Abrams has a long history as one of the best art book publishers in the country. Their ComicArts endeavor continues the tradition of excellence with many stunning reprints of obscure collections (the Horror! the Horror!) as well as original graphic novels (My Friend Dahmer). Their recent collaboration with the Musée Hergé produced Tintin: The Art of Hergé, a lavish, 480-page volume. It perpetuates the Abrams legacy and celebrates a beloved comics creator, although it does have some minor disappointments.
Tintin and his dog Snowy have captured generations of hearts since 1929, with millions following his adventures through Congo, Moscow, the Himalayas, and New York. These fans should be delighted with the incredible access Tintin: The Art of Hergé provides. Fans and scholars can encounter rare, primary sources such as character profiles, photographs, documents, and unpublished drawings. This volume offers a fresh and nuanced look into the world of Tintin, all without the burden on the reader to travel to Belgium to visit the famous Musée Hergé itself. Lush images dominate this neatly bound book, but journalist Michel Daubert manages to concisely explain how the artist Georges Remi transformed himself into his world-famous alter ego, Hergé. The narratives are brisk and fresh, but any biographical controversy is avoided.
Abrams has pushed the envelope yet again with the book’s cover design: bookboards embossed with a profile of Tintin and pages of red-and-white checkering. While the end product captures the eye, the glued spine is worrisome, and the embossing causes many pages to stick together.
Hardcore aficionados of Tintin are likely already aware of the Philippe Goddin volumes, more nicely bound, with larger pages for more sustained browsing interest and fuller text. But all good products come at a cost; the Goddin volumes being a sort of Holy Grail for fans of Hergé, with a massive price tag attached. The seven-volume Chronologie d’Une Ouevre is out of reach for most, making Daubert’s informative and nicely printed edition a welcome opportunity to become better acquainted with a beloved comic character and its creator.
Tintin: The Art of Hergé
by Michael Daubert
Abrams ComicArts, 2013