Tintin, Captain Haddock and Snowy, seen here for sale as figurines in the Comic Book Museum, are instantly recognizable from the works of  Belgian cartoonist Hergé. Comic books, known as bandes dessinées or BDs, had a major boost in Belgium and France during World War II when the Nazis banned US comics.
Brussels – Been There

My own Tintin Adventures

Photo by Ruben Drenth

Brussels – Been There My own Tintin Adventures

Jacques Brel, Rene Magritte, Hercule Poirot... Belgium has produced a host of famous people. But to me, the most precious is probably an unexpected one, a pale blonde boy who takes a liking to grand adventures: Tintin.

Sergi Reboredo
Sergi Reboredo Travel Photographer

Tintin is one of those fictional characters whose adventures any traveler must admire. Cartoonist Georges Remi wrote under the pen name Hergé and gave his creation adventures everywhere from the Congo and Nepal to fictional Latin American dictatorships and even the moon. As many teenage boys have done, I too have devoured the comics when young. Brussels is the home town of Hergé and a haven for lovers of Belgian comics.

Not far from the Jardine Botanique, near the Northern Quarter financial district, is the Center for the Belgian Comic Strip, known as CBBD (or "Centre Belge de la Bande Dessinée"), sprawling over three floors of a magnificent Art Nouveau building designed by Victor Horta between 1903 and 1906.

I make a pilgrimage to this museum for comic lovers, where Tintin is only one of the stars. I enjoy seeing the boy hero’s style change from the black and white in the very first drawings from 1929 to color and the introduction of such familiar names from my childhood bedtime reading as Captain Haddock, Thomson and Thompson and Professor Calculus.

I learn that Belgium is also the home ground of childhood heroes like The Smurfs, Lucky Luke, Spirou. They and many other characters spring to life in the museum’s displays of drawing boards, photographs, life-size prints, cartoons, movies, sketches, models, books, and 6,000 original plates. What could be the secret of the Belgians for creating so many loved cartoons? A fascinating talent.

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While fictional detective Hercule Poirot may be Belgium's most famous mustache wearer, the country has at least four clubs who participate in the World Beard and Moustache Championships. The bearded Captain Haddock and Professor Calculus in the Tintin comic books also join the ranks of the most famous Belgians with facial hair. Photo by Kieran Meeke

Kieran Meeke

Kieran Meeke

Sony A99

Aperture
ƒ/16
Exposure
1/45
ISO
320
Focal
28 mm

While fictional detective Hercule Poirot may be Belgium's most famous mustache wearer, the country has at least four clubs who participate in the World Beard and Moustache Championships. The bearded Captain Haddock and Professor Calculus in the Tintin comic books also join the ranks of the most famous Belgians with facial hair.

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