It has been five months since I bought The Adventures of Tintin Complete Collection box set, but I’ve only just started reading it. The delay was due to the first story, “TINTIN IN THE LAND OF THE SOVIETS” (first serialized 1929-30). Hergé‘s style is simple, here it looks rough. (It reminded me a bit of Art Spiegelman’s Maus.) Hergé himself must not have cared for it, either, because he blocked its publication until 1973. It was colorized in 2017, but is presented here in the original black & white. Now that I’ve read that first story I intend to read the rest, so I thought I’d start a discussion here. (Who knows? I may even stick to it.) We have already determined (in “Your Favorite Things of the Year” when I first posted about it in October) that the controversial “Tintin in the Congo” is not included in the set, so next up is “Tintin in America.”

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Luis Olavo de Moura Dantas said:

Tintin has appeared elsewhere, including in two mainly prose stories (with a few assorted phtographs of actors performing the parts).  It is possible that you are recalling "Tintin and the Blue Apples", which is one of those.

Unless there are two similarly-titled works, that should be "Tintin and the Blue Oranges"/ Tintin et les Oranges bleues, (1964) which was both a French film and a book adaptation:

But, you know....

I read two more over the weekend: THE BLUE LOTUS and THE BROKEN EAR.

Random thoughts…

At what size were these originally published? Each volume in the slipcase set is about six inches tall. At that size, the words are often difficult to read. I also note that the original covers are reprinted only at postage stamp size on the cover of each volume, not within.

Proper names are slyly witty: Pharaoh Kih-Oskh, Maharaja of Gaipajama, River Coliflor.

There is strong story-to-story continuity; supporting character move into and out of the story with motive and purpose.

If I had to describe the Tintin stories I have read so far with a single word, that word would be “charm” (with “mystery” and “intrigue” close behind).

I like the way Snowy barks: “WOUAH! WOUAH!”

As is often the case with American daily comic strips, each page of Tintin often tells its own little story.

Tintin reminds me lass of Jimmy Olsen at this point than he does of Junior Tracy.

I have long had a “fan fic” idea for a “kid gang” strip featuring Junior Tracy, Annie Warbucks, Skeezix Wallet and Swee’pea. Tintin would not be out of place in that lineup.

Elsewhere in China (during the “Blue Lotus” storyline), Pat Ryan and Terry Lee are having adventures.

Regarding the artwork, I now draw comparisons to Sergio Aragones and Geoff Darrow (especially on the larger panels for the latter).

NOTE TO CAP: If, between writing your book and your column, you still have time to read for fun, you could do a lot worse than Tintin. And I don’t even have to convince you to buy it; all you have to do is read the set you already own.

My mistake.  Of course, it is the blue oranges, not apples.  Sorry and thanks for correcting me.

JD DeLuzio said:

 



Luis Olavo de Moura Dantas said:

Tintin has appeared elsewhere, including in two mainly prose stories (with a few assorted phtographs of actors performing the parts).  It is possible that you are recalling "Tintin and the Blue Apples", which is one of those.

Unless there are two similarly-titled works, that should be "Tintin and the Blue Oranges"/ Tintin et les Oranges bleues, (1964) which was both a French film and a book adaptation:

But, you know....

I don't have my Tintin volumes anymore*, but as I recall they were of a similar size to the Asterix volumes, around 8.5" by 11.5".

*I do still have Congo and Soviets, but they're larger than the old volumes were.

Oh, there is one other thing I was going to point out about The Blue Lotus (apropos the racism in Congo). There is one point at which Tintin defends a local Rickshaw driver rom a racist European. (The man refers to the elderly local as "boy," but that's not the worst of it.) Later in the story, Titntin dispells several Chinese racial steretypes (some of which persists to this day, sad to say).

The character of Chang was based on Zhang Chongren, a life-long friend of Herge.

One should certainly acknowledge that while Hergé showed an unconfortable affinity for racial stereotypes in his early books, he made a honest and largely successful effort at improving his awareness and sensitivity on those matters as time went on.

Two notes:  The scene at the end of  The Broken Ear where the two villains are carted off to Hell is unique in Tintin.

Asterix  would be Tintin's greatest rival for the title of "most popular European comics character" .  Worth a look if you ever need another reading project.

Oh, I am never at a loss for reading projects. OTOH, I've never read Asterix, either. I'll keep it in mind.

On another note, Tracy remembers seeing a Tintin animated cartoon show. My reading project has put her in the mood to watch it again, so we just bought seasons one and two (which were cheap; season three is unreasonably expensive for some reason). We'll probably slot it in immediately after we finish season two of Justice League Unlimited.

I read two more over the weekend: THE BLACK ISLAND and KING OTTOKAR’S SCEPTRE.

Random thoughts…

“So, you now will have seen Thompson and Thomson”

Oh, I get it. One with a “p” one without. (I guess that’s how one tells them apart…?)

Now these comics put me in mind of Alfred Hitchcock movies, particularly the ones which spring from perfectly mundane events, then escalate through a series of clues into a fast-paced adventure. These stories are not “decompressed” at all… they’re going to spoil me for modern America comic books. “The Black Island” begins when Tintin, witnessing a plane in trouble landing in a field, goes to investigate and render aid, and is shot. (The story eventually wends its way to Scotland. Ever since I visited, I like to read stories set there.) “King Ottokar’s Scrptre” begins even more innocuously: Titntin finds a briefcase on a park bench and attempts to return it.

CARTOONS: We have also started watching the cartoons I mentioned last week, but we’re not watching them in the order they were aired. They are faithful adaptations of the graphic albums, mostly two-parters, so to avoid spoilers, I’m watching them only after I have read the original. So far we have seen adaptations of “Cigars of the Pharaohs,” “The Blue Lotus” and “The Black Island.” The cartoon invites another comparison, especially after Tintin hangs out with the Maharajah’s son for a while: Jonny Quest. (Snowy would be Bandit.) The cartoon’s animation is done in Hergé’s style and it features good voice actors and a nice score, but I don’t recommend it instead of the comics, only in addition to.

Thomson and Thompson's mustaches are slightly different. Apparently,it was Herge's joke that they were not meant to be brothers.

King Ottokar's Sceptre  was Herge's riff on fascist/Nazi meddling in the affairs of other countries.

Thanks for both those tidbits of information.

The animated version of King Ottokar's Septre is on the scedule for tonight.

That will be the last one we'll watch until I read The Crab with the Golden Claws.

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