newspaper Le Soir. The Tintin that we know– open-hearted, welcoming, trustful, but seemingly stateless and free of ideology–was  retroactively achieved. Or as Apostolidès puts it, “the Tintin from before the war gets credited  with a liberalism acquired only later” (p. 2).  Apostolidès sees the turning point, however, taking place before the war, particularly with The Blue Lotus, where the narrative technique shifts and Tintin becomes a novelistic hero on his way  to becoming self-critical. Tintin the journalist becomes Tintin the detective. Rather than  address the great political questions of the day, Tintin is absorbed by adventure and setting  wrongs right. Increasingly, the settings for his escapades are imaginary instead of real. Rather  than being specifically Belgian, he becomes universally international—even his French is  standardized to omit any idiomatic “Belgianisms.” The outcome of the Second World War and  the postwar liberal consensus accelerated this process, as Hergé actively sought to rewrite the  earliest volumes, not only changing vocabulary but whole narrative threads, and inserting characters who had not been there before (such as the Thom(p)sons who retroactively appear in the first frame of the first album). Tintin in the Land of the Soviets was so objectionable in the context of Europe’s leftist shift that it was put out of print altogether».




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