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on September 27, 2003
For a long time I owned all the Tintins depicted on the back cover of "The Adventures of Tintin" and thought I had it all, until I learned about the existence of 3 other titles: "Tintin in the Congo," "Tintin Et L'Alph-Art" (his very last unfinished work), and this one, which happens to be his very first Tintin Adventure. Naturally, I quickly obtained all three.
This being the very first Tintin ever, it is a remarkable work and is a must have for any Tintin lover. However it is not the Tintin you would expect. First of all, this hardbound edition contains a photocopy of the original black and white strips. There is no color edition. It contains almost twice the number of pages as regular Tintins, so it is a good deal for the money. The Tintin and Snowy look somewhat different from the ones we know. In fact, Tintin starts out this adventure without his famous tuft of hair, so you need to read it to find out why his hair sticks up like it does now. The artwork is less detailed and less elaborate than we're used to. Nevertheless it retains a air of elegant simplicity that makes it a masterful work of art.
Another major difference is the rapidity of the action. At that time, Herge was writing this adventure strip by strip for a weekly Belgian newspaper, unlike later adventures when he created it page by page. The adventure therefore moves much more quickly in order to keep readers interested in getting the next edition. Because of this some of the action appears unreal and much is left to impossible coincidences. Nevertheless, nearly all the action "tricks" that Herge uses to rescue Tintin in later adventures can be found here. Police chases, encounters with trains, mobsters, etc. are also prevalent. In fact many of these action incidents are reworked almost exactly in Tintin in America.
As far as the content, one must keep in mind that this Tintin was written in the 1920s - a time when Europe felt threatened by Communism, and also written for an anti-Communist church-run newspaper. The Russians are therefore depicted in the most unfair way, a bias that Herge had to apologize for later in life. Unlike his thorough research for later adventures, Herge bases Tintin's Soviet experiences on just a single book he had read, written mostly for propaganda purposes. Despite this major weakness, I would highly recommend this Tintin adventure. The political views therein are merely a sign of the times.
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on March 15, 2002
Tintin is sent by his Brussels newspaper to expose the true conditions of life in Bolshevik Russia, and counter the propaganda spread by Soviets and their Western fellow-travellers. Together with his faithful fox terrier Snowy, Tintin finds famine, child hunger, bureaucratic incompetence, industrial failure, bogus propaganda, state terror, gunpoint elections and massive embezzlement of the people's wealth by the government. Naturally, the Soviets aren't terribly keen for such information to leak out, and attempt to dispatch our hero at every turn - trying to bomb, shoot at, torture and freeze him in the endless snowy Steppes.
'Tintin In The Land Of The Soviets' is the first Tintin adventure, written in 1929 for a Catholic newspaper edited by a priest who would become a Nazi collaborator. The book's propaganda is crude - as the translators point out, Herge never visited Russia, and based his 'facts' on a contemporary, reactionary book by a Belgian consul - and leaves a sour taste in the mouth. It's not that what he shows wasn't accurate - his Soviet Russia is a totalitarian nightmare, swarming with vicious secret police; a place where citizens had their property stolen and labour abused; where starvation, torture and murder was rife; where more state effort went into destruction than construction. The book is filled with booze-sozzled goons are frightening precisely because they have a power they don't deserve. A lingering superstitiousness undermines this brave new world, and the images are full of delapidation and things crashing and falling apart - nothing can possibly work in such an environment. The 'Wizard of Oz'-like scene where a guide shows gullible English communists industrial marvels that are really two men billowing smoke and rattling sheet metal, is horribly accurate. This comic look at misery and tyranny looks forward to the Czech films of the 60s. Nonetheless, the book never becomes satire, never moves beyond popular prejudices - the critique in 'Tintin In America' is far more effective because Herge displays a more thorough knowledge of and engagement with US history and culture.
The 'Tintin's we are familiar with now - painstakingly illustrated, beautifully coloured and meticulously detailed albums - only came into being in the mid-40s: earlier editions were redrafted and edited to fit the new format. This book was the only one Herge didn't remodel, perhaps embarrassed in retrospect by its crass ideology. Reading 'Soviets' after one of the later 'Tintin's is like watching an Ub Iwerks cartoon after 'Toy Story'. The drawing is sometimes cruder and much less detailed than we're used to, like a loose-limbed 'Peanuts' strip. Instead of the four strips of four columns of the later books, there are three strips of two columns - each frame is much larger and seems to lunge at the reader. The positioning of speech bubbles is often clumsy; frequently, characters redundantly say what we can clearly see; the angle of compositions sometimes works against the action - all this can prevent a fluid reading. Tintin himself is a different beast - beefier, more aggressive, even high-handed with a splendidly cynical Snowy - he roughs up a Cheka agent, easily dispatches a vodka-guzzling bear, and trips up passers-by whenever the need arises.
Despite these flaws, 'Soviets' is a pacy and funny adventure. Two things Herge arrived with fully formed were: his ability to express speed within and across frames; and his fascination with gorgeous moving vehicles (motorcars, trains, planes, boats) stretching across the plate.
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on January 16, 2000
Tintin in the land of the Soviets is now finaly back in print and so it should be. It is interesting to see Herge's perception of communist Russia blended with Tintin and Snowy's comic capers. Set in 1922, just after the Russian Revolution, this book shows Tintin reporting for 'Le Petit Vingtieme' far into the depths of Russia avoiding the Cheka along the way. Some of Tintin's death defying stunts include being knocked into the air from a boat crash then landing in the drivers seat of a car being mended by a Russian. Herge clearly believes that the Russian authorities are trying to show the Western world how rich and productive Russia is under the Communist regime. Tintin however finds out this is not true. Any Tintin fan should buy this comic masterpiece now!
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on May 11, 2006
The first adventure of the comic book hero Tintin, written by Belgian Herge, went to press in 1929. The dynamic ever young reporter (who never seems to actually file any stories) heads off for Stalin country in `TinTin in the land of the Soviets'.

"Tintin and his dog Milou [Snowy] board a train for Moscow. There Tintin spends his time denouncing the methods of the Communist Party and then avoiding attempts by the Soviet secret police to silence him for his views. By the time Tintin makes it back home word of his exploits has arrived ahead of him and he is greeted as a hero."

This volume is not the best in the Tintin series in terms of it's storyline or artwork. It may however be the most historically significant.

Whilst Tintin, a fictitious comic book reporter, was exposing Stalinism in the comic book realm, over in the real world, famous journalists were winning Pulitzer Prizes for painting false benevolent images of this tyrannical regime. One award winning journalist actually landed a plum interview with the Great Helmsman himself in 1929, presumably about the same time as TinTin's train was pulling in to Moscow. Today the Pullitzer Prize based upon that journalist's rose coloured reports of Stalin's Russia are now being challenged posthumously by the Ukrainian community.

Tintin is today about 75 years young. Maybe they should award the Pulitzer to Tintin.
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on November 20, 1999
This is Tintin's first book. Herge must have been about 20 when he wrote it, and the drawings as well as the plot are very rough. But, let's grant Herge this: this book was ridiculed for years for its anticommunism, yet after the fall of the Soviet Union, we have learn without doubts about the brutality of the Soviet regime. Tintin tell it like it was.
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on December 3, 2006
Tintin and his dog Snowy are off to report on what life is like in Russia, but there are many who do not want him to report anything, and are out to stop him through trickery and sabotage. Will he be able make it there and back?

"Tintin in the Land of the Soviets" was the first Tintin comic Herge wrote back in 1929, when he was 22 years old. The pictures haven't been redone or coloured, so the style is exactly how it was published in the 1920s, and it's interesting to see what Tintin used to look like, particularly in the very first frames he appears in. This adventure has been pretty hard to find, and it's nice to now have it in English.

It's a pretty fun adventure I thought, and though it's an early one, there's a lot of elements that make up Tintin adventures already in place (a scene where Snowy accidentally gets drunk, an incident with chloroform, a car chase or two, etc). Snowy's character is pretty much as it is in the later stories too, his look and the sort of comments he likes to make.

It's worth a look for Tintin fans, I think.
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on December 7, 2015
This was one of the few that took a while to get released because of its content. I hadn't been able to read it years ago so I bought when it became available. Since it's Tintin's first adventure it can be a little dull at times, but he beats up a lot of bad guys in this one! You can certainly tell the translator was British from the speech, makes it more enjoyable for me honestly. Only downside is since it's a compilation of Hergé's news comic strips it gets read very fast, I finished in maybe 15 minutes or so. Since this is the very first of Tintin's adventures It's also a slightly different art style from Hergé's more modern Tintin books and is in black and white instead of color.
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on April 15, 2003
This is the first Tintin comic. And, its good! Real good! It's a lot better than "Tintin in Congo". However, communist sympathisers may not relish the depiction of soviets as blood-thirsty criminals... but then again... it's just a reflection of the times back then. If Herge was a Russian and so were Tintin, then the book would've probably been full of Capitalist bashing.
This book is rather funny and has some excellent humorous situations. This is a good book and there shouldn't be any trouble with kids reading it. Pretty funny! There is a nice little joke about British communists(*from Oxford, I expect!*)
In short: A must buy for all Tintin fans.
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on March 10, 2016
This was a gift for my boyfriend, who loved Tintin as a kid and has all of Tintin after #3. #1 and #2 have been out of print forever for political reasons in the case of #2 and the author's own shame over his racist depictions in the case of #1. I was super happy to find this for him.
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on December 21, 2013
I bought this book with anticipation as I loved all the other Tintin adventures and this was the only one I had not read. However it turned out to be very disappointing. Other than the names of the two principal characters in the series, none of the rest of key ingredients of Tintin are here - the interesting characters, the humor, the local color.

This book reads more like an expose or diatribe against the Russian communist regime. And in in its time that may have been a worthwhile goal for Tintin's creator, Herge. However reading it today the book is quite humorless and without any interesting characters. All the Soviet people are either out to get Tintin or helpless folk needing his help. Tintin gets out of any jam quite easily and there is no real suspense here.

Please do not buy this book and feed the publishers who printed this to get some more revenue out of the Tintin name.
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