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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable read, but more for the dedicated Tintinologist
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...
Published on 14 Feb. 2012 by J Whitgift

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars When a picture would really be worth a thousand words
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...
Published on 22 Feb. 2012 by James Arbuckle


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable read, but more for the dedicated Tintinologist, 14 Feb. 2012
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This review is from: Hergé, Son of Tintin (Hardcover)
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. It is also true that when many of them were released from prison, they were supported by Remi, either through his providing them with work or financial support. There is also the fact that Remi worked for a right wing Catholic paper, though he himself is seen more as a Rexist (Belgian Monarchist rather than a Nazi sympathiser). Whilst much of this is outlined in the book, many questions go unanswered, especially as to how close Remi was to the pro-German/ pro-Nazi elements in the Belgian media and how much of a collaborator he really was.

As Peeters also rightly points out there are elements of either near-racism (Tintin in the Congo) and outright anti-Semitism (The Shooting Star) in Remi's work, which pose more questions that the author is willing or able to explore/answer. On the question of whether Tintin in the Congo is racist, it should be noted that this was published in 1931 it should be noted that Conan Doyle published the Sherlock Holmes short story `The Three Gables' in 1926. As David Stuart Davies notes in his post-script to the Case-book of Sherlock Holmes, the racial stereotyping of one of the characters, Steve Dixie, (stereotyping not dissimilar in intent or content to that found in `Tintin in the Congo') was considered unacceptable and racist when the story was published. Whilst Remi later stated that he regretted some of the content of that book, the point remains that there remains in Remi's work both racist and anti-Semitic elements that are difficult to stomach in our own age, and which show a different side to Remi.

As with all translations there are a number of errors both in translation and in proof-reading, some of which detract from the text, e.g. the statement that of the 70,000 Jews living in Belgium, 32 million were killed in the holocaust could easily have been checked and corrected. (The Wikipedia article on the Holocaust puts the number of Jewish people living in Belgium during this period at approximately 65,000 with approximately 40,000 being murdered in the holocaust.) This is an important point to note, as the book is published by John Hopkins University Press - one would hope that a University Press would employ some rigour in their proof-reading!

Whilst Peeters's book is a good biography, it does at times descend into English which couldn't be out of place in `Private Eye's' `Pseuds' Corner'. As with the errors in the text, these phrases detract from rather than add to the text. (As does the unsupported assertion that Remi was the subject of child abuse, made on somewhat spurious grounds and highlighted by reviewers elsewhere.)

Would I recommend this book? Yes, but only to the most dedicated of Tintinologists. Remi is an interesting character, but one who has been eclipsed by his creations. Whereas he remains trapped in his own time, Tintin remains ageless, both physically but also philosophically if one can read past some of his creators foibles.

*There are a number of instances in Remi's later life where Remi has drawn his characters forcing him back to work, often after a breakdown (either mental or in his health).
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars When a picture would really be worth a thousand words, 22 Feb. 2012
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James Arbuckle (Mondsee, Austria) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hergé, Son of Tintin (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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Hergé, Son of Tintin
Hergé, Son of Tintin by Benoit Peeters (Hardcover - 22 Nov. 2011)
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