The Adventures of Tintin

2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Cartoons

The Adventures of Tintin (Les Aventures de Tintin) is a series of comic strip narratives created by Georges Remi under the pseudonym Hergé (a reversal of his initials, R G, as pronounced in French). They first appeared in French in a children's supplement to the Belgian newspaper Le Vingtième Siècle in 1929. Set in a painstakingly researched world closely mirroring our own, The Adventures of Tintin present a number of well realised characters in distinctive settings. The series has continued as a favourite of readers and critics alike for over 70 years.

The hero of the series is the eponymous character, Tintin, a young reporter and traveller. He is aided in his adventures from the beginning by his faithful dog Snowy (Milou in French). Later, popular additions to the cast included Captain Haddock and other colourful supporting characters.

The success of the series saw the serialised strips collected into a series of albums, spun into a successful magazine and adapted for both film and theatre. The series is one of the most popular European comics of the 20th century, with translations published in over 50 languages and more than 200 million copies of the books sold to date.

The comic strip series has long been admired for its clean, expressive drawings in Hergé's signature ligne claire style. Engaging, well-researched plots, straddle a variety of genres: swashbuckling adventures with elements of fantasy; mysteries; political thrillers; and science fiction. The titles in the Tintin series always feature slapstick humour, offset in later albums by sophisticated satire and political/cultural commentary.


Tintin is a reporter, and Hergé uses this to present the character in a number of adventures which were contemporaneous to the period in which he was working, most notably the Bolshevik uprising in Russia, the Second World War and the moon landings. Hergé also created a world for Tintin which managed to reduce detail to a simplified but recognisable and realistic representation, an effect Hergé was able to achieve with reference to a well-maintained archive of images.

Though Tintin's adventures are formulaic—presenting a mystery which is then solved logically—Hergé infused the strip with his own sense of humour, and created supporting characters who, whilst being predictable, were filled with charm that allowed the reader to engage with them. This formula of comfortable, humorous predictability is a similar to the presentation of cast in the Peanuts strip or The Three Stooges. Hergé also had a great understanding of the mechanics of the comic strip, especially pacing, a skill displayed in The Castafiore Emerald, a work he meant to be packed with tension in which nothing actually happens.

Hergé initially improvised the creation of Tintin's adventures, uncertain how Tintin would escape from whatever predicament appeared. Not until after the completion of Cigars of the Pharaoh was Hergé encouraged to research and plan his stories. The impetus came from Zhang Chongren, a Chinese student who, on hearing Hergé was to send Tintin to China in his next adventure, urged him to avoid perpetuating the perceptions Europeans had of China at the time. Hergé and Zhang collaborated on the next serial, The Blue Lotus, which has been cited by critics as Hergé's first masterpiece.

Other changes to the mechanics of creating the strip were forced on Hergé by outside events. The Second World War and the invasion of Belgium by Hitler's armies saw the closure of the newspaper in which Tintin was serialised. Work was halted on Land of Black Gold, and the already published Tintin in America and The Black Island were banned by the Nazi censors, who were concerned at their presentation of America and Britain. However, Hergé was able to continue with Tintin's adventures, publishing four books and serialising two more adventures in a German licensed newspaper.

A post-war paper shortage forced changes in the format of the books. Hergé had usually allowed the stories to develop to a length that suited the story, but with paper now in short supply, publishers Casterman asked Hergé to consider using smaller panel sizes and adopt an arbitrary length of 62 pages. Hergé took on more staff (the first ten books having been produced by himself and his wife), eventually building a studio system.

The adoption of colour allowed Hergé to expand the scope of the works. His use of colour was more advanced than that of American comics of the time, with better production values allowing a combination of the four printing shades and thus a cinematographic approach to lighting and shading. Hergé and his studio would allow images to fill half pages or, more simply, to detail and accentuate the scene, using colour to emphasise important points. Hergé notes this fact, stating "I consider my stories as movies. No narration, no descriptions, emphasis is given to images."

Hergé's personal life also affected the series, with Tintin in Tibet heavily influenced by his recurring bad dreams. These nightmares, which he reportedly described as being "all white", are reflected in the snowy landscapes. The plot has Tintin set off in search of Chang Chong-Chen, previously seen in The Blue Lotus, and the piece contains no villains and little moral judgement, with Hergé even refusing to refer to the Snowman of the Himalayas as "abominable".

The conclusion of Tintin's adventures was untimely. Hergé's death on March 3, 1983 left the twenty-fourth adventure, Tintin and Alph-Art, unfinished. The plot saw Tintin embroiled in the world of modern art, and the story ended with Tintin apparently about to be killed, encased in perspex and presented as a work of art.


Tintin and Snowy

Tintin is a young Belgian reporter (as well as an accomplished fighter pilot) who becomes involved in dangerous cases in which he takes heroic action to save the day. Almost every adventure features Tintin hard at work at his investigative reporting, but he is rarely seen actually turning in a story. He is a young man of more or less neutral attitudes and is less colourful than the supporting cast.

Snowy, an exceptionally white terrier, is Tintin's four-legged companion, who travels everywhere with him. The bond between the dog and Tintin is unbreakable, and they regularly save each other from perilous situations.

Like Captain Haddock, Snowy is fond of the Loch Lomond brand of whisky, and his occasional bouts of drinking tend to get him into trouble, as does his raging arachnophobia. The French name of Snowy, "Milou", has nothing to do with snow or the colour white. It is an oblique reference to a girlfriend from Hergé's youth, Marie-Louise Van Cutsem, whose nickname was "Milou".

Captain Haddock

Captain Archibald Haddock, a seafaring captain of disputed ancestry (he may be of English, French or Belgian origin), is Tintin's best friend, and was introduced in The Crab with the Golden Claws. Haddock was initially depicted as a weak and alcoholic character, but later he became more respectable. He evolves to become genuinely heroic and even a socialite after he finds a treasure from his ancestor, Sir Francis Haddock, in the episode Red Rackham's Treasure. The Captain's coarse humanity and sarcasm act as a counterpoint to Tintin's often implausible heroism; he is always quick with a dry comment whenever the boy reporter seems too idealistic. Captain Haddock lives in his luxurious mansion called Marlinspike Hall ("Moulinsart" in the original French).

Haddock uses a range of colourful insults and curses to express his feelings, such as "billions of bilious blue blistering barnacles", "ten thousand thundering typhoons", "troglodytes", " bashi-bazouk", " kleptomaniac", " anacoluthon", and " pockmark", but nothing that is actually considered a swear word. Haddock is a hard drinker, particularly fond of Loch Lomond whisky, and his bouts of drunkenness are often used for comic effect.

Hergé stated that Haddock's surname was derived from a "sad English fish that drinks a lot". Haddock remained without a first name until the last completed story, Tintin and the Picaros (1976), when the name Archibald was suggested.

Supporting characters

Hergé's supporting characters have been cited as far more developed than the central character, each imbued with a strength of character and depth of personality which has been compared with that of the characters of Charles Dickens. Hergé used the supporting characters to create a realistic world in which to set his protagonist's adventures. To further the realism and continuity, characters would recur throughout the series. It has been speculated that the occupation of Belgium and the restrictions imposed upon Hergé forced him to focus on characterisation to avoid depicting troublesome political situations. The major supporting cast was developed during this period.

  • Professor Cuthbert Calculus (Professeur Tournesol {Prof. Sunflower} in French), an absent-minded and half-deaf physicist, is a minor but regular character alongside Tintin, Snowy, and Captain Haddock. Introduced in Red Rackham's Treasure, and based partially on Auguste Piccard, his appearance was initially not welcomed by the leading characters, but through his generous nature and his scientific ability he develops a lasting bond with them.
  • Thomson and Thompson (Dupont et Dupond) are two bumbling detectives who, although unrelated, look like twins with the only discernible difference being the shape of their moustaches. They provide much of the comic relief throughout the series, being afflicted with chronic spoonerism and shown to be thoroughly incompetent. The detectives were in part based on Hergé's father and uncle, identical twins who wore matching bowlers.
  • Bianca Castafiore is an opera singer who Haddock absolutely despises. However, she seems to constantly be popping up wherever they go, along with her maid, Irma, and pianist, Igor Wagner. She was based upon Hergé's Aunt Ninie.
  • Other recurring characters include Nestor the butler, Alcazar the South American general, Kalish Ezab the emir, Abdullah the emir's son, Chang the chinese boy, Muller the evil German doctor, and Rastapopolous the criminal mastermind.


The settings within Tintin have also added depth to the strips. Hergé mingles real and fictional lands into his stories, along with a base in Belgium from where the heroes set off. This is originally 26 Labrador Road, but later Marlinspike Hall. This is best demonstrated in King Ottokar's Sceptre, in which Hergé creates two fictional countries ( Syldavia and Borduria) and invites the reader to tour them in text through the insertion of a travel brochure into the storyline. Other fictional lands include San Theodoros, San Paolo and Nuevo Rico in South America, the kingdom of Gaipajama in India, Sondonesia in Australasia and Khemed in the Middle East. Despite these fictional countries, he also included real countries and places; the U.S.A., U.S.S.R, Congo, Japan, Belgium, Egypt, India, Sahara Desert, Germany, Scotland, England, Peru, Tibet and China. Another setting was the Moon, and in the first edition of Land of Black Gold, Palestine, though this was later replaced by the fictional Khemed.

Creating the works


Hergé's extensive research began with The Blue Lotus, Hergé stating: "it was from that time that I undertook research and really interested myself in the people and countries to which I sent Tintin, out of a sense of responsibility to my readers."

Hergé's use of research and photographic reference allowed him to build a realised universe for Tintin, going so far as to create fictionalised countries, dressing them with specific political cultures. These were heavily informed by the cultures evident in Hergé's lifetime. Pierre Skilling has asserted that Hergé saw monarchy as "the legitimate form of government", noting that democratic "values seem underrepresented in [such] a classic Franco-Belgian strip." Syldavia in particular is described in considerable detail, Hergé creating a history, customs, and language. He set the country in the Balkans, and it is, by his own admission, modeled after Albania. The country finds itself threatened by neighbouring Borduria with an attempted annexation appearing in King Ottokar's Sceptre. This situation parallels Czechoslovakia or Austria and expansionist Nazi Germany prior to World War II.

Hergé's use of research would include months of preparation for Tintin's voyage to the moon in the two part storyline spread across Destination Moon and Explorers on the Moon. His research for the storyline was noted in New Scientist: "[T]he considerable research undertaken by Hergé enabled him to come very close to the type of space suit that would be used in future Moon exploration, although his portrayal of the type of rocket that was actually used was a long way off the mark."


In his youth Hergé admired Benjamin Rabier and suggested that a number of images within Tintin in the Land of the Soviets reflected this influence, particularly the pictures of animals. René Vincent, the Art Deco designer, also had an impact on early Tintin adventures: "His influence can be detected at the beginning of the Soviets, where my drawings are designed along a decorative line, like an 'S'...". Hergé also felt no compunction in admitting that he had stolen the round noses from Geo McManus, feeling they were "so much fun that I used them, without scruples!"

During the extensive research Hergé carried out for The Blue Lotus, he became influenced by Chinese and Japanese illustrative styles and woodcuts. This is especially noticeable in the seascapes, which are reminiscent of works by Hokusai and Hiroshige.

Hergé also declared Mark Twain an influence, although this admiration may have led him astray when depicting Incas as having no knowledge of an upcoming eclipse in Prisoners of the Sun, an error attributed by T.F. Mills to an attempt to portray "Incas in awe of a latter-day 'Connecticut Yankee'".

Criticisms of the series

The earliest stories in The Adventures of Tintin have been criticised for racist and colonialist leanings, including caricatured portrayals of non-Europeans. Whilst the Hergé Foundation have presented this as naïveté, and scholars of Hergé such as Harry Thompson have claimed "Hergé did what he was told by the Abbé Wallez", Hergé himself felt his background made it impossible to avoid holding certain right-wing views. He stated: "I was fed the prejudices of the bourgeois society that surrounded me."

In Tintin in the Land of the Soviets, the Bolsheviks were presented as the villains of the piece, with Hergé drawing on Moscow Unveiled, a work given to him by Wallez and authored by Joseph Douileet. The work is highly critical of the Soviet regime, although Hergé contextualised this by noting that in Belgium, at the time a devout Catholic nation, "Anything Bolshevik was atheist". Hergé later dismissed the failings of this first story as "a transgression of my youth". By 1999 this presentation was being noted as far more reasonable, The Economist declaring: "In retrospect, however, the land of hunger and tyranny painted by Herge was uncannily accurate".

In Tintin in the Congo, the Africans have been criticised as being presented as naïve and primitive. In the original work, Tintin is shown at a blackboard addressing a class of African children. "Mes chers amis," he says, "je vais vous parler aujourd'hui de votre patrie: La Belgique" ("My dear friends, I am going to talk to you today about your fatherland: Belgium"). Hergé redrew this in 1946 to a lesson in mathematics. Hergé later admitted the flaws in the original story, excusing it by noting: "I portrayed these Africans according to ... this purely paternalistic spirit of the time". The perceived problems with this book were summarised by Sue Buswell in 1988 as being "all to do with rubbery lips and heaps of dead animals" although Thompson noted this quote may have been "taken out of context". "Dead animals" refers to the fashion for big game hunting at the time of work's original publication. Drawing on André Maurois' Les Silences du colonel Bramble, Hergé presents Tintin as a big game hunter, bagging 15 antelope as opposed to the one needed for the evening meal. However, concerns over the number of dead animals did lead the Scandinavian publishers of Tintin's adventures to request changes. A page which presented Tintin killing a rhinoceros by drilling a hole in the animal's back and inserting a stick of dynamite was deemed excessive, and Hergé substituted a page which saw the rhino accidentally discharge Tintin's rifle whilst the erstwhile hunter snoozed under a tree.

The adventure which is usually regarded as the first "serious" Tintin adventure is The Blue Lotus. This story, set in China during the then-current Sino-Japanese War, criticised Japanese and Western colonial meddling in China and helped to dispel popular myths about the Chinese people. From then on, meticulous research would be one of Hergé's trademarks.

Some of the early albums were altered by Hergé in subsequent editions, usually at the demand of publishers. For example, at the instigation of his American publishers, many of the black characters in Tintin in America were re-coloured to make their race white or ambiguous. The Shooting Star album originally had an American villain with the Jewish surname of Mr. Blumenstein. This proved to be controversial, as the character looked very stereotypically Jewish. He was changed to an American with a less ethnically specific name, Mr. Bohlwinkel, in later editions and subsequently to a South American of a fictional country. Hergé later discovered that 'Bohlwinkel' was also a Jewish name.

Whilst Tintin has been criticised on many occasions for not being much of a reporter, given he is rarely seen filing copy, Harry Thompson advanced a rebuttal in his work Tintin: Hergé & His Creation. Thompson argues that the 1920s had seen a change in the role of reporting, with "adventurer-journalists, who created their own news and reported it from a very personal perspective" very much the vogue of the day. Thompson asserts that Tintin was filing "news back in the shape of a cartoon strip." Tom McCarthy has noted that Tintin in the Land of the Soviets is presented as being the copy of a real journalist, with the illustrations purportedly photographs, which he avers "would allow it to invoke notions of documentary rigour". At the end of the serial publication of this first adventure an actor was hired to pretend to be Tintin, arriving back from the Soviet Union by train on the 8 May, 1930.

Adaptations and exhibitions

The Adventures of Tintin have been adapted in a variety media besides the original comic strip and its collections. Hergé encouraged adaptations and members of his studio working on the animated films. After Hergé's death, the Hergé Foundation became responsible for authorising adaptations and exhibitions. The Foundation has stated that its role is to protect "Hergé's work ... ensuring that it is respected, both in its content and in its spirit."


There have been both live-action and animated film adaptations of The Adventures of Tintin.

  • The Crab with the Golden Claws (1947) - animated, based on the book.
  • Tintin and the Golden Fleece (1961) - live action, developed from an original script.
  • Tintin and the Blue Oranges (1964) - live action, developed from an original script.
  • Tintin and the Temple of the Sun (1969) - animated, based on the book.
  • Tintin and the Lake of Sharks (1972) - based on an original script and subsequently adapted into comic book form.

Steven Spielberg, a lifelong fan of The Adventures of Tintin, has obtained the rights to produce the next movie, but has twice had to drop his plans. Spielberg's love of the character is thought to have influenced the atmosphere and lead characterization in his Indiana Jones trilogy. Both characters having strong moral codes and childhood adventures with the boy scouts. Spielberg has commented on the influence, noting he has "always loved Tintin," and that "some of Indiana Jones was inspired by the books".


Two documentaries have been made about Tintin and his creator Hergé.

  • I, Tintin (1966), a French documentary
  • Tintin and I (Tintin et Moi) By Danish director Anders Høgsbro Østergaard in 2003 and was a co-production of companies from Denmark, Belgium, France, and Switzerland. This documentary was based on a taped interview with Hergé by Numa Sadoul from 1971. Although the interview was published as a book, Hergé was allowed to edit the work prior to publishing and much of the interview was excised. Østergaard wanted to explore "the relationship between life and art" in the documentary, asserting that Hergé was "a highly sensitive, nervous person who is absorbed by impulses but who tries to maintain control and wisdom at the same time. The comic strip is influenced by Hergé's personal maturation process; he transforms his life, and the Tintin universe is never the same again". The documentary was broadcast in the United States as "Tintin and I" on the PBS channel, July 11th, 2006.


Two animated television series have been made, both of which were adaptations of the comic strips rather than original stories.

The first was Hergé's Adventures of Tintin, produced by Belvision. The series aired from 1958 to 1962, with 104 five-minute episodes produced. It was adapted by Charles Shows and then translated into French by Michel Regnier ("Greg"), the then editor of Tintin magazine. This series has been criticised for differing too greatly from the original books and for its poor animation.

The second series was The Adventures of Tintin , featuring 21 of the stories. It ran for three seasons (from 1991 to 1992) and was co-directed by Stéphane Bernasconi, unit directed by Peter Hudecki, and produced by Ellipse (France), and Nelvana (Canada), on behalf of La Foundation Hergé. Writers for the series included Toby Mullally, Eric Rondeaux, Martin Brossolet, Amelie Aubert, Denise Fordham and Alex Boon. Traditional animation techniques were used on the series, adhering closely to the books during all stages of production - some frames from the original albums were transposed directly to screen. The series has aired in over 50 countries.


Hergé himself helped to create two Tintin stage plays: Tintin in India: The Mystery of the Blue Diamond (1941) and The Disappearance of Mr. Boullock (1941–42). These were written with Jacques Van Melkebeke and performed in Brussels.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, two Tintin plays appeared at London. They were adapted by Geoffrey Case for the Unicorn Theatre Company. The plays were, Tintin's Great American Adventure, based on the comic Tintin in America, which was shown 1976–77, and Tintin and the Black Island, based on The Black Island, and shown in 1980. This second play later went on tour, eventually reaching Quebec in Canada.

A musical based on The Seven Crystal Balls and Prisoners of the Sun premièred on 15 September 2001 at the Stadsschouwburg (city theatre) in Antwerp, Belgium. It was entitled Kuifje – De Zonnetempel (De Musical) and was broadcast on Canal Plus, before moving on to Charleroi in 2002 as Tintin – Le Temple du Soleil. The show boasted an impressive orchestral score composed by Dirk Brossé with lyrics by Seth Gaaikema and performed by Het Nationaal Orkest Van België (the National Orchestra of Belgium). The show featured around twenty different songs. Three CDs were later released based on the music from the show; the first, a single of De Zon was released on the 9th April 2001; the second, released on the 2nd October 2001 was a full cast album; whilst the third CD, released in 2002, contained a thirteen minute orchestral suite based on some of the songs appearing in the show. The music was performed by the JWF Military Orchestra, conducted by Jørgen Jensen.

The Young Vic theatre company ran a musical version of Tintin in Tibet at the Barbican Arts Centre in London from December 2005 to January 2006. The production was directed by Rufus Norris, and was adapted by Norris and David Greig. Grieg has noted that the production had difficulties with the adaptation, in particular that the adaptation had to be faithful to the spirit of the work rather than the actual text: "To find the essence of the story, you sometimes have to see things from a different angle". Norris also noted that the work had needed to be expanded: "We had to deepen it and show these characters in a three-dimensional light". The Hergé Foundation have organised the return of this show to the West End in December 2006 and January 2007 in order to celebrate the Hergé centenary (2007).

Unofficial comic books

Various unofficial comics have been released, ranging from illegal pirated versions of original albums to pastiches and parodies, including the pornographic Tintin in Thailand, which reportedly circulated from December 1999 onwards. The Belgian police launched a sting operation and made a number of arrests in early 2001, confiscating 650 copies. However, the BBC has reported that thousands of the forgeries were still in circulation in Thailand in February 2001.

Yves Rodier has produced a number of Tintin works, although none of these have been authorised by the Hergé Foundation and are thus illegal. The unfinished Tintin book, Tintin and Alph-art, was unofficially completed by Rodier and saw publication in Autumn 1986, Rodier then presented it to Moulinsart, asking that it become an official book, a request Moulinsart denied. In 1991, Rodier met Bob de Moor, and together they asked to redraw the book, but again Moulinsart refused permission; De Moor died in 1992. Rodier later redrew certain parts of the work and released it on CD-ROM. Rodier has also created new adventures for the character; The Witches Lake; the first page of an uncompleted work titled A Day at the Airport; an extra page for Tintin in Tibet, page 27b; and the three page Tintin, Freelance reporter for 'le petit vingtieme', to show how Tintin got his first major reporting job and went to the U.S.S.R.

Harry Edwood is another famous artist producing pastiches of Tintin. He draws covers for stories that do not exist in the canon, as well as several of his own Tintin stories - The Voice of the Lagoon and The Elves of Marlinspike.

In 1989, an anarchist graphic novel entitled Breaking Free was published in England under the pseudonym "J. Daniels". The propaganda story is not related to any of the original Tintin novels, and only two characters from those books appear in this unauthorized work with their original names, though a small number of other characters make cameos under different names. Tintin and Captain Haddock appear as nephew and uncle, and are labourers. They grow disenchanted by ineffective labour unions, corruption in high places and the affluence of the wealthy who are driving out poorer tenants to make room for luxury housing. They unite with friends, neighbours and striking co-workers, to slowly organize into a nationwide movement that by the end of the novel is on the verge of toppling the British government. The book was published without copyright and was released into the public domain.


Hergé's work on Tintin has formed the basis of many exhibitions, with the Hergé Foundation creating a mobile exhibition in 1991. "The World of Hergé" is described by the Foundation as being "an excellent introduction to Hergé's work". Materials from this exhibition have also formed the basis for larger shows, namely "Hergé the Draughtsman", an exhibition to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Tintin's creation, and the more recent "In Tibet With Tintin". In 2001 the Musée de la Marine staged an exhibition of items related to the sea which had inspired Hergé. In 2002 the Bunkamura Museum of Art in Japan staged an exhibition of original drawings, as well as the submarine and rocket ship invented in the strips by Professor Calculus. Barcelona has also hosted an exhibition on Tintin and the sea, "llamp de rellamp" at the Maritime Museum in 2003.

2004 saw exhibitions in Holland, "Tintin and the Incas" at the Royal Museum of Ethnology; the "Tintin in the City" exhibition in the Halles Saint Géry in Brussels; and an exhibition focusing on Tintin's exploits at sea at the National Maritime Museum in London. The latter exhibition was in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the publication of Tintin's first adventure, and was organised in partnership with the Fondation Hergé. 2004 also saw the Belgian Centre for Comic Strip Art add an area dedicated to Hergé.

Memorabilia and merchandise

Three soft toy versions of Snowy (Milou). Image by misocrazy.
Three soft toy versions of Snowy (Milou). Image by misocrazy.

Images from the series have long been licensed for use on merchandise, the success of the Tintin magazine helping to create a market for such items. Tintin's image has been used to sell a wide variety of products, from alarm clocks to underpants. There are now estimated to be over 250 separate items related to the character available, with some becoming collectors items in their own right.

Since Hergé's death, the Hergé Foundation have maintained control of the licenses, through Moulinsart, the commercial wing of the foundation. Speaking in 2002, Peter Horemans, the then director general at Moulinsart noted this control: "We have to be very protective of the property. We don’t take lightly any potential partners and we have to be very selective ... for him to continue to be as popular as he is, great care needs to be taken of his use." However, the Foundation has been criticised by scholars as "trivialising the work of Herge by concentrating on the more lucrative merchandising" in the wake of a move in the late nineties to charge them for using relevant images to illustrate their papers on the series.


Tintin memorabilia and merchandise has allowed a chain of stores based solely on the character to become viable. The first shop was launched by Jane Taylor in 1984, located in Covent Garden, London, and there are now branches worldwide, including two in Belgium, located in Brussels and Bruges. The British bookstore chain, Ottakars was named after King Ottokar, from the Tintin book King Ottokar's Sceptre, and their shops stock a large number of Tintin merchandise. There are also a number of Tintin themed cafés located around the world.


Tintin's image has been used on numerous occasions, the first issued by the Belgian Postin 1979 to celebrate the day of youth philately. This was the first in a series of stamps with the images of Belgian comic heroes, and was the first stamp in the world to feature a comic hero.

In 1999, the Royal Dutch Post released two stamps on October 8, 1999, based upon the Destination Moon adventure, with the stamps selling out within hours of release. The French post office, Poste Française, then issued a stamp of Tintin and Snowy in 2001. To mark the end of the Belgian Franc, and also to celebrate the seventieth anniversary of the publication of Tintin in the Congo, two more stamps were issued by the Belgian Post on December 31, 2001. The stamps were also issued in The Congo at the same time. 2002 saw the French Post issue stamped envelopes featuring Tintin, whilst in 2004 the Belgian post-office celebrated its own seventy-fifth anniversary, as well as the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Explorers on the Moon and the thirty-fifth anniversary of the moon landings with a series of stamps based upon the Explorers on the Moon adventure. In 2007, to celebrate Herge's centenary year, Belgium, France and Switzerland all plan to issue special stamps in commemoration.


Besides stamps, Tintin has also been commemorated by coin several times.

In 1995, Monnaie de Paris issued a set of 12 coins to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Herge's death, made of silver, and in a limited edition of 5000.

Another coin was released to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Tintin book ' Explorers on the Moon', in a limited run of 10,000.

Belgium minted a limited edition 10-euro coin to celebrate the 75th birthday of Tintin in January of 2004. The coin, composed of silver, was limited to a minting of 50 000, and although a euro is legal tender only in Belgium, which launches a commemorative coin annually. Other coins have honoured Georges Simenon and the 60th anniversary of the peace in Europe which began with the end of World War II. The coin features Tintin and Snowy. The sum of ten euros is usually represented by a note rather than coin.

Translation into English

The process of translating Tintin into the English language was a complex affair, commissioned in 1958 by Methuen & Co. Ltd. of London. It was a joint-operation, headed by Leslie Lonsdale-Cooper and Michael Turner, who worked closely with Hergé to attain an accurate translation as true as possible to the original work. The works were also sold in the American market by the Atlantic Monthly Press in cooperation with Little, Brown and Company beginning the 1970s. The text features the originally translated British English text with alterations to localized British words such as gaol, tyre, saloon and spanner. Currently, they are being published under the Joy Street imprint of Little, Brown and Company.

Due in part to the large amount of language-specific wordplay (such as punning) in the series, especially the jokes which played on Professor Calculus’ partial deafness, it was always the intention not to translate literally, instead striving to sculpt a work whose idioms and jokes would be meritorious in their own right; however, in spite of the free hand Hergé afforded the two, they worked closely to the original text, asking for regular assistance to understand Hergé's intentions.

More than simply translating, however, the English versions were anglicised to appeal to British customs and values. Milou, for example, was renamed Snowy at the translators’ discretion. Moreover, the translation process served to colour the imagery within the book; the opportunity was taken to make scenes set in Britain more true-to-life, such as ensuring that the British police were free from firearms, and ensuring scenes of the British countryside were more accurate for discerning British readers. Because the translated text was placed into the original speech balloons without alteration to their original dimensions, the linguistic differences between the two languages (meaning that certain phrases were either significantly shorter or longer in the English language) led to the unexpectedly empty or full balloons which can often be seen in the English versions of the book.


Tintin and his creator Hergé have inspired many artists within comics. Most notably, Hergé's ligne claire style has proven influential. Contributors to the Tintin magazine have employed ligne claire and, more recently, Jacques Tardi, Yves Chaland, Jason Little, Phil Elliott, Martin Handford, Geoff Darrow and Garen Ewing have produced works utilising it.

Tintin's legacy includes the establishment of a market for comic strip collections; the serialisation followed by collection model has been adopted by creators and publishers in France and Belgium. This system allows for greater financial stability, as creators receive money whilst working. This rivals the American and British model of work for hire. Roger Sabin has argued that this model allowed for "in theory ... a better quality product." Paul Gravett has also noted that the use of detailed reference material and a picture archive, which Hergé implemented from The Blue Lotus onwards, was as "a turning point ... in the maturing of the medium as a whole."

In the wider art world, both Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein claim Hergé as one of their most important influences. Lichtenstein made paintings based on fragments from Tintin's comics, whilst Warhol utilised the ligne claire and even made a series of paintings with Hergé as subject. He declared: "Herge has influenced my work in the same way as Walt Disney. For me, Herge was more than a comic strip artist."

In music, Tintin has been the inspiration to a number of bands and musicians. A British technopop band of the 1980s took the name The Thompson Twins after the Tintin characters. Stephen Duffy, a former member of Duran Duran, performed the minor hit single "Kiss Me" under the name "Tintin"; he had to drop the name under pressure of a copyright infringement suit. Duffy would later release the album Designer Beatnik under the name "Doctor Calculus" in reference to Professor Calculus. An Australian psychedelic rock band and an American independent progressive rock band have used the name " Tin Tin", and British electronic dance music duo Tin Tin Out were similarly inspired by the character. South African singer/songwriter Gert Vlok Nel compares Tintin to God in his Afrikaans song "Waarom ek roep na jou vanaand", presumably because Tintin is such a morally pure character.

Hergé has been lauded as "creating in art a powerful graphic record of the 20th century's tortured history" through his work on Tintin. whilst Maurice Horn's Encyclopaedia of World Comics declares him to have "spear-headed the post World War II renaissance of European comic art" French philosopher Michel Serres noted that the 23 Tintin albums constituted a "chef-d'oeuvre" to which "the work of no French novelist is comparable in importance or greatness".

On June 1, 2006, the Dalai Lama bestowed the International Campaign for Tibet's Light of Truth award upon the character of Tintin, along with the Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The award was in recognition of Hergé's book Tintin in Tibet, which the Executive Director of ICT Europe Tsering Jampa noted was "(f)or many ... their introduction to the awe-inspiring landscape and culture of Tibet". In 2001 the Hergé Foundation demanded the recall of the Chinese translation of the work, which had been released with the title "Tintin in China's Tibet". The work was subsequently published with the correct translation of the title. Accepting on behalf of the Hergé Foundation, Hergé's widow Fanny Rodwell declared: "We never thought that this story of friendship would have a resonance more than 40 years later".


  • Charles de Gaulle once said "My only international rival is Tintin."

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