Monday, May 16, 2011

Tintin and Me

Since childhood my folks would buy stacks of comics for me at various garage sales and swap meets. One day, sometime in the mid-80’s, they came home with a pile of large format Tintin books, and therein I discovered the Zen joy of the adventures of this diminutive French reporter and his rum-chugging sailor buddy Captain Haddock (Haddock actually didn’t come along until the later, best stories. He started out as a sort of villain). They were great adventure stories, spanning the globe and even going to the moon (while most of the stories were firmly grounded in a certain realism, the moon adventure was far more a flight of fancy).

A sort of sly, winking Euro-humor within the stories really added to the subtle flavor of the tales. The antics of the heroes were always rousing adventure, with the occasional violence sudden and brief. The very feel of the stories lent themselves very well to a Call of Cthulhu vibe. I mined ideas for my COC games pretty heavily in the 90’s. For example, there was a scene where Tintin and Haddock were trapped on a train in the Mountains (a footnote at the bottom of the page let you know it was the highest rail in the world at that time) of Peru that was out of control and rolling back down the mountain at increasing speeds to eventually end up careening off a bride hundreds of feet up. My ripping off of that entire sequence (and also later the attempted sacrifice of the heroes by cultists and their being saved by knowing an eclipse was coming) made for one of the most exciting Cthulhu games I had ever ran.

Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson have produced a 3D animated movie of Tintin for Fall of this year, with an all star cast of voices including Daniel Craig, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (of Shaun of the Dead fame). Although an animated version has the best chance of being true to the source material, I am a bit sad this will preclude a live action version any time real soon. The film will for sure be huge in Europe where Tintin is still beloved, but who knows how it will pan out in the states. I actually think there is a big fan base out there in the USA, plus references to Tintin are all over pop culture here for decades. The popular 80’s cheese band Thompson Twins are named after Tintin’s policeman pals, and every now and again you see the little dude and his dog “Snowy” on T-shirts. So we’ll see. A big hit or not, I’ll be seeing the film. If for nothing else, Tintin inspired some great gaming from me, and just all around gives me a warm fuzzy feeling inside. Blistering barnacles!


  1. Have you seen Murray Groat's Lovecraftian Tintin book covers?

    You can see them here; I think my favourite is Tintin at the Mountains of Madness.

  2. Tintin and Asterix. Two comics that I loved as a kid, and wanted to share with my kids. Alas, they are utterly disinterested, preferring their DS's and Wii's.


  3. Tin Tin was a fantastic comic. I discovered the adventure with the pirate treasure first and was completely hooked. The thought of Spielberg and Jackson makes me shudder and slightly nauseous.