Comics are considered among the most powerful and influential media that influence the perceptions, beliefs, attitudes and even the behaviors of society. It is not surprising, therefore, that cartoonists and cartoon characters have often been highly politicized, usually with the objective of passing a message or an agenda, or creating new outlooks for society to think of. Tintin and Asterix are perhaps among the most popular and global of comic characters that were ever created in the twentieth centuries. Interestingly, both characters were created by French cartoonists. Both characters are also frequently found in the middle of conflicts between cultures. However, one cannot miss the fact that both Tintin and Asterix have often been means through which their creators treated other cultures and civilizations in a patronizing and condescending manner.
In Hergé’s Tintin and the Picaros Tintin and his friends set off for an adventure in one of Latin America’s revolutionary countries. The dual nature of this country, San Theodoros, is made obvious from the beginning. On the one hand, there are the uncivilized and ‘savage’ tribesmen, and on the other hand, there are the revolutionaries and the lazy and drunken soldiers.
San Theodoros is listed among the Latin American countries of Brazil, Venezuela and Ecuador. The way these countries are grouped and listed together in such a way that makes the reader perceive these countries as having many cultural similarities in common. The cultural traits that are focused on, both among the tribesmen and the urbanized soldiers are the problem of drinking, stupidity and laziness.
Tintin had been to this country on a previous visit and now that he is there, he asks about the tribesmen, the response was, “Dispomaniacs! That’s what ‘civilization’ has done for those savages.”
Tintin and his friends express a condescending manner towards the natives, both tribesmen and military, particularly making fun of their cultural values, traditions, and behaviors. Eventually, this patronizing tone becomes so obvious that Hergé is forced to impose Tintin’s