PARIS • Tintin wept.
Within hours of the attacks on Brussels on Tuesday, tens of thousands were sharing images on social media of the country's famous comic book creation in tears.
As many invoked the late cartoonist Herge's cub reporter - who always got the best of the baddies in the end - one Twitter user put words into the boy hero's mouth: "Let's be strong, together and humane faced with these crazies."
But the most shared image of all was one showing a figure dressed in French colours putting an arm around a crying Belgian flag.
The drawing by acclaimed cartoonist Plantu of France's Le Monde daily included the dates March 22 and Nov 13, the day extremist gunmen and bombers murdered 130 people in Paris.
Several other widely shared cartoons took a more defiant and typically irreverent Belgian tone. One showed a packet of fries, the country's most famous street food, with one of them seemingly giving the terrorists the finger.
Belgian cartoonist Marec continued the theme, with the Statue of Liberty holding a packet of fries as Brussels' landmark Manneken Pis (Peeing Boy) statue relieves himself onto the head of a terrorist.
French film-maker and graphic novelist Joann Sfar also posted a cartoon on Instagram with a tearful Tintin consoling his sidekick Captain Haddock: "Sometimes I want to leave for the Moon, Captain."