When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Already a subscriber? Log in .

You've reached your limit of one free article.

Get unlimited access to Worldcrunch

You can cancel anytime .


Exclusive International news coverage

Ad-free experience NEW

Weekly digital Magazine NEW

9 daily & weekly Newsletters

Access to Worldcrunch archives

Free trial

30-days free access, then $2.90
per month.

Annual Access BEST VALUE

$19.90 per year, save $14.90 compared to monthly billing.save $14.90.

Subscribe to Worldcrunch

Tintin, From Nazi Satire To Modi Bashing

Humorous covers of the iconic comicTintin taking aim at Narendra Modi's government have caused a backlash on social media. But the Belgian "bande dessinée" has a long history of satirizing authoritarian government.

Tintin, From Nazi Satire To Modi Bashing

Satirical Tintin memes that have appeared in India

The Wire
Rohit Kumar


NEW DELHI — Satirized versions of the Adventures of Tintincomic book covers are not new. It is no surprise that a number of "India-oriented" Tintin cover adaptations have recently surfaced on social media.

For example, Tintin and the Dawn of Amrit Kaal shows the young hero looking on in dismay at the cover of Aakar Patel’s book, The Cost of the Modi Years, which uses statistics to describe the damage done to India since 2014 under Narendra Modi's BJP government.

Escape from the R.W.A. Bhakts (Resident Welfare Association of Modi's most ardent supporters) shows Tintin, Captain Haddock and Cuthbert Calculus fleeing.

Tintin and the PM’s Mann ki Baat (a nod to the radio program hosted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi) shows him dozing off in front of a radio.

The Curse of the WhatsApp Uncle with Tintin holding his head while listening to an old man’s harangue is particularly funny.

While the artists of these versions are anonymous, around the time of the inauguration of the new parliament building in May 2023, another Tintin adaption appeared on social media: King Savarkar’s Sceptre. This one was drawn by graphic artist Orijit Sen. The depiction of an easily recognizable man in RSS uniform swinging a scepter around provided some comic relief around the much-hyped and controversial Sengol.

It is worth noting that the original Tintin comic, King Ottokar’s Sceptre, which also had its cover spoofed, was written as an act of resistance against the despotic regimes of Hitler and Mussolini.

Tintin, a Resistance supporter?

Born in the Belgian suburb of Etterbeek in 1907, Tintin’s creator Georges Remi, (more popularly known by his pen name, Hergé), lived through both world wars. The Belgium that he grew up in was a hotbed of right-wing politics and fascism, with the first couple of Tintin books unfortunately reflecting the ethos of the day.

Tintin in the Land of the Soviets and Tintin in the Congo was shamelessly propagandist and racist, something Hergé remained embarrassed about until the end of his life. Their creation, though, was directed in large part by Norbert Wallez, owner of the magazine Petit Vingtième that Hergé worked for and in which the adventures of Tintin were first featured in. Wallez was a card-carrying fascist and even kept a photo of Mussolini on his desk

But as the true nature and extent of European fascism began to reveal itself in the 1930s, Hergé decided to resist the Nazis through his art. The plot of King Ottokar’s Sceptre was, in fact, directly inspired by the "Anschluss," Hitler’s annexation of Austria, which took place in March 1938. The mythical country of Borduria was quite recognizably representative of Nazi Germany, and the imaginary country of Syldavia represented not just Austria but other nations under threat from Nazism as well.

As Hergé’s biographer, Harry Thompson, explains:

“In the comic, King Muskar XIII of Syldavia is the target of the Iron Guard, a fifth column who plan to steal the ceremonial scepter of Ottokar without which he is not permitted to rule. Thereafter, under the command of Müsstler, the Iron Guard leader, Bordurian forces plan to seize control of the Syldavian capital Klow, ostensibly in defense of Bordurian nationals — who will be beaten up on the day to provide a suitable excuse. The name Müsstler is, of course, a straightforward combination of Hitler and Mussolini.

“Hergé even dressed the Bordurian officers in SS-style uniforms … It says something about Nazi stupidity that they actually failed to spot the blatant attacks in King Ottokar’s Sceptre.”

Hergé decided to resist the Nazis through his art.

Though ostensibly an adventure story for children, King Ottokar’s Sceptre was a sober warning from Hergé to his fellow Belgians about the dangers of fascism and expansionist Nazism. He continued to attack Nazi Germany in subtle and not-so-subtle ways through The Land of Black Gold and The Black Island as well.

Hergé's tainted legacy

At the end of the war, however, Hergé found himself being accused of being a Nazi sympathiser and was even jailed for a night. This was because he had started drawing the adventures of Tintin in Le Soir after the magazine he had drawn for before had shut down. Even though Le Soir’s circulation was five times that of Petit Vingtième, unfortunately for Hergé, its management passed into Nazi hands.

Hergé had kept his head down during the years of Nazi occupation, and the apolitical nature of the next few Tintin books, The Crab With the Golden Claws, The Secret of the Unicorn and Red Rackham’s Treasure reflected his chosen political "neutrality" at the time.

To his credit though, when approached by the Nazis to become a Gestapo informant, Hergé refused. He also refused to become the official illustrator of the Belgian Fascist movement. But because he had worked with Le Soir during the war years, the accusation of being a Nazi collaborator dogged him the rest of his days.

Hergé died in 1983, leaving behind an incredible legacy as "the father of the modern European comic book." Had he been around today, he would most certainly have smiled at the way his characters are continuing to fight fascists.

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.


Feminists Infiltrate The “Incelosphere” — Where Toxic Content Warps Modern Masculinity

An increasing number of male teens and young adults who've experienced feelings of rejection wind up in what's been dubbed the “incelosphere,” a place where they can find mutual understanding in a world they think is against them. Two women Polish journalists spent two years on the online servers these “beta males” are flocking to in ever greater numbers.

Illustration of a man wearing a hoodie looking at a laptop, with two women watching over his shoulder.

Watching over "beta males" and their online toxic masculinity

AI-generated illustration / Worldcrunch
Patrycja Wieczorkiewicz

Welcome to Worldcrunch’s LGBTQ+ International. We bring you up-to-speed each week on the latest on everything LGBTQ+ — from all corners of the planet. This week, we feature an investigation by two women Polish journalists for daily Gazeta Wyborcza, who spent two years infiltrating the online “incelosphere” and its patriarchal gurus spreading toxic ideas about masculinity on young, impressionable young people. But first, the latest news…

✉️ You can receive our LGBTQ+ International roundup every week directly in your inbox. Subscribe here.

TW: This content may address topics and include references to violence that some may find distressing

🌐 5 things to know right now

• LGBTQ+ asylum seekers in the UK: Suella Braverman, the UK home secretary, says that fearing discrimination for being LGBTQ+ or a woman should not be enough on its own to qualify for asylum. But advocates have pointed out that Braverman is criticizing a policy that doesn’t exist: under the current system, asylum seekers must prove that they face persecution. Braverman also claimed, without evidence, that some asylum seekers pretend to be LGBTQ+, a suggestion which advocates have dismissed as baseless and “cruel.”

• Allies drown out anti-LGBTQ+ protests in Canada: Thousands of counter-protesters turned out in Canada to oppose demonstrations by self-described “parental rights” groups who are upset about sex education and trans-inclusive policies in schools. The conservative protests are part of a wave of anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment in Canada, inspired by similar movements in the U.S. and the UK. Pro-LGBTQ+ counter-protesters outnumbered conservative demonstrators in most Canadian cities – including in Toronto, where about 1,000 LGBTQ+ protesters and allies met just a few dozen anti-LGBTQ+ activists, reports Xtra.

• Turkish President confuses UN colors with pride colors: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan complained that he was uncomfortable with what he described as "LGBT colors" at the United Nations General Assembly – but the rainbow-colored decorations were actually intended to promote the Sustainable Development Goals.

• Romanian government may recognise same-sex marriage: Under a draft law proposed by the Romanian government, same-sex marriages in other European Union states would be recognised as legal in Romania. The decision comes five years after the Court of Justice of the European Union ordered Romania to allow same-sex spouses of Romanian citizens to live in the country. The law still has to be approved by the Romanian parliament.

• Malaysian PM doubles down on anti-LGBTQ+ views: In an interview with CNN, Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said that his government “will never recognize LGBT rights.” In August, his government banned Swatch watches and other products with pride colors, threatening up to three years in prison for people caught with the products.

Feminists Infiltrate The “Incelosphere” — Where Toxic Content Warps Modern Masculinity

In her book For The Love Of Men: From Toxic To A More Mindful Masculinity, Canadian feminist writer Liz Plank explained that the struggle of women can never be one without confronting the crisis of manhood.

Plank is part of the forward-thinking feminist researchers and authors who've dedicated a significant amount of their work to the problems of men and masculinity, always sure to arouse suspicion. In reality, from a young age, we are forced into one of two oppressive patterns – masculinity and femininity – which in turn shape our behavior and our choices.

Thanks to the feminist movement, women now enter roles once reserved for men more frequently and eagerly than ever before, and teach their daughters that they can be whoever they want to be.

What has not changed nearly as much is our perception of masculinity.

The dominant image is still that of the strong, resourceful, male who pushes forward, takes risks and copes with adversities on his own. But today, they also must be sensitive, attentive, and empathetic as well (just not too much). Parents are still afraid of raising “weak” sons.

These are the roots of the so-called “masculinity crisis”. Usually, this phenomenon is reduced to some version of "men cannot keep up with emancipated women”. In reality, however, we as a society are the ones who cannot keep up with the need of dismantling toxic patterns of masculinity and creating new, healthy ones.

Instead, we leave young, lost adolescent boys at the mercy of patriarchal gurus who are preaching online.

Without anyone to talk to about their fears and uncertainties, and unable to count on their loved ones for understanding, these boys join internet communities, where they are taught that the “order” of certain men being naturally superior to them is natural, that it has been shaped by evolution, and that it cannot be changed.

In other words, they’ve already lost, so it’s better to get used to it and admit to their failures.

In March 2021, I was an exemplary feminist. I had several years of activist and journalistic work on behalf of victims of sexual violence under my belt, and my book about rape in Poland had just been published. Every day, I spoke to women who experienced sexual violence. With every story I heard, my aversion to men only grew stronger.

Only a few months later, I found myself in a closed internet server with a few dozen incels, exchanging messages and sharing observations from my experiences on a daily basis. My being there divided the feminist community.I received a lot of support, but I also read that I had “betrayed” the feminist movement, that I was a “guardian of the patriarchy”, that I was spending time with rapists, and that I wanted to force women to “bow down” to these men, or to sexually gratify misogynists.

Who are incels? In simple terms, they are men, typically young, living in what they call “involuntary celibacy”. They would like to have sex, but in their view they have no one to do it with. They blame women for their lack of luck in this area, believing that women do not view them as attractive enough. They also blame the society that they believe despises “beta males”, as they call themselves. Some of them blame their parents, who gave them “defective genes”. Oftentimes, they also blame themselves.

Online and in the news, incels are first and foremost associated with the misogyny on incel forums on the internet, and the terror attacks that several have been involved in, notably in the U.S., where self-described incels have opened fire on their peers and even strangers.

The harmfulness of the “incel mentality” should not be underestimated, especially since it regularly attacks specific people, usually women. Some people organize campaigns to expose girls on Tinder and create profiles of extremely attractive men, who they call “Chads”. When they match with women, they arrange dates and then randomly unmatch them, or tell the girls that they are ugly and should lower their standards when it comes to the appearance of a potential partner. I myself saw glorification of rapes and mass executions from the U.S. online, and was personally threatened two or three times.

Together with Aleksandra Herzyk, the co-author of the Polish book "Przegryw. Mężczyźni w pułapce gniewu i samotności" (Loser: Men In The Trap Of Shame And Loneliness), I spent an intense two years in the “incelosphere”. We began by setting up an account on Wykop, a portal where self-described incels and “losers” gather online. We did not intend to hide who we were, though it was obvious that, as feminists, we were unlikely to receive a warm welcome.

We wrote a post in which we assured those within the portal that we were sincerely interested in the difficulties faced by people posting with the #loser tag. Within a few hours, it managed to gain over 400 likes and about as many comments. One comment compared us to pedophiles luring children with candies or kittens. Some people called us names, like one comment that read "get the fuck out of the tag, p0lki”, while others were plainly sceptical. One commenter wrote, “this cannot work out”. The vast majority of commenters doubted our good intentions, believing that we wanted to build trust within the community in order to destroy it from the inside.

We were afraid of reading our private messages, which within the first day — over 70 on the first day itself. You can imagine our surprise that — apart from a few haters — the men actually wanted to speak with us. The majority's motivations boiled down to the fact that no one else was willing to listen to them, so feminists could do it for lack of anything else.

Read the full story here, translated in English by Worldcrunch.

— Patrycja Wieczorkiewicz/Gazeta Wyborcza

Keep reading...Show less

The latest