Book depicting womanising Tintin withdrawn


SPAIN:HIS SEXUALITY was always a closely guarded secret that his creator Hergé sought to preserve. But a Spanish version of one of Tintin's most famous tales, The Blue Lotus, has dared to suggest the intrepid Belgian reporter was a voracious lover.

Entitled The Pink Lotus, it contains graphic sex scenes that would raise the eyebrows of parents with young children.

But its Spanish author, Antonio Altarriba, has paid the price. The book has been withdrawn after pressure from Hergé's estate, which controls the rights to the work of the Belgian writer Georges Rémi, who died in 1983 and used Hergé as his pen-name.

The estate claimed the Altarriba version of this tale, published to cash in on last year's 100th anniversary of Rémi's birth, "perverted the essence of the personality" of Tintin.

The estate put pressure on the publishers of The Pink Lotus, Edicions de Ponent, and its distributors to ensure it would never appear in bookshops again.

In the banned version, Tintin is depicted in his 30s. Many of his contemporaries have disappeared and the famous journalist is undergoing a midlife crisis.

Portrayed as a dissolute tabloid journalist, Tintin has affairs with various women; his past glories long behind him. In the book there are graphic scenes, including one of a man - not Tintin - and a woman having sex.

Altarriba, a comic-book writer, said: "I am an author and am totally against plagiarism, but the use of personalities which are already in existence is common.

"I have used many characters from the past in my books and I have never had a problem. But after this I will never write again about Tintin."

More than two decades after Hergé's death, Tintin remains a symbol of childhood for readers who followed the exploits of the quiffed reporter and his faithful dog companion, Snowy.

There have been no end of scurrilous pastiches of the original - mostly crude pornographic spoofs.

The Hergé estate always defends Tintin in the courts and is usually successful. But Tintin has also been the target of legal action. Last year, Belgium's state prosecutor began an investigation into the books for alleged racism after a complaint from a Congolese student.

- (Guardian service)