On 11 September, Zahidul Haque Apu, popularly known as RJ Apu, shared a concept art photo, titled, 'Tintin Meets Unmad' on his Facebook profile and in the description he wrote: New Unmad cover, coming soon. And it didn't take that long for the post to create a buzz on social media.
This is not the first time cartoonist Apu has been at the centre of attention. Ever since he launched his concept art series 'Tintin In Bangladesh', where Tintin and other characters from the beloved series visit various places in Bangladesh including Dhaka, Sylhet, Cox's Bazaar, Chandpur, his social media handles have been blowing up.
When multi-talented Apu was passing dull days in isolation because of Covid-19 this year, he tried his hands in art to beat quarantine blues. For him, this was a childhood hobby that remained dormant for many years as he got involved with other work and took up a full-time job at Radio Dhol as Head of Programmes.
In his free time, Apu randomly started drawing on his tab and started sharing his work on his official Facebook page 'Arts by Apu.'
Speaking with The Business Standard, Apu said, "I have always been a huge fan of Tintin and I read all 24 books of the series. However, while reading the comics as a child, I would always wonder why Tintin never made it to Bangladesh. I grew up sad about the fact that Tintin would never come to Bangladesh."
And from this thought, Apu ended up creating a digitised Bangladeshi rendition of Tintin and his friends on his tab.
"I always imagined how it would feel to see Tintin exploring different areas or districts of Bangladesh and I tried to visualise that," Apu told us.
The eighth installment of the series also introduces Tintin to the popular Humayun Ahmed character Baker Bhai from 'Kothao Keu Nei'.
Apu also has recreated several drawings of other popular characters such as Macgyver, Knight Rider, Nonte Fonte, Batul the Great, Himu among others.
He said, "During my quarantine days, I challenged myself and wanted to draw seven characters in seven days. Then I came up with another challenge. This way, I ended up drawing all the characters and I was overwhelmed with the response I received, which encouraged and inspired me."
We asked Apu about copyright issues. He answered, "I researched on it a lot and as long as it's fan or concept art, and as long as the art is not being commercially used, there is no problem."
Till now, Apu does not have any full comics or series. He can only make cover photos or small photos as fan art but in the future Apu would like to continue drawing the character as a book series, with due permission from the publishers.
'The Adventures of Tintin' is a comic books series created by Belgian cartoonist Hergé, whose real name was Georges Remi.
Tintin is a young Belgian reporter and adventurer who, along with his dog Snowy, explores the Soviet Union, Belgian Congo, Peru, India, Egypt, Morocco, Indonesia, Nepal, Tibet, China and many more countries.