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The Adventures of Tintin: Land of Black Gold (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 the nineties animated television show. Check back daily!

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

Land of Black Gold feels like a rather conscious throwback to the earlier adventures in the series, stories like King Ottokar’s Sceptre or The Black Island or Cigars of the Pharaoh, dealing with relatively grounded political concepts and economic realities, rather than hidden treasure or lost civilisation or trips to the moon itself. Of course, there’s a very good reason – Land of Black Goldwas started before the outbreak of the Second World War, and Hergé put it on hold to write about more abstract and less political concerns. That’s why Haddock only appears in this episode five minutes from the end, because he hadn’t been created when the original story was told. I don’t dislike the adventure, but it does feel rather strange, situated where it is in the Tintin canon.

Petrol was always an explosive topic...

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Tintin: Land of Black Gold (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.

Land of Black Gold is certainly an interesting Tintin story. It was begun during the Second World War, but suspended while Hergé’s paper, Le Soir, was investigated under suspicion of collaboration. Following the war, the author returned to complete the work, updating the adventure to remove some of the more obvious political elements, and to retroactively insert some of the more modern characters into the tale (Captain Haddock has a small role, and Cuthbert Calculus appears only via letter). However, despite all this interesting shuffling around, and the fact the story was begun in one political climate and finished in another, it’s surprising how relevent Hergé’s exploration of Middle Eastern politics remains.

Thompson and Thomson get their just deserts, eh?

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