Nov 112016

'Spirou au Kongo Belche', bruxellois cover for 'Le Maître des hosties noires' ("Spirou in Belgian Congo"/"Master of the Black Hosts"; ill. Schwartz & Yann; Copyright (c) 2016 Dupuis and the artists; image from

Here’s something unusual: an official Spirou cover that is also fanart for another series…

The cover is from a special edition of Schwartz & Yann’s upcoming “one-shot”, which is a sequel to La Femme léopard (“The Leopard Woman”). The French title of the album is Le Maître des hosties noires (“The Master of the Black Hosts”, with “host” in the sense of a Eucharist wafer), but as with their previous two one-shots there will also be an edition in Brussels dialect (bruxellois), which has the alternative title Spirou au Kongo Belche (which is presumably bruxellois for “Spirou in Belgian Congo”). (This edition will also feature some bonus pages with sketches from the creation of the album.) The comic being referenced is of course this one:

'Tintin au Congo' cover ("Tintin in the Congo"; ill. Hergé; image from

Then there’s another, also rather Tintin-looking, cover for the special deluxe edition:

'Le Maître des hosties noires' TL cover ("Master of the Black Hosts"; ill. Schwartz & Yann; Copyright (c) 2016 Dupuis and the artists; image from

Even in the French version, the story is subtitled “An Adventure of Spirou & Fantasio in Congo” on the opening page (Dupuis’s site has a preview of a few more pages, starting with the third):

'Le Maître des hosties noires' p. 1 wip (ill. Schwartz & Yann; Copyright (c) 2016 Dupuis and the artists; image from

Page 1 of the album, from Stripspeciaalzaak

And finally, here’s the regular album cover:

'Le Maître des hosties noires' cover ("Master of the Black Hosts"; ill. Schwartz & Yann; Copyright (c) 2016 Dupuis and the artists; image from

  15 Responses to “Fanart Friday: Spirou in Congo”


    Gotta love those covers that are only for the versions “Bruxellois”!
    I really enjoyed the Brux-covers made for the earlier 2 albums from Schwartz & Yann.
    And also the cover for Emile Bravos album is much better than the “normal” one…

    Feels like we, in the rest of the world, gets the second-hand sortiment when in comes to covers…
    This Tintin-pastiche cover is such a wonderful hommage!


    (Not Hokan)

    This looks pretty good. Schwartz has even imitated those Hergéian twirly speed lines…

    That Mobutu-looking dictator lifting the globe could also be a reference to Charlie Chaplin’s “The Dictator” movie, in which “Adenoid Hynkel” juggles with a globe balloon in a similar manner.


    I’m uneasy about this cover. I can see the hommage to Tintin as being innocent in its way, but then…Schwartz chose to reference THAT particular album, the one that even Hergé himself considered ill-adviced, colonialist and racist later on. THAT album, frought with those themes plus extreme animal cruelty played for fun and laughs. It seems very insensitive to me and by making it the official Belgian or at least Brussels edition of the album Spirou is inadvertently sending out a message of whitewashing Belgium’s extremely uncomfortable colonial history by actively referencing the cover of a disgraceful album that right-minded comics readers should prefer not to exist. I can see Belgian right-wingers having a field day with this one here and black people being offended (and rightly so, I think).


      But the situation is that the story takes place in Congo, so other iconic covers wouldn’t make much sense…

      The storyline is also radically different; Tintin travels to Congo in order to relax on hunting safaris and teach (or indoctrinate, depending on your viewpoint) the Congolese children about Belgium (in later editions, it’s mathematics insted), Spirou and Fantasio travel to Congo on a mission initiated by the black “leopard woman” Aniota as a “matter of life and death” (according to Yann and Schwartz’ last album).


        Yes, that is the case, but do you really expect your average person to really delve into the two stories like that? The book can and will be judged by its cover and the insensitivity of happily referencing a story that is deeply offensive and apparently making light of its colonialist message. That might not be fair, but if you wear a swastika because you like how it looks, you should not be surprised of being considered a nazi sympathiser by people who see you walk around with it (and sorry for pulling a Godwin). Spirou should hope this does not get in the news, because it will hurt them.


          Your comments about it as an “official” edition might be technically true, but it’s not the complete truth. This won’t be the main cover either in Belgium or Brussels, either in French or Dutch; just for a limited edition in the Bruxellois dialect, which would likely require some effort to track down.

          I think Yann stated that he aimed for a subversion of the old colonial tropes, but it isn’t really any of that to be seen i the “Belche” cover, which just seems to be a straightforward pastiche.


          Tintin in the Congo is awfully dated, but I’m not sure I agree that it is such a travesty as you make out. And as much as Hergé may have had second thoughts about some of its elements, he did after all have it redrawn and included in the album series, and kept it steadily reprinted, unlike Tintin in the Land of the Soviets. It is also commonly claimed that it is the most popular Tintin album in French-speaking Africa.

          For better or worse, Tintin in the Congo is a classic, and if you’re doing a ligne claire adventure that sends one of the most famous Franco-Belgian heroes to Belgian Congo, it’s difficult to get around. I get the impression (from the interview summarized here) that this one-shot as a whole is very deliberately referencing the Tintin album and other old-timey depictions of Africa in a revisionist fashion, similar e.g. to what Yann’s old partner Chaland was doing in The Elephant Graveyard.


    On another note, that sample page is in b/w, but it appears to be colorized in the final album.


    […] already featured on the Dupuis site and posted by Schwartz to Facebook. So here, following on the recently featured covers, is a scanlation sneak […]

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