Tintin and Emanata
If you are a reader of comics, you are probably familiar with all the sparkles, sweat drops, and stars that are seen often around characters. They have the ability to show a whole range of emotion and action in a variety of contexts. These symbols go by the name of emanata, coming from the world “emanate” as seem to emanate from characters or objects. Emanata help to bring dynamism and an extra visual experience to a comic, giving a page an overall sense of energy.
Hergé had a large vocabulary of emanata to describe a number of actions and internal characteristics. Many of these elements in Tintin do not have a set meaning and rather are very situational. On such example is that of the “little puffy clouds” which demonstrate anything from anger to smoke to puffs of wind throughout The Castafiore Emerald.
One interesting thing about the emanata found in The Castafiore Emerald is that many are seen coming from off panel which is strangely paradoxical in relation to the origin of the term emanata.
Hergé and ligne claire
Throughout his time working on The Adventures of Tintin, George Remi, otherwise known as Hergé, developed a signature style that came to influence many other Belgian-French comics that followed. The style, called ligne claire or “clear line,” is characterized by thin lines with a consistent weight on both characters and their setting. These lines allow for a classical and well-controlled narration with a high level of readability, or the ease in which text can be read and understood. Black spotting is also limited to localized area of black (such as in Haddock’s hair or pants) and is rarely used to render shadows.
Ligne claire differed greatly from traditional American comics at the time which used a heavily inflected line (see below). Inflected lines can add a great deal of emotion or mood to line work and thus create dynamism within a layout; however, ligne claire functions well to add simplicity and clarity to a children’s story such as Tintin.
Fantastic 4 #10 by Jack Kirby versus The Castafiore Emerald by Hergé, both published in 1963
By looking at some of older stories from the Tintin series, one can see a definite development in Hergé’s style. In fact, he went back and redrew many of his comics after war. This was also due to the criticism he received from a moral standpoint for many things seen in his comics, and in an attempt to recover this loss of face, he also removed some gags seen in the Tintin reprints (one such, found in Tintin in the Congo, involved Tintin blowing up a rhino with a bomb).
What if I told you that I put my whole life into Tintin?
Article from the New York Times about Georges Remi and his new biography Hergé, Son of Tintin written by Benoît Peeters.
George Remi, AKA Herge.
Oh my God, those toys are so cute.
So, would you guys be interested in learning a little bit about Tintin along with me?
“You are going to see the comedy… Quiet! And now take your seat in the theatre!”
“Entretiens avec Hergé,” translated by Michael Farr in Tintin: The Complete Companion