Tintin's empire grows as wholesome hero turns 80

Fri Jan 9, 2009 10:47am EST
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By Antonia van de Velde

BRUSSELS (Reuters Life!) - As intrepid Belgian cub reporter Tintin prepares to celebrate his 80th birthday, his empire grows.

With sales of two to three million comic books a year and a Steven Spielberg film in the making, Tintin continues to rack up profits more than 30 years after creator Herge drew his final adventure.

Tintin and his dog Snowy first appeared in a Belgian magazine supplement on January 10, 1929 and soon after, "Tintin in the land of the Soviets" marked the young reporter's comic book debut.

More than 200 million copies have been sold since then and the comics have been translated into more than 100 languages and local dialects.

"No new albums have been published since 1984 but Tintin remains a huge hit," Guy De Jonckheere, Tintin publisher at Herge's publisher Casterman, which holds the rights to the comic books, told Reuters.

Casterman, which published Tintin for author Georges Remi (better known by his pen name Herge), obtained the publishing rights from Herge's wife after his death in 1983.

But British businessman Nick Rodwell has become the real custodian of one of Belgium's biggest stars.

After his marriage to Herge's widow, Rodwell took charge of Moulinsart, a business which holds the rights to all Tintin character merchandising.   Continued...

<p>Models representing the famous Belgian cartoon character Tintin from his "Adventures in the Congo" are posed among exhibits made from oranges and lemons at the 65th annual Lemon Festival in the Southern French town of Menton February 14,1998. REUTERS/Jacques Munch</p>