In class, we took time to discuss the implicit racism within The Adventures of Tintin and addressed the question of whether or not we would share these comics with children. Though these comics are iconic and enjoyable to read, I do not think they should be shared with children. Some students said, while growing up reading Tintin, they didn’t really pick up on how problematic both Herge’s illustrations and language were. Based on experience, they didn’t think sharing these comics would do much harm to a child. While I understand this point, regardless of whether a child “notices” the racism or not, sharing a text with them that is filled with racism normalizes it, and perpetuates erroneous stereotypes.

Instead of sharing Tintin with children, there are plenty of other comics reminiscent to Tintin; why not substitute it for something else? The appeal of Tintin comes from the subjective character that young readers can place themselves in, the cartoonish main character juxtaposed against a hyper realistic backdrop, a loveable comic-relief providing sidekick, and all of the adventures the pair goes on. I would argue that Jeff Smith’s Bone series shares the highlights of Tintin in a significantly less problematic way. Main character Fone Bone has one of the most subjective faces in any comic I’ve ever seen; he is drawn very simply against a beautifully hyper realistic background. He is relatable and goes on crazy adventures with his comic-relief providing siblings, though these adventures are far more fantastical than those of Tintin. Smith has created a new world for his characters as opposed to Tintin being placed in various countries and cities that exist. I think it is possible to have a similar experience reading these comics instead of Tintin without being exposed to blatant racism, amongst other things.

What other comics do you think would be a good substitute for The Adventures of Tintin to share with a child?