Sunday, 4 November 2012


I got the Tintin Collection a while ago, and have just finished reading through them all. And... wow... they (more so the earlier one) are incredibly racist. Yes, prevailing thought of the time, modern eyes, etc... but by modern eyes, incredibly racists. Particularly towards black people, but anyone in a foreign country was up for being made fools of.

The first book in The Land of the Soviets is interesting in that no only are the Soviet military made out to be complete idiots, but every page is filled with coincidence and violence to fuel the plot, and Tintin is more of a fighter here than in later stories. (Interestingly, although he is a reporter, we never, in any story, ever see him report anything, and any newspaper feature related to him is about his exploits, not about any article he is writing.) Then in The Congo... well... yeah, modern audience... but also here we see Tintin being able to over come any problem, and pretty much single handedly clean up an entire country on his own. In America, he gets to take out Capone in the first ten pages, although this isn't believed by the police (nor us really), and spends the rest of the book recapturing the gang.

Herge definitely likes his repeat villains, with plenty of the early enemies turning up in later books. Although I'll take the footnotes' word for it that they are indeed the person from the story. But lots of continuity for those who like it.

Certainly not helped by the movie is the idea that Haddock turns up in Secret of the Unicorn, when in fact he first appears in Crab with the Golden Claws. And the friendship is slow in blossoming, although we start in early with the Captain's attempted to give up the booze... or at least appear to...

And we end on Alph-Art. Which isn't complete, but it does have the script of what's there, and a copy of the initial page sketches. This also shows up another tendency of Herge to have lots of random events happening. In one page, the only panel is the top one of Tintin driving along on a scooter, and the next page has him encounter the bad guys. No doubt there would be some hilarious escapade of him running into something, or swerving into a ditch, or cut to Snowy getting away for a few panels... I wondered why we get these panels, and they look to be opportunities for mild amusements... or padding. Either way, they do break up the more linear story, if only momentarily.

This is one of those sets of books that people come to time and again. And it's easy to see why... and it's also easy to see that most people only go for the core known books. Give the others a go, even if just to round out your knowledge.


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