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Tintin's Unauthorized Adventures
While Herg forbade additions to the original series in his will, the following five artists have gone against his wishes, creating odd extensions to the Tintin story.

Having already made $250 million in Europe and elsewhere, Steven Spielberg’s very expensive Adventures of Tintin opens in North America today. Herg, the Belgian reporter’s creator, blessed the American’s efforts before his death in 1983, but the project later veered off in various abortive directions. Though it forgoes Herg’s radically simplified ligne claire style for motion-captured CGI, the film that Spielberg eventually completed is otherwise dutiful in its treatment of his comics. By Tintin standards, that makes it rather mundane. Many artists have disregarded the note in Herg’s will forbidding any additions to the series, producing irreverent works that seem more like appropriation than adaptation. Here are five of the oddest ones. 1. The Adventures of Herg, by Jos-Louis Bocquet, Jean-Luc Fromental and Stanislas. Published 12 years ago in France but only released here by Drawn & Quarterly this month, the book borrows Herg’s style rather than his characters to depict the cartoonist himself. There was lots of material there – complicated politics, possible royal lineage, various affairs and a fascination with East Asian culture – and Stanislas, a founder of the French comics collective L’Association, draws it all nimbly. 2. Tintin in Thailand, by “Bud E. Weyser.” There are numerous pornographic parodies of Herg’s series, which tend to dwell on the same handful of Tijuana-bible tropes, including noxious racial caricatures (perhaps inspired by the master’s own Tintin in the Congo, a book he later felt ashamed of) and the chortling suggestion that Tintin might be gay. As far as I know, however, Tintin in Thailand is the only one that got multiple people arrested. If you want to use some unauthorized materials in Belgium, best avoid the closest thing they have to a national hero. 3. Breaking Free, by J. Daniels. Another exercise in pseudonymous copyright infringement, this anarchist comic recast Herg’s main crew as oppressed English workers rising up against Thatcherism. Breaking Free becomes strangely fascinating in its non-acknowledgement of the source material, the familiar masks worn by wholly different characters. The detourned Tintin looks much like the original, if you allow for a vastly inferior artist, but here he’s protesting that “they cut me dole” and learning why feminist liberation is integral to the revolution. 4. TNT en Amerique, by Jochen Gerner. Gerner belongs to Oubapo, a cartooning movement that took its name and ethos from Oulipo, that mostly-French group of writers dedicated to experimentation with formal constraints. TNT en Amerique is an exercise in extreme reduction: it blacks out much of the official book Tintin in America, transfiguring its narrative into a string of broken phrases and abstract signs. 5. X’ed Out, by Charles Burns. Best known for the graphic novel Black Hole (high school body horror) and the portraits he draws on every cover of The Believer, Burns’s most recent book sends young performance artist Doug into the hallucinated, Burroughs-infected world of the Hive, where everyone calls him Nitnit. The first in a planned trilogy – part two should arrive next year – X’ed Out merges Herg’s iconography with images from ’70s punk culture. Tintin’s trademark quiff transforms into Nitnit’s strip of black spikes; the exotic settings of previous adventures are reimagined as a polluted interzone. Burns disinters the sex and filth that Herg’s exacting line suppressed.

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