Tintin Boxed Set of 8 (Hergé) pdf, epub, doc

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According to wikipedia, the study of The Adventures of Tintin is known as Tintinology, with its followers being varyingly known as Tintinologists, Tintinophiles, Tintinolators, Tintinites or Hergélogues.

An academic branch of study dedicated to a single comic book series? It isn't as far fecthed an idea as you might think. I've just come up for air after being immersed for a couple of months in the 24 canonical albums put up by Herge, and I'm ready to bear witness : there's a whole world to explore between these covers, incredibly rich and funny and full of adventure. Where have you been, Tintin when I was 8 or nine years old? Unavailable beyond the Iron Curtain, unfortunately. I can still enjoy today the thrilling tour of the world in the company of Tintin, Snowy, Haddock or Professor Calculus, but I find it more difficult to turn off the critical eye and to ignore the numerous small imperfections in the series. Reading the albums back to back was also not the best idea ever, as they tend to be repetitive in plot and in jokes.

I would like to thank Steven Spielberg for giving me the final push in buying the series, after seeing the recent movie adaptation. I think he captured the spirit of the books quite well, and I believe I detectedone of the sources for the character of Indiana Jones in Tintin's Boy Scout oriented hijinks. It will be interesting to check the web for some Spielberg interviews on the subject.

Before going into what I liked and what bothered me about the series, I will make a recommendation to start reading with album no.4 Cigars of the Pharaoh as the first three books were quite bad regarding both the drawing skills and the ethnic insensitivity of the author. They are standalones and can be read later as research material into the development of the main characters and the growing awareness of Herge regarding world issues. Plus, No4. introduces two of my favorite characters from the collection : Thomson and Thompson.

My favorites, five star albums, in this boxset are the middle ones : The Crab with the Golden Claws , The Shooting Star , The Secret of the Unicorn , Red Rackham's Treasure , The Seven Crystal Balls , Prisoners of the Sun , Destination Moon , Explorers on the Moon . Beyond the immediate satisfaction of slapstick comedy, edge of your seat escapades and exotic locations, I loved the clear, expressive drawing of each panel, the extensive research (I understand Herge and his assistants used photographs and postcards to render the backgrounds) , the attention given to the development of each character. The real talent of Herge is made evident in the last album Tintin and Alph-Art , in the difference in quality between his original drawings and the attempts by other artists to finish the story. This being a review of a comic book, I will try to present some samples of Herge "ligne claire" style and at the same time introduce my favorite characters:

To be precise, let's not forget to mention here Captain Haddock colourful language:
Billions of Blue Blistering Barnacles!
Ten Thousand Thundering Thyphoons!
Miserable Molecule of Mildew!
Troglodyte! Bashi-bazouk! Ectoplasm! Sea gherkin! Anacoluthon! Miserable slugs! Ectomorph! Freshwater swabs!

I mentioned one of my issues with series is Herge insensitivity to colonial issues. From a nasty propagandistic attack on the Soviet Union, to cringeworthy dialogues and wildlife extermination in Congo, later stereotype Indians and Chinks, even some veiled anti-semitic panels - the early albums give some credence to the Nazi collaborator allegations that have hunted the artist later in his career. I would rather choose to notice that he saw the error of his ways, and later works ( Tintin in Tibet for example) should be considered truly representative of his views.

Another shortcoming for me is the quasi-absence of girl power in the series. Right from the start, Herge has created Tintin et Co. for a Boy Scout target audience - high speed chases in boats, trains and aeroplanes, submarines, rocket ships and the occasional condor in the Andes.

Apparently girls have major Cooties in Tintin universe, and the only recurring female character is Opera diva Bianca Castafiore, whose portrait is anything but complimentary. I'm not saying a girl would not enjoy the series, especially if her name is Scout Finch , just be warned about entering into a world full of testosterone and adrenaline, with frequent whisky drinking, cigars, and guns of all types, even some psychedelic trips. Belgium appears to me more liberal in what it considered suitable subjects for children, and the world Tintin and friends evolve in is more mature in terms of danger and exposure to alcohol and violence.

I might be tempted, on future rereads, to do individual reviews for each album. For now, let me just make a glowing recommendation to read this incredible series.

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