The Adventures of Tintin dir. Steven Spielberg (2011) Hergé’s comic strips bubble with background detail and distilled moments of pure comedy and adventure. Of necessity, Spielberg’s film adaptation mixes and dilutes Hergé’s work. Though doing limited justice to the source material, it does capture much of the spirit of Tintin.
Tintin: Red Rackham’s Treasure by Hergé (Le Soir, 1943); trans. Leslie Lonsdale-Cooper & Michael Turner (Methuen, 1959) A Tintin adventure with no villain! Hergé plays on readers’ expectations of peril but casts aside the usual death-defying storylines, netting instead a string of uncommonly dégagé Caribbean escapades. Red Rackham’s Treasure, though undemanding, gleams yet with well-plotted, vivaciously rendered humour. Exemplary. …
Tintin: The Calculus Affair by Hergé (Methuen, 1960) The first quarter is mystery but the remainder of The Calculus Affair sees a return to the improbable, death-defying adventuring of the earlier Tintin serials, thankfully with an intensity and mastery of physical humour sufficient to make this album an easy page-turner.
Tintin: Explorers on the Moon by Hergé (Methuen, 1959) An extraordinary achievement, constituting both a prescient (ie. well-researched and well-reasoned) foretelling of a genuine moon landing, and a tour de force of Tintin staples: Boy’s Own action and comic misadventure. Unlike other volumes, this one is genuinely tense. Nail-biting yet funny!
Tintin: Destination Moon by Hergé (Casterman, 1959) Hergé’s phenomenal commitment to accuracy is nowhere greater attested than in ‘Destination Moon’ and its sequel. Thankfully, the laborious detail is offset by liberal doses of physical comedy courtesy of Captain Haddock, the Thom(p)sons, and—most gloriously—Professor Calculus acting the goat!
X’ed Out by Charles Burns (Pantheon, 2010) In this confronting homage, Burns shows us what Tintin’s adventures might be like if they took place in a grim alternative reality (think the Upside Down of ‘Stranger Things’). Burns lacks Hergé’s sense of movement and pacing but this remains darkly memorable.
The Comics of Hergé: When the Lines Are Not So Clear ed. Joe Sutliff Sanders (University Press of Mississippi, 2016) This collection of determinedly academic articles will be heavy-going even for scholars and Hergé fanatics, let alone the casual Tintin fan. Although some (obscurely) interesting points are raised, the book is severely diminished—as Sanders acknowledges—by a lack of supporting artwork.…
Tintin: Land of Black Gold by Hergé (Methuen, 1972) Land of Black Gold had a troubled creation (which ultimately shows), interrupted by the German invasion of Belgium in 1940, completed six years later and then revised twice more, ultimately being shoehorned— without a commensurate joie de vivre—into the Calculus years.
Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn by Hergé (Methuen, 1959) Written during the German occupation of Belgium in World War II, The Secret of the Unicorn sees Hergé eschew political satire in favour of a well-constructed and comically sublime mystery/adventure. From nuances of expression to outrageous slapstick, Hergé here reaches new heights.
The Sarcophagi of the Sixth Continent, Part 1 by Yves Sente; ill. André Juillard; trans. Jerome Saincantin (Cinebook, 2010) An adventure of Blake & Mortimer, characters created by the late Edgar P. Jacobs (a collaborator of Hergé’s). Stylistically this is reminiscent of a Tintin story. The action, however, is unsoftened by humour and the dialogue comes unrefined from the information…