Colonel Sponsz is the monocle-wearing Chief of Police of Szohôd, and the head of the Bordurian Secret Police (also known as the ZEP). He and the other Bordurians are a satirical caricature of Nazi-era German authorities.
Tintin archivist Harry Thompson claims Sponsz is based on Paul Remi, Hergé's younger brother, of whom Tintin was also modelled after. Sponsz and Tintin both have buzz-cut with central quiff hairstyles. Paul Remi was an accomplished soldier, but he was often nicknamed "Major Tintin". Later on, Hergé additionally modelled Sponsz after Austrian-American filmmaker Erich von Stroheim.
Sponsz's surname is based on the Brussels dialect pronunciation of "éponge", the French word for "sponge". In Tintin and the Picaros, the San Theodorans call Sponsz "Esponja".
A younger-looking Sponsz makes a cameo appearance in King Ottokar's Sceptre, in the crowded palace ballroom during Tintin's investiture to the Order of the Golden Pelican. In The Calculus Affair, Sponsz masterminds the kidnapping of Professor Calculus in an attempt to obtain the plans for Calculus's sound weapon. He flirts with Bianca Castafiore after her opera recital, inadvertently allowing Tintin and Captain Haddock, hiding in Castafiore's wardrobe, to steal papers from his overcoat, allowing Calculus's release. Sponsz bears the thwarting of his kidnap plan as a "bitter humiliation" and in Tintin and the Picaros, he uses his country's military links with San Theodoros to have Castafiore and the Thompsons arrested in order to lure Tintin into a trap. At the end of Tintin and the Picaros, Sponsz is exiled, not willingly back to Borduria. He is also mentioned by Madame Castafiore in the Castafiore Emerald.
Sponsz is an unquestioning devotee of his country's dictator Marshal Kûrvi-Tasch. He is a calculating and ruthless figure, and bears strong grudges against those who upset his machinations. He has an enormous, flimsy ego, and takes any failure or change of plans as a personal insult.
- King Ottokar's Sceptre (cameo)
- The Calculus Affair
- The Castafiore Emerald (mentioned)
- Tintin and the Picaros
- Thompson, Harry. Tintin: Hergé and his Creation. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1991. pg. 159.
- Farr, Michael. Tintin: The Complete Companion. San Francisco, Last Gasp, 2002. pg. 148.