Tintin revival could be marred by race debate

Fri May 28, 2010 10:48am EDT
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By Ben Deighton

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - As Belgium's best-known reporter prepares himself for the silver screen, uncomfortable questions remain as to whether it is just his plus fours and quiff that need to be given a makeover.

Film director Steven Spielberg's "The Secret of the Unicorn" is a tale of sunken ships and treasure which highlights Tintin as a swashbuckling hero ready to take on any villain.

It is expected to be the first in a trilogy of Tintin movies.

However, an altogether different aspect of the reporter is attracting attention in his home country of Belgium.

In Brussels, an increasingly heated court case is unfolding, brought by a Congo-born student who argues that one of the cartoon albums, "Tintin in the Congo," is racist and should be banned or at least carry a warning on its cover.

"We say there is a work which shows the superiority of one race over another. This is inadmissible," said lawyer Papis Tshimpangila who is taking part in the case.

The English language version of the album has been prefaced with a warning asking readers to see it within the context of its time.

Book shop Borders took it out of its children's section in 2007 in Britain and the United States following a recommendation from the Commission for Racial Equality.   Continued...

<p>Congolese-born Bienvenu Mbutu Mondondo holds the "Tintin in Congo" comics ahead of a hearing at the Palace of Justice in Brussels May 12, 2010. REUTERS/Thierry Roge</p>