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Tintin was the creation of Brussels-born Georges Remi, aka Hergé (1907–83). Remi’s first efforts (pre-Tintin) were sponsored by a right-wing Catholic journal, Le XXième Siècle, and in 1929 when this same paper produced a kids’ supplement – Le Petit Vingtième – Remi was given his first major break. He was asked to produce a two-page comic strip and the result was Tintin in the Land of the Soviets, a didactic tale about the evils of Bolshevism. Tintin’s Soviet adventure lasted until May 1930, and to round it all off the director of Le XXième Siècle decided to stage a PR-stunt reception to celebrate Tintin’s return from the USSR. Remi – along with a Tintin lookalike – hopped on a train just east of Brussels and when they pulled into the capital they were mobbed by scores of excited children. Remi and Tintin never looked back. Remi decided on the famous quiff straight away, but other features – the mouth and expressive eyebrows – only came later. His popularity was – and remains – quite phenomenal: Tintin has been translated into sixty languages and over twenty million copies of the comic Le Journal de Tintin, Remi’s own independent creation first published in 1946, have been sold – and that’s not mentioning all the Tintin TV cartoon series. Remi’s life and work are also celebrated at the Musée Hergé in Louvain-la-Neuve.

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