Hergé’s Adventures of Tintin – Books 1-3
My husband grew up with Tintin and had been collecting the hardcover editions of the Adventures of Tintin. I have nice memories of watching the French and Canadian made Tintin animated series in the 1990s which is probably one of the most faithful comic adaptations. I maybe read one of the books as a kid. I remember browsing them at the library. Recently, I’ve been trying to read the books that we own and also read books which are important to my partner.
As of this writing, we own eight of these books. He had collected seven of the books in hardcover and one softcover given by a friend. His goal was to buy one hardcover every year or so. He hasn’t really been doing that the last few years so I ordered one to this collection before I started reading. They are imported books and take awhile to come in. I am going to read the ones we don’t have in French from the library. They are middle grade and would be great practice for me.
Tintin in the Congo (TinTin #2)
We do not own the first one which is “The Land of the Soviets” as that was not part of the canon when he was a kid. He also never read this Congo one because it was likely restricted due to its racist content.
It was hard to read. Originally published in 1931, Herge coloured it and published it again in 1946. He said it was an experimental early work. Let’s start with the good. Some of the drawings are fun. Snowy goes “Woooaaah”. I learned the word psittacosis. Snowy is adorable except when he said, “Missionaries are the tops!”
The bad. Belgians were arguably the worse colonizers which is saying something. Their view of Africans was problematic even when this book was written. The Africans are not drawn well literally and figuratively. It it was extremely patronizing. Tintin is a white saviour figure. The hunting is awful as many animals are shot at or tortured for comic relief. The plot was really flimsy. Also why is it that Tintin is so popular as a journalist? He was offered $10,000 to be a correspondent making him one of the most in demand journalist in history. I didn’t really see the Tintin character or appeal at in this comic book.
2/5 stars. Read August 9, 2023.
Tintin in the Land of the Soviets (Tintin #1)
My husband never read this one either and I didn’t expect much due to Wikipedia article which noted that it was “joyously bizarre” and allegedly Hergé’s worst.
The worst part is up for debate. I think the Congo was worst in some ways because of the racism and animal abuse content. This one had racism too but it wasn’t there as much and it wasn’t in colour. This one moved at an even faster pace yet I became bored me with how many messes Tintin got himself into. Tintin lacks personality in both these books. Snowy is still sassy at least. Overall, the book felt very dated and not really a classic. I look forward to when the stories and characters get better.
2.25/5 stars. Read August 30, 2023.
Tintin in America (Tintin #3 )
This one was better than the first two because of its satire on America. It still has racist depictions of Native Americans, but the satire about how America treat them in the story was not bad. I still found Tintin a blank slate of a character. I don’t understand why he’s so special. The pacing is very fast because these are comics but this was less overwhelming than the first two books.
2.5/5 stars. Read September 16, 2023.