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Georges Prosper Remi alias Hergé ( pronunciation : [ ɛʁˈʒe ]; * May 22, 1907 in Etterbeek near Brussels ; † March 3, 1983 in Woluwe-Saint-Lambert near Brussels) was a Belgian cartoonist . His pseudonym is derived from his initials RG, which are pronounced and inverted in French. Hergé's best-known and most extensive work are the adventures of Tintin , which he wrote and drew from 1929 until his death. Other series that Hergé drew and wrote are Stups and Steppke , Paul and Virginia and Jo, Jette and Jocko . With his work he influenced the comic culture in Europe like hardly anyone else.


Childhood and youth

Hergé's birthplace at 33 rue Philippe Baucq (previously: 25 rue Cranz ). Only a plaque reminds us.

Georges Remi was born as the son of Alexis and Elisabeth Remi on May 22, 1907 and grew up in a strongly conservative and Catholic milieu. His first four years of school coincided with the First World War , during which Brussels was occupied by the Germans. Georges, whose love for drawing began to develop at an early age, portrayed German soldiers on the margins of his school books as early as in elementary school. Even so, he was an excellent student.

In 1920, at the request of his father's Catholic employer, Georges switched to the Catholic school "Saint-Boniface", where every day began with a mass and the teaching staff consisted entirely of priests. For Georges Remi, this marked the beginning of his entry into a Catholic milieu, which was to gain enormous importance for his further development. This influence intensified when, shortly afterwards, he also joined the Association des Scouts Baden-Powell de Belgique , a Catholic scout association, which gave him the opportunity to travel to many European countries in various summer camps. His work as a comic artist was later strongly influenced by the ethics of the boy scout movement and his early travel experiences.

In retrospect, Hergé said of his childhood: "It [...] was completely insignificant and in no way a poetically glorified paradise".

Work as a comic artist

In 1921 Hergé published his first drawing in the magazine jamais assez . In February 1924 he published his, still subtitled comic book, The Adventures of Totor, in the scout magazine Le Boy-Scout Belge . Hergé made various other drawings for Le Boy-Scout Belge . This began his ascent as a draftsman within the Catholic and conservative camp. Georges became a member of the Mouvement d'Action catholique and joined the Association catholique de la Jeunesse belge (ACJB). He came into contact with Catholic youth organizations, which became more and more radical in the course of the 1920s and 1930s. Here Georges made the acquaintance of people like Léon Degrelle and Raymond De Becker, who later willingly collaborated with the German occupiers. The acquaintance even went so far that Hergé agreed to illustrate books by Degrelles ( Histoire de la guerre scolaire , 1932) and De Beckers ( Le Christ, roi des affaires , 1930 and Pour un ordre nouveau , 1932).

After graduating from secondary school in 1925, he worked for the Catholic newspaper Le XXe Siècle (or Le Vingtième Siècle ), where he initially had to be content with a simple administrative office for the subscription service. Le XXe Siècle was a widely read newspaper in clerical and conservative circles in the greater Brussels region, which under the leadership of Father Norbert Wallez underwent a radical change. How much Wallez's personality was reflected in the political orientation of the XXe Siècle is shown by the following quote:

"One is not only hostile to Jews, Communists and Freemasons here , that goes without saying. [...] the newspaper represents a way of thinking that is critical of everything that has to do with politics, money, [...] and in general with modernity stands."

After completing his military service in 1927, Hergé was given responsibility for the children's supplement Le Petit Vingtième by Le XXe Siècle in 1928 . He began to illustrate stories at Le Petit Vingtième , which earned him initial recognition in the publishing house, but did not satisfy him. He decided to draw his own story in the style of American comic strips with speech bubbles . From January 10, 1929 to May 8, 1930, Le Petit Vingtième published the first Tintin adventure called Tintin in the land of the Soviets at the direct request of the anti-Bolshevik Wallez. Hergé's main source is the book Moscou sans voiles (German: Moscow without a veil ) by Joseph Douillet, in which the author drew a strongly anti-communist distorted image that was carried over to Hergé's comic. The critic Michael Farr said: "One of his [meaning the comic] greatest weaknesses lies in the strong dependence on Douillet's downright absurdly tendentious book, which was basically Hergé's only source." Nevertheless, Tim in the land of the Soviets also shows some passages which from today's perspective paint a not exaggerated picture of the Stalinist era .

From January 1930 Hergé published Stups und Steppke (original Quick et Flupke ), the first comic in a further series that depicts the adventures of two street boys from Brussels. For many years he produced this comparatively unsuccessful one-pager alongside the long stories with Tintin . Their second adventure, Tim in the Congo , is as controversial today as Tim's debut in the land of the Soviets . If it was the strict demonization of Bolshevism, here it is colonialism that throws a bad light on the album to this day. Again Norbert Wallez had a great influence on the work; he had prevented Hergé from letting Tim go straight to America on his second appearance as planned. At Wallez's express request, Tintin went instead to the Congo instead to arouse enthusiasm for the Belgian vocation coloniale and the Catholic missionary work of the Congo among the young readers of the Petit Vingtième . Against the background of the exploitation of the Congo and the atrocities committed especially under the rule of Leopold II , the very procolonialist depictions within the album appear at least naive, if not openly racist . Criticism of Belgian rule is not even rudimentary.

In 1932 Hergé married Germaine Kieckens, the secretary of Norbert Wallez, the director of Le XXe Siècle . The marriage remained childless and was divorced in 1975.

The fifth Tintin adventure, The Blue Lotus , brought about a change . At the end of the previous adventure, Hergé had mentioned that Tim was going to China . Father Gosset, the chaplain of the Chinese students at the Catholic University of Leuven , wrote to Hergé asking him to be careful about this endeavor. So there was a meeting between Hergé and Gosset in the spring of 1934, who also introduced him to Zhang Chongren (known as Tschang Tschong-jen), a young sculpture student at the Brussels Académie des Beaux-Arts . The two young artists quickly became friends; Tschang introduced Hergé to Chinese history, culture and art. Influenced by these experiences, Hergé wanted to describe foreign cultures and locations as precisely as possible. As a token of gratitude, he also added a fictional Tschang Tschong-Jen in The Blue Lotos , a young Chinese who meets Tim and becomes his friend.

Another effect of his friendship with Tschang was that Hergé began to look more critically at the darker side of colonialism , especially the interests of the Japanese Empire in China. As a result, the blue lotus has a clearly anti-imperialist message and thus stood in contrast to the prevailing opinion in the West, which was well-meaning towards the Japanese. After the publication, there was sharp criticism from various quarters; Japanese diplomats even protested at the Belgian Foreign Ministry.

Tschang finished his studies in Brussels and returned to China. Contact broke off when the Japanese conquered China and could only be resumed more than forty years later.

In 1935 the artist drew the first pages of the series “Jo, Jette and Jocko” (Jo, Zette et Jocko) about two siblings and their chimpanzee for the French weekly magazine Coeurs vaillants . The series is the only one that was not created on Hergé's initiative. As a contrast to the character Tim, the newspaper editorial team asked for a story with a child "who has a father who goes to work and who has a mother, a sister and a pet". Over time, three of these adventures appeared in five volumes, the last of which, The Valley of the Cobras , in particular, is considered to be of equal quality to the Tintin adventures. Started in 1939, it could not be completed until 1954.

The second World War

In 1939 Hergé was invited to the Republic of China by Song Meiling , Chiang Kai-shek's wife , because he had taken a stand in favor of the Chinese people in The Blue Lotus ; however, the onset of war prevented the trip. In the same year he was drafted into the Belgian army, so work on the latest adventure In the Realm of Black Gold was interrupted. After the occupation of Belgium by the German troops in 1940, he was discharged from the army.

Le Petit Vingtième , in which Tim's adventures had previously been published, was discontinued by the occupiers. Hergé then accepted an offer from Le Soir , Brussels' leading French-language newspaper, now run by his old friend Raymond De Becker as editor-in-chief, to produce a new Tintin comic. The German head of the military administration, Alexander von Falkenhausen , tried to use Le Soir as Belgium's leading newspaper for his own purposes and brought it under German control. So it happened that the newspaper acted as the mouthpiece of the Nazi occupation forces. Regardless of this, Hergé De Becker followed and thus accepted the work in a newspaper that was indirectly controlled by the German propaganda department. This made compromises necessary. In the realm of the black gold , because of the anti-fascist basic message of the story, it had to remain incomplete at first. So Hergé began work on The Crab with the Golden Scissors , the first of six albums he released during the war. It was pre-published as a sequel story in Le Soir Jeunesse magazine from October 1940 and contained the first appearance of Captain Haddock .

During the war, there were two major changes in the way Hergé worked. Because of the lack of paper, the company no longer produced two pages a week, as was the case with Le Petit Vingtième , but rather a strip of three to four images a day. In order to be able to generate tension under these conditions, Hergé integrated more gags and more action into the stories. Due to the political situation, he could no longer go into current events and therefore turned to rather fantastic material: an expedition to a meteorite (The Mysterious Star) , a treasure hunt ( The Secret of the Unicorn and The Treasure of Rackham the Red ) and a story an ancient Inca curse ( The seven crystal balls and the temple of the sun ). In these stories, the characters were brought to the fore, and in The Treasure of Rackham the Red , a new important figure was introduced alongside Tim in Professor Bienlein . These and a few other characters formed a kind of surrogate family for Tim, who was always depicted as single. The readership has responded largely positively to the changes, and the book editions of these stories are among the series' most popular.

Despite his reluctance to current events and relatively apolitical stories that Hergé published during the occupation, he did not succeed in remaining completely neutral. In 1940 Hergé illustrated the anti-Jewish book Fables by Robert de Vroylande, where he was based heavily on anti-Semitic caricatures from the same period. The mysterious star also contains a race between two expeditions that turns into a duel between Europe and America; this is also received negatively today. The unscrupulous American banker who finances the American research team's expedition has a Jewish name with Blumenstein in the original version of the comic . In today's revised version of the album, the opposing research team is flying the flag of a fantasy state, the banker has been renamed Bohlwinkel ; however, the portrayal of Bohlwinkel's physiognomy is particularly reminiscent of anti-Semitic caricatures.

In 1943, Hergé met EP Jacobs and hired him to help revise older stories. Jacobs' most important work on the series was his drawings of the costumes and backgrounds in the book edition of King Ottokar's Scepter . Among other things, he drew the cover picture for the Sun Temple and also worked on The Seven Crystal Balls .

Hergé's house from 1939 to 1953 (Avenue Delleur 17, Watermael-Boitsfort ). It is near a villa that Hergé draws in The Seven Crystal Balls .

post war period

The occupation of Brussels ended on September 3, 1944. The publication of Tim's Adventures was interrupted towards the end of The Seven Crystal Balls because the Allies closed Le Soir . In the following years Hergé was confronted with allegations that portrayed him as a Nazi sympathizer and was imprisoned four times by various groups. In spite of his participation in the newspaper Le Soir , which was controlled by the occupiers , he was ultimately not convicted. In fact, there are several critical statements about fascism in the pre-war stories (such as King Ottokar's scepter ). Like other former employees of the Nazi-controlled press, Hergé did not find a new job at first, so for the next two years he worked with Jacobs and the new assistant Alice Devos on colorizing the previous albums.

In 1946 Hergé was hired by Raymond Leblanc , the publishing director of Le Lombard . The publicist and resistance fighter started the magazine Tintin , the first issue of which appeared on September 26 of the same year. The newspaper, which appeared on a weekly basis, contained, among other things, two pages of the Tintin adventures in each issue . Only now has the conclusion of the comic book The Seven Crystal Balls been published. Tintin got off to a good start and quickly reached a circulation of over 100,000 copies.

Tintin was always signed “von Hergé” without mentioning Edgar Pierre Jacobs or the other assistants. As Jacobs' share of the work increased, however, he asked to be named as a co-author, which Hergé declined. So finally the collaboration ended; From then on, Jacobs produced his own comic for Tintin , the successful series Blake and Mortimer .


Hergé's work on Tintin magazine was very demanding. In 1949, while working on the new version of Im Reiche des Schwarzen Goldes (the first version was never completed under the influence of World War II), he suffered a nervous breakdown that forced him to take a four-month break from work. A second collapse followed in 1950.

In order to relieve Hergé , the production company Studios Hergé was founded on April 6, 1950 , which employed various assistants. The most important artists of the studio were Jacques Martin and Bob de Moor . Your collaboration, mainly drawing details and backgrounds, extended over all of the following stories. With the help of the studio, which Roger Leloup and Jo-El Azara have now also joined, Hergé managed to publish The Case of the Bee and Coal on Board between 1954 and 1958 . The Bienlein case in particular was received very positively.

After twenty-five years of marriage, there was a major crisis in Hergé's relationship with his wife Germaine. He had fallen in love with the young illustrator Fanny Vlaminck (now Fanny Rodwell ). He was also plagued by nightmares about white surfaces, which is why he consulted a Swiss psychoanalyst. Although the latter advised him to stop working on Tintin , Hergé wrote Tintin in Tibet .

Published from September 1958 to November 1959, Tim revolves around finding Tim's friend Tschang in Tibet , with whom he befriended in The Blue Lotos . The search leads Tim into the Himalayas and allows Hergé to process his nightmares artistically. The usual variety of characters has been reduced to a minimum over long stretches: Tim, Captain Haddock and the Sherpa Tharkey. Hergé later referred to this highly personal adventure as his favorite story, the completion of which also marked the beginning of a new phase in his life. He separated from his wife and was also able to get rid of his nightmares. The marriage was only divorced in 1975. Hergé married Fanny Vlaminck on May 20, 1977.

The last few years

The last three complete adventures of Tintin were produced at much longer intervals: The Singer's Jewels in 1961, Flight 714 to Sydney in 1966 and Tintin and the Picaros in 1975. During this time, the series also conquered other media. Tim achieved great fame and popularity as an advertising medium in French-speaking Europe. The first real film, shot in 1960, was named Tim and the secret of the Golden Fleece ; the main role was played like in 1964 in the film Tintin and the blue oranges by Jean-Pierre Talbot . In 1969 the first full-length cartoon , The Temple of the Sun , was produced.

Hergé's grave in the Dieweg cemetery, Uccle, Brussels.

Hergé succeeded in re-establishing contact with Tschang Tschong-Jen. After the Cultural Revolution , Tschang had worked as a street sweeper, and in the 1970s he had become director of an art school in Shanghai. In 1981, Hergé and Tschang met again after more than forty years. In 1985 Tschang moved to Paris, where he died in 1998.

Hergé had suffered from anemia ( anemia ) for several years . He was hospitalized on February 25, 1983, where he later fell into a coma. The reason was lung malfunction. On March 3, 1983 at around 10 p.m. Hergé died at the age of 75 despite the intensive care of the Saint-Luc University Hospital, which is located in the vicinity of Brussels. He was buried on March 8, 1983, according to his wishes, in the cemetery on Dieweg (Cimetière du Dieweg) in the Uccle district of Brussels , although the cemetery had been closed for new graves in 1950.

Posthumous publications

Hergé decreed in his will that no one should continue Tintin after him . The rough drafts for his unfinished adventure Tim and Alpha Art were published in 1986 only as a series of sketches and notes. In 1987 his wife Fanny closed the Hergé Studios and founded the Hergé Foundation. In 1988, Tintin magazine also ceased publication.

The Hergé Foundation, which administers the estate and the rights to the comics, prevented the volume Tintin from appearing in Tibet in China in 2001 under the title Tintin in Tibet , China . For this reason, the Hergé Foundation received the Light of Truth Award from the Dalai Lama in May 2006 by the International Campaign for Tibet (ITC) .

Style and content

Content and narrative style

The Tintin series comics are mainly adventure and detective stories, but they also contain elements of fantasy and science fiction. The hero's cases, for example, often have something mysterious about them and sometimes take place against a historical background. The action is often set in remote regions of the world, such as the Himalayas or the Congo , or involves foreign cultures. While the dog Struppi is a typical sidekick , Tim, the hero of the series, takes on a detective role . For example, collecting and working with partially encrypted clues are often a mainstay of the plot. In addition, Tim is often confronted with criminal gangs such as counterfeit money gangs (as in The Black Island ) or slave traders (coal on board) , whose leader in many cases only becomes known towards the end. The solution of the riddle is usually followed by the final and decisive action scene. Hergé rarely also integrates the supernatural based on the fantasy genre (for example in The Seven Crystal Balls ). Some episodes can also be called political comments because of their clear message. While early episodes rely heavily on imaginative plot, the later ones gain in realism; From around the mid-1930s, Hergé also tried to reproduce the respective fashion and technology as accurately as possible.

Tintin 's humor is based largely on visual gags and situation comedy that are reminiscent of slapstick films, especially from the 1920s; Figures like the hard of hearing Professor Bienlein, the choleric Captain Haddock or the extremely clumsy detectives Schulze and Schultze open up numerous possibilities for this. Even Tintin themselves are not immune to mishaps for gags, so they are not "perfect" heroes.

Hergé mainly works with numerous but small panels ; mostly he uses 4 to 3 panels per page, whereby the layout often breaks out of that fixed scheme. For example, individual panels are halved horizontally. Large panels are the absolute exception, which, however, increases their effect. In general, the draftsman - in accordance with his drawing style - has a very objective narrative style. Effects that promote intensity, such as unusual camera perspectives, are entirely or largely eliminated. For that Hergé works with typical comic elements such as onomatopoeia , comic symbols or moving lines.

Drawing style

Hergé is the creator of the Ligne claire comic book style . His drawings are characterized by clear contours that get by without hatching or shading. The coloring follows this and works with single-colored surfaces without color gradients. Another special feature is the gradient in abstraction within the drawings: while the figures, especially the facial expressions, are greatly simplified, Hergé endeavored, especially from the mid-1930s, to depict the backgrounds and the props in a detailed and realistic manner.

Hergé's style had a major impact on Franco-Belgian comic culture. Further representatives of the ligne claire were among others his employees EP Jacobs , André Juillard and Yves Chaland .

Hergé Museum

The Hergé Museum in Louvain-la-Neuve

On June 2, 2009, the Musée Hergé opened in Louvain-la-Neuve . It shows only the work of the artist, making it the first museum in Europe to be dedicated to a comic book artist and writer.


  • 2016/2017: Hergé , Grand Palais , Paris. Catalog and accompanying book.



  • Pierre Assouline : Hergé. Paris 1996 (biography), ISBN 2-259-18104-X
  • Pierre Assouline: Hergé: the man who created Tintin. Oxford Univ. Press, Oxford, New York, NY, etc. a. 2009, ISBN 978-0-19-539759-8 .
  • Bocquet (text), Fromental (text), Stanislas (drawings): The adventures of Hergé. Carlsen, Hamburg 2001, ISBN 3-551-74409-2 . ( Biography as comic)
  • Michael Farr: In the footsteps of Tim & Struppi. Carlsen, Hamburg 2005, ISBN 3-551-77110-3 . (The background to each of the 24 adventures is explained in detail in words and pictures)
  • Benoît Peeters: Hergé. Fils de Tintin . Flammarion, Paris 2002, ISBN 2-08-210042-1 .
  • Pierre Sterckx (text), André Soupart (photos): Hergé. Collectionneur d'art. Tournesol Conseils SA - Renaissance du Livre, Bruxelles 2006, ISBN 2-87415-668-X .
  • Tintin, a look into the studio. Carlsen, Hamburg 2001, ISBN 3-551-74795-4 . (Book accompanying the exhibition in the Wilhelm-Busch-Museum , Hanover 2001)

Web links

Commons : Hergé  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Opstal, H. van (1994) Essay RG. Het fenomeen Hergé , pp. 8 + 10 + 132-133 + 195
  2. ^ Goddin, Philippe (2008) Hergé. Levenslijnen , p. 25
  3. a b c d e f Benoit Peeters: Hergé. Fils de Tintin. Paris 2002.
  4. Numa Sadoul: Tintin et moi. editions Casterman, 1975, p. 60.
  5. ^ Martin Conway: Collaboration in Belgium. Léon Degrelle and the Rexist Movement 1940-44. London 1993, p. 8.
  6. a b c d Pierre Assouline: Hergé. Biography. Paris 1996.
  7. Michael Farr: In the footsteps of Tintin and Struppi. Carlsen, Hamburg 2005, ISBN 3-551-77110-3 .
  8. Jo, Jette and Jocko. ( Memento from November 28, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
  9. Hergé's death
  10. knerger.de: The grave of Hergé
  11. Tintin in Tibet. Clear political line. In: Süddeutsche Zeitung . May 22, 2006.
  12. Frankfurter Rundschau, June 2, 2009.