READING COMICS: A POST-COLONIAL REVIEW OF TINTIN IN THE CONGO
Dr. Sanghamitra Ganguly
Assistant Professor, Department of English,
Maheshtala College (Affiliated to the University of Calcutta)
Comics are a medium primarily meant for entertainment. However there are some comics that have become controversial for their content. One such album is Herge’s Tintin in the Congo which has attracted criticisms for being racist and pro-imperialist, so much so that it has been banned from the children’s sections in book-stores in Britain and in the USA it is yet to be published. There are reasons for this discontent among the post-colonial readers, for the book abounds in imagery and language demeaning to the Africans and their culture. At the same time we should keep in mind that each artistic output is a product of its time and reflects contemporary mindset. Written in 1930-31 in the heydays of European colonialism, Tintin in the Congo is similarly influenced by the popular opinions of the time and deserves to be treated in its socio-political and historical context as well.
Keywords: Comics, Tintin, Imperialism, Post-colonialism, Ethnocentricity.
For long, comic strips were relegated to a kind of low-brow art compared to the high-brow art of print literature. But since the 1990s, this attitude has changed among the literati. Comics are now everywhere, filling bookshelves and multiplex screens with brilliant, innovative work, shaping