Books & Comics

Tintin and the Secret of the Unicorn

Tintin – The Secret of the Unicorn (click and read the comic in pdf form)

Steven Spielberg‘s movie Adventure of Tintin : The Secret of the Unicorn, may help rekindling the magic of Tintin once again.

Tintin was a superstar for a whole generation of Indian kids, who may now be old enough to have their own teenage kids :-).

Though many of my friends wanted to have the their own personal collection of complete set of Tintin comics, but it was not possible to do so in those days. Compared with the other affordable paperback comics, Tintin comics were quite expensive as only the hard bound, imported versions were available here in India. Printed on large size glossy paper somewhere in Europe, Tintin comics were a prized possession in those days.

I am still not sure how successful Tintin would be now in this era of entertainment & information boom. The current generation of kids/teenagers have too many options/ sources for Infotainment.

Globally, American comics & superhero/heroines dominate the world – big budget Hollywood movie franchise have also pushed them across the globe. Some Japanese/ Korean animation has also managed to carved a niche audience, but its has very limited appeal.

In India, we are also an explosion of Indian/ sacred hindu history inspired character on Indian animation scene with Chhota Bheem, Krishna, Ganesha, Hanuman, Kumbh-Karan, etc..  Among all these characters, Chhota Bheem, by far the most loved character by young kids in India today.

It has actually helped the parents ward off the menace that translated Japanese animation character Shin-Chan has become some years back with his brash attitude and language well beyond his years. It was a bit too much for the liking of Indian parents and a number them  were reluctant to let their children watch the  animation series as the children were picking up the brash & insulting tone/expression of Shin-Chan very fast.

To come back to our lovable investigative Journalist Tintin, I have no doubt that a there is a whole bunch of kids waiting to explore the world with Tintin. It would be a shame to compare him to the American comic superheros like Spiderman, Superman, Batman etc… since he does not boast of any super power. Its a very big disadvantage for Tintin. How will Tintin survive in the ever-connected world of today, where the information and knowledge about various countries and their culture is just floating around seamlessly. But I have hope that he will be able to use all these new tools to his advantages. I can imagine Tintin finding his way out of the Mountain caves in Afghanistan using his iPad

The bigger problem I guess is the background of Tintin, being European and having allegations of being colonialist, anti-semitic, makes it a politically incorrect hero… Maybe he will be able to counter it all with the and use the rumors of him being a gay to counter these allegations 🙂

Tintin’s Background

It is well known that Tintin has been delighting children and adults alike since 1929, when he began his adventures as a boy reporter traveling the world and setting wrongs to right. Created by Georges Remi, the Belgian artist better known as Herge, Tintin’s adventures became one of the greatest early examples of the European strip cartoon. The strip cartoon, or comic strip was originally an American creation, but one which Belgian artists quickly adopted and improved upon. Herge’s work is a stellar example of the style called “the clear line.” Many of the images, which together comprise a story, can be viewed as self-contained illustrations. Herge was able to achieve this effect without disrupting the flow of the story.

Tintin first appeared in the weekly children’s newspaper Le Petit Vingtieme, on January 19th, 1929. As the serialized Tintin comic strips appeared, they were collated into book form. Herge was known for the extensive research that went into each Tintin story. His quest for accuracy enhanced the adventures with local color and detail. For example, in The Blue Lotus, every street sign, wall hanging, and Chinese character is correct. Tintin adventures also portrayed the political mood of the time.

Herge died in 1983. Per Herge’s request, no new adventures have been published, however, many volumes of the Adventures of Tintin were compiled into various book publications, and have become treasured family heirlooms. Collectors or “Tintinologs”(specialists of Tintin’s world) find outlets for their passion in the many publications,animated cartoons, statuettes, games, art pieces, publicity and merchandising items that have been created around the theme of Tintin’s adventures.

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