Tintin in the Congo – Herge

You read a book as a child and think it’s great. Then you read it as an adult and think oh my how incredibly racist. Enid Blyton, Robert E. Howard and now Herge it seems. There would be as much chance of publishing this book as a new work as there would be of bringing back the Black and White Minstrel Show. The black inhabitants of theCongoare definitely the butt of all jokes. There is humour within but should I feel guilty about laughing?

This work is typical of the 1930’s in which it was published. Attitudes to other cultures were a lot different then. At least we like to think they are. This is quite a valuable work providing a telling glimpse into a less globalised and less politically correct society. This book was redrawn in colour from its original drawings in the 1960s and to my knowledge none of the dialogue was changed, meaning even then we were still laughing at ignorant foreigners.

If anyone comes off worse than the natives it’s the animals. Tintin thinks nothing of blasting away at antelope, monkeys, lions, elephants and so on, accumulating skins and ivory at a frightening rate. Another example of how attitudes have changed.

Having said all that it’s not a bad little story although it is never explained why Tintin goes to the Congo and as for the villain trying to kill him there is no way you will guess his identity in a million years.

Thumbs Up for showing us how far we have come, and how far we have yet to go.


Tomorrow: The Walking Dead Volume 1: Days Gone Bye – Robert Kirkman

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