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 some fun facts about Tintin and his adventures that you might not know:
1. Tintin is nearly a century old.
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.
2. He started out as an anti-Stalin investigator.
3. Tintin wasn’t always a color adventure.
In the beginning, the Tintin books were published in black and white. The first colored 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.
4. No more cliffhangers!
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.
5. There hasn’t been a new Tintin book since the 1980s.
6. However, his last adventure was given the ‘deluxe’ treatment.
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.
7. Tintin is enormously popular.
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.
8. Is Tintin based on a real person?
It is believed that the story of Tintin was inspired by Palle Huld, a Danish teenager who won a contest organized 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.
9. There’s a huge gender imbalance.
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.
10. Tintin’s creator used a pseudonym.
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.
11. Tintin was created as a reader avatar.
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.
12. Some of Tintin’s adventures have not aged well.
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.
13. Seriously – racism was an issue.
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.
14. Herge wasn’t always happy with his lot.
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.
15. Herge wrote about places he never visited.
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).
16. Herge passed away in the early 1980s.
Herge was diagnosed with osteomyelofibrosis in 1979. He died in 1983.
FAQs about Tintin
How old is the TinTin?
Tintin is always portrayed as a young man, likely to be a teenager - so no older than 19 years of age.
Why does Tintin have no parents?
It’s never explained why Tintin’s parents are absent from his stories, though some suggest Herge’s fractured family relationships to be a potential indicator.
What era is Tintin set in?
Tintin is generally set in the early to mid 20th century, roughly around when the books were originally written.
Do you know any fun facts about TinTin? Share them in the comments below!