After leaving school and beginning work at the Belgian newspaper Le Vingtième Siècle, cartoonist Hergé oversaw a weekly supplement for children entitled Le Petit Vingtième. This got him thinking about a new character: “A-journalist, yet with the spirit of a Boy Scout.” Hergé’s job provided him access to all the latest news, including the real-life exploits of French reporter and investigator Albert Londres. Londres’s career, as well as stories from Belgian and foreign papers, became fodder for Tintin’s adventures. Tintin himself was modeled with a round head, a button for a nose and two dots for eyes — but with the iconic quiff that makes him instantly recognizable.
The first Tintin adventure in 1929, ‘Tintin in the Land of the Soviets’, was an instant hit with children and adults alike. As the adventures progressed, Hergé added all kinds of characters — some of whom he based on famous people (such as Bianca Castafiore, whose character was inspired by the opera singer Maria Callas). He also based some characters on friends and family (such as Thomson & Thompson, who were inspired by his father and his father’s twin brother).
The idea for a magazine came up after a meeting between Hergé and the Belgian publisher Raymond Leblanc. After dealing with the financial aspects, Leblanc founded the publishing house Lombard and one of Belgium’s most prestigious comic magazines was born. Soon a Flemish version followed, titled ‘Kuifje’. Tintin was the Belgian magazine for realistic comics during the second half of the 20th Century. It brought forth legendary series such as ‘Blake & Mortimer’, ‘Alix’, ‘Ric Hochet’ and of course ‘Tintin et Milou’. The first issue appeared in 1946 and the magazine ran until its final rendition in 1993.