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The Adventures of Tintin

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The Adventures of Tintin

The main characters and others from The Castafiore Emerald In the centre is Tintin.
Created by Hergé
Publication information
  • Casterman
  • Le Lombard
  • Egmont Publishing
Formats Original material for the series has been published as a strip in the comics anthology(s)
  • Le Petit Vingtième
  • Le Soir
  • Tintin
 and a set of graphic novels.
Original language French
  • Action/ adventure
Publication date 1929 – 1976
Main character(s)
  • Tintin
  • Snowy
  • Captain Haddock
  • Professor Calculus
  • Thomson and Thompson
Creative team
Writer(s) Hergé
  • Hergé
  • Bob de Moor
  • Edgar P. Jacobs
  • Jacques Martin
  • Roger Leloup
  • Edgar P. Jacobs
  • Josette Baujot
  • Fanny Rodwell
Creator(s) Hergé

The Adventures of Tintin (French: Les Aventures de Tintin) is a series of comic albums created by Belgian cartoonist Georges Remi (1907–1983), who wrote under the pen name of Hergé. The series is one of the most popular European comics of the 20th century, with translations published in more than 50 languages and sales of more than 200 million copies as of 2003.

The series first appeared in French on 10 January 1929 in Le Petit Vingtième, a children's supplement to the Belgian newspaper Le XXe Siècle. The success of the series saw the serialised strips published in Belgium's leading newspaper Le Soir and spun into a successful Tintin magazine. In 1950, Hergé created Studios Hergé, which produced the canonical series of twenty-four Tintin albums. The Adventures of Tintin have been adapted for radio, television, theatre, and film.

The series is set during a largely realistic 20th century. Its hero is Tintin, a young Belgian reporter. He is aided by his faithful fox terrier dog Snowy (Milou in the original French editions). Later, popular additions to the cast included the brash and cynical Captain Haddock (French: Capitaine Haddock), the highly intelligent but hearing-impaired Professor Calculus (French: Professeur Tournesol), and other supporting characters such as the incompetent detectives Thomson and Thompson (French: Dupont et Dupond).

The series has been admired for its clean, expressive drawings in Hergé's signature ligne claire ("clear line") style. Its well-researched plots straddle a variety of genres: swashbuckling adventures with elements of fantasy, mysteries, political thrillers, and science fiction. The stories feature slapstick humour, offset by dashes of sophisticated satire and political or cultural commentary.


Georges Remi came up with the character of Tintin, a young boy reporter, whilst working at the Belgian newspaper Le XXe Siècle (The 20th Century). Writing under his pen name, Hergé pioneered the new character in the story Tintin in the Land of the Soviets. This comic, which involved Tintin battling the socialist authorities in the Soviet Union, was serialised in Le XXe Siècle's supplement for children, Le Petit Vingtième (The Little Twentieth), from 10 January 1929 until 11 May 1930. The series was an instant success; sales of the Thursday edition of the newspaper, the day the supplement appeared, were to increase by 600%. Hergé went on to pen a string of Adventures of Tintin, sending his character to real locations such as the Belgian Congo, the United States, Egypt, India, China, and the United Kingdom, and also to fictional countries of his own devising, such as the Latin American republic of San Theodoros and the East European kingdom of Syldavia.

The eighth Tintin adventure, King Ottokar's Sceptre (1939), involved Tintin battling the forces of fictional fascist state Borduria, whose leader, named Müsstler, was a combination of Nazi German leader Adolf Hitler and Italian Fascist leader Benito Mussolini.

Himself an anti-fascist, Hergé focused his series The Adventures of Tintin on non-political themes to avoid trouble with the Gestapo (pictured here) during the period of Nazi occupation.

In May 1940, Nazi Germany invaded Belgium as World War II broke out across Europe, and although Hergé briefly fled to France and considered a self-imposed exile, he ultimately decided to return to his occupied homeland. To ensure their own dominance, the Nazi authorities closed down Le XXe Siècle, leaving Hergé unemployed. In search of employment, he was given a job as an illustrator at Belgium's leading newspaper, Le Soir (The Evening), which was allowed to continue publication under German management. On 17 October 1940 he was made editor of the paper's children's supplement, Le Soir Jeunesse, in which he set about producing new Tintin adventures. In this new, more repressive political climate, Hergé could no longer explore political themes in his Adventures of Tintin lest he be arrested by the Gestapo. As Tintinologist Harry Thompson noted, Tintin's role as a reporter came to an end, to be replaced by his new role as an explorer, something which was not a politically sensitive topic.

With the end of the war, Hergé left Le Soir and, in 1946, accepted an invitation to continue The Adventures of Tintin in the new Tintin magazine (Le journal de Tintin). Finally, Hergé's Tintin series reached the height of its success in 1950 when he created Studios Hergé. The studios produced eight new Tintin albums, coloured and reformatted several old Tintin albums, and ultimately completed twenty-three albums of the canon series. Studios Hergé continued to release additional publications until Hergé's death in 1983. In 1986, a twenty-fourth unfinished album was released, the Studios were disbanded, and its assets were transferred to the Hergé Foundation. The Adventures of Tintin continue to entertain new generations of Tintin fans today.



Tintin and Snowy

Tintin is a young Belgian reporter who becomes involved in dangerous cases in which he takes heroic action to save the day. Almost every adventure features Tintin hard at work in his investigative journalism, but seldom is he seen actually turning in a story. He is a young man of neutral attitudes with whom the audience can identify; in this respect, he represents the everyman.

Readers and critics have described Tintin as a well-rounded yet open-ended, intelligent and imaginative character, noting that his rather neutral personality—sometimes labelled as bland—permits a balanced reflection of the evil, folly and foolhardiness which surrounds him. His Boy Scout ideals, which represent Hergé's own, are never compromised by the character, and his status allows the reader to assume his position within the story, rather than merely following the adventures of a strong protagonist. Tintin's iconic representation enhances this aspect, with Scott McCloud noting that it "allows readers to mask themselves in a character and safely enter a sensually stimulating world."

Snowy (Milou in Hergé's original version), a fox terrier dog, is Tintin's loyal, four-legged companion. The bond between Snowy and Tintin is very deep as they have saved each other from perilous situations many times. Snowy frequently "speaks" to the reader through his thoughts (often displaying a dry sense of humour), which are apparently not heard by the human characters in the story. Snowy has nearly let Tintin down on occasion, particularly when distracted by a bone. Like Captain Haddock, he is fond of Loch Lomond brand Scotch whisky, and his occasional bouts of drinking tend to get him into trouble. When not distracted, Snowy is generally fearless, his only fear being arachnophobia.

Captain Haddock

Captain Archibald Haddock, a seafaring Captain of disputed ancestry (he may be of Belgian, French, English, or Scottish origin) is Tintin's best friend, a Merchant Marine Captain, who was introduced in The Crab with the Golden Claws. Haddock was initially depicted as a weak and alcoholic character, but later evolves to become genuinely heroic and even a socialite after he finds a treasure captured by his ancestor, Sir Francis Haddock. 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 the luxurious mansion Marlinspike Hall.

Haddock uses a range of colourful insults and curses to express his feelings, such as "billions of blue blistering barnacles" or "ten thousand thundering typhoons", " bashi-bazouk", " visigoths", " kleptomaniac", or " sea gherkin", but nothing actually considered a swear word. He is a hard drinker, particularly fond of rum and of Scotch whisky, especially Loch Lomond; his bouts of drunkenness are often used for comic effect.

Professor Calculus

Professor Calculus, an absent-minded professor and half-deaf physicist, is a regular character alongside Tintin, Snowy, and Captain Haddock. He was introduced in Red Rackham's Treasure, and based partially on Auguste Piccard, a Swiss physicist. His presence was initially not welcomed by the leading characters, but through his generous nature and his scientific ability he develops a lasting bond with them. Eventually, at the end of the album Land of Black Gold, he has become a resident of Marlinspike Hall. Calculus has a tendency to act in an aggressive manner when someone says he's "acting the goat." He is a fervent believer in dowsing, and carries a pendulum for that purpose. Calculus's deafness is a frequent source of humour, as he repeats back what he thinks he has heard, usually in the most unlikely words possible. He does not admit to being near-deaf and insists he is only a little hard of hearing in one ear.

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 protagonists' 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.

  • Thomson and Thompson are two incompetent detectives who look like identical twins whose only discernible difference is the shape of their moustaches. They provide much of the comic relief throughout the series, being afflicted with chronic spoonerisms, are extremely clumsy, thoroughly incompetent, and usually bent on arresting the wrong character, but in spite of this they somehow get entrusted with delicate missions. The detectives usually wear bowler hats and carry walking sticks, except when abroad; during those missions they insist on wearing the stereotypical costume of the locality they are visiting so that they blend into the local population, but instead manage to dress in folkloric attire that actually makes them stand apart. The detectives were in part based on Hergé's father Alexis and uncle Léon, identical twins who often took walks together wearing matching bowler hats while carrying matching walking sticks.
  • Bianca Castafiore is an opera singer whom Haddock absolutely despises. She seems to constantly be popping up wherever he goes, along with her maid Irma and pianist Igor Wagner. She is comically foolish, whimsical, absent-minded, and talkative, and seems unaware that her voice is shrill and appallingly loud. Her specialty is the Jewel Song (Ah! je ris de me voir si belle en ce miroir) from Gounod's opera, Faust, and sings this at the least provocation, much to Haddock's dismay. She tends to be melodramatic in an exaggerated fashion and is often maternal toward Haddock, of whose dislike she remains ignorant. She often confuses words, especially names, with other words that rhyme with them or of which they remind her; "Haddock" is frequently replaced by malapropisms such as " Paddock", " Stopcock", or " Hopscotch", while Nestor, Haddock's butler, is confused with "Chestor" and "Hector." Her own name means "white and chaste flower," a meaning to which Professor Calculus refers when he offers a white rose to the singer in The Castafiore Emerald. She was based upon opera divas in general (according to Hergé's perception), Hergé's Aunt Ninie (who was known for her "shrill" singing of opera), and, in the post-war comics, on Maria Callas.
  • Other recurring characters include Nestor the butler, Chang the loyal Chinese boy, Rastapopoulos, the criminal mastermind, Jolyon Wagg the infuriating (to Haddock) insurance salesman, General Alcazar the South American leader, Kalish Ezab the Arab emir, Abdullah the emir's mischievous son, Doctor Müller the evil Nazi German doctor, Oliveira de Figueira the friendly salesman who can sell even the most trivial of items, Cutts the Butcher whose phone number is repeatedly confused with Haddock's, and Allan, Rastapopoulos' henchman and formerly Haddock's first mate.


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—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 Khemed on the Arabian Peninsula, San Theodoros, São Rico, and Nuevo Rico in South America, and the kingdom of Gaipajama in India. Along with these fictitious locations, actual nations were employed such as Belgium, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States, the Soviet Union, Congo, Peru, India, Egypt, Indonesia, Nepal, Tibet, and China. Other actual locales used were the Sahara Desert, the Atlantic Ocean and the Moon.


Hergé's extensive research began with The Blue Lotus; Hergé stated, "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 a language which is actually a Slavian-looking transcript of Marols, the Flemish dialect of Brussels. 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 the Italian conquest of Albania and of Czechoslovakia and Austria by 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: "The 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". The moon rocket is based on the German V-2 rockets.


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 image of round noses from George 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 solar 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'".



On 1 June 2006, the Dalai Lama bestowed the International Campaign for Tibet's Light of Truth Award upon the character of Tintin, along with South African 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 "for 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 stated, "We never thought that this story of friendship would have a resonance more than 40 years later".

Tintinology and literary criticism

The study of The Adventures of Tintin is known as Tintinology, with its followers being varyingly known as Tintinologists, Tintinophiles, Tintinolators, Tintinites or Hergélogues. One notable Tintinologist is the Belgian Philippe Goddin, who published Hergé et Tintin reporters: Du Petit vingtième au Journal Tintin (1986, later republished in English as Hergé and Tintin Reporters: From "Le Petit Vingtieme" to "Tintin" Magazine in 1987) and Hergé et les Bigotudos (1993) amongst other books on the series. In 1983, Benoît Peeters published Le Monde d'Hergé, subsequently published in English as Tintin and the World of Hergé in 1988. Although Goddin and Peeters were native French-speakers, the English reporter Michael Farr also published works on Tintinology such as Tintin, 60 Years of Adventure (1989), Tintin: The Complete Companion (2001), Tintin & Co. (2007) and The Adventures of Hergé (2007), as had English screenwriter Harry Thompson, the author of Tintin: Hergé and his Creation (1991).

The Adventures of Tintin have also been examined by literary critics, primarily in French-speaking Europe. In 1984, Jean-Marie Apostolidès published his study of the Adventures of Tintin from a more "adult" perspective as Les Métamorphoses de Tintin, although it would only appear in English as The Metamorphoses of Tintin, or Tintin for Adults in 2010. In reviewing Apostolidès' book, Nathan Perl-Rosenthal of The New Republic thought that it was "not for the faint of heart: it is densely-packed with close textual analysis and laden with psychological jargon." Following Apostolidès's work, French psychoanalyst Serge Tisseron examined the series in his books Tintin et les Secrets de Famille ("Tintin and the Family Secrets"), which was published in 1990, and Tintin et le Secret d'Hergé ("Tintin and Hergé's Secret"), published in 1993.

The first English-language work of literary criticism devoted to the series was Tintin and the Secret of Literature, written by the novelist Tom McCarthy and published in 2006. In this book, McCarthy compares Hergé's work with that of Aeschylus, Honouré de Balzac, Joseph Conrad and Henry James and argues that the series contains the key to understanding literature itself. McCarthy considered the Adventures of Tintin to be "stupendously rich", containing "a mastery of plot and symbol, theme and sub-text" which, influenced by Tisseron's psychoanalytical readings of the work, he believed could be deciphered to reveal a series of recurring themes, ranging from bartering to implicit sexual intercourse that Hergé had featured throughout the series. Reviewing the book in The Telegraph, Toby Clements argued however that McCarthy's work, and literary criticism of Hergé's comic strips in general, cut "perilously close" to simply feeding "the appetite of those willing to cross the line between enthusiast and obsessive" in the Tintinological community.


The earliest stories in The Adventures of Tintin have been criticised for both displaying animal cruelty as well as racial stereotypes, violent, colonialist, and even fascist leanings, including caricatured portrayals of non-Europeans ( Ethnocentrism). While the Hergé Foundation has presented such criticism as naïveté, and scholars of Hergé such as Harry Thompson have claimed that "Hergé did what he was told by the Abbé Wallez", Hergé himself felt that his background made it impossible to avoid prejudice, stating that "I was fed the prejudices of the bourgeois society that surrounded me."

In Tintin in the Land of the Soviets, the Bolsheviks were presented without exception as villains. Hergé drew on Moscow Unveiled, a work given to him by Wallez and authored by Joseph Douillet, the former Belgian consul in Russia, that 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". In the story, Bolshevik leaders are motivated only by personal greed and by a desire to deceive the world. Tintin discovers, buried, "the hideout where Lenin, Trotsky, and Stalin have collected together wealth stolen from the people". Hergé later dismissed the failings of this first story as "a transgression of my youth". By 1999, some part of this presentation was being noted as far more reasonable, with British weekly newspaper The Economist declaring, "In retrospect, however, the land of hunger and tyranny painted by Hergé was uncannily accurate".

Tintin in the Congo has been criticised as presenting the Africans 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 show a lesson in mathematics. Hergé later admitted the flaws in the original story, excusing it by saying, "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 the work's original publication.

Drawing on André Maurois' Les Silences du colonel Bramble, Hergé presents Tintin as a big-game hunter, accidentally killing fifteen 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 in which the rhino accidentally discharges Tintin's rifle while he slept under a tree. In 2007 the UK's Commission for Racial Equality called for the book to be pulled from the shelves after a complaint, stating that "it beggars belief that in this day and age that any shop would think it acceptable to sell and display 'Tintin In The Congo'." In August 2007, a complaint was filed in Brussels, Belgium, by a Congolese student, claiming the book was an insult to the Congolese people. Public prosecutors are investigating, however, Belgium's Centre for Equal Opportunities warned against "over-reaction and hyper political correctness".

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 "Blumenstein". This proved to be controversial, as the character exhibited exaggerated stereotypically Jewish characteristics. "Blumenstein" 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 – São Rico. Hergé later discovered that 'Bohlwinkel' was also a Jewish name.

Adaptations and memorabilia

The Adventures of Tintin has been adapted in a variety of 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 Crab with the Golden Claws (1947) – The first successful attempt to adapt one of the comics into a feature film. Written and directed by Claude Misonne and João B Michiels, the film was a black-and-white stop-motion puppet production created by a small Belgian studio.
  • Tintin and the Golden Fleece (1961) – A French live action film was released, adapted not from one of Hergé's Adventures of Tintin but instead from an original script written by André Barret and Rémo Forlani. Directed by Jean-Jacques Vierne and starring Jean-Pierre Talbot as Tintin and Georges Wilson as Haddock, the plot revolves around the protagonists travelling to Istanbul in Turkey to collect the Golden Fleece, a ship left to Haddock in the will of his friend, Themistocle Paparanic. Whilst in the city however, Tintin and Haddock discover that a group of villains also want possession of the ship, believing that it would lead them to a hidden treasure.
  • Tintin and the Blue Oranges (1964) – The success of the first Tintin live action film led to a second being released. Again based upon an original script, once more by André Barret, it was directed by Philippe Condroyer and starred Talbot as Tintin and Jean Bouise as Haddock. The plot revolves around a new invention, the blue orange, that can grow in the desert and solve world famines, which has been devised by Calculus' friend, the Spanish Professor Zalamea. An emir whose interests are threatened by the invention of the blue orange proceeds to kidnap both Zalamea and Calculus, and Tintin and Haddock travel to Spain in order to rescue them.
  • Tintin and the Temple of the Sun (1969) – The next feature film to be based upon the Adventures of Tintin was the animated, adapted from the comic books The Seven Crystal Balls and Prisoners of the Sun. Produced by Belvision, who had recently finished their television series based upon the Tintin stories, it was directed by Eddie Lateste and featured a critically acclaimed musical score by François Rauber. In 1970, Belvision then released an animated promotional short, Tintin et la SGM.
  • Tintin and the Lake of Sharks (1972) – based on an original script by Greg and subsequently adapted into comic book form.
  • The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn (2011) – Steven Spielberg directed a motion capture 3D film based on three stories published in the 1940s, The Crab with the Golden Claws (1941), The Secret of the Unicorn (1943), and Red Rackham's Treasure (1944). Peter Jackson's company Weta Digital provided the animation and special effects.

Jackson will co-direct and Spielberg will produce the second movie of the trilogy.

Television and radio

Two animated television series have been made, both 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 Greg (Michel Regnier), then editor-in-chief 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 twenty-one of the stories. It ran for three seasons (from 1991 to 1992), was co-directed by Stéphane Bernasconi and Peter Hudecki, and was produced by Ellipse (France), and Nelvana (Canada), on behalf of La Fondation Hergé. Traditional animation techniques were used on the series, adhering closely to the books to such an extent that some frames from the original albums were transposed directly to screen. The series was successful and it has aired in over fifty countries and was released on DVD. This series aired in the US on HBO.

BBC produced two The Adventures of Tintin radio series in 1992 and 1993 starring Richard Pearce as Tintin and Andrew Sachs as Snowy. Captain Haddock was played by Leo McKern in Series One and Lionel Jeffries in Series Two, Professor Calculus was played by Stephen Moore and Thomson and Thompson were played by Charles Kay.


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

  • I, Tintin (1976), a French documentary
  • Tintin and I (Tintin et Moi), by Danish director Anders Høgsbro Østergaard in 2003, 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. The documentary was broadcast in the United States as Tintin and I on the PBS network, 11 July 2006.


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 (1941–1942), both of which were written with Jacques Van Melkebeke and performed in Brussels. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, two Tintin plays appeared in London, adapted by Geoffrey Case for the Unicorn Theatre Company – these were Tintin's Great American Adventure, based on the comic Tintin in America, which was shown across 1976–1977, and Tintin and the Black Island, which was based on The Black Island and shown in 1980. This second play later went on tour.

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 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. The Hergé Foundation organised the return of this show to the West End theatre in December 2006 and January 2007 in order to celebrate the Hergé centenary (2007).


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 of 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 Hergé Foundation. 2004 also saw the Belgian Comic Strip Centre add an area dedicated to Hergé.

The 100th anniversary of Hergé's birth was commemorated with a large exhibition at the Paris museum for contemporary arts, Centre Georges Pompidou, from 20 December 2006 until 19 February 2007, featuring some 300 boards and original drawings, including all 124 original plates of The Blue Lotus.

Video games

A side scroller video game, Tintin on the Moon, was released by Infogrames in 1987. A platforming action game titled The Adventures of Tintin: Prisoners of the Sun was released by Infogrames Europe SA in 1996. An action-adventure video game called The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, a tie-in to the 2011 movie, was released by Ubisoft in October 2011.

Memorabilia and merchandise

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 Hergé by concentrating on the more lucrative merchandising" in the wake of a move in the late 1990s to charge them for using relevant images to illustrate their papers on the series.

NBC Universal acquired the rights to all of The Adventures of Tintin merchandise in North America.

The Tintin Shop in Covent Garden, London

Tintin memorabilia and merchandise has allowed a chain of stores based solely on the character to become viable. The first shop was launched in 1984 in Covent Garden, London. Tintin shops have also opened in both Bruges and Brussels in Belgium, and in Montpellier, France. The British bookstore chain, Ottakar's, founded in 1987, was named after the character of King Ottokar from the Tintin book King Ottokar's Sceptre, and their shops stocked a large amount of Tintin merchandise until their takeover by Waterstone's in 2006.

Stamps and coinage

Tintin's image has been used on postage stamps on numerous occasions, the first issued by the Belgian Post in 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 book hero. In 1999, the Royal Dutch Post released two stamps, 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 31 December 2001. The stamps were also issued in the Democratic Republic of 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 Hergé's centennial, 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 silver medallions to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Hergé's death, which were available in a limited edition of 5000. Another coin was released to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Tintin book Explorers on the Moon, again in a limited run, this time of 10,000. Belgium minted a limited edition commemorative coin to celebrate the 75th birthday of Tintin in January 2004. The coin, composed of silver and featuring Tintin and Snowy, was limited to a minting of 50,000. Although it has a face value of €10, it is, as with other commemorative euro coins of this type (i.e. not a commemorative issue of a standard euro coin), only legal tender in the country in which it was issued – in this case, Belgium.

Parody and pastiche

During Hergé's lifetime, parodies were produced of the Adventures of Tintin, with one of the earliest appearing in Belgian newspaper La Patrie after the liberation of the country from Nazi German occupation in September 1944. Entitled Tintin au Pays de Nazis ("Tintin in the Land of the Nazis"), the short and crudely drawn strip lampoons Hergé for working for a Nazi-run newspaper during the occupation.

Following Hergé's death, hundreds more unofficial parodies and pastiches of the Adventures of Tintin were produced, covering a wide variety of different genres. Tom McCarthy divided such works into three specific groupings: those which are pornographic, those which are political, and those which are artistic. In a number of cases, the actual name "Tintin" is replaced by something similar, like Nitnit, Timtim or Quinquin, within these books. Other parodies have been produced for political reasons, for instance Tintin in Iraq lampoons the world politics of the early 21st century, with Hergé's character General Alcazar representing President of the United States George W. Bush. Written by the pseudonymous Jack Daniels, Breaking Free (1989) is a revolutionary socialist comic set in Britain during the 1980s, with Tintin and his uncle (modelled after Captain Haddock) being working class Englishmen who turn to socialism in order to oppose the capitalist policies of the Conservative Party government of Margaret Thatcher. When first published in Britain, it caused an outrage in the mainstream press, with one paper issuing the headline that "Commie nutters turn Tintin into picket yob!"

Other comic creators have chosen to create stories that are more like fan fiction than parody. The Swiss comic creator Exem has produced a series of adventures about Tintin's "evil twin" Zinzin. Similarly, the Canadian comic book writer and illustrator Yves Rodier has produced a number of Tintin works, none of which have been authorised by the Hergé Foundation, including a 1986 "completion" of the unfinished Tintin and Alph-art, which he drew in imitation of Hergé's ligne-clair style.

The response to these parodies has been mixed in the Tintinological community. Many Tintinologists despise them, seeing them as an affront to Hergé's work, with this being the view taken by Nick Rodwell of the Studio Hergé, who declared that "None of these copyists count as true fans of Hergé. If they were, they would respect his wishes that no one but him draw Tintin's adventures." Where possible, Studio Hergé have taken legal action against those known to be producing such items. Other Tintinologists have however taken a different attitude, considering such parodies and pastiches to be tributes to Hergé, and collecting them has become a "niche speciality".

Translation into English


Tintin first appeared in English in the weekly British children's comic Eagle in 1951 in Vol 2:17 (3 August) and it ran in weekly parts in the lower half of the centrefold, beneath the cutaway drawings, until Vol 3:4 (2 May 1952). It was translated in conjunction with Casterman, Tintin's publishers, and starts by describing Tintin as "a French boy". Snowy was called by his French name "Milou".

The process of translating Tintin into British English was then 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. Due in part to the large amount of language-specific word play (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 with the original text, asking for regular assistance to understand Hergé's intentions.

The British translations were also Anglicised to appeal to British customs and values. Milou, for example, was renamed Snowy at the translators' discretion. The opportunity was taken to make scenes set in Britain more true-to-life, such as ensuring that the British police were unarmed, and ensuring scenes of the British countryside were more accurate for discerning British readers.


The works were also adapted for the American English market by Golden Books, a branch of the Western Publishing Company in the 1950s. The albums were translated from French into American English with some artwork panels blanked except for the speech balloons. This was done to remove content considered to be inappropriate for children, such as drunkenness and free mixing of races. The albums were not popular and only six were published in mixed order. The edited albums later had their blanked areas redrawn by Hergé to be more acceptable, and they currently appear this way in published editions around the world. Atlantic Monthly Press, in cooperation with Little, Brown and Company beginning in the 1970s, republished the albums based on the British translations with alterations to vocabulary not well known to a non-British audience (such as gaol, tyre, saloon and spanner). As of the early 21st century, they are being published under the Joy Street imprint of Little, Brown and Company.

Unlike in the United Kingdom, the books have had limited popularity in the United States. From 1966 to 1979 Children's Digest included monthly installments of The Adventures of Tintin. These serializations served to greatly increase Tintin’s popularity in the United States. At that time Children's Digest had a circulation of around 700,000 copies monthly.


Hergé is recognized as one of the leading cartoonists of the twentieth century. Most notably, Hergé's French: ligne claire style has been influential. Contributors to Tintin magazine have employed ligne claire, and later artists Jacques Tardi, Yves Chaland, Jason Little, Phil Elliott, Martin Handford, Geof Darrow, Eric Heuvel, Garen Ewing, and Joost Swarte have produced works using it.

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

In music, Tintin has been the inspiration to a number of bands and musicians. A British 1980s pop band took the name Thompson Twins after the Tintin characters. Stephen Duffy, lead singer of Duran Duran before they struck fame, had a UK number 4 hit with "Kiss Me" under the name Stephen "Tintin" Duffy; he had to drop the nickname, however, under pressure of a copyright infringement suit. 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 was 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 a morally pure character.

Scottish singer and actor Jimmy Somerville, as early as 1982, sported a new "look" with very short cut hair, and a kuifje ("small tuft" in Dutch) up-front, in a deliberate move to resemble Tintin character. Following this "breakthrough" in 80's fashions, lots of young gay men around the world adopted this new image for themselves, even to the point of advertising it as a Gay pride public statement.

Australian cartoonist Bill Leak often portrays Australia's round-faced former prime minister and subsequent foreign minister, Kevin Rudd, as Tintin.

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 30 May 2010, a life-sized bronze statue of Tintin and Snowy, and more than 200 other Tintin items, including many original panels by Hergé, sold for 1.08 million euros ($1.3 million USD) at a Paris auction.

In 1966, Charles de Gaulle said, "Mon seul rival international est Tintin. Nous sommes les petits qui n'avons pas peur des grands." ["My only international rival is Tintin. We are the small ones, who aren't afraid of the big ones"]. He said this when he banned all NATO aircraft bases from France; "the big ones" referred to USA and USSR.

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 "a turning point ... in the maturing of the medium as a whole".

List of titles

Following are the twenty-four canonical Tintin comic albums as named in English. Publication dates are of the original French-language versions.

Tintin comic albums
Number Title Serialization Book (b&w) Book (colour) Notes
1 Tintin in the Land of the Soviets 1929–1930 1930 At first Hergé prevented this book's republication. It has never been redrawn in a colour edition.
2 Tintin in the Congo 1930–1931 1931 1946 Re-published in colour and in a fixed 62-page format.
3 Tintin in America 1931–1932 1932 1945
4 Cigars of the Pharaoh 1932–1934 1934 1955
5 The Blue Lotus 1934–1935 1936 1946
6 The Broken Ear 1935–1937 1937 1943
7 The Black Island 1937–1938 1938 1943, 1966
8 King Ottokar's Sceptre 1938–1939 1939 1947
9 The Crab with the Golden Claws 1940–1941 1941 1943
10 The Shooting Star 1941–1942 1942 The first to be originally published in colour and, along with books 11 to 15, set a middle period for Hergé marked by war and changing collaborators.
11 The Secret of the Unicorn 1942–1943 1943
12 Red Rackham's Treasure 1943 1944
13 The Seven Crystal Balls 1943–1946 1948
14 Prisoners of the Sun 1946–1948 1949
15 Land of Black Gold 1948–1950 1950, 1971
16 Destination Moon 1950–1953 1953 Books 16 to 23 (and revised editions of books 4, 7 & 15) are creations of Studios Hergé.
17 Explorers on the Moon 1950–1953 1954
18 The Calculus Affair 1954–1956 1956
19 The Red Sea Sharks 1956–1958 1958
20 Tintin in Tibet 1958–1959 1960
21 The Castafiore Emerald 1961–1962 1963
22 Flight 714 1966–1967 1968
23 Tintin and the Picaros 1975–1976 1976
24 Tintin and Alph-Art 1986 2004 Hergé's unfinished book, published posthumously.

Apart from the series, a comic album not written by Hergé was released based on the film Tintin et le lac aux requins.

  • Tintin and the Lake of Sharks (1972)

Hergé attempted and then abandoned one comic album:

  • Le Thermozéro (1958)
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