the cry of strange birds (futuresoon) wrote,
the cry of strange birds

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christ how long did I spend on this

So this was probably inevitable, wasn't it.

The Adventures of Tintin is a comic series that ran from 1929 to 1976. Is that a hell-ass long time? Yes! But actually there are only twenty-three volumes (plus one unfinished one), and they are not terribly long. Here is a picture that shows the covers of all of them!

The first one, Tintin in the Land of the Soviets, is basically just anti-communist propaganda. And the art kinda sucks. Let's be honest: there's a reason you can't get it in America. So let's just forget about that one, shall we? The second one, Tintin in the Congo, uh, let's just not talk about it. It's--it's the one we don't talk about. But you can't get it in America either, so that is the mootest of points.

The Adventures of Tintin was created by a Belgian dude who went by the name Hergé. He's said some questionable things, but--and this is a thing you will hear over and over--he was a product of the time period. I prefer to think positively about the guy, since he did create one of the most successful and popular comics in the history of the world. Yeah, you thought the US has some famous stuff? The Adventures of Tintin kicks America's ass. Well, except in America. We don't really care about it here. Because we're uncultured nitwits.

But maybe I should say what the comic is actually about. That is a thing I should do!

Predictably, The Adventures of Tintin is about a dude named Tintin. Is that his first name or last name? Fuck if we know. How old is he? No goddamn idea. He is a man of mystery! (Or possibly boy.) What we do know is that his idea of having an enjoyable life is dashing all over the world doing crazy shit like taking down crime lords and busting up smuggling rings. Theoretically he is a journalist, but probably kind of a crappy one, since we never see him actually writing any articles. One would wonder how he can possibly afford all that international travel. We'll get to that later.

Also, he has a dog.

The dog's name is Snowy. I'd like to say he's an awesome dog, but for every time he does something badass he also does something stupid, so his usefulness fluctuates. If you have a burning desire to see small dogs get drunk, this is the series for you.

art by Kate Beaton

Still, he does follow his crazy master no matter how batshit things get, and there's something to be said for that.

Tintin has some other friends, too!

The most significant of these are the ones directly next to him: Professor Calculus, the dude in green; Thompson and Thomson, the dudes in black; and Captain Haddock, the dude in blue. Professor Calculus is pretty much a walking plot generator. The Thomsons (who probably are not related, it remains a mystery) are detectives with a remarkable penchant for being completely awful at everything. Captain Haddock is a former sea captain turned inherited-millionaire who keeps hanging around Tintin for no adequately-explained reason.

Sometimes, he and Tintin are married.

Later in the series it is implied that Tintin starts living in Captain Haddock's mansion, Marlinspike Hall. This is probably the reason Tintin can afford to go running off having expensive adventures. There are many upsides to having a millionaire best friend.

art by sexlock

So, basically, this is not a terribly deep series. Tintin goes around having adventures. Eventually the rest of the cast shows up and comes along. It's all very thrilling. And family-friendly!

...well, except for all the guns and alcoholism.

The Adventures of Tintin is a weird mix. For the most part, it's pitch-perfect for kids--exciting adventures! nothing permanently bad ever happens! there's a dog!--but there really aren't a whole lot of children's stories where the hero wields a gun.

Granted, I don't believe he ever actually kills anybody with them, but he doesn't seem too concerned with the idea. Also, there's a volume where a character commits suicide, and another one that ends with a panel showing two dead villains being tormented by demons in Hell. So...depends on the kid? I mean, I loved the hell out of this stuff when I was little, it never bothered me. But it's the sort of thing people think kids are bothered by. Unless they're European, I guess.

Mostly I was too entranced by how Tintin is completely badass.

art by memotava

art by ask tintin and snowy

Seriously, how old is this kid? Hergé said in the early volumes he's supposed to be 14-15, and he does get a little taller over time, but there's no way he has any kind of training in any of the shit he does. Piloting airplanes? No big deal. Crazy-ass chase sequences? All in a day's work. Punching out dudes twice his size? Ain't no thing. Also he appears to be fluent in approximately every language ever. The only injury that brings him down for a significant period of time is when he's shot in the head. And there's this.

Say what you will about Tintin in the Land of the Soviets, but dang.

He does, admittedly, have a tendency towards being his own damsel in distress. The number of times he gets kidnapped/knocked unconscious/tied up is...remarkable.

One of the most interesting parts of adulthood is the ability to look back at the things you loved when you were a kid and discover where all your fetishes came from.

(Fortunately, I am not the only person who has done this.)

art by alikurai

art by aleafterall

art by acertainpavane

art by doobird

art by doobird

Actually, I'm pretty sure this series is where I first even saw the word "fetish"--the volume The Broken Ear uses it, and I have counted, 66 times in 62 pages. Imagine my adolescent surprise at discovering that it meant something besides "small statue". Imagine my semi-grown-up intrigue at discovering that I could apply both definitions to the series.

art at

But anyway.

I should also point out that the series has an occasional tendency towards the batshit.

And...well, okay, yes, we're going to have to deal with the racism.

The reason we don't talk about Tintin in the Congo is that it's kind of impressively awful with its portrayal of Africa. Most of the stories take place in non-European cultures, albeit often fictional ones; South America, Asia, and the Middle-East all get multiple times in the sun, with...varying success. Hell, even Tintin in America--coincidentally the first volume to be published in America--has some random dimwitted Native Americans. Because 1931 Chicago was just one step away from the Wild West, am I right? (Admittedly, I get the feeling Hergé just wanted to cram in as much ~American~ stuff as possible, given that the main plot of the volume is about gangsters.) But! There are defensive arguments to be made! First and foremost is just to repeat to yourself "product of the time period" over and over. Second is to notice that pretty much everybody besides Tintin, regardless of race, is far from a bastion of intelligence and competence. Third is to discover a particular facet of Hergé's life and think about what that actually meant.

The first four volumes of the series are by far the best/worst examples of its more dubious tendencies. The fifth volume, The Blue Lotus, takes place in China, and probably would have been just as bad as the others--except that when Hergé told a friend that he was setting it in China, the friend told him to actually do some research for once, and recommended to him a Chinese guy who happened to be living in Belgium at the time.

Cue eternal broship and a thorough re-education.

In The Blue Lotus, China is not portrayed as a backwards culture, and its people are shown to overall be pretty decent folks. I could be misremembering this, but I think it's also the first one where non-white people don't speak "broken" French/English; instead, they use complete sentences and generally just sound like everyone else. (My Watsonian theory for this is that Tintin is much better at Chinese than previous languages and therefore can actually understand what they are saying. It makes more sense than Chinese peasants being fluent in French/English, anyway.) It's not perfect, and it actually villainizes Japan to a remarkable extent, but it's a hell of a lot better than what the series had before.

Also, Hergé was so happy about this new friendship that he went and based a character on the guy. Enter Chang, who sadly is only in two volumes--this and the later Tintin in Tibet--but nevertheless manages to be literally the only other character besides Tintin to show consistent intelligence and competence. He's also the only other teenager, weirdly enough. I seriously, seriously wish he'd stuck around for the whole series; at the very least, his insta-friendship with Tintin was hella adorable.

art by huliia

art by sel-cordel

art by acertainpavane

But enough talk of canon. LET'S RUIN SOME CHILDHOODS.

art by elprinceling

...actually, okay, this is pretty much the one time in the history of ever my childhood is on the winning side. It's not that there isn't good art and fic of that sort of thing! There is! I've looked for it! I've enjoyed it! But somehow it just feels super-weird to have it in this post. So no porn for you. Sorry.

...go ahead and have some fluff, though.

art by baruyon

art by umakoo

art by minyi

art by doobird

art by lamamama

So by now, you may be thinking to yourself, "heavens, how may I acquire any of this undoubtedly wonderful series?". To which I can reply: yeah, you're gonna have to buy it. I believe Amazon has all the (available in America) volumes at reasonable prices. There is also a cartoon that adapts them with reasonable faithfulness, which is also available on Amazon at reasonable prices. But if you don't want to make the commitment of buying a physical thing, then, well, quite coincidentally, there's this "movie" thing, I don't know, you might have heard me mention it.

The movie, also called The Adventures of Tintin, combines the volumes The Crab with the Golden Claws and The Secret of the Unicorn, and is in fact completely accessible to people who have never even heard of the comic, although there are a number of bonuses (particularly in the opening credits) for fans. Its creative credits alone should be enough to recommend it--directed by Steven Spielberg, produced by Peter Jackson, and written by Steven Moffat, Edgar Wright, and admittedly-I-don't-know-who-Joe-Cornish-is? Damn, yo. As for whether or not these folks know enough about the series to handle it properly--well, let's take a look at a promo image for the comic and a promo image for the movie.

And while we're at it, an actual for-serious screencap from the movie's first scene.

Yeah. Fanboys, the lot of'em.

Other things of note about the movie: Even if you are leery of motion-capture, there is nothing to fear! The characters are just stylized enough to avoid the uncanny valley, and the objects and backgrounds are A+ forever. This is aided by the actors being kind of ridiculously awesome. Jamie Bell has Tintin's voice down, and Andy Serkis has already proven himself to be the grand king of mocap acting. If you can recognize Daniel Craig without looking at the credits, I salute you.

The one thing the movie does best, though, is its action scenes. Its crazy, crazy action scenes.

Want a pirate battle? Well, how about a pirate battle in the middle of a storm where the ships are on fire?

A chase sequence? Well, that's all very well and good, but wouldn't it be better if it was ten minutes long, involved multiple switches of vehicles, featured a grenade launcher and a tank, made physics its bitch, and was filmed in one shot?

That lone gif cannot even begin to describe just how ridiculously awesome that sequence is. You might think I'm being hyperbolic. You might think it won't be able to live up to my exaggeration. You would be wrong. Jesus Christ, I have no fucking idea how they did it. Certainly no live-action camera would be able to do such a chaotic shot for so long. I just--I can't. It must be seen to be believed.

This concludes my long-ass picspam flailfest. Seriously, if you're a fan of Adventure, you owe it to yourself to check this shit out. Comics, movie, whatever, just do it. And then, if you are so inclined, you can look for the porn. As a final hurrah, here are a bunch of other images that I just really like.

art by sexlock

(Yeah, they went to the moon. It was awesome.)

art by neversayneverland

art by fredworth

(Tintin is a master of disguise.)

(There were a couple live-action French films. From what I can tell, their best feature is that their Tintin 1) is completely adorable and 2) frequently strips.)

art by puffintalk

art by baruyon

art by northernbanshee

can't find the artist for this, alas

art by sexlock

(Reasons you can tell Steven Moffat was one of the screenwriters: at one point, a character yells, "GERONIMO!", and in the background of one scene is a man wearing a bow tie and a fez. Also, someone mentions "the giant rat of Sumatra". The man just wants to put everything in everything, doesn't he.)

art by idiacanthus

art by manicpanicroom

art by typette

(Apparently, one of the writers for Fantastic Four was a bit of a fan.)

art by benjaminrivers

(You see, in the cartoon and movie, we English-speakers pronounce his name to rhyme with "bin". But in French, it rhymes with "faun". One of the reasons we pronounce it differently is that the French pronounciation just sounds weird; the other reason...well, guess.)

art by themightyatom

And finally:

(Outdated dialogue: never not funny.)

Tags: doctor who, i like actors, i like comics, i like directors, i like movies, i like writers, picspam of justice, sherlock holmes, tintin

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