The Adventures of Tintin, originally titled The Adventures of Tintin and Snowy, is a seminal Belgian comic series and has had considerable influence on the development of graphic narratives in Europe and around the world.Briefly, Tintin was invented by Georges Remi (AKA Hergé, from his initials backwards, R.G., spelt phonetically in French) as a cartoon character for Le Petit Vingtième, the children's supplement to Le Vingtième Siècle (The Twentieth Century), a conservative, Catholic newspaper in Belgium. The character was developed from Totor, a boy scout character Hergé had previously drawn for Le Boy-Scout Belge. When the German occupation ended the publication of Le Vingtième Siècle, the feature moved to the Brussels daily Le Soir, where it became a daily newspaper strip until the Liberation in 1944. After World War 2 Tintin appeared in the new weekly comic magazine Tintin. The series ran from 1929 to 1976; the incomplete Tintin and Alph-Art was released in 1986 after Hergé's death.Most of the adventures concerned the (eternally) young hero investigating some event or trying to do someone a good turn and, as a result, falling into adventure. The adventures range from thwarting criminals to treasure hunts, from spy stories to a voyage to the moon.The real world frequently impinges upon the stories, with many identifiable events from real life being presented with only a few slight changes of name, for example the Grand Chapo (real life, Gran Chaco) war in The Broken Ear, and the Sino-Japanese war in The Blue Lotus. World War II was hinted at less as Belgium was occupied by the Nazis. In this period, Hergé's stories are fanciful high-adventure yarns with no reference to war at all.The third Indiana Jones film's story was adapted from a Tintin script Steven Spielberg was writing.There were two animated series:
In the 1960s, a Télé-Hachette and Belvision production
In the early 1990s, a French-Canadian series (coproduced by Ellipse and Nelvana)
...four animated films...:
The Crab With The Golden Claws (1947)
Tintin and the Sun Temple (1969), by Belvision and made from the combined storyline of The Seven Crystal Balls and Prisoners of the Sun.
Tintin and the Lake of Sharks (1972), by Belvision with an original storyline.
Tintin and the Golden Fleece (1961), with an original storyline. Starred Jean-Pierre Talbot as Tintin.
Tintin and the Blue Oranges (1964), also an original storyline. A plot based on French poet Paul Eluard's line "Earth is blue like an orange".
...as well as:...two radio series by the BBC in 1992-93, a Dutch musical in 2001, a theatre adaptation of Tintin in Tibet in 2007/2008, and a French documentary series Sur les traces de Tintin in 2010, which recaps the stories while mixing comic panels with live-action imagery and providing lots of commentary.A Recap page for the individual stories is under construction here.
Some of the many tropes in Tintin have included:
Absentee Actor: Thomson and Thompson are absent in two stories since their introduction to the franchise: Tintin in Tibet and Flight 714.
Absent-Minded Professor: A number of them appear before Professor Calculus became a regular character and Trope exemplar. They are Professor Sarcophagus in The Cigars Of The Pharaon, the nameless one who meets a parrot in The Broken Ear, professor Alembick in King Ottokar's Sceptre and several ones together in The Shooting Star.
Bianca Castafiore gets people's names wrong, especially Haddock's
Often Haddock gets his own back by referring to her as "Castoroili", or (behind her back) "Catastrofiore".
"The name's Harrock, ma'am. Captain Harrock'n'roll!"
There's also a Running Gag about Marlinspike Hall receiving phone calls intended for a "Mr. Cutts the butcher", due to a similarity in phone numbers.
The Ace: This was Tintin's original character concept.
Adaptation Distillation: The Nelvana from The Nineties animated series is considered of superior quality to the Belvision series and more well known nowadays. It's also often well known because it would sometimes air on Nick Jr. or Nickelodeon. How many cartoons would teach the kids about drug-smuggling?
Adaptation Expansion: The Belvision animation adaptations added more plot elements, some of them which could actually be considered an improvement to the original stories, such as the Bird brothers returning to interfere with the Red Rackham treasure hunt.
Adapted Out: "The Land of the Soviets" and "Tintin in the Congo" were never adapted into for the Nelvana TV show, because both them for various reasons where considered an Old Shame by Hergé andare considered extremely politically incorrect by modern audiences.
Tintin and the Alpha-Art was never adapted either because it was left unfinished.
Addiction Powered: Give a few drops of alcohol to a tired Captain Haddock, and he'll be good as new.
Always Identical Twins: A strange example are Thompson and Thomson who, apart from their moustaches, look exactly like twins. They dress, act and move the same and often finish each others' sentences. They also appear to live in the same house and even in the same bed! Still the linguistic difference in the spelling of their name suggest they are not related to each other at all. Furthermore, in the original French, they were known as Dupont & Dupond, which are even pronounced identically - this was kept up at least to some extent in most translations, including English, where they are known as Thompson and Thomson.
A better example are Alfred and Nester Halambiek in King Ottocar's Sceptre, who are a good and evil twin, looking exactly alike, save for the fact that the good one smokes and is far-sighted.
Amusing Injuries: A large portion of the series' humor comes from Captain Haddock tripping or hitting his head. This is lampshaded in Destination Moon.
Prof. Calculus: I'd swear you do that on purpose!
Thomson and Thompson are also rather prone to these, particularly where stairs are involved.
Anachronic Order: The Nelvana adaption didn't follow Herge's timeline. They started out with "The Crab With the Golden Claws", "The Secret of the Unicorn", and "Red Rhackham's Treasure" introducing Tintin's main supporting players like the Thompsons Captain Haddock and Professor Calculus. However this meant that Tintin would randomly have adventures (the ones set before "Crab With the Golden Claws") without Haddock and Calculus that seems oddly jarring. Notably the last episode aired "Tintin in America" was one of these.
"Tintin and the Picaros" was adapted before the "Seven Crystal Balls" so Alcazar shows up having been kicked out power.
Flight 714" which marked Rastapopoulos becoming a joke villain, appeared a season before "The Red Sea Sharks".
Calculus: I can see our hosts have a true sense of hospitality. That's what I just said to him... And he entirely agrees with me. Haddock: WHO agrees with you? And about WHAT?! Calculus: Exactly, and what's more, he'll tell you so himself! Tintin: Buenos dias, Captain!
Animated Adaptation: Two animated series, as noted above, as well as the spin-off film The Lake of Sharks. Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson's new trilogy is a computer-animated adaptation.
Anyone Can Die: Tintin is notorious for the fact that quite some characters die, usually off screen, but no distinction is made between villains or good characters.
Art Evolution: It's especially obvious with the first two, but you can spot some from The Blue Lotus onwards, wherein his art became less caricaturish. Originally this was a gradual change, but readers of the color editions are unlikely to notice much of a difference, because Hergé eventually went back and redrew all the volumes except Soviets.
Artistic License - Biology: While Herge usually did his research, once he made a blatant mistake: Tintin, the captain and Skut are shipwrecked on the ocean, and Tintin suggests that they drink sea water to survive. Yes, Tintin, who usually knows everything. And to make things worse, the captain only objects to the taste, not the fact that drinking salt water would only make them more thirsty. Haddock of all people should know this, due to being an experienced sailor. However, they do refer to the studies Dr. Alain Bombard did on a sea water diet, so it may just be that Science Marches On.
In The Broken Ear, Hergé drew the bananas on a banana tree upside-down.
Artistic License - Astronomy and Artistic License - Engineering: Hergé was well aware that the space suits in Destination Moon and Explorers On The Moon would require helmets much like the astronauts we see today, but then the readers wouldn't be able to tell who was Haddock and who was Tintin? So, for their convenience he made the helmets more fish bowl shaped.
Asian Speekee Engrish: Mitsuhirato talks like this, notable because he follows all the Japanese stereotypes - buck teeth, glasses, big ears, untrustworthy, uses bad pronunciation - in a comic series that is notable for being very ahead of its time in terms of racial attitudes (well, except that one nobody ever mentions). The Crab with the Golden Claws has a distinctly more PC portrayal of the Japanese, as Bunji Kuraki from Yokohama is a key character there, 100% on the side of justice.
As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Many of the made-up languages like Bordurian and Arumbaya are actually phonetic renditions of a local Belgian patois, completely indecipherable even to some Belgians.
Author Avatar: Tintin was originally created to embody the qualities Herge most admired, although in later years he came to identify more with Haddock - in particular Haddock had Herge's dress sense and love of the sea, and his ability to lose his temper and really let rip with his feelings was something the timid Herge wished he could do.
Author Tract: The first two Tintin albums, Tintin in the Land of the Soviets and Tintin in Congo were made under direct commission of Hergé's newspaper boss, who wanted him to draw propaganda stories that showed the youth good Catholic values.
Badass Bookworm: Although he is a short, wiry reporter without muscles, Tintin is rarely (if ever) bested in a fair fight, even when his enemy is twice his size. He is also an excellent shot. During his visit to America he single-handedly laid waste to crowds. During his visit to India he subdued an attacking tiger and restrained it in a straitjacket despite being caught by surprise. During his visit to Russia he killed a bear with his bare hands. And in China he took on three burly prison guards at once and sent all three of them to the hospital. It has been stated that he has at least a working knowledge of judo and western boxing.
Professor Calculus is also a force to be reckoned with when he is enraged, most notably in Flight 714 where Carreidas makes the mistake of arousing his ire and it then takes two men to subdue him.
Bad Habits: The bad guy in Congo dresses as a missionary to get Tintin's trust.
Banana Peel: A joke used in Tintin in the Land of the Soviets.
Banana Republic: San Theodoros, Nuevo Rico and Sao Rico. In Tintin and the Picaros, it is even stated that General Alcazar's titular faction is financed by a...banana company.
Bears Are Bad News: Tintin has an unfortunate encounter with bears in Destination Moon. At first, he is covered with cuddly bear cubs who want to get their paws on his lunch (sandwiches with honey), but he goes Oh, Crap when he sees the mean-looking parents coming.
Because You Were Nice to Me: A number of characters adopt this attitude towards Tintin — most notably Captain Haddock (though he'd never say it outright).
Black Comedy: Sometimes characters die in comedic fashion, like Diaz in The Broken Ear, who is killed off by his own time bomb, because he looked at the wrong clock. Another one is the shark in The Red Sea Sharks, who accidentally swallowed a mine.
Blackface: Tintin disguises himself as a black cabin boy in Broken Ear.
Blow Gun: Used by the Arumbaya Indians in The Broken Ear and Tintin and the Picaros, as well as by the villains in The Cigars Of The Pharao and The Blue Lotus.
Bound and Gagged: Happens to the bad guys only. Except in Prisoners of the Sun, where Haddock is attacked.
Captain Haddock's difficulties with sticking plaster in The Calculus Affair are briefly referenced in Flight 714.
In Destination Moon, Thompson/Thomson believe there to be a skeleton sneaking around the moon project, due to a misunderstanding involving an x-ray machine. In Explorers on the Moon, when The Mole has been revealed and is being interrogated, they break in with a vital question: "The skeleton, Wolff. Was that you?"
King Muskar XII of Syldavia, who is inexplicably absent from later stories involving that country, even when his appearance would be expected (Destination Moon and/or Explorers on the Moon) or useful (The Calculus Affair). This is possibly a reflection of Real Life politics in Eastern Europe before and after WWII: Former monarchies were replaced with communist governments.
The Maharajah of Gaipajama never shows up nor is referred to again after The Blue Lotus.
Busman's Holiday: These guys can't go anywhere without falling into adventure. This was lampshaded in Cigars of the Pharaoh when Tintin said "This was supposed to be my vacation."
But Not Too Black: Hergé was forced to change some black characters in Tintin in America and The Crab With The Golden Claws into white people, on the insistence of American publishers in the 1950s.
In the original French, Captain Haddock's catchphrases were "Tonnerre de Brest!" and "Mille sabords!" (literally, "Thunder of Brest!" and "A thousand portholes!").
In the Dutch translations, Captain Haddock's full catchphrase was "Honderdduizend bommen en granaten!" (literally, "A hundred thousand bombs and grenades!").
Even the German one can be re-translated nicely into Hundred thousand howling hounds of hell!
And in each translation, the phrase can be extended indefinitely, giving rise to such beauties as "Billions of bilious blue boiled and barbecued barnacles!" or "Mille milliards de mille millions de mille sabords!"
The Thompsons' catchphrase is for one of them to state something and then the other to say "To be precise:" and repeat it, but often not quite get it right. For example:
Thompson: You forget, my friend, in our job there's nothing we don't know!
Thomson: To be precise: we know nothing in our job!
Another catchphrase of theirs is for one of them to say they have to be secretive about what they're currently investigating ("Mum's the word"), the other to repeat it but say "Dumb's the word", instead, and then for them to inadvertently let slip what it is to Tintin anyway in an I'll Never Tell You What I'm Telling You fashion.
In the original French, Calculus is known for his use of "sapristi!" and "saperlipopette!"
In fact, Snowy (in the original Belgian) is named Milou, which was the name of the teenage girl to whom the teenage Herge lost his virginity. Since he obviously couldn't give Tintin a girlfriend because of the awkward questions that it may raise, Milou became a male dog.
Cerebus Syndrome: The first two Tintin adventures (Tintin in the Land of the Soviets and Tintin in the Congo) are outright comedies where the action is often completely surreal and played for laughs (for instance Tintin killing a rhino by drilling into its hide and dropping in a stick of dynamite). The third adventure (Tintin in America) was transitional with a lot of off-the-wall comedy still mixing with the plot before the series finally found its familiar mood of realistic action-adventure with Cigars of the Pharaoh. There was still comedy but it was far more down-to-earth and character-driven.
The Thompson and Thomson duo provided a bit of slapstick but weren't comedically incompetent in their first appearance in Cigars of the Pharaoh, later on they become the main source of slapstick and visual humour in the series.
Tintin himself was very cruel to animals and condescending to natives in his earliest adventures, in contrast to his more humane attitude in the rest of the series.
Character Signature Song: Bianca Castafiore is usually seen and heard performing the Jewel aria from Charles Gounod's opera "Faust".
Cliffhanger: Lots! Especially during the period when the stories appeared in newspapers. Hergé was a firm proponent of the "suspense en bas de page", stating that each page should end in a cliffhanger. It was later (lovingly) lampooned by humoristic authors of the French/Belgian school.
Clingy MacGuffin: The piece of sticking plaster in The Calculus Affair. When Captain Haddock tosses it off, it sticks to someone else, who in turn shakes it off. And so it goes all over the bus, before coming to the Captain's cap. It then follows him aboard the plane, eventually makes its way to the cockpit (causing the pilots to momentarily lose control), lands on the Captain again by the end of the flight, is thrown away at the police station, only to return yet again on the captain's clothes in the hotel room!!
Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Professor Calculus in Red Rackham's Treasure. In the other books, they toned it down considerably.
Professor Sarcophagus in The Cigars Of The Pharao and Philippulus the Prophet in The Shooting Star really are insane. In The Cigars And The Pharao and The Blue Lotus several people are injected with poison that makes them insane.
Cold War: Syldavia and Borduria are used as a No Real Countries Were Harmed version of this. And, of course, the real thing was going on in the background.
Comically Missing the Point: Professor Calculus often misunderstands the others because of his deafness, creating a lot of funny situations.
Comic Book Time: Nobody ages, even though the technology, fashion and politics of the world around them progress from the 1930s to the 1970s.
In fairness, Tintin does get a proper pair of pants for "Picaros" and "714" (at long long last).
Commie Nazis: The country of Borduria is depicted as a stereotypical half-Eastern Bloc and half-fascist country complete with its own secret police (ZEP) (led by Colonel Sponsz) and a fascist military dictator called Kûrvi-Tasch who promotes a Taschist ideology. A statue of Kûrvi-Tasch appears in front of a government building, in which he wears a moustache similar to Joseph Stalin's and gives a Nazi-like salute.
Continuity Nod: Several in the books, a number of which were cut from the animated version.
Contrived Coincidence: These happen constantly. A classic example occurs in Cigars of the Pharaoh: as it turns out, the gang which Tintin has been tracking down is based in India. At this stage Tintin has not had any inkling of an Indian connection, but when he makes his escape by plane from an Arabian town he fortuitously chooses to fly in that direction, and crash-lands right outside the town where they have their headquarters. In India.
Lampshaded in The Red Sea Sharks, in which Tintin and Haddock go and see a film which, coincidentally, stars Tintin's friend General Alcazar under a pseudonym. Haddock complains about how contrived the coincidences in the film seemed, shortly before bumping into Alcazar himself in the street.
A Crack In The Ice: In Tintin in Tibet, Tintin falls into a crevasse during a blinding snowstorm. He climbs his way out two hours later, after having found in the ice cave below a stone on which Chang had carved his name.
America in Tintin in America. Crime runs rampant, and meat producers put dogs, cats and rats in the meat.
The Soviet Union in Tintin in the Land of the Soviets.
Creator Cameo: Hergé gave himself a cameo in some of the albums. He and co-assistant Edgar P. Jacobs can be seen as reporters at the start of Tintin in the Congo and as military officers at the royal reception in The Sceptre of Ottocar.
In the Nelvana animated cartoons series, the animators put a cartoon version of Herge in the background of every episode.
Creator Provincialism: The first two albums, Tintin In The Land Of The Soviets and Tintin in Congo reference Belgium most directly. Tintin arrives back at the station of Brussels in the first album and in the original version of Tintin in the Congo he teaches the Congolese children about their fatherland Belgium, which was replaced by a simple mathematic lesson in the reprints. The series avoided in any direct references to Belgium in other albums, but still it remains the most Belgian of all Belgian Comics with an international success career. The streets and buildings where Tintin lives are clearly located in Brussels. Foreigners wouldn't notice it, but anyone who ever visited Brussels can recognize it. The police officers are also dressed in Belgian and French uniforms. The royal palace of Syldavia in The Sceptre of Ottocar is based on the Belgian one and the adress on the letter Tintin receives from Chang in Tintin in Tibet is written in Chinese, but reads Brussels when translated. Also the accents of the Arumbaya Indians in The Broken Ear and Tintin and the Picaros, as well as those of the Syldavians and Bordurians are heavily distorted, but still recognizable versions of the dialect spoken by Flemish people from the Brussels' neighbourhood the Marols. Hergé was a French speaking Brussels' native, but his mother spoke this specific Flemish dialect, so he heard it a lot. Apart from these self-invented languages Hergé also used the dialect for the names of foreign places and characters.
Crossing the Desert: Done in The Cigars of the Pharao, The Crab With The Golden Claws, The Land Of The Black Gold and The Red Sea Sharks.
Crushing Handshake: Tintin and Captain Haddock get their hands crushed upon meeting a Boisterous Bruiser type archeologist. It's noted that he's not being competitive or mean spirited, he just has a very strong grip.
Culture Equals Costume: The Thompsons' 'disguises', are the worst possible mismatches that can ever be considered for camouflage, since they are in the habit of travelling through countries in ludicrously outdated/sterotypical traditional costume.
Nowhere more hilarious than The Blue Lotus, where they come wearing 17th century Manchu era clothes, complete with pigtails and fans!
Thompson: [with nearly the entire town parading behind them laughing] Don't look now, but something tells me we're being followed.
In Destination: Moon they even wear costumes from the wrong country:
Thomson: Greek costumes? But we specifically ordered the tailor to make us Syldavian ones...
Death Glare: Captain Haddock attempts one on a llama. Unfortunately for him, it counters by chewing his beard off.
Deconstruction: The Castafiore Emerald, Flight 714, and Tintin and the Picaros are deconstructions of the series in general.
The Castafiore Emerald is a intentional Random Events Plot where Tintin and Haddock stay at Marlinspike Hall for nearly the entirety of the story. It's full of anticlimaxes such as how Haddock's attempt to escape Castafiore by going to Italy is foiled by an accident, the Roma community plight is immediately solved by Haddock’s generosity, Haddock never has the chance to make An Aesop about tolerance because of little distractions and the emerald’s thief turned to be a harmless magpie.
Flight 714 has Tintin and Haddock involved by a Contrived Coincidence into a plot to blackmail a millionaire, recurring villains Rastapopoulus and Allan suffer intentional Villain Decay by being depicted as ridiculous and stupid, all of them would have died in an eruption but are saved by aliens, and only Snowy remembers how they were rescued. For everyone else, it was a Shaggy Dog Story.
Dem Bones: The Thompsons suspect a living skeleton is hanging around in Destination Moon because they saw each other through an X-ray panel and they end up arresting a real (non-living) skeleton in a doctor's office. Much later in Explorers on the Moon, they interrupt Wolff's dramatic interrogation by asking him "vital questions": "The skeleton, Wolff. Was that you?" and "To be precise, were you the Wolff, Skeleton?"
Deserted Island: The Black Island (though it turns out to be inhabitated after all), The Shooting Star (though it's actually a piece of a meteorite) and Red Rackham's Treasure.
Deus ex Machina: All the time, though much more predominant in the first three books than later on, as they were defined by their episodic format and reliance on CliffHangers. This ranges from jumping off of a cliff to find a ledge to having the mooks mistakenly use knockout gas instead of poison gas. Hergé used to say "I was often thinking all the week about the way I could get Tintin out of the trap I had thrown him into on previous Wednesday".
Many of the comics written in The Thirties reflected the many political upheavals that the world was going through at the time, giving the general feeling of Gathering Storm leading up to World War II. The political references ended when the Nazis invaded Belgium and the comics were subject to censorship, at which point they became largely escapist adventure stories.
The Blue Lotus provides a thinly-veiled account of the Mukden Incident and the Japanese invasion of Manchuria.
King Ottakar's Sceptre has a fascist-sounding group called the Iron Guard planning on overthrowing the government of an Eastern European monarchy. And their leader is called Müsstler.
As a later example, San Theodoros, a South American country whose main political officers (e.g. the Bordurian Colonel Sponsz) are all from a European dictatorship led by a man with a mustache and delusions of grandeur. Hmmmmm, where haveI seen that before?
Doesn't Like Guns: Tintin, although he doesn't hesitate to use them where necessary, and is very proficient.
Doting Parent: Emir Mohammed Ben Kalish Ezab of Khemed is this to his son, Abdullah. He even threatens to cancel Arabair's flight route to his country, and expose their owner's involvement in slave trading, because they refused to heed his son's request... to have Arabair planes perform aerobatics before landing in Khemed.
The Dragon: Allan (his last name was Thompson in the French version) to Omar Ben Salaad (initially) and Rastapopoulos later.
Dream Sequence: Many and surreal! Sometimes scary, other times amusing moments - sometimes both at the same time...
Driven to Suicide: Mitsuhirato in The Blue Lotus, Frank Wolff in Explorers On The Moon.
Tintin's name is the same in the original French, but pronounced differently, but is known as Kuifje (lit. 'little quiff') in Dutch and Tim in German.
Thompson & Thomson's names are generally real names in the relevant language with a difference of only a letter or two between them.
French: Dupond & Dupont.
Dutch: Janssen & Jansen.
German: Schulze and Schultze.
Spanish: Hernandez y Fernandez (also used in Basque).
Afrikaans: Uys & Buys.
Snowy was originally Milou in French, after an ex-girlfriend of Hergé's, and becomes Struppi in German and Bobbie in Dutch.
Calculus's original name is Tournesol, or "Sunflower" — the English translators decided that this sounded silly and gave him a Punny Name instead. He's called Zonnebloem in Dutch, which also means Sunflower.
Tournesol's first name Tryphon alliterates with his surname and has long gone out of fashion. This pattern tends to be emulated in most translations, thus it's Cuthbert Calculus in English, Balduin Bienlein in German, Teofilus Tuhatkauno in Finnish. In Dutch it is Trifonius Zonnebloem though.
The story Cokes En Stock (Cokes in Stock) has been translated to Tintin and the Red Sea Sharks in English.
In Tintin and the Land of the Soviets Tintin has no quiff for the first few pages. His iconic hairstyle only gets into place after a speedy car chase. Also, Snowy has a strange beard. It's also the only album in which Tintin is seen writing journalistic paperwork, though he never seems to post it to his newspaper, because that same night he is attacked in his hotel room and has to flee, without taking all those pages along with him.
Snowy can talk and Tintin can understand him in Tintin in the Land of Soviets, Tintin in the Congo and Tintin in America. In the English-speaking world Tintin in America was the only one of the three available in print, and Snowy and Tintin talking to each other only happens in a few panels, making it seem all the more a Big Lipped Alligator Moment.
The first three Tintin stories, Tintin in The Land Of The Soviets, Tintin in Africa', Tintin in America all have a Random Events Plot and are full of naïve stereotypical ideas about the countries and people Tintin visits. They were all drawn without any documentation or research. Tintin In The Land Of The Soviets and Tintin in Africa are de facto conservative Catholic propaganda pieces, drawn under commission of Hergés newspaper boss.
The Thompsons are quite competent in their first appearance in Cigars of the Pharaoh. Their comedic ineptitude seems to set in as soon as they go over to Tintin's side. Also to readers of the albums after The Black Island It may seem bizarre that the duo actually tries to arrest Tintin in The Cigars Of The Pharao, The Blue Lotus and The Black Island.
Easily Forgiven: Tintin never mentions the fact that General Alcazár tried to have him executed in The Broken Ear in any of their subsequent encounters. Yes, he was set up, but Tintin didn't know that.
Both inverted and subverted in Red Rackham's Treasure, Haddock almost gets his hand bitten off by a shark and then we discover the famous shark submarine designed by Calculus. Later Tintin ventures underwater in his seadiving suit and has to face a shark who swallows a valuable chest and then the rum bottle that Tintin had been using as a Improvised Weapon.
Likewise, the Lake of Sharks animated movie (although this wasn't written by Hergé) only features one shark, which is seen in an aquarium tank at the very beginning of the movie.
Evil Colonialist: The villains of several stories, specially the ones set in Africa, Middle East and China.
Eviler than Thou: Between Rastapopoulos and Carreidas in Flight 714 while they are under the effect of the truth serum.
Evil Twin: in King Ottokar's Scepter, Alembick's twin brother takes his place to steal the sceptre.
Fireballs: The lightning shoots off a ball of lightning through the chimney in The Seven Crystal Balls.
Follow the Leader: Virtually every European comic strip owes something to Tintin. If they are not directly inspired by it, they at least read it in their youth. The Tintin magazine was full of comic strips directly inspired by Hergé's drawing style.
Framed for Heroism: In The Crab with the Golden Claws, Captain Haddock charges a whole band of desert raiders alone. They flee, and he believes for a moment that they did because they were scared of him. In fact, reinforcements were arriving behind him.
Franchise Zombie: author Hergé eventually got quite tired of writing Tintin's adventures.
Frothy Mugs of Water: Averted; Haddock is shown drinking whiskey and characters are frequently shown being intoxicated.
Full Body Disguise: Done in The Broken Ear, where Tintin successfully disguises himself as a waiter. A black waiter.
Before that, in The Blue Lotus, he successfully disguises himself as a Japanese general.
Full-Circle Revolution: Tintin and the Picaros. Although that's the only time we see it firsthand, earlier stories showing that Alcazar and Tapioca were mutually ousting each other for years.
Funetik Aksent: Played straight, and also a variation where some languages (especially the native one in The Broken Ear/Tintin and the Picaros) are phoneticised versions of strong dialects - Marollien in the original, and Cockney or Yorkshire in the English translation.
Funny Background Event: Not humorous, per se, but every episode of the Nelvana cartoon would have an animated version of Hergé in the background, usually as part of a crowd scene or just simply walking by.
George Lucas Altered Version: Many early Tintin albums of the 1930s have been redrawn, updated and too dated references have been removed to appeal to modern audiences. The original unaltered stories are still available, but only in a special album series.
Getting Crap Past the Radar and Public Secret Message: In 1934 Hergé drew a story named The Blue Lotus in which Tintin travels to China. Hergé's friend, a Chinese foreign exchange student named Zhang Chong Ren told him a lot about Chinese culture and society, including the then current situation in Asia, where Japan had military occupied China. He also wrote all the Chinese signs, billboards, ideograms and texts seen in the backgrounds. As a Bilingual Bonus only Chinese people could read these. This also might explain why the book wasn't censored from the start because many of these texts are anti-Japanese slogans, like for instance: Boycot Japanese products, Abolish unfair treaties and Down with Imperialism. Upon realising the anti-Japanese tone of the story, Japan's diplomats stationed in Belgium issued an official complaint and threatened to take their complaint to the Permanent Court of International Justice at The Hague. Zhang congratulated Hergé, stating that it would only further expose the actions of Japan in China to further international scrutiny and would make Hergé "world-famous".
Good Hair, Evil Hair: Plenty of textbook examples, from Haddock's full beard to Thompson & Thomson's trademark "cop thick mustache", plus a long collection of typical villain-ish hairdos and beards, especially with Borduria where the curvy moustache is very recurrent, to the name of the dictator and the country flag. Averted with Professor Calculus, who is a rare example of good goatee (though a bushy one).
Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Several recurring villains (Dr. Müller, Allen, etc.) have been seen smoking, usually cigarettes. On the other hand, there's Captain Haddock and his ever-present pipe.
And Tintin himself never smokes and regularly turns down cigarettes when he is offered one.
Gosh Darn It to Heck!: Averted and at the same time not even played. The characters almost never swear, save for a few old slangs or stuff that's "Rude" but not necessarily a curse word. There is a "Damn" in the english version of "Castafiore Emerald". However, Captain Haddock's swearing tirades of "Billions of Blue Blistering Barnacles" were never a cover-up for swearing...it's just funny.
Handcar Pursuit: Tintin does this in Tintin in the Land of the Soviets. The handcar breaks just as he is about to catch up.
Have a Gay Old Time: There are a few old slangs that might get a few chuckles today. notably one instance where a character says "Clever dick", in reference to a police officer. While the series doesn't shy away from depicting drug smuggling and use, these days readers are likely to raise an eyebrow when a ship's captain claims to only be carrying "coke."
Marshal Kûrvi-Tasch, the dictator of Borduria. Being the ultimate higher-up of such villains as Colonel Sponsz and Musstler, he could be considered the realBig Bad of King Ottokar's Sceptre, The Calculus Affair and Tintin and the Picaros, but never throws in a personal appearance — all we ever see of him is the occasional statue.
General Tapioca barely manages to avert this status. Despite being an apparently brutal dictator and the enemy of General Alcazar, he wasn't actually seen in The Broken Ear or The Red Sea Sharks. He finally appeared in person in the last completed book, Tintin and the Picaros.
Hollywood Healing: You can't keep these guys down! Tintin is more than enough proof. He has survived big falls, several gunshots and hits to the head, chloroform, near-drowning and too many fights to count..
Hollywood Mirage: Cigars Of The Pharaoh, The Crab With The Golden Claws and Land of Black Gold.
Home Base: Marlinspike Hall becomes Tintin, Haddock and Calculus' homebase from Red Rackham's Treasure on.
How Unscientific!: While most Tintin stories don't feature any sort of supernatural elements there are a few times this trope pops up. A yeti and floating monks appear in Tintin in Tibet, aliens are present in Flight 714 and an unusual substance found on a meteorite defies physics in The Shooting Star. Both Seven Crystal Balls and Prisoners of the Sun also contain elements that are supposedly magic in origin such as a psychic's vision and a curse, as well as a fireball that appears out of nowhere and vanishes along with an Incan mummy.
Hurricane of Euphemisms: Hergé wasn't allowed to have cursing in the books, so he had Captain Haddock do this instead. It repeated itself so many times that it became not only a Running Gag, but a character trait.
Hypnotic Eyes: The Fakir in Cigars of the Pharaoh is a hypnotist. In The Seven Crystal Balls another hypnotist appears, though he uses his gift in a stage act.
Hypocritical Humour: We will NOT add this one to the tropes on this page...... Er, I mean, it would be absolute hypocrisy to claim we don't need a separate page to list some of the examples.
Tintin in Tibet - Every time Captain Haddock tells Tintin he's not going to come with him...he goes.
In The Shooting Star, Captain Haddock is the President of the Society of Sober Sailors.
Iconic Outfit: Tintin's plusfour pants. The Thompson's bowler hats, black suits and walking sticks. Captain Haddock's sailor hat, black jacket and blue sweater with an ancre on it.
Insane Equals Violent: Zig-zagged - An important plot point is that the enemies of the drug-smuggling gang from the Cigars of the Phraoah&Blue Lotus arc are disposed of by poisoning by the Rajijah Juice. Victims of the Rajijah juice aren't typically violent, but rather, total Cloud Cuckoo Lander-types - though two of them are violent: Sarcophagus, who is influenced by a hypnotist, and Didi.
Inspector Javert: In some episodes Thompson and Thomson embody a particularly incompetent example of this trope.
Insulted Awake: Captain Haddock awoke Professor Calculus from amnesia by hitting that Berserk Button. The insults weren't even directed at him, which makes it even funnier (the Professor apologises later).
The island of Flight 714 has caves, ancient ruins, ancient ruins in caves, anomalous physical properties and is ultimately a landing site for alien spacecraft.
The crashed meteor in The Shooting Star becomes a Mysterious Island with giant plants and insects.
The Black Island contains ruins and a mysterious, dangerous beast which turns out to be a gorilla. In Scotland.
I Want My Jetpack: The space hardware used on the Moon mission is in many ways more advanced than any equipment that has ever been taken to space in Real Life: a nuclear fission-powered rocket engine that provides constant acceleration (and deceleration) at 1 G for the entire trip, hard-shelled spacesuits, and a pressurized three-person tank.
Kidnapping Bird of Prey: In The Temple of the Sun Snowy is captured by a condor. Tintin rescues the dog, but the condor returns and the bird is even able to carry him.
Kitsch Collection: The Kleptomaniac in The Secret of the Unicorn keeps a collection of stolen wallets, alphabetically sorted, along with date of theft, which he proudly boasts of assembling in 3 months!! To show the magnitude of how often they've been pickpocketed, every single one of the 3 dozen or so wallets under the letter T belongs to the Thompsons! Actually saves the day when he pinches Max Bird's wallet with the two parchments in it
The Klan: The secret society in The Cigars Of The Pharao look suspisciously like the Ku Klux Klan: all dressed in large hoods.
Lantern Jaw of Justice: Subverted by General Alcazar, who has a particularly magnificent case of Perma Stubble on a prow-like chin, but isn't very heroic or strong-willed (especially once we meet his wife).
Late-Arrival Spoiler: The revelation that Rastapopoulos in The Blue Lotus is the bad guy is pretty lame if you have read the albums where he later appears.
Laughably Evil: In Flight 714, both Allan and Rastapopoulos are less serious and more funny. The latter also has funny scenes in Tintin and the Lake of Sharks.
Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: Al Capone appears in person (the only person to do so), and Hergé has several Creator Cameos (particularly in the Animated Adaptation. Numerous other real people appear thinly disguised (such as Jacques Bergier in Flight 714) or in the background. Other well-known thinly disguised real life persons are gun-runner Henry de Monfreid (who saves Tintin in The Cigars of the Pharaoh) and arms dealer Sir Basil Zaharoff (here called Bazaroff), who sells guns to both sides in The Broken Ear.
Lost at Sea: Happens to Tintin in The Cigars Of The Pharao and to him and Haddock in The Crab With The Golden Claws and The Red Sea Sharks.
Lost in Translation: Many of the names and "foreign" words are from Brussels dialect (Flemish) and so don't make sense in English, e.g. Bagarre (brawl), Kalish Ben Ezab (licorice water). Bab El Ehr (babbler) still works, as does Wadesdah ("What is there?").
Mayincatec: Plot point in The Seven Crystal Balls and Prisoners of the Sun.
Missing Episode: Herge co-wrote two Tintin plays: The Mystery of the Blue Diamond (1941) and The Disappearance of Mr. Boullock. Sadly the scripts to both have since been lost.
Mistaken Confession: In Flight 714, the millionaire Laszlo Carreidas is injected with a truth serum in an attempt to force him to reveal the details of his Swiss Bank Account. But instead of revealing the relevant details, Carreidas engages in boastful rants about his underhanded exploits, much to the annoyance of his captors. Hilarity Ensues when Rastapopoulos, the mastermind behind Carreidas' capture, is accidentally injected with the serum in a struggle.
Mistaken for Badass: Not that they aren't, but In a deadly game of cat and mouse between the protagonist's ship and a submarine, Captain Haddock accidentally gets the ship stuck going astern (backwards). When this results in a torpedo barely missing the ship, the villains marvel at the captain's tactical genius.
Mood Whiplash: Done deliberately a few times. For example, in "Land of Black Gold", Dr Mueller makes a dramatic "they'll never take me alive" comment, turns the gun he took from Abdullah on himself - cut to Tintin looking horrified and shouting "don't do it" - then back to Mueller whose face is now covered in ink, Abdullah's gun turning out to be a realistic-looking water pistol for one of his pranks.
The Movie: Tintin and the Lake of Sharks, The Secret of the Unicorn and the next as-yet-unamed upcoming Peter Jackson film.
The Namesake: The titular sharks only show up at the end of The Red Sea Sharks, which may explain why the English title translation is an outlier for an adventure everyone else knows roughly as "Coke on Board". The significance of the title in The Broken Ear also takes a while to come into focus.
National Stereotypes: The comic strip has often been accused of this, though it was Fair for Its Day and most of the time foreigners are both good and bad characters. Hergé also subverted these stereotypes, like in The Blue Lotus where stereotypes about Chinese people are debunked and The Castafiore Emerald in which prejudices about the Roma people turn out to be false.
A Nazi by Any Other Name: While it later became an analogy for Commie Land, pre-war Borduria (King Ottokar's Sceptre) is clearly a fascist dictatorship, right down to using German built Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighter planes. Dr. Müller (The Black Island and others) and Dr. Krollspell (Flight 714) have also been suggested to be Nazis/ex-Nazis. Ironically, when the real Nazis occupied Belgium, they banned The Black Island because it was set in Britain, their enemy, while King Ottokar's Sceptre was still allowed, despite having an almost obvious Nazi-analogue.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: While deputising for the ill General Alcazar in The Broken Ear, Tintin turns down an offer from an American oil company on the grounds that it would require starting a war with a neighboring country. Later, after Alcazar turns on him, Tintin flees to the country in question using a stolen armored car... and ends up causing the war with that country, after they mistake it for an act of aggression by Alcazar's government.
No Hugging, No Kissing: There is hardly any romance or a hint of sexuality of any sort in the whole series beyond chaste crushes. Word of God states that he wanted to avoid Shipping in his stories. The fact that there is only one recurring major female character also plays a role.
Nothing Is the Same Anymore: At the end of Red Rackham's Treasure, Capt. Haddock and Tintin buy Haddock's ancestral home, the luxurious Marlinspike Hall, with Prof. Calculus' help and find Sir Francis' treasure. From this point on Haddock and Calculus live there as wealthy gentleman, with Tintin visiting them so often that Marlinspike starts to operate as home base during adventures.
Odd Couple: Tintin and Haddock. The former is a neat, organized teenaged/young adult, chaste hero and morally upright. The latter is a bad-tempered, middle aged sailor, an alcoholic (while not always drunk, he's incapable of drinking water or non-alcoholic drinks), prone to spouting (made up) profanities at the slightest provocation. They Fight Crime!
General Alcazar and Peggy Alcazar. The former is a South American revolutionary with a long string of victories followed by defeats. The latter is a domineering, all-American virago with haircurlers. They're married.
Oddly Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo: The earliest albums went: Tintin in the Land of the Soviets, Tintin in the Congo, Tintin in America and... Cigars of the Pharaoh. From that point on, though, the "Tintin in Geographic Location" formula was discarded for many years until Tintin in Tibet.
Off Model: A big problem with the Belvision animated cartoon series; the animation director apparently took a lot of liberties with Hergé's character designs, often giving the characters a bizarre and overly cute look. Some of the animators worked against this, however, meaning that occasionally you see sequences that look almost as if they could be taken directly from the books. Fortunately, Tintin and the Sun Temple and Tintin and the Lake of Sharks (which both had higher budgets and a better director) don't suffer this problem nearly as badly.
The helicopter pilots rescuing Tintin and the other people on the raft in Flight 714. Making this even more frustrating, the rescue scene was actually drawn: however, Hergé noticed Flight 714 had two more pages than usual and thus decided to remove the two pages showing the rescue.
Spoofed in Land of Black Gold. We never learn what happened to Haddock on his mission or how he arrived in Khemed... other than that it's "simple and complicated" at the same time.
The Blue Lotus: As mentioned above, Tintin is imprisoned after accidentally knocking off a guard. Three guards, the smaller of them something like thrice his size entered the cell to take revenge. Cue a scene with fighting noises followed by a haste trip to the hospital, where three said guards lie heavily battered.
Older Than They Look: This applies to Herge's character design, because Tintin doesn't even look old enough to drink, yet he's in his early 20's.
Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Calculus. Almost all the Tintin books he appears in depict him as a physicist, though admittedly he has unrealistically wide array of knowledge in various specialist fields.
Justified in that making his fortune in Red Rackham's Treasure would have allowed him to move from inventing to larger projects.
One Degree of Separation: The unfinished Tintin and Alph-Art was poised to bring back some one-off characters as well, such as the Bird Brothers and Ivan Sakharine, although Hergé passed away before the plot was developed enough to explain why.
One-Hour Work Week: Tintin is supposedly a journalist. This is rarely mentioned, and the only time he is ever seen writing an article or explicitly doing actual journalism is in Tintin in the Land of the Soviets. See Literary Agent Hypothesis above, though.
Outdated Outfit: The Thompsons have tried a few times to blend in when investigating in a foreign country... but their outfits were often too "folkloric", and on at least one occasion, the national dress of the wrong country. Far from blending in, they've been known to attract crowds come to laugh at them. Nowhere more hilarious than The Blue Lotus, where they come wearing 17th century Manchu era clothes, down to the pigtails and fans! The result...
Thompson (with nearly the entire town parading behind them): Don't look now, but something tells me we're being followed...
Paper-Thin Disguise: Tintin. This was subverted a few times (The Broken Ear, The Blue Lotus) by when the suspiciously-dressed person wasn't Tintin.
The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Tintin is nominally a reporter, but after Land of the Soviets is never seen to do any actual reporting. The closest is a contemporary advert for the then-upcoming Secret Of The Unicorn, in which Tintin is seen calling his editor to ask for time off and in Tintin and the Black Gold where he interviews the head of a company at the start of the story, yet without taking notes or recording his answers.
Punny Name: Almost too many to list, but notable examples include:
Mr. Cutts the Butcher ; his original name is "Sanzot", which is read exactly like the French phrase "sans os" ("boneless")
Mr. Bolt the Builder
Lazlo Carreidas the millionaire (four aces in your hand)
Many names and places are in fact bastardizations of the Marol dialect, a Flemish dialect spoken in Brussels. Hergé's mother spoke it and he remembered many phrases and expressions he used for his fictional foreigners. The Native Amazonians speak it in The Broken Ear and Tintin and the Picaros, as do the Syldavians and Bordurians. Sheik Bab El Ehr ' name, for instance is a pun on babbeler (talkative person).
Put Down Your Gun and Step Away: Subverted in Land of Black Gold, as Tintin and Haddock both refuse Muller's demand that they put down their guns even though he has Abdullah hostage.
Rapid Hair Growth: In the comic book Land of Black Gold, Thomson and Thompson find tablets and swallow them, thinking them to be aspirin, causing them to belch continuously, and grow long hair and beards that change colour. The beards grow so fast that they have to be cut multiple times each day.
Real Dreams Are Weirder: The dream and nightmare sequences in "Tintin" are notoriously surreal and downright creepy:
In "The Cigars Of The Pharao" Tintin is locked inside an Egyptian tomb and put to sleep with sleeping gas. He then dreams several strange images combining recent people he met and Egyptian artwork.
In "The Crab With The Golden Claws" Tintin dreams he is turned into a bottle, which Haddock is planning to uncork.
In "The Shooting Star" Tintin dreams he is visited by Philippulus the prophet who then shows him a picture of a gigantic spider, claiming it is life size!
In "The Seven Crystal Balls" Tintin and his companions all have the same nightmare: that they are visited by the Inca mummy Rascar Capac who enters their bedroom by night and then throws a crystal ball on the floor.
In "Prisoners of the Sun" Tintin questions Haddock, dressed in native wear, on whether he has a licence for his gun. Haddock transforms into an Inca and rages at this insolence, ordering a beam of light from the Sun to strike him down with vengeance, which is what wakes Tintin up in a much more mundane fashion.
In "Tintin in Tibet" Haddock dreams he meets Professor Calculus, who claims he has lost his umbrella. Haddock then tells him he's got a lot of umbrella's with him, but has no idea where they came from. Calculus is angried by his answer and tells him: "You lie! It's red pepper." Then Haddock suddenly wears Calculus' clothes, while Calculus wears those of Haddock. Now grown to enormous size Calculus hits Haddock on the head with an umbrella, claiming it's "Checkmate!"
In "The Castafiore Emerald" Captain Haddock dreams he is listening to an opera singing parrot while he is seated completely nude in an audience consisting of nothing but parrots dressed in evening suits.
"Tintin and Alph-Art" begins with one, where a parrot with Bianca Castafiore's face berates Haddock for not drinking his "medicine" (which is whisky), and in the Yves Rodier version, has one in the climax where Tintin hallucinates he's in his old outfit, complete with tie - which Endaddine Akass, with Snowy's head proceeds to strangle him by. It's Tintin crying out "SNOWY!" that spurs Snowy into action.
Real Life Writes the Plot: Several events in the albums were directly inspired by major events of the 20th century, including the Japanese occupation of China in the 1930s and the Cold War. Other events were references to things that happened in Hergé's private life, such his friendship with a Chinese foreign exchange student named Chang (Tchang in The Blue Lotus) and a repair man who always promised to come over and fix his broken stair case, but never did (The Castafiore Emerald).
This trope re-emerges (albeit very subtly) in Tintin in Tibet, where Tintin's friends from The Blue Lotus inexplicably no longer live in Shanghai (which had become part of a communist state between the events of the two books), but in Hong Kong.
Also in The Calculus Affair, which features Borduria as an expy of the USSR.
Done a few times with the redrawn versions of the color stories. For instance, the Thompsons are inserted into the first panel of Tintin in the Congo, while a previously anonymous smuggler is turned into Allan in Cigars of the Pharaoh. The original version of Land of Black Gold didn't occur in a generic-looking fictional Arabic country, but in British Mandate Palestine.
The Belvision cartoon series did this numerous times, inserting characters into stories where they had not yet appeared in the original albums. To wit, Professor Phostle is deleted from The Shooting Star and replaced by Professor Calculus, who had not been introduced yet in the book.
Rogues Gallery: Even though he isn't necessarily known for having a Rogues Gallery in the way of e.g. American superheroes, there are a surprising number of antagonists who show up for at least two outings in the series:
Al Capone (Tintin in the Congo; Tintin in America)
Rastapopoulos (Retconned cameo into "Tintin in America"; Cigars of the Pharaoh; The Blue Lotus; The Red Sea Sharks; Flight 714; possibly "Tintin and the Alph-Art")
Allan (retconned into Cigars of the Pharaoh; The Crab with the Golden Claws; The Red Sea Sharks; Flight 714)
Additionally, both Gibbons (The Blue Lotus) and Trickler (The Broken Ear) were slated to reappear in the unfinished Tintin and Alph-Art, though there's little to suggest they were to return in anything more than cameo roles.
The Savage Indian: Played straight in Tintin in America where the Native Americans are depicted as scalp crazy buffoons. In the same story however they are forced to leave their land when oil is found. Subverted trope in Prisoners Of The Sun, where the Incas are portrayed as clever and determined antagonists, but still able to be open for reason and forgiveness.
Scenery Porn: The art work and detail in the backgrounds of Tintin are a marvel to look at. Much of it was done by his assistents, though.
Screaming Woman: Though not exactly screaming Bianca Castafiore's opera singing has the effect of scaring off humans and animals because it is so loud and able to shatter glass.
Screwball Serum: Formula Fourteen in Tintin and the Land of Black Gold is supposed to be an additive to petroleum that makes it incredibly explosive, but the Thompsons mistake it for aspirin. Their hair starts growing very rapidly and in bizarre colors, and their mouths emit bubbles.
Shown Their Work: From The Blue Lotus on Hergé started documenting himself at the start of each story. He looked for photos and read a lot of books about the topics he wanted to address. Real experts even came to give him advice about stuff like astronomy, other countries and the Abominable Snowman.
Shrunken Head: In The Broken Ear one of the Arumbayas wants to practice this technique on Tintin and explorer Ridgewell.
The symbol of Kih-Oskh in The Cigars Of The Pharaoh is used on cigars and the costumes of the members of the secret organisation .
In The Calculus Affair the symbol of the Bordurian regime are "the whiskers of Kûrvi-Tasch," a stylized representation of the dictator's moustache. It's absolutely all over the country, from flags and official buildings to military rank insignia, hotel lamps and car radiators. This goes as far as written and spoken Bordurian, which uses a circumflex shaped like a curved moustache.
Speaks Fluent Animal: In The Cigars Of The Pharaoh Tintin carves a trumpet and uses it to communicate with elephants.
Corporal Diaz in The Broken Ear begins a vendetta against Tintin and Alcazar, and not only does he do more harm to himself than to them, but half the time they don't even notice his attempts on their lives.
The spy leader who listens to the proceedings during the moon rocket mission in Destination Moon and Explorers On The Moon is a veritable Karma Houdini in the sense that all he does is listen to the operations from his secret base and though his sabotage plan fails he still manages to get away scot free. None of the cast has any idea of his existence.