Tintin is one of the most popular comic book characters to have ever come out of Europe. Written by the Belgian cartoonist Georges Remi, Tintin has captured the hearts and minds of readers all over the world.
Here are 16 fun facts about Tintin and his adventures that you might not know:
Tintin first appeared in 1929 in ‘Le Petit Vingtieme’, a weekly supplement for children. This was just a glimpse of the character, an announcement. The images published showed Tintin walking around the Kremlin.
Tintin’s first volume was published in 1929. It followed the adventures of the character as he journeyed to the Soviet Union with his dogSnowy to investigate Joseph Stalin‘s government.
In the beginning, the Tintin books were published in black and white. The first coloured volume came out in 1941 and it featured a story in which debris from a meteorite fell into the Arctic Ocean. On an expedition to investigate the occurrence, Tintin encountered resistance.
For the longest time, Tintin stories were told in two parts. All that changed in 1954 when ‘The Calculus Affair’ came out. The story followed Tintin and his friend Captain Haddock as they tried to resolve the abduction of Professor Calculus. This was the last album to feature two-part stories. In the years that followed, the author began creating stories that would start and end within the same book.
The last Tintin instalment was ‘Tintin and Alpha-Art’, a book that was manufactured using the author’s notes and published in 1986. This was after the author’s death.
A new version of ‘Tintin and Alpha-Art’ was published in 2004. The edition was inspired by new documents that provided additional insight into the ending the author probably had in mind for the story.
Over 230 million copies of Tintin have been sold since the character debuted in 1929. The character’s fame has reached all corners of the globe, with his stories having been translated into over 70 languages.
It is believed that the story of Tintin was inspired by Palle Huld, a Danish teenager who won a contest organised by Politiken, a Danish newspaper. Palle won a trip around the world. His story became so famous that he started making appearances in every newspaper around Europe. This is supposed to be the inspiration for Tintin.
All the main characters in Tintin are male, not just Tintin but all his friends. There are no important female characters in any of the comics.
Most people know Georges Remi, the author, as Herge ― the pen name he used when he wrote Tintin. Georges was born in 1907. He started using the pen name in 1924 to sign his illustrations.
Herge drew Tintin with very simple features. The goal was to make him so expressionless that readers could project any emotion they wanted on him.
Herge’s Tintin in the Congo story compelled readers to accuse him of racism. The criticisms were elicited by the demeaning manner in which he portrayed Africans.
Herge also courted trouble with ‘The Blue Lotus’, a book published in 1943. Herge used the ideas of Chang Chong-Chen, a Chinese friend and student at the Academy of Fine Arts (Brussels). The result was an anti-Japan story that drew the ire of the Japanese Consul in Belgium whose complaints compelled publishers to revise the book, removing certain problematic sections.
In the 1940s, Herge’s success with the Tintin books exerted undue physical and psychological stress on his person. He felt enslaved by his achievements.
Even though Tintin, the character, was an avid traveller, with his adventures taking him all over the world. Herge never visited any of the countries he wrote about. The author eventually went to the US and Taiwan (1971 and 1973).
Herge was diagnosed with osteomyelofibrosis in 1979. He died in 1983.
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