Tintin et Milou
Les Aventures de Tintin
, drawn and written by the Belgian writer-artist Georges Remi a.k.a. Hergé, is one of the most popular XX ème siecle
European comics. Over 200 million books have been produced, with translations into over 50 languages. The comics are not published in the U.S. soft cover paperback magazine-style, but are hard-bound books, sold in the section of bookstores such as FNAC
in a section called bandes designées
The hero of the series is a young reporter and traveller named Tintin, aided by his faithful dog Milou, Captain Haddock and a variety of colorful supporting characters.
The comic book series has long been admired for its clean but expressive drawings (executed in Hergé's signature ligne claire
style), engaging plots, and the painstaking research of the later stories.
The series straddles a variety of genres: swashbuckling adventures with elements of fantasy, mysteries, political thrillers, and science fiction. All the titles in the Tintin series include plenty of slapstick humour, offset in later albums by dashes of sophisticated satire and political/cultural commentary.
Although it is rarely explicitly stated in the books, Tintin resides in Belgium. This is evidenced in certain books taking place in Tintin's homeland, where Hergé drew some easily recognisable Belgian locations, and more explicitly in Tintin in the Land of the Soviets where it is said that Tintin arrives in Brussels as he comes back home. Despite his nationality as un Belge
, a nationality which is often the butt of French jokes, les Français
have adopted Tintin to the extent that many think of him as being French. This is aided by the fact that all of the originals of all the Tintin books are published in French.
Tintin in a sweat over a fix he has found himself in.
The character of Tintin was created on le 10 janvier 1929
. Tintin's 75th birthday was widely celebrated in 2004. Tintin was largely based on Hergé's earlier character Totor, a boy-scout with a striking resemblance to Tintin. The comics starring Totor, Les aventures de Totor, chef de patrouille (
patrol) des Hannetons
, appeared in the magazine Le Boy-Scout Belge
between 1926 and 1929. In the later comic book series, Tintin is a young Belgian reporter (as well as an accomplished fighter and pilot) who becomes involved in dangerous cases in which he takes heroic action to save the day. Interestingly, although almost every adventure features Tintin hard at work at his investigative reporting, rarely does he actually turn in a story. He is a young man of more or less neutral attitudes and is less colourful than the supporting cast around him. Tintin's character changes in the last albums, starting with The Castafiore Emerald.
In this final series of albums, Tintin no longer actively seeks out adventure but rather gets taken along with what happens around him: this is especially evident in Flight 714 and Picaros. Some fans consider this final complete album a betrayal of the Tintin image.
The earlier version of Tintin was apparently inspired, at least in part, by Hergé's youngest brother. Interestingly, Hergé later became estranged with his brother and depicted him as the villainous Colonel Sponsz in The Calculus Affair. Tintin and Sponsz, although physically very different, have actually quite similar hair spikes.
Capitaine Archibald Haddock
Captain Haddock is Tintin's best friend, a seafaring captain who was introduced in The Crab with the Golden Claws. Haddock was initially depicted as a weak and alcoholic character, but in later albums he became more respectable and genuinely heroic (notably in the seminal Tintin in Tibet, where he soberly volunteers his life to save his friend). The Captain's coarse humanity and sarcasm acts as a counterpoint to Tintin's often implausible heroism; he is always quick with a dry comment whenever the boy reporter gets too idealistic.
Haddock uses all sorts of words as insults and curses to express his feelings, such as "blistering barnacles", "thundering typhoons", "bashi-bazouk", "kleptomaniac", "anacoluthon", and "pockmark", but no words that are actually considered swear words. Haddock is a hard drinker, especially of whisky of the Loch Lomond brand, and his bouts of drunkenness are often used for comic effect.
Haddock's surname was derived from a conversation that Hergé had with his wife, in which she mentioned that the haddock was a "sad English fish". Hergé chose this name accordingly. Haddock remained without a first name until the last completed story, Tintin and the Picaros (1976), when the name Archibald was suggested. At the conclusion of Rackham's Treasure, Haddock purchases his ancestral seat, the Château Moulinsart
, Castle Marlinspike , where he, Tintin and Calculus live.
Professeur Tryphon Tournesol
Professeur Tryphon Tournesol
is called in English "Professor Cuthbert Calculus." A literal translation of his French name would be Tryphonius Sunflower. Professor Calculus is a distracted, hard-of-hearing professor, who invented many objects used in the series, such as a one-person shark-shaped submarine, the Moon rocket and an ultrasound weapon. Calculus seeks to benefit mankind by inventions such as a pill that cures alcoholism by making alcohol taste horrible to the patient. These inventions are usually disliked by Haddock, although Calculus usually interprets this the other way round: his deafness often prevents him from hearing Haddock's real opinion. But if he ever hears the Captain (or anyone else) call him a "goat", he flies into a rage: "Goat, am I?"
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: attachez votre ceinture
" fasten your belt," is repeated as une tache de peinture?
, "a paint stain." He does not admit to being near-deaf and insists on having poor hearing in only one ear. Notably in the "Moon" books, Calculus has a hearing aid inserted, and for the duration of the album has near-perfect hearing: this made him a more serious character (that is, as long as the word "goat" is not uttered in his presence). However, in later adventures Calculus once again lost his hearing aid, and went back to his old deaf self. Calculus is a fervent believer in dowsing, and carries a pendulum for that purpose. It is possible that this trait, along with Calculus' deafness were based on French physicist Yves Rocard. He is a former practitioner of the French martial art savate
, literally, "old shoe," a form of boxing in which blows are delivered with either the hands or the feet.
Calculus first appeared in Red Rackham's Treasure, and was the end result of Hergé's long quest to find the archetypal mad scientist or absent-minded professor: for instance, Dr. Sarcophagus in Cigars of the Pharaoh, and Prof. Alembick in King Ottokar's Sceptre.
The Calculus character was most likely inspired by Swiss scientist Auguste Piccard. In The Castafiore Emerald, Bianca Castafiore mistakes Calculus for Piccard in claiming that Calculus is "famous for his balloon ascensions".
Milou est très enivré; A severely inebriated Milou.
Milou, an exceptionally white fox terrier, is Tintin's four-legged companion, who travels everywhere with him. The bond between the dog and Tintin is deeper than life, and they have saved each other from perilous situations many times.
With a few exceptions (including Tintin in the Land of the Soviets), Milou never speaks (although he is regularly seen thinking in human words), since he is only a dog. However, he always manages to communicate well with Tintin despite this. Milou often adds to the story in many interesting ways. For instance, he is the only character in Flight 714 to remember that he was abducted by aliens.
Like Captain Haddock, Milou is fond of whisky of the Loch Lomond brand, and his occasional bouts of drinking tend to get him into trouble, as does his raging arachnophobia.
Milou was named after Hergé's first girlfriend, a contraction of the name Marie-Louise, although Milou is referred to as male throughout the books.
Dupont et Dupond
Dupont et Dupond
, Thomson and Thompson in English, are two clumsy detectives who, although unrelated, look like twins with the only discernible difference being the shape of their moustaches. They provide much of the comic relief throughout the series, as they are afflicted with spoonerism. They are thoroughly incompetent, and always bent on arresting the wrong character, but in spite of this they somehow get entrusted with delicate missions, such as ensuring security for the Syldavian space project.
The detective with the flared mustache is Thomson (without a "P"), who often describes himself as "Thomson, without a "P", as in Venezuela!". The detective with the flat mustache has described himself as "Thompson with a "P", as in..." and then used words such as Philadelphia, psychology and so on.
The detectives usually wear bowler hats and carry walking sticks, except when abroad: during those missions they insist on wearing the "costume" of the country they are visiting so as to blend into the local population, but in general only manage to find some ridiculous folkloric attire that actually makes them stand apart. Thomson and Thompson were originally only side characters, but later became more important. In the redrawings of the earlier albums, especially The Black Island, the detectives gained their now traditional mannerisms.
The detectives were based on Hergé's father and brother, both of whom wore matching bowlers.
Translators of the series have tried to find names that are similar or identical in pronunciation for this pair. Dupond and Dupont thus become Thomson and Thompson in English, Schultze and Schulze in German, Jansen and Janssen in Dutch, Hernández and Fernández in Spanish, Johnson and Ronson in Bengali and Skapti and Skafti in Icelandic.
Hergé devised several fictional countries later in the series.
in particular is described in considerable detail: history, customs, language etc. . Syldavia in the Balkans is by Hergé's own admission modelled on Albania, and is threatened by neighbouring Borduria
- an attempted annexation appears in King Ottokar's Sceptre — this situation parallels respectively Czechoslovakia or Austria and expansionist Nazi Germany prior to World War II. In The Calculus Affair, Borduria is used as a metaphor of a Communist state.
, in Arabia.
in South America, a prototypical banana republic where US-based companies and Borduria (meant as an allusion to the USSR) vie for power, with "advisors" of local generals.
in South America
, bordering San Theodoros. The two countries go to war over oil in The Broken Ear, which is parallel to the 1930s Chaco War between Paraguay and Bolivia. Nuevo Rico was also added as a reference in a later versions of The Shooting Star.
, after the South American Chaco region. The Broken Ear is set in a war inspired by the Chaco War.
, a country in South East Asia. Said to be undergoing a civil war, with rebels for hire. Rastapopoulos's hired gun, Allan, recruits Sondonesians as gun-toting muscle in Flight 714. They appear to be thinly disguised Khmer Rouge, and Hergé's insistence that Sondonesia is in a state of civil war shows amazing clarity of vision as to the true state of the conflict in Cambodia at that period.
are both mentioned in The Blue Lotus. Pilchardania is mentioned on a newsreel that Tintin views while hiding in a cinema from the police. The Poldavian consul gets mistaken for Tintin in a beard and wig in the Blue Lotus opium den.
Georges Remi, le 23 mai 1907 - le 3 mars 1983
, better known by the pen name Hergé, was a Belgian comics writer and artist. "Hergé" is the French pronunciation of "R.G.", the reverse of his initials. (In French, the "H" is not sounded.) His best-known and most substantial work is The Adventures of Tintin, which he wrote and illustrated from 1929 until his death in 1983, which left the twenty-fourth Tintin adventure, Tintin and Alph-art, unfinished. His work remains a strong influence on comics, particularly in Europe. He was inducted into the Comic Book Hall of Fame in 2003.
The notable qualities of the Tintin stories include their vivid humanism, a realistic feel produced by meticulous and wide-ranging research, and Hergé's ligne claire
The first of the series to appear was "Tintin in the Land of the Soviets" and appeared in the pages of a publication for children, Le Petit Vingtième
on le 10 janvier 1929
, and ran in installments until le 8 mai 1930
. The character of Tintin was inspired by Georges' brother Paul Remi, an officer in the Belgian army.
Tintin in the Land of the Soviets, the original in the series, 1929.
Hergé died on le 3 mars 1983
, aged 75, due to complications arising from anemia, which he had suffered from for several years. He left the twenty-fourth Tintin adventure, Tintin and Alph-Art, unfinished. Following his expressed desire not to have Tintin handled by another artist, it was published posthumously as a set of sketches and notes in 1986. In 1987, Fanny, his second wife, closed the Hergé Studios, replacing it with the Hergé Foundation. In 1988, Tintin magazine was discontinued.
Hergé avec Tintin
The Adventures of Tintin: (Adventures of Tintin Series: Three-In-One #1)
The Adventures of Tintin: (Adventures of Tintin Series: Three-In-One #2)
The Adventures of Tintin: (Adventures of Tintin Series: Three-In-One #3)
The complete series is available at Barnes & Noble. Be sure to click through from The Frog Blog. Louis la Vache thanks you for your support!