Full disclosure: I grew up reading all of Tintin and loved the comics very much, as did most of my large and unruly family. However, it is also plainly obvious that, at best, they’re written from an incredibly narrow and deeply colonialist framework (if you have the misfortune of not being Belgian and white, you are relegated to the background or turned into an exoticized diversion); at worst, they are deeply racist purveyors of horrible stereotypes.
So, is anyone surprised that Boris Johnson loves them? It turns out the shaggy-lidded Brexiteer is a huge comics fan and relied on Hergé’s tales of a plucky young reporter perpetually caught in international intrigue to see him through his Covid-19 recovery in April of last year. This fact was pointed out by Rich Johnston, who commemorated the happy anniversary by adding Bo-Jo to a Tintin cover of his own—suffice to say, the caricature is not entirely kind (Jenny and Luis are the names of the carers who helped the Prime Minister in his recovery).
Look, I am not advocating for canceling Tintin but we should continue to call the comics what they are: racist-colonialist fantasies starring a white savior that are ideally suited to ten-year-olds who like adventure potboilers. Again, it’s easy to see why Boris Johnson loves them as an adult.