Tintin in the Congo

Tintin in the Congo

Graphicnovelbox| englishtitle=Tintin in the Congo
foreigntitle=Les aventures de Tintin, reporter du "Petit Vingtième", au Congo

caption=Cover of the English edition of the black-and-white (Petit Vingtième) version
publisher=Le Petit Vingtième
series="The Adventures of Tintin (Les aventures de Tintin)"
origpublication="Le Petit Vingtième"
origdate=June 5, 1930 - June 11, 1931
transtitle=Tintin in the Congo
transseriestitle="The Adventures of Tintin"
translator=Leslie Lonsdale-Cooper and Michael Turner
previssue="Tintin in the Land of the Soviets", 1930
nextissue="Tintin in America", 1932

"Tintin in the Congo" ( _fr. Tintin au Congo) is the second of "The Adventures of Tintin", a series of classic comic-strip albums, written and illustrated by Belgian writer and illustrator Hergé, featuring young reporter Tintin as a hero.

It appeared between June 1930 and June 1931 in "Le Petit Vingtième" (the children's supplement to the Belgian newspaper "Le Vingtième Siècle"). The story was published as an album in 1931, in black and white form. It was re-drawn in 1946, with additional changes in 1975.


Tintin in the Congo begins with Tintin and Snowy departing from Antwerp on a ship bound for the Belgian Congo. Snowy has several accidents on board the ship, including an encounter with a stowaway, but eventually they arrive safe and well at Matadi. Here, they rent a Ford Model T and hire a boy called Coco. They set out into the depths of the Congo, where Tintin hunts numerous animals.

Upon returning to Coco, Tintin finds that his car has been stolen by a man whom Snowy recognises as the stowaway. They recover the car but the man escapes.

Later on, Tintin, Snowy and Coco find their way to a native village. However, the man who stole the car joins forces with the village medicine man, and unsuccessfully tries several times to dispose of Tintin. In his last attempt, the criminal (named as Tom) tries to hang Tintin above a river full of crocodiles so that they can eat him, but Tintin is rescued by a Belgian missionary.

Tintin and Snowy are taken to a missionary station where the ever-persistent Tom once again tries to get at Tintin. Tintin resolves to end this, and in their final struggle it is Tom that is eaten by crocodiles, though Tintin did not intend it.

Tintin finds a letter giving Tom instructions to kill him. The letter is signed A.C., which stands for Al Capone, who is operating a diamond smuggling ring in the Congo. Tintin reveals the operation, and the gang is captured.

Finally Tintin can get back to enjoying the African wildlife. However, he and Snowy end up getting chased by a herd of buffalo. Before they are trampled, a plane swoops down and saves them. They are to be taken home in order to prepare for their next adventure, "Tintin in America".



When the album was to be published in Scandinavia, the publishers objected to a scene on page 56 of the colour album, where Tintin blows up a rhinoceros with a stick of dynamite. They asked the page to be redrawn, and Hergé complied. Instead of blowing the animal to pieces, the rhino accidentally fires the gun of the sleeping Tintin, gets scared and runs away. This page was also used in the English and German translations.

In July 2007, the UK's equal rights body, the Commission for Racial Equality called on high-street shops to remove the book from their shelves after a complaint by David Enright, a human rights lawyer who came across the book in the children's section of the high-street chain Borders whilst shopping with his African wife and two sons. The shop later moved the book from the children's section to the area reserved for adult graphic novels. In a statement, a spokesperson for the Commission commented "the only place that it might be acceptable for this to be displayed would be in a museum, with a big sign saying 'old fashioned, racist claptrap'". Borders said that they were committed to let their "customers make the choice". The retailer WHSmith said that the book was sold on its website but with a label which recommended it for readers aged 16 and over. [cite web |url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/6294670.stm |title='Bid to ban "racist" Tintin book' on the BBC News website |accessdate=2007-07-12] [cite web |url=http://news.sky.com/skynews/article/0,,30100-1274908,00.html |title='Tintin Book Embroiled In Race Row' on the Sky News website |accessdate=2007-07-12] [cite web |url=http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=467757&in_page_id=1770 |title='"Racist" Tintin is banished to the adult section of bookshops' on the Daily Mail website |accessdate=2007-07-12] [cite web |url=http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/07/12/ntintin112.xml |title='Ban "racist" Tintin book, says CRE' on the Telegraph website |accessdate=2007-07-12] [cite web |url=http://www.cre.gov.uk/Default.aspx.LocID-0hgnew0vq.RefLocID-0hg00900c002.Lang-EN.htm |title=CRE statement on the children's book 'Tintin In The Congo' on the CRE website |accessdate=2007-07-12] By 14 July, following widespread media coverage, sales of the book had rocketed by 3,800%, with the book having climbed to 5th place on Amazon.co.uk's best-seller list, up from 4,343rd four days earlier. [cite news |url=http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/07/14/ntintin114.xml |title=Race row Tintin is best-seller |publisher=The Daily Telegraph|author=Bonnie Malkin |date=2007-07-14 |accessdate=2007-07-14] [cite web |url= |title=Cached version of the Amazon.co.uk listing for 'Tintin in the Congo' |accessdate=2007-07-14] [cite news |url=http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=12045064 |title=Store Bans 1930s Book for Controversial Depictions |publisher=NPR |accessdate=2007-07-17] .

The "Times Literary Supplement", however, raising the portrayal of "bare-torsoed men with tomahawks" in "Tintin in America" and "worthies in kilts and tam o'shanters, drinking whisky by the barrel" in "The Black Island", quoted Michael Farr in "Tintin: the complete companion" as saying "Of all the adventures, "Tintin in the Congo" is today the one most likely to be encountered in Africa", and suggested that a special case was being made against negative images of black people ["Times Literary Supplement" 20 July 2007 page 36.] .

In August 2007, a complaint was filed in Brussels, Belgium, by a Congolese student, Bienvenu Mbutu Mondondo, who was studying political science, and claimed the book was an insult to the Congolese people. Public prosecutors are investigating, and the Centre for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism warned against political over-correctness. [cite news | title = Investigation into racism in "Tin Tin" | url = http://www.expatica.com/actual/article.asp?subchannel_id=24&story_id=42631 | publisher = Expatica | date = 2007-08-07 | accessdate = 2007-08-07]

Publishers Weekly reported on October 1, 2007, that "Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, which had been planning to publish "Tintin in the Congo"... has quietly pulled the title from its autumn list." It was also dropped from the complete Tintin collection gift set. [ [http://pwbeat.publishersweekly.com/blog/2007/10/02/little-brown-scraps-tintin-congo-outing/ THE BEAT » Blog Archive » Little, Brown scraps Tintin Congo outing]


* Contrary to popular belief, this is not the first album in which the Thompsons appear. Their first appearance was in "Cigars of the Pharaoh". They were added to "Tintin in the Congo" when it was redrawn in 1946.
* Tintin is mouthless in the original black and white edition from 1930.
* As with the previous adventure, "Tintin in the Land of the Soviets", "Le Petit Vingtième" staged a triumphant return of "Tintin" and "Snowy" to Brussels on Thursday 9 July 1931. They were accompanied by ten Congolese and met by Hergé himself and Quick and Flupke. The event was reported in the newspaper.
* In the Portuguese magazine "O Papagaio" the story was called "Tim-Tim em Angola" (Tintin in Angola). In that version he works for "O Papagaio". It was coloured locally and featured a yellow Snowy.
* When Egmont took over publishing of the Tintin books in the UK, they did not include "Tintin in the Congo" in their reprints, although they did include "Tintin in the Land of the Soviets" and it was excluded until 2006, when a "collector's edition" in colour, including a brief foreword by translators Leslie Lonsdale-Cooper and Michael Turner, was printed.
* In the original version, Tintin hunts the rogue elephant at night; but in the coloured version, it appears that it is daylight all the time, making Tintin's joke about the sun giving him a bright idea - after the rogue elephant has chased him and Snowy up a tree - somewhat superfluous.
* In "Tintin in the Congo", Tintin becomes a sorcerer for the Babaoru'm Kingdom. The name comes from "Baba au rhum", a confection very famous in France and Belgium. Another instance of the use of the name is in the French edition of the comic series Asterix, in which one of the four fortified Roman camps surrounding Asterix's village is called Babaorum.


External links

* [http://www.tintinologist.org/guides/books/02congo.html Tintin in the Congo] at Tintinologist.org

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