The Moulinsart Crypt

in European Comic Art
Pierre Fresnault-DeruelleUniversity of Paris 1

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This article focuses on the two Hergé albums which recount the story of Haddock's ancestor, the Chevalier de Hadoque. The author postulates that the narrative device of the search for a lost object also operates at the level of individual panels, offering the reader the fantasy of burrowing into their two-dimensional surface. He proceeds to do a reading of the 'crypt' sequences from these albums, attending to details which seem insignificant in terms of the plot, but which, he argues, amount to a series of key visual motifs. They may symbolise deeper narrative structures, such as the entry into dangerous and forbidden places, or offer a poetic evocation of the aspiration of a silent, static medium towards sound and movement. Above all, they set up a dense network of relationships which resonate through the albums for the greater pleasure of the readers who become attuned to their subtle harmonics.

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