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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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