Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tintin

In less than two months a Tintin movie is going to be released and I am both excited and bummed: excited because I have been a life-long fan of Tintin and I feel protective of a cherished icon; and bummed because Hollywood is grabbing hold of this icon and I'm not sure he'll come out unscathed.

Somewhere in the mid-seventies I was introduced by friends to a comic book called "The Adventures of Tintin" that caught my attention and has held it since.

What I didn't know then was that Tintin had been around for decades, but had only recently been introduced into the United States. Tintin was the creation of a Belgian artist named Hergé who began Tintin in the late 1920's as a serialized newspaper strip. Eventually the strips were collected into book form and became standardized at some point at 62 page editions each.

Tintin is nominally a reporter, but in fact is a sort of pure-hearted adventurer and explorer who seems to find endless reason to travel to some compelling spot around the world. He and his cohorts even made a spectacular trip to the moon roughly 10 years before the historic Apollo 11 flight happened. He is accompanied by his trusty dog Snowy and often joined by the loveable but troubled Captain Haddock (known for his amazing curses, such as "Billions of blistering blue barnacles!!"). There are many other characters that are part of the work, but they are the central focus of the stories.

I love these books for a number of reasons. Maybe it is a case of the whole being greater then the sum of the parts. The draftsmanship, the artwork, and expression in the line drawings, the globe traveling range of adventure, the drama and humor, the loyalty amongst the characters. The list goes on, but, suffice to say, I get as much joy re-reading a Tintin book today as I did back in the 1970's when I first encountered them.

When Hergé died, it was his will that no more Tintins should be produced, so the story ended there, and I suppose that is probably a good thing, although it would be fun if the stories kept coming. Although this film is taken from the books, it'll be fun to have a fresh interpretation of Tintin, and from the little I've read, the reviews are generally positive (the film is out in Europe).

So, I worry that Tintin will become a mass-market commodity and lose a little in the process, but I guess the books will always be what they've always been and that won't change.

The video is a beautiful animation of images and icons from the many stories.

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