Well, I have been gone for a week or so for personal matters, but I am back!
Today's review is about Adventures of Tintin, a comic book by Herge. Tintin is the lead character, and his adventures have been collected in 24 volumes. I could be reviewing all the separate volumes, but instead I decided I would rather review the complete comic as a whole, while referencing individual volumes.
And off we go!
First and foremost, I read TinTin when I was a child and loved it, I read it today and still love it. The adventures of this young journalist is a story for all ages, and I believe it will continue to be so.
Who is Tintin? He is a young and bright journalist who journeys around the world and gets in trouble. With his faithful dog Snowy, he encounters many dangers throughout the story only to solve the mystery at the end- everyone lives happily after, except the bad guys who go to jail. Yes, it is a fairy tale story (and I dislike happy endings, especially when they are cheesy) but Herge writes Tintin so brilliantly I love him and more importantly, I BELIEVE him- I believe him when he solves the mystery or gets out of impossible situations. I am willing to let it go for the sake of story.
Another fact that made me enjoy TIntin so much as a child was the fact that he travels around the world. Herge, as a journalist himself, made sure when he depicted a place, it was true.Therefore with Tintin so have I walked among Indians, traveled to Tibet, been the first man to travel to moon, and get hypnotized by aliens. Herge's colorful, simple style made me enjoy the world of TinTin and become a part of it.
Another great plus of TinTin is plot. He may not be a superhero with amazing powers but he is extremely sharp and the stories he gets involved in are always interesting. Even at the most episodic of the books (there are a few) I felt connected and hooked, always trying to solve the puzzle myself and wondering where the next lead would lead Tintin.
Yet no story is perfect without its supporting characters. Captain Haddock, Tintin's best friend (except Snowy, of course) was introduced after eight volumes and he is such a great character. An old captain, he loves drinking, swears a lot (always creative ones, I enjoyed reading his imaginative swear words) and complains a lot, but he is there whenever Tintin needs him and is ready to do everything to help Tintin.
Second character that always go together with them is Professor Calculus. He is a brilliant inventor, but he is a little hard of hearing, thus serves as a comedic relief for most of the time. Yet since his inventions are pretty great, there is always some evil man who wants to steal his latest invention and wreak chaos, and Tintin is there to stop them.
Which hero is complete without the bad guy? There are many, many bad guys in the series overall, but Rastapopolus is the recurring villain. There are two things you need to know about him: he is intelligent but his plans fails because of the classic villain flaw, he talks too much or underestimates Tintin, and the guy-fucking-does-not-die!
I know that this is a comic, therefore art is also a part of the whole package. I will talk about panel structure and narration when I talk about the specific photos I attached.
Tintin is never seen together with a girl, never seen dating/flirting. He seems to be happily single and content with his life of adventure, and I can see the series being criticized for this unrealistic view of life: he too will get old and will have to retire one day, huh? My answer to them: Tintin is the adventure loving little me. Little you. Little everyone. He follows his heart to the next adventure and always strives to do good and help others. What's wrong with that?
When I read Tintin as a kid, I enjoyed it. When I read it again as a recent college graduate, I still enjoy it even though I know what happens in which page exactly (yes, I read them that much) But they are fun, quick reads and that's why Tintin is always by my bedside/dinner table- to have a short, fun read through when I am tired of complicated literature. Tintin makes me feel childish, feel happy, and feel satisfied as a reader. What more can I want?
So, first of all, explanation of photos
1) is from Cigars of the Pharaoh, 4/25. See how simple yet elegant Herge draws? Tintin is fully represented as a figure, but nothing is excessively complicated, after all, TIntin was originally drawn for children. This scene should also tell you a bit about how Tintin's mind works- its always trying to invent new things, solve puzzles. He is always on the move. He is an intelligent one, that little guy.
The panel structure is also pretty stable, letting us be able to follow the story easily (no tricks like Arkham Asylum)
2) is from the Crab with the Golden Claws, 9/25. This is the first book we get introduced to Captain Haddock. pay attention to what he is shouting, please:D
3) is from Secret of the Unicorn, 11/25, a classic scene with the Thomson and Thompson twins, they are detectives and the comedic relief of the series.
4) is from Red RAckham's Treasure, 12/25. This is the first appearance of Calculus. Captain always has such hard time with his hard-hearing.
Now this is done, and I have managed to complete a review without much spoilers, off to the second part. I don't want to review each Tintin book one by one, so I will write a quick tip to here about each individual book.
1- Land of the Soviets: The first ever Tintin adventure, this one is episodic. Tintin goes to Soviet Russia to investigate, people don't want him there so they try to capture/kill him, Tintin manages to escape/ capture them, there is no secret, the end. The art is a bit more crude compared to more recent volumes, but this is a must have for any Tintin fan.
2- Tintin in the Congo & Tintin in America: The ones that followed were not that different from Soviets. Tintin goes to said places, people try to capture him, he captures them, the end.
4- Cigars of the Pharaoh was the first real adventure ever. The mystery is at its development, but many recurring characters get introduced. Premise? every explorer who ever tried to find the tomb of Pharaoh Kih-Oskh has vanished. Is this a supernatural phenomenon or is there a real explanation?
5- Blue Lotus: now there is a mystery, and it is about the opium wars in China.
6- One of my favorites, The Broken Ear is about the Arumbaya's and the Arumbaya Fetish- which was stolen from the museum one night and re-appeared the next one. What is the mystery behind this all?
7- Black Island: mysterious packages, an island where no one returns from, what's happening here?
8-Another favorite, Ottokar's Sceptre is about a plan to overthrow the Syldavian king. It is here again you see Herge's talent- while I read this one as a child, I learned about a country I have never heard of before. (and it does not exist:P)
9- Again caught in opium wars, in Crab with the Golden Claws Tintin meets with Captain who will become his dear friend for the rest of the series.
10- Shooting Star: When a meteorite falls to the open sea, a race to collect a new mineral from it starts and Tintin joins one side of the expedition- but the other side is ready to play dirty.
11 Secret of the Unicorn & 12 Red Rackham's Treasure are a storyline together. Aside from Calculus being introduced for the first time, this story is one of the best, especially the mystery at Secret of the Unicorn was great. Premise? Captain Haddock had a pirate grandfather and perhaps he now knows where to find treasure!
13 Seven Crystal Balls & 14 Prisoners of the Sun are again a storyline together, and one of my favorites. This time its about the Inca's, their magic and rituals and the great Inca king Rascar Kapac.
15 Land of Black Gold is about petrol wars.
16 Destination Moon & 17 Explorer's on the Moon is another two book storyline telling us how Tintin and his friends travel to the moon!
18 is Calculus Affair: When Calculus is abducted, Tintin and Haddock go after him to rescue him. One of the best!
19 Red Sea Sharks is about slave trade.
20 Tintin In Tibet is again more of an episodic adventure, telling us about Tintin's mission to save his friend Chang from an airplane crash in Tibet.
21 Castafiore Emerald has always felt for me sort of filler. When Bianca Castafiore (a famous opera singer who is Tintin and Haddock's friend) comes to stay at Mulensar, Captain's castle, she brings her emerald which is worth quite a bit- and then it gets lost!
22 Flight 714 When Tintin and his friends get abducted while on their way to a conference and brought to a desolated island, no one knew aliens were also inhabiting that island. My favorite!
23 Tintin And Picaros: the revolution in Latin America, its worth a read.
24 Alp- Art: Herge died after completing only half of it. Someone else at web has completed it (you can see when the art style changes) but he cannot publish it due to copyright laws, you may have to search online.
25 The Lake of Sharks: Comic book version of the animated film.
What did you think of this review?
Fun to Read
About the reviewer
I have recently graduated from college with a Creative Writing degree and I miss the conversation about literature, so here I am.
Consider the Source
Use Trust Points to see how much you can rely on this review.
The Adventures of Tintin (Les Aventures de Tintin) is a series of comic strips created by the Belgian artist Georges Rémi (1907–1983), who wrote under the pen name of Hergé. The series first appeared in French in Le Petit Vingtième, a children's supplement to the Belgian newspaper Le Vingtième Siècle on 10 January 1929. The success of the series saw the serialised strips collected into a series of twenty-four albums, spun into a successful magazine and adapted for film, radio, television and theatre. The series is one of the most popular European comics of the 20th century, with translations published in more than 50 languages and more than 200 million copies of the books sold to date. Its popularity around the world has been attributed to its "universal appeal" and its ability to transcend "time, language and culture."