Tin Tin Adventures Books

Tintin in the Land of the Soviets / Tintin in the Congo by Hergé — Reviews, Discussion, Bookclubs, Lists
Tintin Books | Bloomsbury Store

Tintin bypassed me in my comic reading youth. I started with the Beano and moved on to Asterix before progressing to the men in tights crowd. Tintin was an unknown. Still, it's always felt like a hole in my comic reading heritage and I enjoyed Spielberg's film so decided to start reading them

I knew in advance I would be stepping in at the weak (and controversial) end of the series but I like progression and continuity too much to read them out of order.

Crude is a pretty apt description of Land o

I knew in advance I would be stepping in at the weak (and controversial) end of the series but I like progression and continuity too much to read them out of order.

Crude is a pretty apt description of Land of the Soviets, especially related to the pencils which appear rushed, poorly thought out and a world away from his later work. The weekly serial nature doesn't make for cohesion or good reading and the portrayal of the evil Russians is more amusing than offensive these days.

Tintin in the Congo is just as bad in terms of plot/story though at least looks a lot nicer. Sporadic and inconsequential, unless you count pissing off a large part of the population with fantastically racist colonial attitudes and a wanton disregard for animal life (I think the skinning the monkey bit was the highlight for me).

Still, I think it's hard to take offence now, if portrayed as an historical document of the era and a reflextion of attitudes at the time (admittedly, easy for this white middle class man to say), bearing in mind also that this is the 1946 version, not the more extreme original.

I think it is important that it is available to read (and not just for true fans). Used as a prompt to learn more about colonial attitudes, the history of Belgium in the Congo and how things evolved (including Hegre himself and his personal attitudes and later shame at his portrayal of other nations), this could be a powerful learning tool for children. The brief explanatory message before Congo seems a little too short - an essay or some such on the controversies and changing attitudes would be good. Still, not everyone will agree so beware if easily offended.

Not sure about anywhere else in the world but in New Zealand the book (which is a nice compact hardcover, small but easily read and not too small for the fine details and enjoyment - I like the larger individual stories but they cost too much cumulatively) is sealed in the shops and not generally available in many places. Given that 'golliwogs' are still freely available in major high street shops in NZ and sit on many a home mantelpiece, I thought this squeamishness was interesting. Hmmm. Good old NZ, flying willfully in the face of racist dolls.

Source: www.goodreads.com


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2009-09-17 07:17:25 by zuckus

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