one-off at the wrist

Advent II

Behind Window 2: Tintin.

tintin  book covers

Tintin! The boy reporter [though apart from in the early stories, we never actually see him doing his job much]. Both the adventures themselves and the great artwork of Hergé [Belgian artist Georges Rémi].

I first happened across the English translations whilst still a pre-teen [Red Sea Sharks was my first encounter] and have been hooked ever since. I admit it was only recently when Spielberg started work on his feature version that I realised that although translated into more than 80 languages it is not a collection of works that are well known in the USA!?


I really like the works for their clean, expressive drawings in Hergé’s signature ligne claire style. The beautifully coloured illustrations with details reduced to a simplified but recognisable and realistic representation [achieved by reference to a well-maintained archive of images] and a cinematographic approach to lighting and shading. The well-researched plots which encompass a variety of genres: swashbuckling adventures with elements of fantasy, mysteries, political thrillers, and science fiction. The mingling of real [exotic] and fictional lands into the stories. Idiosyncratic characters. Slapstick humour, accompanied later on by satire, and political and cultural commentary. The fantastic pacing of the stories. The densely-packed narratives [allowing close textual analysis] that novelist Tom McCarthy describes as  “stupendously rich”, containing “a mastery of plot and symbol, theme and sub-text”.


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