Hergé, By Pierre Assouline


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The Independent Culture

"With a short fuse, a tendency to grumble, preoccupied by his comfort but courageous when circumstances called for it?" Who is described here? A wire-haired fox terrier.

If Assouline can apply such lucid analysis to Tintin's dog Snowy, the "manic-depressive" Captain Haddock and Thomson and Thompson, you can imagine the scrutiny he applies to their "contradictory and inscrutable" creator in this book (translated by Charles Ruas).

Only just escaping condemnation as an incivique (non-citizen) after the war, Hergé "reduced four years of conflict between collaborators and resistors to a quarrel between optimists and pessimists".

A little like Wodehouse, Hergé emerges as a comic genius with an under-developed moral sense.