22 April 2009

Tintin (Part Two)

Tintin, Haddock And Snowy

Tintin Superstar!
The 80th Anniversay of Hergé's
Adventures of Tintin
by Donny Jacobs

Tintin In The Land Of The Soviets
(Tintin au Pays des Soviets)
first published in 1929
The Quiffed One's first adventure has a decidedly anti-Communist bent. Set in post-revolution Russia, it pits him against Bolsheviks. Hergé's execution of story and art is raw and rollicking in the manner of early comic strips.

Tintin In The Congo
(Tintin au Congo)
first published in 1930, revised in color in 1946
A wholly farcical adventure in which Tintin and Snowy hunt big game on the African continent. Rightfully criticized for offensive depictions of Black people and the casual slaughter of animals, this book is hard to find nowadays except as an import.

Tintin In America
(Tintin en Amérique)
first published in 1931, revised in color in 1945
Tintin travels to the United States to do battle with the kings of gangland, including Al Capone! A highly implausible but action-packed story, Tintin In America has dated badly because of its embarrassing Native American stereotypes. While not yet an official part of the cast, the Thom(p)sons make a cameo appearance in the opening panels.

Cigars Of The Pharaoh
(Les Cigares du Pharaoh)
first published in 1932, revised in color in 1945
Tintin and Snowy chase drug smugglers in a wild Egyptian adventure that formally introduces both Tintin's hapless allies The Thom(p)sons and his criminal millionaire arch-enemy Rastapopoulos. The first in a series of bizarre dream sequences centering around phallic symbols also appears.

The Blue Lotus
(Le Lotus Bleu)
first published in 1934, revised in color in 1946
Continuing the drug-runner story from Cigars Of The Pharaoh, Hergé takes Tintin, Snowy and The Thom(p)sons to China. There they become involved in fact-based political turmoil between the Chinese and Japanese. Tintin's friend Chang is introduced in this adventure. Tears flow when the two are forced to part company, signaling a strong attachment that, for Tintin at least, will grow stronger.

The Broken Ear
(L'Oreille Cassée)
first published in 1935, revised in color in 1947
A museum theft takes Tintin to South America, where he nearly meets death by firing squad. Oil profiteering also figures into an adventure that introduces a new recurring character, archetypical military dictator General Alcazar. A raging drunk depiction of Tintin underscores the fact that this strip is no longer strictly for children's consumption!

The Black Island
(L'Île Noire)
first published in 1937, revised in color in 1943
Tintin travels to England where he stumbles onto a counterfeiting ring and a new recurring enemy, the villainous Dr. Müller. After being shot, kidnapped and maimed by a trained gorilla, Tintin and Snowy rout the gang.

King Ottokar's Sceptre
(Le Sceptre d'Ottokar)
first published in 1938, revised in color in 1947
Tintin and Snowy accompany a state documents expert on a research mission to the fictional kingdom of Syldavia. They uncover a plot to steal the royal sceptre of Syldavia's monarch, without which the king must abdicate his throne. The sceptre does get stolen, and an international incident results, but all is made right thanks to Tintin's detective skills and some dubious assistance from the ever-bumbling Thom(p)sons. Opera diva Bianca Castafiore makes her début in this story.

The Crab With The Golden Claws
(Le Crabe aux Pinces d'Or)
first published in 1940, revised in color in 1943
This seagoing adventure marked the beginning of serialization in the French newspaper Le Soir(The Evening News). However, it's more important for introducing razor-tongued, booze-loving Captain Haddock, the most important of Tintin's supporting characters. The Quiffed One and his newfound companion cross the Saraha Desert, face danger in Morocco, and share the weirdest phallic-symbol-laden dream sequence yet, all in pursuit of an opium-smuggling gang. The Crab With The Golden Claws formed the basis of the first Tintin animated film, produced in France in 1946.

The Shooting Star
(L'Etoile Mystérieuse)
first published in 1941, revised in color in 1942
Tintin is plagued by more phallic symbol dreams (which this time include a crazed prophet condemning him to Hell) in a story that anticipates the global warming crisis by almost 60 years. A meteor with amazing transformative properties falls to Earth, prompting a scientific expedition aboard Captain Haddock's trawler. The expedition turns into a thrilling race against an evil corporate concern bent on claiming the astral phenomenon for profit. Tintin and Snowy successfully claim the meteor for science, but not before braving much science-fiction inspired peril.

Secret Of The Unicorn
(Le Secret de La Licorne)
first published in 1942, revised in color in 1943
A pickpocket and antique model ships with parchment hidden in their masts involve Tintin, The Thom(p)sons and Captain Haddock in a double mystery. It concerns a rich ancestor of Haddock's and a sprawling estate known as Marlinspike Hall. Much of the action takes place in drunken flashbacks narrated by the Captain.

Red Rackham's Treasure
(Le Trésor de Rackham Le Rouge)
first published in 1943, revised in color in 1944
Ancient parchments in hand, Tintin, Captain Haddock and The Thom(p)sons (both adorable in vintage sailor boy costumes) sail for the West Indies in search of buried treasure, hidden away long ago by Haddock's ancestor. They are aided in their quest by a brilliant but hard-of-hearing scientist named Professor Calculus, who designs a magnificent shark-shaped submarine for Tintin to explore the ocean floor in. The treasure hunt ends on land back at Marlinspike Hall, which is revealed as the Haddock family's ancestral home. At the climax of this adventure, Calculus purchases the Hall as both a residence for the Captain and a base for his own scientific research. With the lovable scientist's introduction, Hergé completes his roster of main characters in the Tintin saga.

"Tintin Superstar" continues with Part Two.

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