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Hergé, Son of Tintin [Hardcover]

Benoit Peeters , Tina A. Kover
2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: £15.50 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

22 Nov 2011

Tintinology [tin-tin-ol-uh-jee] noun — The study of the works of comic creator Hergé and the cultural impact of Tintin, his best-known and most influential character.

The adventures of Tintin and his dog, Snowy, have captivated people worldwide since they first appeared as an insert in the Belgian Catholic newspaper Le Vintième Siècle in 1929. Available for the first time in English, this insightful biography delves deep into the psyche of Tintin creator Georges Remi and his public persona Hergé.

Author of the critically acclaimed Tintin and the World of Hergé and the last person to interview Remi, Benoît Peeters tells the complete story behind Hergé’s origins and shows how and why the nom de plume grew into a larger-than-Remi personality as Tintin’s popularity exploded. Drawing on interviews and using recently uncovered primary sources for the first time, Peeters reveals Remi as a neurotic man who sought to escape the troubles of his past by allowing Hergé’s identity to subsume his own. As Tintin adventured, Hergé lived out a romanticized version of life for Remi.

Millions have traveled alongside Tintin and Snowy through books, animated television series, theatrical performances, exhibitions, documentaries, and movies, including Steven Spielberg’s fall 2011 The Adventures of Tintin. Now Tintinologists have the opportunity to better understand the complex and sometimes dark personality of Tintin’s creator and his carefully crafted public persona.


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Hergé, Son of Tintin + The Metamorphoses of Tintin: Or Tintin for Adults
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 424 pages
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press; Tra edition (22 Nov 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1421404540
  • ISBN-13: 978-1421404547
  • Product Dimensions: 3.4 x 15.7 x 22.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 739,733 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

In this enthralling, deeply considered synthesis, brimming with anecdotes and perceptions, [Peeters] has enhanced our understanding and appreciation of the creator, the creation, and above all, the man.

(Paul Gravett The Comics Journal)

Model of economy and grace, mixing meticulous detail and stylized tableaux in perfect proportion so that the story is neither generic nor bogged down by excessive rendering.

(Slate)

Verdict: Carefully researched (there are extensive endnotes) and well written and translated, this fine study is most appropriate for sophisticated readers or dedicated Tintin fans.

(Library Journal)

Hergé is a granular biography that pingpongs back and forth between the artist and his art, looking to build bridges of epiphany and exposition between the ideas expressed and the life lived.

(Washington Post)

Well, Blistering Barnacles!, as Captain Haddock would say. The great merit of Hergé, Son of Tintin is that Georges Remi is allowed to emerge in three dimensions as what he in fact was: not an intellectual, not an activist, not a saint, but an ordinary man of his times.

(Cullen Murphy New York Times Book Review)

A 'must' for any TinTin or Herge fan.

(Midwest Book Review)

Why should readers consider another book on Georges Remi (Hergé), the creator of Tintin? Because this one was written by a comics writer himself, a man who knows the medium from both its theory and practice, who interviewed Hergé and those close to him, and who had access to a trove of vital letters, papers, and notebooks.

(Choice)

About the Author

Comics writer, novelist, and critic, Benoît Peeters is one of the most highly regarded Tintinologists in the world. His most recent book is Derrida, a biography of Jacques Derrida.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
For the avid Tintinologist there has long been a need for a good biography of Georges Remi (Herge) in English. However, whilst Peeters's book is good, it remains questionable as to whether it fills that need. Unlike Harry Thompson's very short book it fills the need for a comprehensive and descriptive biography of Remi, however, like Assouline's biography it is far less than perfect. There are a number of times the reader is left asking what happened next, or why. This is also a rather dry narrative, with some colour along the way.

It also has to be said that Remi's life really isn't that interesting and can probably be outlined in a couple of sentences. Georges Remi - An artist from a prosperous Belgian family, finds success as an artist in a right-wing Catholic newspaper in post-war Belgium (something his art reflects), marries the girl he loves (though she somewhat reluctantly), continues to work through the German/ Nazi occupation of Belgium as a quasi-collaborator, manages to survive in a post-war atmosphere which persecuted collaborators. Has a break-down, loses his wife, eventually remarries but finds that his creation has become his master, not vice versa*. He dies, but his art lives on, well loved by all. (FIN!)

There is of course some debate in Peeters's book as to how much of a collaborator Remi really was. Whilst it is true that Remi continued to work within the print media world during the German occupation and whilst many of his friends and associated were incarcerated as collaborators during the post-war period, he himself, whilst put under investigation, managed to get off very lightly when compared to some of his friends.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
This book "Herge, Son of Tin Tintin" [ASIN:1421404540 Hergé, Son of Tintin]], is a biography of a major artist, and was written by one who purports to have known Herge well. It is however a major disappointment in that, aside from some rather poor photographs of people who actually matter very little to the real story, there are no illustrations from the famous books. The author, Benoit Peters, has written elsewhere of the art of Herge, and has written endlessly and largely pointlessly here of that art, but has in this book illustrated the art of Herge not at all. The result is verbose and merely boring. Talking about art is like talking about music - a little bit of such talk goes a very long way; in this book it goes on for far too long. Many books have been written about Herge and Tintin, but this one is one book too many.
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Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  22 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Study of Tintin's Creator 18 Nov 2011
By Kevin M. Derby - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
"Herge, Son of Tintin" provides a solid look at the life and creative process of Georges Remi. Herge, as he was known, is celebrated for his famous creation: boy reporter and adventurer Tintin who has graced a series of comics for almost five decades. While Herge did not exactly live the colorful life that Tintin does, Benoit Peeters offers an interesting biography though more could have been done on the Tintin works themselves. While this work is a translation, the reader should not notice--Tina Kover did a solid job on that front.

One big problem--though this could be the fact that I read a review copy. The book does not have an index which is simply unacceptable for an academic work from a university press. I hope this is remedied in the final version but it was a major pain.

Despite this flaw, this is a solid and useful work, especially for Tintin fans who want to know more about the man behind the famous comics.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Herge, Warts and All... 1 Nov 2011
By D. S. Thurlow - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The Belgian artist Georges Remi, better known by his writing name of Herge, is famously the author of the Adventures of Tintin, a European comic book phenomenon that has survived quite nicely into the 21st Century with the recent release of the latest Tintin movie. Herge produced Tintin graphic novels from 1920's "Tintin in the Land of the Soviets" to 1976's "Tintin in the Land of the Picaros", featuring his distinctive artistic style and increasingly sophisticated story-telling.

"Herge, Son of Tintin" is a translation into English (by Tina Kover) of Benoit Peeters' 2002 biography. Peeters, a highly regarded Tintinologist, provides a comprehensive look at the life of Herge, based on a variety of documentary sources and years of interviews. The result is an unblinking look at a gifted, hardworking and successful artist who endured childhood abuse, life under German occupation during two World Wars, nervous breakdowns caused by overwork, and an ultimately failed marriage.

Peeters paces the narrative by the production of the twenty-three completed Tintin adventures, discussing Herge's creative process, including his interaction with supporting staff and publishers, and his various sources of inspiration. Peeters takes note of the effects of the changing political landscape in Belgium. The frank discussion of the circumstances of Herge's alleged involvement in collaboration under the 1940-1943 Nazi regime might be worth the price of the book by itself. Peeters finds that the immense effort that went into the Adventures became a physical and psycological burden for Herge, whose production tailed off drastically in later years.

"Herge, Son of Tintin" is a long book at over 300 pages; some of the content is repetitive and its syntax may sometimes be a challenge to readers in English. However, it is likely to be of keen interest to dedicated fans of the Tintin phenomenon, as perhaps the definitive biography of its creator.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars All in all, a bit dull... 23 Nov 2011
By C. Williamson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I'm a Tintin fan -- have read (when my son was growing up) all the books numerous times, and have gotten and enjoyed Benoit Peeters' TINTIN AND THE WORLD OF HERGE and Michael Farr's COMPLETE COMPANION, with their rich illustrations, as well as the early facsimiles. So I was interested enough when offered an opportunity to read an advance edition of this complete biography. It's complete all right, and I start out with 5 stars for that, but the style is somewhat flat and the details are such as to make those of us not interested in every minute aspect of Herge's business and personal life start to skim very quickly. All the details are here, but little of the *heart* is -- what really made Herge the person and artist he was. So we're down to 4 stars. This advance reading copy had none of the "14 halftones" that are in the final book, but even so, 14 illustrations are hardly enough to deal with the life of, after all, an *artist*. When Peeters talks about the art, I want to see it, and the only way to do that is to refer to other books. So the absence of the art takes off another star. By the end, I was roaring through at great speed just to finish. If you're a thoroughly dedicated Tintinologist, I'm certain you'll find the book quite valuable, but for a reader with more casual interest, this is too much of an only so-so thing. Still, certainly the definitive biography.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Everything - and More! - You Ever Wanted to Know about Herge 5 Nov 2011
By W. A. Carpenter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Georges Remi, better known by his non de plume of Herge, was a Belgian cartoonist famous for his Adventures of Tintin. About two dozen Tintin books, which we would now call graphic novels, were published over a 50 year span. They remain popular and a 2011 Tintin movie by Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson will no doubt not hurt book sales.

Hergé, Son of Tintin is an English translation of a 2002 biography by Benoit Peeters. It is well-researched and covers everything about Herge's life - living through two World Wars, nervous breakdowns, an unhappy marriage, and various troubles with politics and publishers.

Curiously, Remi himself seems a very bland character who seemed to live mostly through his Herge persona and through the illustrated adventures of Tintin. I found that 350 pages about Herge was more than enough information about him but that the author never really penetrated into who Remi himself was.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "The Adventures of Tintin and the Complicated Cartoonist" 1 May 2013
By Greg Ehrbar - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Like so many individuals who created something that grew to be bigger than they were, Herge was a complicated man who was as human as his most famous character was flawlessly heroic.

The author, in his effort to craft the definitive biography, spares no detail of the real life Georges Remi, who wrote and drew under a name that reversed his initials. Although he also created lesser comics, Tintin became and still is internationally popular, especially as published in classic graphic novels that have been adapted into several animated series -- and of course, the big budget Steven Spielberg/Peter Jackson motion capture feature. Ironically, Herge consistently referred to his comics as movie-like (and they do seem to move within each frame).

Herge's childhood was as dour as Tintin's was fictionally robust, his adulthood was alternately touched with great success, fame and fortune, as well as issues in his private life and severe bouts with depression. He also created a Tintin adventure during the Nazi occupation of Belgium that became a firestorm of controversy.

All of this and much, much, MUCH more is chronicled in this somewhat ponderous tome, so detailed that business contracts are even included. Such info is interesting, but the book reads more like a textbook than a narrative, at least as compared to the standard bio.

There is never a definitive biography of any famous or unknown figure. Citizen Kane demonstrated how we're all a collection of puzzle pieces. There was another Herge biography released around the same time as this one, and neither will be the last. A character like Tintin will live forever, and thus the creator will be forever tied to his or her creation.
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