Call it satire, but don’t call it good

In 2001 Danish artist Ole Ahlberg joined the ranks of those who thought they could do what they wanted with Tintin and the rest of Hergé’s creations: he got sued by Moulinsart. But contrary to what would be expected, he won because the Belgian court decided that satire was indeed an exception to copyright law and that Ahlberg’s paintings were, a-hem, satire.

I’ve been pondering these things for a while, and I’ve tried to read intricate explanations and analyses of his work, but in the end I only see badly drawn Tintin rip-offs (and the odd Batman) with scantily clad airbrushed ladies that were hip in the 90s. And some keen entrepreneurs that charge 850 Euros for a glorified ink jet print. Oh well, it can’t always be good. As the philosopher said, “One work is satire, making it your style is just a cash-in”.

(Thanks, Mark and Steve; artwork © Ole Ahlberg; Tintin Copyright © Hergé / Moulinsart 2021)

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