Nick Rodwell, the British lawyer who married the widow of Tintin creator Hergé and now controls the Tintin estate, has embarked on a malicious crusade to sue people who use the character–even historians of the comic whose use of the character would qualify under “fair use” doctrines in the United States.
Rodwell’s latest target is Bob Garcia, “a detective novelist, jazz musician and Tintin aficionado,” who has been ordered by British courts to hand over Â£35,000 or face the possibility of having his house and belongings seized. His crime: writing five essays about the character. According to the UK’s Telegraph paper, “One pamphlet drew links between his twin passions — Tintin and Sherlock Holmes. Another looked at the cinematographic references in Hergé’s works. Two of the five, printed on average 500 times, used ‘graphical citations’ of Tintin drawings.”
More details from the Telegraph:
Hundreds of Tintin fans have already backed Mr Garcia, who on Thursday called for a boycott of the film and claimed that many supporters were heeding his demand. More than 500 people have joined his page on the Facebook website which expresses “anger and disgust” over the issue. More supporters have also backed his cause on other websites.
Tintin is one of the most successful comics of the 20th century, selling over 250 million copies and translated into 50 languages. Mr Rodwell’s company, Moulinsart, stands to take a huge cut from spin-offs after Steven Spielberg’s film, The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, is released in 2011.
“Mr Rodwell is trying to clear the decks ahead of the film on anything or anyone who speaks about Tintin to have the absolute monopoly on the brand. For him, my studies are just spin-offs of that brand,” said Mr Garcia.
A sidenote about the lawyer Rodwell that might shed some light on his personal character. His official blog was shut down by Tintin.com last year after he started making personal attacks on journalists. One bizarre claim he made was that certain journalists disliked him because the children of those critics had autism and couldn’t appreciate Tintin. This is a link to a translation of Rodwell’s writings.
Here is the link to the Facebook page for those who wish to support Garcia (I’ve joined it myself). Below is a video of Garcia talking about one of his books on a TV show. The scholarly nature of his Tintin studies is clearly evident in the visual samples shown onscreen.
(via Boing Boing)