More than 90 years have passed since the creation of the Tintin character. A character that if you haven’t even read his comics and missed his animations, you will definitely recognize him with that special hair and blue sweater. Tintin and his snow dog Milo are great symbols for the world of literature and animations of the 90s and are considered among the most important literary works of Belgium. In this article, we will review 10 less-heard facts from the adventures of Tin-Tan, our curious journalist.
Georges Prosper Remy, known by the stage name “Hergé” (or the abbreviation of his initials RG in French), is the main creator of Tintin and its characters. Hergé drew Tintin for the first time in 1929, and comics like “Tintin in the Congo”, “Tintin in the Soviet Union” and “Tintin in America” were among the first works of Tintin comics, which revolved around a curious journalist and his adventures with a dog. He was spinning. When you read the serialized Tintin comics, chances are you’ll notice a blond guy appearing in a significant number of the stories. This blond man is actually Herge himself or the creator of Tintin who had a special interest in drawing himself in comics. Of course, the relationship between Herge and his creature was not always like this, and later it turned into a strange love-hate relationship.
Tintin’s adventures are always known for his travels around the world and countries. The interesting thing is that Herge had not seen many of the countries of the world that he traveled to personally, and he finished the story by hearing from others and of course studying their history and culture. The only story of Tintin’s adventures in which the characters do not go on special trips and adventures is “Castafiore’s Emerald”, which is about the loss of one of Castafiore’s jewels in Captain Haddock’s family mansion with the DuPonts present. Although Castafiore’s Emerald is one of the stories that was praised by critics for its criminal nature and its attractive story, it did not reach the commercial success of other Tintin stories.
It is said that “Tin-Tin in Tibet” was probably Hergé’s most popular story and one of the most difficult to write. Herge’s emotional burden was high when he wrote this story, because he was separating from his first wife and had fallen in love with a younger woman at his workplace, whom we know today as “Fenny Vlamnik”. Tin Tin in Tibet is about Chang Chunchen, a close friend of Tin Tin who is said to have died in an accident on the Tibetan Plateau. Tintin, who doesn’t believe this news, goes to Tibet with Milo and Captain Haddock from the Himalayas. Tin Tin in Tibet is the first and last Tin Tin comic that does not have a negative character or antagonist, and because of its mystical themes, Tibetan Buddhism and emphasis on friendship, it became one of Hergé’s enduring works, which was later praised by the Dalai Lama.
Trifon Tornsal, who you probably know as “Professor Calculus” in Tintin’s Farsi comics, is one of Tintin’s friends and a distracted and somewhat deaf scientist. It is interesting to know that Hergé was inspired by the real scientist or August Pikar for his creation. Pikar was a Swiss physicist and inventor who had a special interest in flying balloons and working on such designs. Later, he even managed to design a deep-sea submarine after World War II, which he later delivered to the Franco-Belgian army. In Castafiore’s story, he identifies Thornstel as the hero of the balloon flight, a clear reference to Hergé’s model of combat.
In the comic Travel to the Moon, Tintin reaches the moon in 1954 and searches for it. This time is about 5 years before Sputnik was sent into space and of course 15 years before Neil Armstrong or the first man set foot on the moon. Hergé was very careful about the various details of Tintin’s stories, and how far the comics were ahead of their time can be seen by pointing out the problems that the astronauts might have while searching for the moon in these comics.
Like Hergé, Tin Tin has Belgian origins, and the country of Belgium has always shown special respect to Hergé and his creation, and even treats it like a national symbol. For example, in 2015, Brussels Airlines unveiled an Airbus A320 plane with a Tintin design in honor of Hergé. This plane is designed with the same design and color in honor of Professor Calculus’ famous submarine, which had the design of a shark, and the tail of the plane is modeled exactly like the tail of the shark from the story “Red Rackham’s Treasure”.
Also, in 1979, the Belgian Post Office issued commemorative stamps of Tintin, which was the first time that a country issued a design from a comic as a stamp design. The Belgian government has also kept similar works such as minting coins with the Tintin design, opening the Hergé museum, and other such works to keep Hergé’s name alive.
Milou (Milou) in French and Persian translation, or Snowy (Snowy) in English translation, is Tintin’s Fox Terrier dog, which is seen many times in his various comics. Milo repeatedly saves the lives of Tintin and Captain Haddock and helps them on their adventures. It is interesting to know that Milo has had an honorable presence and is seen in other works more than Tin Tin. He is featured in the Husbands and Knives episode of The Simpsons and Imaginationland Episode III of South Park.
Hergé has a famous saying in French that says “Tintin, c’est moi” or “Tintin, it’s me!” And until his death, he never talked about who he modeled Tintin’s character from. However, die-hard fans have often discussed Tintin’s original source of inspiration. One of those who is introduced as the original model of Tintin, Palle Huld was a Danish actor. In 1928, at the age of 15, he won a race to circumnavigate the world in 44 days. He traveled from America to Europe, China and Japan, the former Soviet Union and most of Britain in these 44 days, and after his return to Copenhagen, he was welcomed by more than 20,000 people.
Another person who is introduced as the main model of Tintin is a French journalist named “Robert Sexe”. He drives a famous motorcycle and his best friend is his dog named René Milhoux (same as Milo or snow in French) and he visited the Soviet Union, Congo and the United States on trips; Three countries that Tan-Tan travels in a strange way in his first three stories.
Apart from the animated series known as “The Adventures of Tintin” or the Animated Series, Tintin also has a famous movie adaptation. This film adaptation is based on the story of “The Secret of the Unicorn” and Steven Moffart (writer of the Sherlock series) and Edgar Wright (director of films such as Baby Driver) worked on the screenplay. On the other hand, Peter Jackson and Kathleen Kennedy, who we know with big names such as the Lord of the Rings trilogy and of course Star Wars, worked as producers with Steven Spielberg, who is one of the greatest directors of cinema, to make this animation come to fruition.
Leaving aside the voice actors and technologies ahead of the time of this animation, Tintin animation is one of the most faithful possible adaptations of comics that have done all their efforts to achieve a new but familiar image of Tintin. According to many, Spielberg liked Tintin’s gun-grabbing gesture in the comics, which is repeated several times, and one of the common points of this animation is Tintin repeating the same gesture again.
At the end of his life, Herge had lost his interest in Tintin, and he even drew sketches to express this feeling publicly. For example, in the special design on the cover of the 50th anniversary of the collection, Tintin plays the role of a master who punishes his slave or Herge with a whip. Herge finally passed away in March 1983, and with his death, his last story, “Tan-Tan and Art of the Alphabet” remained unfinished. Although after his death, Hergé had bequeathed that he did not want anyone to continue Tin-Tan, a number of different artists tried to finish his final story, none of which were successful. Finally, one of his imitators named Yves Rudire managed to finish this story after a few years.
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