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One of the world's most beloved characters, Tintin travels the world on adventures that mix action, mystery, and humor, and feature a variety of colorful characters, including Tintin's dog, Snowy ("Whoah! Whoah!"), the blustery Captain Haddock, the brilliant but absent-minded (and hard-of-hearing) Professor Calculus, the detective twins Thompson and Thomson, and many others. Originally published as serials by the Belgian author Herge, the books are available in English in mostly standardized editions of 62 pages each, and Herge's drawings are vivid and intricate, particularly in the more mature stories. They're great for kids, but their appeal lasts a lifetime.
Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson collaborated on a new feature film combining the stories of 'The Secret of the Unicorn' and 'The Crab with the Golden Claws' that came out in theaters in December 2011 and is now available for pre-order: The Adventures of Tintin (Three-Disc Combo: Blu-ray 3D / Blu-ray / DVD / Digital Copy), The Adventures of Tintin (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy), The Adventures of Tintin. It's fun and action-packed, and has lots of inside jokes and references for fans of the books, but I felt it ran a bit long, and the motion-capture technique left a little to be desired. The Adventures of Tintin Tintin travels to the New World and faces Al Capone in Tintin in America (The Adventures of Tintin). In Cigars of the Pharoah (The Adventures of Tintin), Tintin goes to Egypt and meets those crazy detective twins, Thompson and Thomson (to be precise). Considered Herge's first masterpiece, The Blue Lotus (The Adventures of Tintin) finds Tintin in China during wartime (the only adventure that incorporates historical events) and meeting a boy named Chang. Some chilling moments and grotesque Japanese caricatures. In The Broken Ear (The Adventures of Tintin), Tintin travels to South America where he meets the Arumbaya tribe and General Alcazar of San Theodoros, both of whom will return in a later adventure. The Black Island (The Adventures of Tintin) is a mystery that has Tintin investigating a legendary monster in Scotland (no, not Nessie). It's an early 1930s adventure that was redrawn in the 1960s so it has a more polished, contemporary look. Another story of political intrigue, King Ottokar's Sceptre (The Adventures of Tintin) finds Tintin in the kingdom of Syldavia trying to prevent the throne from being usurped. The history Herge creates for his fictional kingdom is fascinating. The Crab with the Golden Claws (The Adventures of Tintin) introduces one of the series' key characters, Captain Haddock, as well as archvillain Allan. The Shooting Star (The Adventures of Tintin) is another adventure with political overtones, as Tintin and a group of scientists try to recover a meteorite before someone else reaches it first. The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn is the first Tintin book I read and a worthy starting point for others. It was also Herge's personal favorite, combining a puzzling mystery with a ripping pirate yarn about Haddock's seafaring ancestor, Sir Francis Haddock (who was exclaiming "Thundering typhoons!" long before the Captain ever did), and his fateful encounter with the fearsome pirate Red Rackham. The story is also notable for Herge's fantastic eye for ship detail as well as the first appearances of Nestor and Marlinspike Hall. Red Rackham's Treasure (The Adventures of Tintin) continues the "Unicorn" adventure with a modern-day treasure hunt and introduces Professor Calculus. The Seven Crystal Balls (The Adventures of Tintin) kicks off another two-parter, a truly chilling tale about the curse of the Inca. Tintin and friends travel to Peru in the conclusion, Prisoners of the Sun (The Adventures of Tintin). Land of Black Gold (The Adventures of Tintin) features the return of Dr. Muller and a comic incident for the Thompsons that will be a recurring theme in later books. The beginning of yet another two-parter, Destination Moon (The Adventures of Tintin) is an incredible story about Tintin and his friends preparing to travel to the moon over 10 years before Neil Armstrong. Explorers on the Moon (The Adventures of Tintin) concludes the amazingly detailed, funny, and deadly serious tale. The Calculus Affair (The Adventures of Tintin) is often considered Herge's crown jewel for its intricate plotting and characterization in a story that returns to Syldavia and its conflicts with its rival Borduria. The Red Sea Sharks (The Adventures of Tintin) is another seafaring adventure that raises serious questions about slavery. Yet another "quest" adventure but one with deep emotional impact, Tintin in Tibet (The Adventures of Tintin) follows Tintin into the Himalayas in search of his old friend Chang. The Castafiore Emerald (The Adventures of Tintin) keeps Tintin at home, but in the company of the irrepressible Bianca Castafiore (the "Jewel Song from Faust," anyone?) and a fun locked-room mystery. Flight 714 (The Adventures of Tintin) is a far-out adventure that features many old friends and enemies in a kidnapping plot. Tintin and the Picaros (The Adventures of Tintin) is the final complete Tintin adventure, one that takes him back to San Theodoros and General Alcazar.
The Earliest Adventures Both Tintin in the Land of the Soviets (The Adventures of Tintin: Original Classic) and Tintin in the Congo (Adventures of Tintin) are not considered part of the official Tintin canon, but are of interest to those who've read all the others. "Tintin in the Congo," for example, embarrassed Herge for its depiction of Tintin slaughtering wildlife (including blowing up a rhinoceros with dynamite!) and its colonialism. In one scene, Tintin tells a group of African children "Today, I'm going to talk to you about your country: Belgium!" When the story was updated and colorized as Tintin Au Congo: (Les Aventures de Tintin) (French Edition) (but not translated into English) in 1946, this became a simple lesson in addition. Still, these stories were long unavailable in English, so it's good to have them available. The black-and-white newsprint format distinguishes them from the regular series.
The Final Adventure Herge never finished his final Tintin adventure, Tintin and Alph-Art (The Adventures of Tintin: Original Classic), but this edition shows his sketches.
Alternate Hardcover Versions I just read The Adventures of Tintin: Cigars of the Pharaoh (Adventures of Tintin) and it's a black-and-white facsimile edition of the original 1930s version just like 'Congo" above. It's fascinating to see Thompson and Thomson calling themselves X33 and X33A, and Tintin and Snowy fighting cobras. I assume Tintin in America (Adventures of Tintin) and The Blue Lotus (Adventures of Tintin) are the same.
Films and TV In addition to the 2011 feature film mentioned above, 'Tintin and the Lake of Sharks' (ASIN: 1405206349) is the book version of an animated film. There was an excellent "Adventures of Tintin" animated series created in Canada, now available on DVD in the U.S. as The Adventures Of Tintin: Season 1 and The Adventures Of Tintin: Season 2, or on instant video (e.g., The Crab With The Golden Claws, Part 1).
Three-in-One Series This series is excellent value for the money, but the volumes are quite a bit smaller than the single-adventure books, which is a shame in the case of some of Herge's larger tableaux. The Adventures of Tintin, Vol. 1 (Tintin in America / Cigars of the Pharaoh / The Blue Lotus) The Adventures of Tintin, Vol. 2: The Broken Ear / The Black Island / King Ottokar's Sceptre (3 Volumes in 1) The Adventures of Tintin, Vol. 3: The Crab with the Golden Claws / The Shooting Star / The Secret of the Unicorn (3 Volumes in 1) The Adventures of Tintin, Vol. 4: Red Rackham's Treasure / The Seven Crystal Balls / Prisoners of the Sun (3 Volumes in 1) The Adventures of Tintin, Vol. 5: Land of Black Gold / Destination Moon / Explorers on the Moon (3 Volumes in 1) The Adventures of Tintin, Vol. 6: The Calculus Affair / The Red Sea Sharks / Tintin in Tibet (3 Volumes in 1) The Adventures of Tintin, vol. 7: The Castafiore Emerald / Flight 714 / Tintin and the Picaros (3 Volumes in 1) The Adventures of Tintin: Collector's Gift Set
Other Books and Stuff Tintin: the Complete Companion: Michael Farr's excellent history of the series The Adventures of Herge: Creator of Tintin: Another by Farr The Art of Herge, Inventor of Tintin: Volume 1: 1907-1937 The Art of Herge, Inventor of Tintin: Volume 2: 1937-1949 Hergé: The Man Who Created Tintin Tintin in the New World: A Romance: decidedly odd philosophical novel, mostly of interest as a curiosity
You've Read Them All... Now What? Try the adventures of Jo, Zette, and Jocko, which Herge created in response to a request for younger, less intrepid heroes: The Valley of the Cobras (The Adventures of Tintin), Mr. Pump's Legacy, Destination: New York, and The Secret Ray. Quick & Flupke is another Herge creation, but more slapstick and cartoony. The characters Blake and Mortimer were the creation of Edgar P. Jacobs, a Belgian artist who assisted Herge on his classic Tintin series, and the art definitely reflects Herge's influence, even if the action is less dynamic. Try The Yellow 'M': Blake and Mortimer 1 and subsequent volumes, some by different creators. "City of Spies" by Susan Kim, Laurence Klavan, and Pascal Dizin is also very reminiscent of Tintin.
Products mentioned include:
The Adventures of Tintin
The Earliest Adventures
The Final Adventure
Alternate Hardcover Versions
Films and TV
Other Books and Stuff
You've Read Them All... Now What?
Customer Discussions about products in this guide
David Horiuchi (Seattle, WA USA)
Qualifications: DVD Editor, Amazon.com