Eighty years after Tintin first appeared on 10th January 1929, there appears to be little sign of his popularity subsiding, with millions of books still sold every year.
However, there is another age-old question that has once again become the hot topic of conversation as the 80th anniversary approaches – is Tintin gay?
As openly gay British journalist Matthew Parris reported in The Times, “What debate can there be when the evidence is so overwhelmingly one-way? A callow, androgynous blonde-quiffed youth in funny trousers and a scarf moving into the country mansion of his best friend, a middle-aged sailor?”
Tintin himself is always featured with two of his closest companions, a dog called Snowy and a sailor, aptly named Captain Haddock. Of the two women in his life, one is called Bianca Castafiore, who Parris describes as a, “fag-hag if ever there was one” and the other a, “curler-wearing virago” who, “may well have been lesbian.”
Parris goes on to point out that it is in fact Tintin’s dog who has a, “tendency to be distracted by lady dogs: a tendency in which he is consistently foiled by his master and by Herge’s plot.”
Herge is of course Georges Remi, Tintin’s Belgian creator who could not have known that this debate would rage 80 years after his character’s first appearance.
However there have been many people who have spoken out in Tintin’s defence. Marcel Wilmet, a spokesman for Studios Herge told The Sun newspaper:
“Just because there is an absence of women does not mean that Tintin was gay.
“Tintin is not at all gay – he was very macho in fact. He has many friends who are boys but they are not boyfriends.”
In France there has been uproar over the comments made by Parris.
Although Georges Remy was from Belgium, he was French speaking, meaning that many French people have come to adopt Tintin as their own.
Newspaper le Figaro used the headline, “They have walked on Tintin” and even brought in Serge Tisseron, a celebrity psychiatrist who commented that describing Tintin as gay is, “lonely revenge for a homosexual.”