The Tintin albums that were first printed in black and white offer a revealing picture of the conservative, Catholic, nationalist climate in which the young Hergé was immersed in the 1920s and 1930s. Taken together, they offer a coherent vision of the world. Tintin sometimes takes on the role of a pious young hero, and a character such as Rastapopoulos may seem like a perfect illustration of the enemy as defined by a writer like Charles Maurras. But Belgian conservative Catholics also had a powerful social mission. From the Congolese escapade up to L'Oreille cassée [Tintin and the Broken Ear], Tintin is combating the same proponents of Anglo-American cosmopolitan capitalism. Conversely, he comes to the help of the poor and needy, reactivating a whole Christian iconography of charity, as, for example, when he rescues Tchang from drowning in Le Lotus bleu [The Blue Lotus].
Philippe Delisle is Professor of Modern History at the Université de Lyon. He has worked for more than a decade on religious and political discourse in classic Belgian bandes dessinées. He also founded and directs Karthala's Esprit BD collection, which includes some of his own publications: Petite histoire politique de la BD belge de langue française (2016), and La BD au crible de l'Histoire. Hergé, Maurras, les jésuites et quelques autres… (2019). firstname.lastname@example.org.