|The Adventures of Tintin|
The main characters and others from The Castafiore Emerald, one of the later books in the series. In the centre of the group is Tintin, the eponymous hero of the series.
|Formats||Original material for the series has been published as a strip in the comics anthology(s) Le Petit Vingtième, Le Soir and Tintin and a set of graphic novels.|
|Publication date||1929 – 1976|
Thomson and Thompson
Bob de Moor
Edgar P. Jacobs
|Colourist(s)||Edgar P. Jacobs
|The series has been reprinted, at least in part, in Dutch, English, and German.|
The Adventures of Tintin (French: Les Aventures de Tintin) is a series of comic albums created by Belgian artist Georges Remi (1907–1983), who wrote under the pen name of Hergé. 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.
The series first appeared in French in Le Petit Vingtième, a children's supplement to the Belgian newspaper Le XXe Siècle on 10 January 1929. The success of the series saw the serialised strips published in Belgium's leading newspaper Le Soir and spun into a successful Tintin magazine. Then in 1950, Hergé created Studios Hergé, which produced the canon series of twenty-four albums. The Adventures of Tintin have been adapted for radio, television, theatre, and film.
Set during a largely realistic 20th century, the hero of the series is Tintin, a young Belgian reporter. He is aided in his adventures by his faithful fox terrier dog Snowy (Milou in the original French edition). Later, popular additions to the cast included the brash and cynical Captain Haddock, the highly intelligent but hearing-impaired Professor Calculus (Professeur Tournesol) and other supporting characters such as the incompetent detectives Thomson and Thompson (Dupont et Dupond). Hergé himself features in several of the comics as a background character, as do his assistants in some instances.
The comic strip series has long been admired for its clean, expressive drawings in Hergé's signature ligne claire style. Its engaging, well-researched plots straddle a variety of genres: swashbuckling adventures with elements of fantasy, mysteries, political thrillers, and science fiction. The stories within the Tintin series always feature slapstick humour, offset by dashes of sophisticated satire and political/cultural commentary.
These are the twenty-four comic albums of the canon series as named in English.
The publication dates are those of the original French versions. Book 1 was at first prevented republication by Hergé and was never subsequently redrawn in a colour edition. Books 2 to 9 were re-published in colour and in a fixed 62-page format (1943–1947 & 1955). Book 10 was the first to be originally published in colour and, along with books 11 to 15, set a middle period for Hergé marked by war and changing collaborators. Books 16 to 23 (and revised editions of books 4, 7 & 15) are creations of Studios Hergé. Book 24 is an unfinished work, published posthumously.
Apart from the series, a comic not written by Hergé was released based on the film Tintin et le lac aux requins.
Hergé attempted and then abandoned one comic.
Belgian comics creator Georges Remi—who would become better known under his pen name of Hergé—first came up with the character of Tintin, a young boy reporter, whilst working at the Belgian newspaper Le XXe Siècle (The 20th Century). Pioneering this new character in the story Tintin in the Land of the Soviets, this comic, which involved Tintin battling the socialist authorities in the Soviet Union, was serialised in Le XXe Siècle's supplement for children, Le Petit Vingtième (The Little Twentieth), from 10 January 1929 until 11 May 1930. The series was an instant success; sales of the Thursday edition of the newspaper, the day the supplement appeared, were to increase by 600%. Hergé went on to pen a string of new Adventures of Tintin, sending his character to real locations such as the Belgian Congo, the United States, Egypt, India, China, and the United Kingdom, and also to fictional countries of his own devising, such as the Latin American republic of San Theodoros and the East European kingdom of Syldavia.
The eighth Tintin adventure, King Ottokar's Sceptre (1939), involved Tintin battling the forces of fictional fascist state Borduria, whose leader, named Müsstler, was a combination of Nazi German leader Adolf Hitler and Italian Fascist leader Benito Mussolini.
Then, in May 1940, Nazi Germany invaded Belgium as World War II broke out across Europe, and although Hergé initially considered fleeing into a self-imposed exile, he ultimately decided to stay in his occupied homeland. To ensure their own dominance, the Nazi authorities closed down Le XXe Siècle, leaving Hergé unemployed. In search of employment, he was given a job as an illustrator at Belgium's leading newspaper, Le Soir (The Evening), which was allowed to continue publication under German management. On 17 October 1940 he was made editor of the paper's children's supplement, Le Soir Jeunesse, in which he set about producing new Tintin adventures. In this new, more repressive political climate, Hergé could no longer explore political themes in his Adventures of Tintin lest he be arrested by the Gestapo. As Tintinologist Harry Thompson noted, Tintin's role as a reporter came to an end, to be replaced by his new role as an explorer, something which was not a politically sensitive topic.
With the end of the war, Hergé left Le Soir and, in 1949, accepted an invitation to continue The Adventures of Tintin in the new Tintin magazine (Le journal de Tintin). Finally, Hergé's Tintin series reached the height of its success in 1950 when he created Studios Hergé. The studios produced eight new Tintin albums, coloured and reformatted several old Tintin albums, and ultimately completed twenty-three albums of the canon series. Studios Hergé continued to release additional publications until Hergé's death in 1983. In 1986, a twenty-fourth unfinished album was released, the Studios were disbanded, and its assets were transferred to the Hergé Foundation. The Adventures of Tintin continue to entertain new generations of Tintin fans today.
Tintin is a young Belgian reporter who becomes involved in dangerous cases in which he takes heroic action to save the day. Almost every adventure features Tintin hard at work in his investigative journalism, but seldom is he seen actually turning in a story. He is a young man of neutral attitudes with whom the audience can identify; in this respect, he represents the everyman.
Readers and critics have described Tintin as a well-rounded yet open-ended, intelligent and imaginative character, noting that his rather neutral personality—sometimes labelled as bland—permits a balanced reflection of the evil, folly and foolhardiness which surrounds him. His Boy Scout ideals, which represent Hergé's own, are never compromised by the character, and his status allows the reader to assume his position within the story, rather than merely following the adventures of a strong protagonist. Tintin's iconic representation enhances this aspect, with Scott McCloud noting that it "allows readers to mask themselves in a character and safely enter a sensually stimulating world."
Snowy (Milou in the original version), a white fox terrier, is Tintin's four-legged companion. The bond between Snowy and Tintin is very deep as they have saved each other from perilous situations many times. Snowy frequently "speaks" to the reader through his thoughts (often displaying a dry sense of humour), which are supposedly not heard by the human characters in the story. Snowy has nearly let Tintin down on occasion, particularly when distracted by a bone. Like Captain Haddock, he is fond of Loch Lomond brand Scotch whisky, and his occasional bouts of drinking tend to get him into trouble, as does his arachnophobia.
Captain Archibald Haddock, a seafaring captain of disputed ancestry (he may be of Belgian, French, or Scottish origin) is Tintin's best friend, who was introduced in The Crab with the Golden Claws. Haddock was initially depicted as a weak and alcoholic character, but later became more respectable. He evolves to become genuinely heroic and even a socialite after he finds a treasure captured by his ancestor, Sir Francis Haddock. The Captain's coarse humanity and sarcasm act as a counterpoint to Tintin's often implausible heroism; he is always quick with a dry comment whenever the boy reporter seems too idealistic. Captain Haddock lives in the luxurious mansion Marlinspike Hall.
Haddock uses a range of colourful insults and curses to express his feelings, such as "billions of blue blistering barnacles" (sometimes just "blistering barnacles", "billions of blistering barnacles", or "blue blistering barnacles"), "ten thousand thundering typhoons" (sometimes just "thundering typhoons"), "troglodyte", "bashi-bazouk", "visigoths", "kleptomaniac", "ectoplasm", "sea gherkin", "anacoluthon", "pockmark", "nincompoop", "abominable snowman", "nitwits", "scoundrels", "steam rollers", "parasites", "vegetarians", "floundering oath", "carpet seller","blundering Bazookas", "Popinjay", "bragger", "pinheads", "miserable slugs", "ectomorph", "maniacs", "freshwater swabs", "miserable molecule of mildew", and "Fuzzy Wuzzy", but nothing that is actually considered a swear word. Haddock is a hard drinker, particularly fond of rum and of Scotch whisky; his bouts of drunkenness are often used for comic effect.
Captain Haddock remained without a first name until the last completed story, Tintin and the Picaros.
Professor Calculus, an absent-minded professor and half-deaf physicist, is a regular character alongside Tintin, Snowy, and Captain Haddock. He was introduced in Red Rackham's Treasure, and based partially on Auguste Piccard, a Swiss physicist. His presence was initially not welcomed by the leading characters, but through his generous nature and his scientific ability he develops a lasting bond with them. Eventually, at the end of the album Land of Black Gold, he has become a resident of Marlinspike Hall. Calculus has a tendency to act in an aggressive manner when someone says he's "acting the goat." He is a fervent believer in dowsing, and carries a pendulum for that purpose. Calculus's deafness is a frequent source of humour, as he repeats back what he thinks he has heard, usually in the most unlikely words possible. He does not admit to being near-deaf and insists he is only a little hard of hearing in one ear.
Hergé's supporting characters have been cited as far more developed than the central character, each imbued with a strength of character and depth of personality which has been compared with that of the characters of Charles Dickens. Hergé used the supporting characters to create a realistic world in which to set his protagonists' adventures. To further the realism and continuity, characters would recur throughout the series. It has been speculated that the occupation of Belgium and the restrictions imposed upon Hergé forced him to focus on characterisation to avoid depicting troublesome political situations. The major supporting cast was developed during this period.
The settings within Tintin have also added depth to the strips. Hergé mingles real and fictional lands into his stories, along with a base in Belgium from where the heroes set off (originally 26 Labrador Road, but later Marlinspike Hall). This is best demonstrated in King Ottokar's Sceptre, in which Hergé creates two fictional countries (Syldavia and Borduria) and invites the reader to tour them in text through the insertion of a travel brochure into the storyline. Other fictional lands include San Theodoros, San Paolo, and Nuevo Rico in South America, the kingdom or administrative region of Gaipajama in India, and Khemed on the Arabian Peninsula which replaced the setting of Mandate Palestine used in the first edition of Land of Black Gold. Along with these fictitious locations, actual nations were employed such as Belgium, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States, the Soviet Union, Congo, Peru, India, Egypt, Indonesia, Nepal, Tibet, and China. Other actual locales used were the Sahara Desert, the Atlantic Ocean and the Moon.
Hergé's extensive research began with The Blue Lotus, Hergé stating: "it was from that time that I undertook research and really interested myself in the people and countries to which I sent Tintin, out of a sense of responsibility to my readers".
Hergé's use of research and photographic reference allowed him to build a realised universe for Tintin, going so far as to create fictionalised countries, dressing them with specific political cultures. These were heavily informed by the cultures evident in Hergé's lifetime. Pierre Skilling has asserted that Hergé saw monarchy as "the legitimate form of government", noting that democratic "values seem underrepresented in [such] a classic Franco-Belgian strip". Syldavia in particular is described in considerable detail, Hergé creating a history, customs, and a language which is actually a Slavian-looking transcript of Marols, the Flemish dialect of Brussels. He set the country in the Balkans, and it is, by his own admission, modeled after Albania. The country finds itself threatened by neighbouring Borduria with an attempted annexation appearing in King Ottokar's Sceptre. This situation parallels the Italian conquest of Albania and of Czechoslovakia and Austria by expansionist Nazi Germany prior to World War II.
Hergé's use of research would include months of preparation for Tintin's voyage to the moon in the two-part storyline spread across Destination Moon and Explorers on the Moon. His research for the storyline was noted in New Scientist: "The considerable research undertaken by Hergé enabled him to come very close to the type of space suit that would be used in future Moon exploration, although his portrayal of the type of rocket that was actually used was a long way off the mark". The moon rocket is based on the German V2 rockets.
In his youth Hergé admired Benjamin Rabier and suggested that a number of images within Tintin in the Land of the Soviets reflected this influence, particularly the pictures of animals. René Vincent, the Art Deco designer, also had an impact on early Tintin adventures: "His influence can be detected at the beginning of the Soviets, where my drawings are designed along a decorative line, like an 'S'..". Hergé also felt no compunction in admitting that he had stolen the image of round noses from George McManus, feeling they were "so much fun that I used them, without scruples!"
During the extensive research Hergé carried out for The Blue Lotus, he became influenced by Chinese and Japanese illustrative styles and woodcuts. This is especially noticeable in the seascapes, which are reminiscent of works by Hokusai and Hiroshige.
Hergé also declared Mark Twain an influence, although this admiration may have led him astray when depicting Incas as having no knowledge of an upcoming solar eclipse in Prisoners of the Sun, an error attributed by T.F. Mills to an attempt to portray "Incas in awe of a latter-day 'Connecticut Yankee'".
On 1 June 2006, the Dalai Lama bestowed the International Campaign for Tibet's Light of Truth Award upon the character of Tintin, along with South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The award was in recognition of Hergé's book Tintin in Tibet, which the Executive Director of ICT Europe Tsering Jampa noted was "for many ... their introduction to the awe-inspiring landscape and culture of Tibet". In 2001 the Hergé Foundation demanded the recall of the Chinese translation of the work, which had been released with the title Tintin in China's Tibet. The work was subsequently published with the correct translation of the title. Accepting on behalf of the Hergé Foundation, Hergé's widow Fanny Rodwell declared: "We never thought that this story of friendship would have a resonance more than 40 years later".
The study of The Adventures of Tintin is known as Tintinology, with its followers being varyingly known as Tintinologists, Tintinophiles, Tintinolators, Tintinites or Hergélogues. One notable Tintinologist is the Belgian Philippe Goddin, who published Hergé et Tintin reporters: Du Petit vingtième au Journal Tintin (1986, later republished in English as Hergé and Tintin Reporters: From "Le Petit Vingtieme" to "Tintin" Magazine in 1987) and Hergé et les Bigotudos (1993) amongst other books on the series. In 1983, Benoît Peeters published Le Monde d'Hergé, subsequently published in English as Tintin and the World of Hergé in 1988. Although Goddin and Peeters were native French-speakers, the English reporter Michael Farr also published works on Tintinology such as Tintin, 60 Years of Adventure (1989), Tintin: The Complete Companion (2001), Tintin & Co. (2007) and The Adventures of Hergé (2007), as had English screenwriter Harry Thompson, the author of Tintin: Hergé and his Creation (1991).
The Adventures of Tintin have also been examined by literary critics, primarily in French-speaking Europe. In 1984, Jean-Marie Apostolidès published his study of the Adventures of Tintin from a more "adult" perspective as Les Métamorphoses de Tintin, although it would only appear in English as The Metamorphoses of Tintin, or Tintin for Adults in 2010. In reviewing Apostolidès' book, Nathan Perl-Rosenthal of The New Republic thought that it was "not for the faint of heart: it is densely-packed with close textual analysis and laden with psychological jargon." Following Apostolidès's work, French psychoanalyst Serge Tisseron examined the series in his books Tintin et les Secrets de Famille ("Tintin and the Family Secrets"), which was published in 1990, and Tintin et le Secret d'Hergé ("Tintin and Hergé's Secret"), published in 1993.
The first English-language work of literary criticism devoted to the series was Tintin and the Secret of Literature, written by the novelist Tom McCarthy and published in 2006. In this book, McCarthy compares Hergé's work with that of Aeschylus, Honoré de Balzac, Joseph Conrad and Henry James and argues that the series contains the key to understanding literature itself. McCarthy considered the Adventures of Tintin to be "stupendously rich", containing "a mastery of plot and symbol, theme and sub-text" which, influenced by Tisseron's psychoanalytical readings of the work, he believed could be deciphered to reveal a series of recurring themes, ranging from bartering to implicit sexual intercourse that Hergé had featured throughout the series. Reviewing the book in The Telegraph, Toby Clements argued however that McCarthy's work, and literary criticism of Hergé's comic strips in general, cut "perilously close" to simply feeding "the appetite of those willing to cross the line between enthusiast and obsessive" in the Tintinological community.
The earliest stories in The Adventures of Tintin have been criticised[who?] for both displaying animal cruelty as well as racial stereotypes, violent, colonialist, and even fascist leanings, including caricatured portrayals of non-Europeans. While the Hergé Foundation has presented such criticism as naïveté, and scholars of Hergé such as Harry Thompson have claimed that "Hergé did what he was told by the Abbé Wallez", Hergé himself felt that his background made it impossible to avoid prejudice, stating that "I was fed the prejudices of the bourgeois society that surrounded me."
In Tintin in the Land of the Soviets, the Bolsheviks were presented without exception as villains. Hergé drew on Moscow Unveiled, a work given to him by Wallez and authored by Joseph Douillet, the former Belgian consul in Russia, that is highly critical of the Soviet regime, although Hergé contextualised this by noting that in Belgium, at the time a devout Catholic nation, "Anything Bolshevik was atheist". In the story, Bolshevik leaders are motivated only by personal greed and by a desire to deceive the world. Tintin discovers, buried, "the hideout where Lenin, Trotsky, and Stalin have collected together wealth stolen from the people". Hergé later dismissed the failings of this first story as "a transgression of my youth". By 1999, some part of this presentation was being noted as far more reasonable, with British weekly newspaper The Economist declaring: "In retrospect, however, the land of hunger and tyranny painted by Hergé was uncannily accurate".
Tintin in the Congo has been criticised as presenting the Africans as naïve and primitive. In the original work, Tintin is shown at a blackboard addressing a class of African children. "Mes chers amis," he says, "je vais vous parler aujourd'hui de votre patrie: La Belgique" ("My dear friends, I am going to talk to you today about your fatherland: Belgium"). Hergé redrew this in 1946 to show a lesson in mathematics. Hergé later admitted the flaws in the original story, excusing it by noting: "I portrayed these Africans according to ... this purely paternalistic spirit of the time". The perceived problems with this book were summarised by Sue Buswell in 1988 as being "all to do with rubbery lips and heaps of dead animals" although Thompson noted this quote may have been "taken out of context". "Dead animals" refers to the fashion for big game hunting at the time of the work's original publication.
Drawing on André Maurois' Les Silences du colonel Bramble, Hergé presents Tintin as a big-game hunter, accidentally killing fifteen antelope as opposed to the one needed for the evening meal. However, concerns over the number of dead animals did lead the Scandinavian publishers of Tintin's adventures to request changes. A page which presented Tintin killing a rhinoceros by drilling a hole in the animal's back and inserting a stick of dynamite was deemed excessive, and Hergé substituted a page in which the rhino accidentally discharges Tintin's rifle while he slept under a tree. In 2007 the UK's Commission for Racial Equality called for the book to be pulled from the shelves after a complaint, stating that "it beggars belief that in this day and age that any shop would think it acceptable to sell and display 'Tintin In The Congo'." In August 2007, a complaint was filed in Brussels, Belgium, by a Congolese student, claiming the book was an insult to the Congolese people. Public prosecutors are investigating, however, the Centre for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism warned against excess political correctness.
Some of the early albums were altered by Hergé in subsequent editions, usually at the demand of publishers. For example, at the instigation of his American publishers, many of the black characters in Tintin in America were re-coloured to make their race white or ambiguous. The Shooting Star album originally had an American villain with the Jewish surname of "Blumenstein". This proved to be controversial, as the character exhibited exaggerated stereotypically Jewish characteristics. "Blumenstein" was changed to an American with a less ethnically specific name, Mr. Bohlwinkel, in later editions and subsequently to a South American of a fictional country – São Rico. Hergé later discovered that 'Bohlwinkel' was also a Jewish name.
The Adventures of Tintin has been adapted in a variety of media besides the original comic strip and its collections. Hergé encouraged adaptations and members of his studio working on the animated films. After Hergé's death, the Hergé Foundation became responsible for authorising adaptations and exhibitions.
Two animated television series have been made, both adaptations of the comic strips rather than original stories. The first was Hergé's Adventures of Tintin, produced by Belvision. The series aired from 1958 to 1962, with 104 five-minute episodes produced. It was adapted by Charles Shows and then translated into French by Greg (Michel Regnier), then editor-in-chief of Tintin magazine. This series has been criticised for differing too greatly from the original books and for its poor animation. The second series was The Adventures of Tintin, featuring twenty-one of the stories. It ran for three seasons (from 1991 to 1992), was co-directed by Stéphane Bernasconi and Peter Hudecki, and was produced by Ellipse (France), and Nelvana (Canada), on behalf of La Fondation Hergé. Traditional animation techniques were used on the series, adhering closely to the books to such an extent that some frames from the original albums were transposed directly to screen. The series was successful and it has aired in over fifty countries and was released on DVD. This series aired in the US on HBO.
BBC produced two "The Adventures of Tintin" radio series in 1992 and 1993 starring Richard Pearce as Tintin and Andrew Sachs as Snowy. Captain Haddock was played by Leo McKern in Series One and Lionel Jeffries in Series Two, Professor Calculus was played by Stephen Moore and Thomson and Thompson were played by Charles Kay.
Two documentaries have been made about Tintin and his creator Hergé.
Hergé himself helped to create two Tintin stage plays; Tintin in India: The Mystery of the Blue Diamond (1941) and The Disappearance of Mr. Boullock (1941–1942), both of which were written with Jacques Van Melkebeke and performed in Brussels. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, two Tintin plays appeared in London, adapted by Geoffrey Case for the Unicorn Theatre Company – these were Tintin's Great American Adventure, based on the comic Tintin in America, which was shown across 1976–1977, and Tintin and the Black Island, which was based on The Black Island and shown in 1980. This second play later went on tour.
A musical based on The Seven Crystal Balls and Prisoners of the Sun premièred on 15 September 2001 at the Stadsschouwburg (city theatre) in Antwerp, Belgium. It was entitled Kuifje – De Zonnetempel (De Musical) and was broadcast on Canal Plus, before moving on to Charleroi in 2002 as Tintin – Le Temple du Soleil. The Young Vic theatre company ran a musical version of Tintin in Tibet at the Barbican Arts Centre in London from December 2005 to January 2006. The production was directed by Rufus Norris, and was adapted by Norris and David Greig. The Hergé Foundation organised the return of this show to the West End theatre in December 2006 and January 2007 in order to celebrate the Hergé centenary (2007).
Hergé's work on Tintin has formed the basis of many exhibitions, with the Hergé Foundation creating a mobile exhibition in 1991. "The World of Hergé" is described by the Foundation as being "an excellent introduction to Hergé's work". Materials from this exhibition have also formed the basis for larger shows, namely "Hergé the Draughtsman", an exhibition to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Tintin's creation, and the more recent "In Tibet With Tintin". In 2001 the Musée de la Marine staged an exhibition of items related to the sea which had inspired Hergé. In 2002 the Bunkamura Museum of Art in Japan staged an exhibition of original drawings, as well as of the submarine and rocket ship invented in the strips by Professor Calculus. Barcelona has also hosted an exhibition on Tintin and the sea, "llamp de rellamp" at the Maritime Museum in 2003.
2004 saw exhibitions in Holland, "Tintin and the Incas" at the Royal Museum of Ethnology; the "Tintin in the City" exhibition in the Halles Saint Géry in Brussels; and an exhibition focusing on Tintin's exploits at sea at the National Maritime Museum in London. The latter exhibition was in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the publication of Tintin's first adventure, and was organised in partnership with the Hergé Foundation. 2004 also saw the Belgian Centre for Comic Strip Art add an area dedicated to Hergé.
The 100th anniversary of Hergé's birth is commemorated with a large exhibition at the Paris museum for contemporary arts, Centre Georges Pompidou, from 20 December 2006 until 19 February 2007, featuring all 120 original pages of The Blue Lotus.
Images from the series have long been licensed for use on merchandise; the success of the Tintin magazine helping to create a market for such items. Tintin's image has been used to sell a wide variety of products, from alarm clocks to underpants. There are now estimated to be over 250 separate items related to the character available, with some becoming collectors items in their own right.
Since Hergé's death, the Hergé Foundation have maintained control of the licenses, through Moulinsart, the commercial wing of the foundation. Speaking in 2002, Peter Horemans, the then director general at Moulinsart, noted this control: "We have to be very protective of the property. We don’t take lightly any potential partners and we have to be very selective ... for him to continue to be as popular as he is, great care needs to be taken of his use." However, the Foundation has been criticised by scholars as "trivialising the work of Hergé by concentrating on the more lucrative merchandising" in the wake of a move in the late 1990s to charge them for using relevant images to illustrate their papers on the series.
NBC Universal acquired the rights to all of The Adventures of Tintin merchandise in North America.
Tintin memorabilia and merchandise has allowed a chain of stores based solely on the character to become viable. The first shop was launched in 1984 in Covent Garden, London. Tintin shops have also opened in both Bruges and Brussels in Belgium, and in Montpellier, France. The British bookstore chain, Ottakar's, founded in 1987, was named after the character of King Ottokar from the Tintin book King Ottokar's Sceptre, and their shops stocked a large amount of Tintin merchandise till their takeover by Waterstone's in 2006.
Tintin's image has been used on postage stamps on numerous occasions, the first issued by the Belgian Post in 1979 to celebrate the day of youth philately. This was the first in a series of stamps with the images of Belgian comic heroes, and was the first stamp in the world to feature a comic book hero. In 1999, the Royal Dutch Post released two stamps, based upon the Destination Moon adventure, with the stamps selling out within hours of release. The French post office, Poste Française, then issued a stamp of Tintin and Snowy in 2001. To mark the end of the Belgian Franc, and also to celebrate the seventieth anniversary of the publication of Tintin in the Congo, two more stamps were issued by the Belgian Post on 31 December 2001. The stamps were also issued in the Democratic Republic of the Congo at the same time. 2002 saw the French Post issue stamped envelopes featuring Tintin, whilst in 2004 the Belgian post-office celebrated its own seventy-fifth anniversary, as well as the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Explorers on the Moon and the thirty-fifth anniversary of the moon landings with a series of stamps based upon the Explorers on the Moon adventure. In 2007, to celebrate Hergé's centennial, Belgium, France and Switzerland all plan to issue special stamps in commemoration.
Besides stamps, Tintin has also been commemorated by coin several times. In 1995, Monnaie de Paris issued a set of 12 silver medallions to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Hergé's death, which were available in a limited edition of 5000. Another coin was released to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Tintin book Explorers on the Moon, again in a limited run, this time of 10,000. Belgium minted a limited edition commemorative coin to celebrate the 75th birthday of Tintin in January 2004. The coin, composed of silver and featuring Tintin and Snowy, was limited to a minting of 50,000. Although it has a face value of €10, it is, as with other commemorative euro coins of this type (i.e. not a commemorative issue of a standard euro coin), only legal tender in the country in which it was issued – in this case, Belgium.
During Hergé's lifetime, parodies were produced of the Adventures of Tintin, with one of the earliest appearing in Belgian newspaper La Patrie after the liberation of the country from Nazi German occupation in September 1944. Entitled Tintin au Pays de Nazis ("Tintin in the Land of the Nazis"), the short and crudely drawn strip lampoons Hergé for working for a Nazi-run newspaper during the occupation.
Following Hergé's death, hundreds more unofficial parodies and pastiches of the Adventures of Tintin were produced, covering a wide variety of different genres. Tom McCarthy divided such works into three specific groupings: those which are pornographic, those which are political, and those which are artistic. In a number of cases, the actual name "Tintin" is replaced by something similar, like Nitnit, Timtim or Quinquin, within these books. Some of these parodies, such as 1976's Tintin en Suisse ("Tintin in Switzerland") and Jan Bucquoy's 1992 work La Vie Sexuelle de Tintin ("The Sexual Life of Tintin") are pornographic in content, featuring Tintin and the other characters engaged in sexual acts. Another such example of a Tintin parody was Tintin in Thailand, in which Tintin, Haddock and Calculus travel to the East Asian country for a sex holiday. The book circulated from December 1999 onwards, but in 2001 Belgian police arrested those responsible and confiscated 650 copies for copyright violation.
Other parodies have been produced for political reasons, for instance Tintin in Iraq lampoons the world politics of the early 21st century, with Hergé's character General Alcazar representing President of the United States George W. Bush. Written by the pseudonymous Jack Daniels, Breaking Free (1989) is a revolutionary socialist comic set in Britain during the 1980s, with Tintin and his uncle (modelled after Captain Haddock) being working class Englishmen who turn to socialism in order to oppose the capitalist policies of the Conservative Party government of Margaret Thatcher. When first published in Britain, it caused an outrage in the mainstream press, with one paper issuing the headline that "Commie nutters turn Tintin into picket yob!"
Other comic creators have chosen to create stories that are more like fan fiction than parody. The Swiss comic creator Exem has produced a series of adventures about Tintin's "evil twin" Zinzin. Similarly, the Canadian comic book writer and illustrator Yves Rodier has produced a number of Tintin works, none of which have been authorised by the Hergé Foundation, including a 1986 "completion" of the unfinished Tintin and Alph-art, which he drew in imitation of Hergé's ligne-clair style.
The response to these parodies has been mixed in the Tintinological community. Many Tintinologists despise them, seeing them as an affront to Hergé's work, with this being the view taken by Nick Rodwell of the Studio Hergé, who declared that "None of these copyists count as true fans of Hergé. If they were, they would respect his wishes that no one but him draw Tintin's adventures." Where possible, Studio Hergé have taken legal action against those known to be producing such items. Other Tintinologists have however taken a different attitude, considering such parodies and pastiches to be tributes to Hergé, and collecting them has become a "niche speciality".
Tintin first appeared in English in the weekly children's comic Eagle in 1951 in Vol 2:17 (3 August) and it ran in weekly parts in the lower half of the centrefold, beneath the cutaway drawings, until Vol 3:4 (2 May 1952). It was translated by a Frenchman in conjunction with Casterman, Tintin's publishers, and starts by describing Tintin as "a French boy". Snowy was called by his French name "Milou".
The process of translating Tintin into English was then commissioned in 1958 by Methuen & Co. Ltd. of London. It was a joint-operation, headed by Leslie Lonsdale-Cooper and Michael Turner, who worked closely with Hergé to attain an accurate translation as true as possible to the original work. The works were also sold in the American market by Golden Books, a branch of the Western Publishing Company in the 1950s. The albums were translated from French into American English with some blocks blanked except for the speech balloons. This was done to remove content considered to be inappropriate for children, such as drunkenness and free mixing of races. The albums were not very popular and only six were published in mixed order. The edited albums later had their blanked blocks redrawn by Hergé to be more acceptable, and they currently appear this way in published editions around the world. Atlantic Monthly Press, in cooperation with Little, Brown and Company beginning in the 1970s, published the albums again. This time, the text features the originally translated British English text with alterations to non-universally understood words such as gaol, tyre, saloon and spanner. Currently, they are being published under the Joy Street imprint of Little, Brown and Company.
Due in part to the large amount of language-specific word play (such as punning) in the series, especially the jokes which played on Professor Calculus' partial deafness, it was always the intention not to translate literally, instead striving to sculpt a work whose idioms and jokes would be meritorious in their own right; however, in spite of the free hand Hergé afforded the two, they worked closely with the original text, asking for regular assistance to understand Hergé's intentions.
More than simple translations, however, the English versions were anglicised to appeal to British customs and values. Milou, for example, was renamed Snowy at the translators' discretion. Moreover, the translation process served to colour the imagery within the book; the opportunity was taken to make scenes set in Britain more true-to-life, such as ensuring that the British police were unarmed, and ensuring scenes of the British countryside were more accurate for discerning British readers.
Unlike in the United Kingdom, the books have always had very limited popularity in the United States. However, from 1966 to 1979 Children's Digest included monthly installments of The Adventures of Tintin. These serializations served to greatly increase Tintin’s popularity in the United States. At that time Children's Digest had a circulation of around 700,000 copies monthly.
Tintin and his creator Hergé have inspired many artists within comics. Most notably, Hergé's ligne claire style has proven influential. Contributors to the Tintin magazine have employed ligne claire, and more recently, Jacques Tardi, Yves Chaland, Jason Little, Phil Elliott, Martin Handford, Geof Darrow, Eric Heuvel, and Garen Ewing have produced works utilising it.
Tintin's legacy includes the establishment of a market for comic strip collections; the serialisation followed by collection model has been adopted by creators and publishers in France and Belgium. This system allows for greater financial stability, as creators receive money whilst working. This rivals the American and British model of work for hire. Roger Sabin has argued that this model allowed for "in theory ... a better quality product". Paul Gravett has also noted that the use of detailed reference material and a picture archive, which Hergé implemented from The Blue Lotus onwards, was "a turning point ... in the maturing of the medium as a whole".
In the wider art world, both Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein have claimed Hergé as one of their most important influences. Lichtenstein made paintings based on fragments from Tintin's comics, whilst Warhol utilised the ligne claire and even made a series of paintings with Hergé as subject. He declared: "Hergé has influenced my work in the same way as Walt Disney. For me, Hergé was more than a comic strip artist".
In music, Tintin has been the inspiration to a number of bands and musicians. A British 1980s pop band took the name Thompson Twins after the Tintin characters. Stephen Duffy, lead singer of Duran Duran before they struck fame, had a UK number 4 hit with "Kiss Me" under the name Stephen "Tintin" Duffy; he had to drop the nickname, however, under pressure of a copyright infringement suit. An Australian psychedelic rock band and an American independent progressive rock band have used the name "Tin Tin", and British electronic dance music duo Tin Tin Out was similarly inspired by the character. South African singer/songwriter Gert Vlok Nel compares Tintin to God in his Afrikaans song "Waarom ek roep na jou vanaand", presumably because Tintin is a morally pure character.
Hergé has been lauded as "creating in art a powerful graphic record of the 20th century's tortured history" through his work on Tintin. whilst Maurice Horn's Encyclopaedia of World Comics declares him to have "spear-headed the post-World War II renaissance of European comic art". French philosopher Michel Serres noted that the 23 Tintin albums constituted a "chef-d'oeuvre" to which "the work of no French novelist is comparable in importance or greatness".
On 30 May 2010, a life-sized bronze statue of Tintin and Snowy, and more than 200 other Tintin items, including many original panels by Hergé, sold for 1.08 million euros ($1.3 million USD) at a Paris auction.
The Amazing Race 19 used the detectives of The Adventures of Tintin as a challenge to find out that the contestants were going to Panama City.
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