Everybody’s favourite ginger adventurer, Tintin is about to hit the silver screen at the hands of none other than Steven Spielberg. With his trademark inquisitive quiff, Tintin’s gone from having just one line for a mouth, a squiggly line for a nose and two black dots for eyes, to a real 3D boy! Here comic expert and author of Masters of Comic Book Art (1978), Peter Garriock (alter ego Doc) sheds some light on Tintin’s birth into the comic world, a place where dreams get drawn into reality.
Tintin was created by Belgian comics writer and artist Hergé (real name Georges Prosper Remi) in 1929 and first appeared in the daily children’s newspaper Le Petit Vingtième. His adventures were collected and reprinted from 1930. At the time of Hergé’s death in 1983 there had been 23 adventures of Tin Tin in total – and a 24th was in the planning stage. So popular was he, that in the 1990s Tin Tin stores opened worldwide merchandising T-shirts, toys, prints and other products.
Tin Tin is a reporter who gets involved in adventures that usually involve amateur sleuthing. He was always accompanied by his faithful white fox terrier Snowy (in French Milou). His other partner is the irascible Captain Haddock, whose ‘Blistering Barnacles’ and alcoholic bouts form a reliable comic source in most stories. There were also two dim-witted policemen, Tintin’s friends, Thomson and Thompson (Dupont et Dupond). There was a continuing nemesis in the shape of evil genius Rastapopoulos who emerged later as the scheming General Alcazar. In 1939 it was an overbearing opera singer Bianca Castafiore and in 1945 an absent-minded and deaf Professor Calculus.
The Adventures of Tintin is released 28th October 2011.
Introduction: Sarah Raphael
Body text: Peter Garriock