I grew up in India reading Tintin. If you are a die hard fan of Tintin like me, you probably started scratching your head — when on earth “Tintin” was in India? He wasn’t. The closest Tintin came to India was Tibet but I was still able to find him!
If you are not familiar with the name then your reaction will be something like — Tin — who? Tintin is a young, happy-go-lucky, low key, globe trotting, mystery solving reporter and also the hero of the Belgian comic-strip written by Herge; Tintin is famous for his extreme intelligence, great guts and tremendous willpower. Accompanying him is his faithful companion — a snow white fox terrier named Snowy who follows his master everywhere in the world, even to the moon!
He is capable of becoming a terrific assistant of Tintin, only if he could resist the urge to get drunk! Yes! That dog just loves whiskey! Then there is Captain Haddock, a retired sailor with a hideously foul mouth and unbelievably evil temper who is actually very good at heart and a genuine friend of Tintin.
My first introduction to Tintin was when I was 9 years old through Tintin in Tibet. I was almost hypnotized by the vivid description of the Himalayas, the culture and the way the “three musketeers” overcame all obstacles.
The reasons I became a “Tintinologist” are many.
1). Tintin has no superpower; he is a young, ordinary human being like us who gets beaten up or kidnapped at times by the criminals but solves the world’s problems by sheer determination. He is realistic.
2). He travels around the world — starting from Russia to Tibet, Middle East, Europe, Africa, America and finally beyond this globe — to the moon! Which means one adventure of Tintin is a window of the world. One can experience a whole new place and culture though his eye.
3). Tintin’s storyline has unusual depth which can be appreciated at many levels. Children can enjoy the mystery and action while the elders can get pleasure from the complexity of the plot which stands against fascism or military expansion.
4). The humour in Tintin’s adventure is simply superb; it’s subtle, mild but hilariously funny.
5). Herge’s illustrations are picture perfect, considering the timeline of the story.
6). Tintin series has been translated in 28 languages all over the world. I grew up with Tintin as well as many other comic characters. Some of them were Indian, some were American i.e. — Archie, Superman, Spiderman etc. but Tintin beat them all.
A childhood without the Tintin-touch remains incomplete; I find the adventure series of Tintin to be extremely informative which I enjoy today and can think of re-reading even at this age.
Some of my favorite adventures of Tintin were: Destination Moon, Explorers on the Moon, Tintin in Tibet, Flight 714…well, all of them! Tintin shaped my childhood with his indomitable determination, polite and humble personality, his knowledge, wit, common sense and vulnerability which I think is needed today instead of mere violence as a child entertainment.