Hergé, the spiritual father of Tintin
Georges Remi, known as Hergé (the initials of Georges Remi back to front), was born on 22 May 1907 in Etterbeek, a municipality of Brussels. His father Alexis (1882-1970) worked in a children's clothes shop. His mother Elisabeth, née Dufour (1882-1946) did not work. Georges had a younger brother five years later with whom he had very little contact.
From 1914 to 1918, Georges was a pupil at Ixelles municipal school. He admitted later that he had already starting drawing on the bottom of the pages of his notebooks. He was then removed from the secular school and enrolled at the Institut Saint-Boniface where he completed his secondary education. He was an excellent pupil and was almost always first in his class. At the same time as he changed schools, Georges also left the boy scouts of Belgium and joined the Catholic Federation of Scouts. It was a very difficult change for him.
However, very quickly, he became the head of the "Squirrels" and became known as "Curious Fox". During his time in the scouts, he travelled to Austria, Spain, Italy and Switzerland. At the same time, he developed a passion for America and the Redskins and drew scout stories that were published from December 1924 in "Le Boy-scout belge". From that point onwards, he signed his drawings "Hergé". At the time, his drawings were rather clumsy. However, Hergé created his first cartoon strip, Totor, C.P. des Hannetons, in July 1926. The adventures of Totor, the precursor to the famous adventurer, were published up until 1930.
Tintin appeared for the first time on 10 January 1929 in "Le Petit Vingtième". The young reporter was about to set out on a journey to the land of the Bolsheviks... Hergé delivered two plates a week, without ever imagining the success that the series would very quickly encounter. The international career of the "Adventures of Tintin" was underway. The adventures continued and even allowed the daily newspaper to increase its sales sixfold on the days the kids supplement appeared. Tintin, home from Russia, set out for the Congo. In 1932, Hergé sent Tintin to America, and the success of the reporter continued to increase. After the publication of the Blue Lotus, the adventures succeeded one another at a pace of one every fifteen months: The Broken Ear (1937), The Black Island (1938), King Ottokar's Sceptre (1939). Hergé also continued with Quick and Flupke, but at a slower pace. At that time, Hergé was working a great deal. In addition to his comic strips, he was involved in other illustration work: the cover of books and magazines and advertising.
In 1950, he founded Studios Hergé, where he brought together about ten members of staff. Bob De Moor joined the company in 1950, and he was joined later by Jacques Martin, Roger Leloup, Baudoin Van der Branden, Fanny Vlamynck, and many more. This team worked tirelessly to assist Hergé. The adventures continued: The Seven Crystal Balls (1948), Prisoners of the Sun (1949), Land of Black Gold (1950), Destination Moon (1953), Explorers on the Moon (1954), The Calculus Affair (1956) and The Red Sea Sharks (1958).
At the end of the 1950s, Hergé was travelling a great deal: Italy, Britain, Sweden, Greece and Denmark were visited in turn. In 1971, he travelled to the United States for the first time, where he met Sioux Indians in South Dakota. During this period, the pace of publication of the Tintin's adventures did not falter: Tintin in Tibet (1960), The Castafiore Emerald (1963), Flight 714 to Sydney (1968) and Tintin and the Picaros (1976).
On 3 March 1983, Hergé died from pulmonary failure. The headlines of every newspaper were devoted to Hergé as well as several of the inside pages. In the Libération newspaper, all of the illustrations for the news items were taken from Hergé's albums. These forty pages reveal the extent to which the Adventures of Tintin have become part of the history of our century.
In order to honor the work of Hergé, an eponymous museum opened in Louvain-la-Neuve in 2009. Various sketches, comic strips, or objects related to Tintin are exhibited in a modern building, whose architecture and scenography are thought to immerse us in the path of Hergé, between his work and his life. For more information, visit the museum's website: www.museeherge.com