Monday, October 31, 2005

Vincent Kua Jr, Tintin

The museum has been updated with a full profile with bio and gallery for Vincent Kua Jr.
To access the profile, click here or below:

Thanks to Dennis Villegas and Randy Valiente for helping out!


I loved reading comics as soon as I could read. The earliest comic book I ever read was most likely something from Walt Disney, and a Hulk comic drawn by Herbe Trimpe. Well, I wouldn't know it was Herb Trimpe till many years later. I was, after all, only something like... 4 years old?

Among these early comics, the most influential of them all was probably Tintin, created by Herge (Georges Remi). It was the first comic book that inspired me to start drawing on my own.

Tintin adventures are what people now regard as "graphic novels", each complete adventure has 62 or so pages in large format. In the back of these books is a gallery of covers of all Tintin adventures. Having read only one at that point, I stared in wonder at all those great covers that promised fun and exciting adventures in the pages within.

One day I felt that wondering about those stories was n longer enough, so I decided to pick out one cover and tried to write and draw what I thought that story was all about.

I chose "Tintin in Tibet". It showed main characters Tintin, Snowy, Captain Haddock and a guide on a snowcapped mountain staring in fear and wonder at footprints in the snow too large to be human. Of all the covers, this was the one I was fascinated with the most.

I think I managed to draw 2 pages before I lost interest and went off to do something else. Not too promising, but then again, I was just maybe 5 or 6 at the time.

Decades later I'm writing and drawing comics fora living, and I'm still very much into Tintin as I ever was.

Herge only wrote and drew 23 adventures from 1929 to 1978 and yet all of these adventures are always kept in print, and are always available at National Book Store. Isn't that just amazing? A comic book that's decades old, originally written in French by a Belgian... would be perennially available at your local book store. I think that says a lot about the universal appeal of the body of work that Herge has created.

When a copy wears out, I can always go and get a new one, which is great. I don't think I'll ever get tired of reading Tintin, even when I'm old and gray. The influence of Tintin is so persistent and pervasive that traces of of Herge still shows through in my work. In Humanis Rex, in Wasted, in Silent Dragon, in Johnny Balbona, and pretty much anything I draw.

In the future I think I see my work getting more closer to Herge, not to copy of course, but in regard to the discipline of simplicity and clarity of storytelling.

An unfinished adventure, Tintin and Alph-Art has finally reached Philippine shores.

This is probably one of 2 Tintin holy grails, the other being "Tintin in Congo", both widely unavailable here in the country. Herge died while doing Alph-Art in 1983. It's heart breaking seeing the last page Herge worked on, an unfinished thumbnail of Tintin being led into the unknown at gunpoint, the bottom half of the page blank and mute.

Herge had always maintained that no further adventures of Tintin be made after his death. Because of this, Alph-Art is published as it was left by Herge. It's not for the casual reader, but a goldmine for hardcore Tintin fans like myself.