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The Adventures of Tintin: The Blue Lotus (Review)

To celebrate the release of The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn in the United States later this month, I’ll be taking a look at some of nineties animated television show. Check back daily!

Note: This is our review of the animated episode, check out our review of the book here.

While I think that the early run of stories from Cigars of the Pharaoh were among Hergé’s most impressively pulpy output, populated with opium traders and sinister conspiracies seemingly spanning the globe, I do tend to have rather eclectic taste. For example, I am quite partial to The Black Island and The Shooting Star, two of the oft-malign chapters in The Adventures of Tintin. Similarly, I’ve found myself slightly underwhelmed by widely-praised instalments like The Secret of the Unicorn or The Blue Lotus. It’s not that I think they’re bad (far from it), merely that I feel they aren’t as good. Still, the animated adaptation of Tintin in America managed to construct an engaging little adventure from a disjointed story, so I wonder how this episode will handle its source material?

Shang-hai Noon...

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Tintin: Tintin and the Alph-Art (Review)

In the lead-up to the release of The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, I’m going to be taking a look at Hergé’s celebrated comic book character, from his humble beginnings through to the incomplete post-modern finale. I hope you enjoy the ride.

Tintin and the Alph-Art is a strange little story. It’s the last Tintin adventure that Hergé began before his death, more than fifty years after the intrepid reporter had debuted in Tintin in the Land of the Soviets. I’ve also found something strangely wonderful in the idea that the final Tintin pages that Hergé drew threatened to close the series forever, with the boy reporter trapped in a polyester sculpture, entombed forever as a work of art – it’s not exactly a happy ending, but I’d argue it was a fitting one. There isn’t a definitive finished version of the story available – Hergé died leaving notes and sketches and half-formulated ideas, but there’s little real sense of how he wanted the story to end, or even how he’d get Tintin out of that one final death trap. Of all the “unofficial” Tintin works out there, and there are quite a few, Tintin and Alph-Art is perhaps the one most closely associated with Hergé, drawing from a story he never finished to try to cap off a saga five decades in the making.

And then... nothing...

Note: I am discussing the “unofficial” version of the story completed by Yves Rodier. I will also make reference to the annotated Hergé script released a while back.

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Tintin in Tibet (Review)

In the lead-up to the release of The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, I’m going to be taking a look at Hergé’s celebrated comic book character, from his humble beginnings through to the incomplete post-modern finale. I hope you enjoy the ride.

Tintin in Tibet is a highly regarded book. In fact, it’s arguably the most highly regarded book in the entire Adventures of Tintin collection, and it’s easy to see why. While I could recall the events of some of the stories I’d read as a child almost word-for-word, and while I harbour a deep affection for particular adventures in the series, I don’t think I was looking forward to revisiting any of the classic Tintin stories nearly as much as I was anticipating flicking through Tintin in Tibet. I remember the book filling me with a tremendous sense of optimism and hope as a child, a story of faith and hope against impossible odds, deeply moving because of its relative intimacy.

I was not disappointed.

Whiteout...

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Tintin: Red Rackham’s Treasure (Review)

In the lead-up to the release of The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, I’m going to be taking a look at Hergé’s celebrated comic book character, from his humble beginnings through to the incomplete post-modern finale. I hope you enjoy the ride.

I have to admit to being just a little bit lukewarm to The Secret of the Unicorn as an entry in The Adventures of Tintin. However, the second part in the adventure, Red Rackham’s Treasure, is a much stronger instalment, standing on its own two feet. Part of me has always liked the more exotic Tintin adventures, but I reckon a large part of the appeal of this instalment is seeing Hergé resurrect a genre that has been left fallow for quite a few decades: the good old-fashioned treasure hunt.

Are Tintin and Haddock LOST?

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Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn (Review)

In the lead-up to the release of The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, I’m going to be taking a look at Hergé’s celebrated comic book character, from his humble beginnings through to the incomplete post-modern finale. I hope you enjoy the ride.

The Secret of the Unicorn is the basis of the upcoming live-action adaptation of The Adventures of Tintin, as directed by Steven Spielberg. It will form the basis for the film, along with The Crab With the Golden Claws and the second part of this adventure, Red Rackham’s Treasure. While Cigars of the Pharaoh fed into The Blue Lotus and Tintin in the Congo led into Tintin in America, The Secret of the Unicorn and Red Rackham’s Treasure represent the first real two-part story in Hergé’s series, and you can feel the writer appreciating the opportunity to spread his adventure over two volumes of the series.

Set sail for adventure!

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Tintin: The Black Island (Review)

In the lead-up to the release of The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, I’m going to be taking a look at Hergé’s celebrated comic book character, from his humble beginnings through to the incomplete post-modern finale. I hope you enjoy the ride.

The Black Island is a fun piece of pulp fiction, which wonderfully feels like Hergé was drawing on whatever pop culture reference was closest to hand at the time. In a way, this strange blend of influences mixes to produce a cocktail that fits surprisingly well against this instalment’s British background. It also features some of Hergé’s strongest artwork, in my own very humble opinion. It might lack the sort historical and political context that defined The Broken Ear and The Blue Lotus, but it’s still a more-than-worthy entry in the series.

Well, don't they have egg on their faces...

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Tintin: The Broken Ear (Review)

In the lead-up to the release of The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, I’m going to be taking a look at Hergé’s celebrated comic book character, from his humble beginnings through to the incomplete post-modern finale. I hope you enjoy the ride.

The Broken Ear is a strange little Tintin story. On one hand, it begins as a sort of a mystery adventure, with an artifact stolen from a museum and then replaced the following night, a little note apologising for a childish prank. As seems to be the case in these kinds of stories, the authorities decide “no harm, no foul” and go on about their daily business, but our boy Tintin is not convinced. However, over the course of his investigation, the story develops into something a bit more substantial, allowing Hergé the opportunity to indulge some of his wonderfully broad political satire. It wouldn’t be among my favourite entries in the franchise, if only because I was too young to appreciate a lot of the commentary when I first read it.

Hergé doesn't go overboard...

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