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Tintin: The Red Sea Sharks (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 Red Sea Sharks is, I suppose, a fine adventure tale, even if it’s not an entry in Hergé’s canon that I’m particularly fond of. The nineteenth instalment in the series, the author uses the opportunity to tie a whole slew of open story threads together and anchor the long-term continuity of the series, but he also decides to deal with the issue of modern slavery – a controversial and topical issue, to be sure. However, while I have no doubt the author’s intentions were true, the story reads more than a little awkwardly in dealing with the topic.

Calculus gets his skates on...

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Tintin: The Seven Crystal Balls (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.

Apparently, if Steven Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn is a success, Peter Jackson will be directing a sequel that will be based on the two-part story directly following The Secret of the Unicorn and Red Rackham’s Treasure. I’m already anticipating that, seen as The Seven Crystal Balls and Prisoners of the Sun are probably among my favourite Tintin stories, and I can actually see the rather wonderful conflict between mysticism and rationality playing out really well on the big-screen. It’s pure unadulterated pulp fiction, and it’s pulp fiction done exceptionally well.

Mummy!

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Tintin: King Ottokar’s Sceptre (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.

It’s amazing what you can miss in enjoying your favourite stories as a child. For me, at the tender age of seven or eight, King Ottokar’s Sceptre was a thrilling tale of palace intrigue with a rather wonderful locked-room mystery at it heart. Returning to it now, it feels like quite a bit more. This is the first time, reading a Tintin book, that it feels part of a particular place or time. Even the possibly-Nazi agent from The Black Island was cast ambiguously enough that the story could have been set at any time in the relatively recent past, but King Ottokar’s Sceptre is something quite a bit different, capturing the sense of fear in Europe on the eve of warfare.

A locked room mystery...

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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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Tintin: Tintin in the Land of the Soviets (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 two earliest Tintin adventures, Tintin in the Land of the Soviets and Tintin in the Congo, are looked back upon as the black sheep of the Tintin novels produced by Hergé. While Tintin in the Land of the Soviets is shameless anti-Communist propaganda (and does contain a hint of the foul racism we’d see a lot more of in Tintin in the Congo), one can detect a lot of the charm that Hergé brought to his iconic creations, scattered throughout the work, from the surreal sense of humour to the writing style to the love of ridiculous suspense, seemingly for the sake of suspense. The best was definitely yet to come, but it all started here.

The collection isn't Tintin at his finest...

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