Children's Literature in Education

, Volume 41, Issue 3, pp 251–259

“A Nightmare Land, A Place of Death”: An Exploration of the Moon as a Motif in Hergé’s Destination Moon (1953) and Explorers on the Moon (1954)

Original Paper


This article analyses the symbolic meaning of the Moon in two bande dessinée books from the Tintin series, Hergé’s Destination Moon (Objectif Lune, 1953) and its sequel Explorers on the Moon (On a Marché sur la Lune, 1954). It argues that these two volumes stand out in the series for their graphic, narrative and philosophical emphasis on both intellectual achievement and physical death. The Moon, as a goal of modern science and a traditional artistic symbol, is made to celebrate the human mind. But Hergé also makes it a dangerous no man’s land, where human beings are made to understand the limitations of their physical abilities. The Moon emphasises the distortion between human dreams of grandeur and the concrete impossibility of their realisation, and the threats they pose to corporeality. As a result, the article suggests that the Moon trip can be seen as a modern re-enactment of the mythological journey to Hell, as the works of the human mind are constantly thwarted by the risk of physical death.


Tintin Moon Death Comics Journey Science 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Christ’s CollegeCambridgeUK

Personalised recommendations