In 1924, Georges Remi signs his creations with the pseudonym Hergé, his initials in reverse. Some years later, he creates a character which is not only forever-young & famous but also brings in that long-lost slice of childhood & innocence in us. Yes, I'm talking about Tintin. Georges Remi is Belgian. But when I discuss Tintin with my French colleagues, who are culturally very different from me, I still see the same twinkle of excitement in their eyes. Tintin is an unifying factor among diverse cultures; a factor that may not promote peace but one that definitely ensures friendship.
Now, I'm here in Brussels. There is no way I'm going to miss the Centre Belge de la Bande Dessinee. Bande Dessinee means comic strips and the entire phrase translates to Belgian Comic Strip Center. I agree the English translation do not carry the aura of the Belgian name. Don't be fooled by the word Center. It is a museum spread over three floors in a building a few minutes walk from the Grand Place. My excitement turned into guarded skepticism when I saw the building. The building is not flashy. But the skepticism vanished during the tour.
At the ground floor, you are greeted by a sculpture of Tintin. Right next to is a portrait of the sculpture with his dad, Georges Remi. When you climb up one flight of steps to the first floor, there is the sculpture of trio - Tintin, Captain Haddock and Professor Calculus in space suits. The first floor is dedicated to pictures and exhibits teaching superficially how a comic book is created. The entire process is like making a film with script writers, artists, multiple coloring stages, publishing and marketing.
The upper two floors are dedicated to many famous Belgian comic strip artists; all of whom I have never heard in my life except Georges Remi. All their works are explained in details with original drawings or cartoon strips in display. There is also a section dedicated to Tintin and Georges Remi. Some of our favorite characters and their characteristics are explained. There are two large charts in this section. One of them displays the name of Tintin book and the characters appearing in it. It looks like a giant chessboard. The second chart chronicles the landmark years in the life of Georges Remi.