The Adventures of Hergé by Bocquet, Fromental & Stanislas

The Adventures of Hergé
by José Bocquet, Jean-Luc Fromental & Stanislas Barthélémy
Drawn & Quarterly, 2011

A novel and painstaking (yet ultimately inessential) addition to the vast library of related works that orbit Tintin like the rings of Saturn. Summarizing anyone’s life in a 60 page graphic novel is impossible without extreme simplification, and although Hergé’s controversies aren’t avoided, it’s rather like being raced around a Tintin museum five minutes before closing. Without already knowing details about Hergé, you’ll just be confused, and as a biography, the late Harry Thompson’s Tintin: Hergé and His Creation (recently reprinted in paperback) is superior.

The attractive book is designed to look like a Tintin volume, down to the portraits on the inner covers, but although the artwork by Barthélémy is excellent and adopts many of the graphic conventions that Hergé popularized, it’s fairly scratchy and crowded by comparison. Like the recent film, there’s many references to the original artwork and quite a bit of slapstick, but this project might’ve worked better by handing the artwork over to a studio that could reproduce Hergé’s style exactly.

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