Young Hans Castorp

Hans Castorp: the first in a series of portraits of characters in "The Magic Mountain" by the brilliant illustrator and author – and my good friend – Vincent Bourgeau.

Is it just me or does he have something of Tintin about him, albeit a dreamier attitude to life? And as I was looking for a better translation of 'Saperlot!' ('Zounds!' in old English) among the many and varied expletives uttered by Captain Haddock – 'Saperlipopette' having stuck in my mind – I came across this on Wikipedia:

'Once when the captain was in a particularly angry state, Hergé had him yell the word "pneumothorax" (a medical emergency caused by the collapse of the lung within the chest). A week after the scene appeared in Tintin magazine, Hergé received a letter allegedly from a father whose boy was a great fan of Tintin and also a heavy tuberculosis sufferer who had experienced a collapsed lung. According to the letter, the boy was devastated that his favourite comic made fun of his own condition. Hergé wrote an apology and removed the word from the comic. Afterwards, the letter was discovered to be fake, written and planted by Hergé's friend and collaborator Jacques Van Melkebeke.' (Source: Thompson, Harry, "Tintin: Hergé and His Creation", Hodder & Stoughton, 1991.)

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