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YMMV / Tintin

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  • Acceptable Professional Targets: Jolyon Wagg is an insurance salesman.
  • Americans Hate Tingle: While not outright hated, and in fact many people interested in comic books would know about it, Tintin never made the big scene in North America (except in Quebec) compared to Europe and other continents. The 2011 animated film boosted the franchise's popularity, especially among animation fans, but in the USA it's always been largely considered more of a niche thing rather than the big cultural impact it is in Europe. It's probably due to the fact that in the USA comic books are mostly known for either being comic strips or being about superheroes, so Tintin rather feels out of place.
  • Animation Age Ghetto:
    • These books are often placed in the children's section in the library, and Nick Jr used to air the Tintin cartoons (which were clearly intended for children). Granted; this is a very mild example seeing as the books are probably "PG" rated at most, a rarity given their original target audience. However, this is a bit more of an instance where it's not "Too violent", "Too gory", or "Too sexy" for children, as it is "Too complex" for children. Several of the books (Namely the first few and the last one) are actually political satire, something most kids actually wouldn't really understand. However, children could still enjoy many of them for the adventures, later (mis)interpreting the political satire and history nods as a Parental Bonus.
    • However, Tintin in the Congo and Tintin in the Land of the Soviets were almost never stocked period, and when bookstores did carry them, they most definitely didn't place them in the kids' section. Some didn't think they were missing much from the Congo at least.
      • In Europe they did sell the Congo and Soviets albums alongside the other books in bookshops though. But rather, they sold the whole Tintin collection apart from the kid's section, so...
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  • Badass Decay: General Alcazar could fit in this category. He seems pretty badass until you learn who wears the brightly colored pants in his marriage.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment In The Broken Ear, after the two bad guys fall from the boat and drown, there's a panel showing them being Dragged Off to Hell by three little black devils, which is really out of place for the genre of the series.
  • Bizarro Episode: Flight 714 starts out normal enough, when Tintin and his friends are kidnapped by Rastapopulus's henchmen and kept prisoners on a small Indonesian island. But it soon become clear that something weird is going on, and it turns out that aliens have been coming to the island for millennia. And yeah, everybody (except for Snowy) forgets all about the adventure due to Laser-Guided Amnesia.
  • Broken Base: Is The Castafiore Emerald an entertaining diversion, a deliberately silly chamber piece that trades in the high stakes and tension of the rest of the series for humor and character work? Or is it a pointless exercise in wheel-spinning, a waste of the heroes' and the readers' time? You can find both views expressed very eloquently here and here.
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  • Complete Monster: Roberto Rastapopoulos is Tintin's Arch-Enemy. Debuting as a seemingly benign film producer, Rastapopoulos is in reality the ringleader of an international drug cartel that utilizes a poison to drive his enemies, interlopers, and any disloyal minions insane. When his operations in Cairo and India crumble, Rastapopoulos kidnaps the Maharajah's son and attempts to crush the boy and Tintin with a boulder, only to apparently fall to his death. Revealing to have survived in China, Rastapopoulos orders the execution of Tintin and Mr. Wang's family, to be beheaded by Mr. Wang's own drugged son. He later returns as the ringleader of a slave trafficking ring, abducting Muslims under the pretense of granting them safe passage, only to later sell them off. Discovering Tintin's interference, Rastapopoulos shows no regard for the lives of innocents in his attempts on Tintin's life; he arranges for a bomb to be planted in Tintin's passenger plane, and later orders a submarine to torpedo the slave ship Tintin had commandeered. In his final appearance, Rastapopoulos attempts to rebuild his fortune by stealing Lazlo Carreidas's own using a truth serum. But when accidentally injected with said serum, he gleefully reveals his plan to have most of his minions killed off once he claims Carreidas's fortune. Driven by Greed, Rastapopoulos truly lives up to his self-proclaimed moniker as "devil incarnate".
  • "Common Knowledge": Even among hardcore Tintin fans, it's common to assume that Thompson and Thomson are twin brothers because of their almost identical appearance and personality, and the fact that they live together. In reality, they aren't related at all. It's not helped by the fact that Haddock and Snowy both sarcastically refer to them as brothers in different books. There is also the fact that the two are actually brothers in the Belvision animated series and movies and they constantly refer to each other as "my dear brother."
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Captain Haddock, who became even more popular and well-loved than Tintin himself.
  • Estrogen Brigade: There's quite a large female fandom of these comics, and while many enjoy the adventures and comedy, others have admitted to find Tintin and the Captain rather swoon-worthy, even if the comic book's art style is the opposite of erotic. Hmm. Must be all the endangering and tied-up situations they get involved in.
  • Fair for Its Day: The portrayal of some people (Native Americans, Japanese, Africans) was alright for the time, but it wouldn't fly today. Worth noting that Hergé thought these were bad back then, and redid these. It's hard to appreciate that in some cases, the portrayal was actually positive for the time. (Such as the Native Americans in Tintin in America.)
  • Fanon Discontinuity: Tintin's first three stories are definitely not popular with fandom: Tintin in the Land of the Soviets is terrible anti-communist propaganda,Tintin in the Congo is horribly racist, and Tintin in America, although considered better than the previous two books, is still criticized for having a series of random events rather than a linear story. Because of this, many fans advise the people who want to get started with Tintin's books to start with Cigars of the Pharaoh, the first story where Hergé really tries to tell a coherent story with a beginning, middle and end. It helps that the events of these first three books are never mentioned by the other books in the franchise.
  • Fashion-Victim Villain: Roberto Rastapopoulos. In his first appearances he wears relatively normal business clothes, but he degenerates fast. First, in his disguise as Marquis Gorgonzola, he wears a bizarre red and green outfit that includes a cape and a cowl with plummage (although he has the reasonable excuse of being at a costume party). In Flight 714, he wears a hideous pink cowboy shirt, complete with hat, boots and bolo tie, and for some reason, carries around a riding crop, even though there's no horses around. Hergé himself said that he wanted to ridicule him and make him a "luxury cowboy" (sic).
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: Most of Tintin in the Land of the Soviets is laughably crude anti-communist propaganda, with Soviet agents planning to blow up all the capitals of Europe and red soldiers trying to drown Snowy For the Evulz. They were largely lifted from a popular anti-Soviet pamphlet of the time and influenced by Hergé's employer, the right-wing Catholic publication Le Petit Vingtième. Some scenes of the oppression in Stalinist Russia, however, are cases of Accidentally Correct Writing which rings painfully true, for instance when Tintin helps a kulak hide his grain from the bolscheviks. It has been estimated that half a million kulaks were killed and 1.8 million people starved to death due to forced collectivization and confiscations of grain in the early thirties.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: The franchise is insanely popular in the West Bengal state of India, to the point that Tintin is a cultural icon. The books are translated in Bengali and the Nelvana animated series has also been dubbed and aired in Bengali TV channels, with almost all of the characters' localised names from the comic books retained in the series. This may or may not have something to do with the fact that Satyajit Ray was a big fan and had referenced the franchise in some of his works.
  • Genius Bonus:
    • Llamas are indeed even-toed ungulates.
    • While under the influence of truth serum, jerkass billionaire Carreidas in Flight 714 goes on at tedious length about his first evil act - stealing a pear as a child. Stealing pears was also St. Augustine's (354-430) first step on the path of sin, according to his famous Confessions.
  • Growing the Beard: After the first three books, the series picked up in terms of story quality. Cigars of the Pharaoh was the first story that attempted to be a cohesive storyline rather than just being a loose collection of set pieces based around a particular country. Hergé himself considered the following story, The Blue Lotus to be the point where the stories really started to get good.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Tintin's hunting of an elephant and a rhinoceros in the original, black-and-white version of Tintin in the Congo, not least because of how the populations of both animals have dwindled in the years since the release of that version.
    • The plane hijacking in Flight 714 and the real life hijacking of Flight 370 are so similar it's speculated the latter was inspired by the former.
    • The ending scene from Tintin and The Blue Lotus, where Japan withdraws from the League of Nations along with its mistreatment of the Chinese becomes a Foregone Conclusion to its entry in World War II, along with the later years of the Second Sino-Japanese War when reading it now. In particular, the book also represents the Japanese invasion of Manchuria, and ends shortly before Japan started committing serious atrocities against the Chinese. Furthermore, the Japanese are depicted as being an oppressive and militaristic force of evil, while the Chinese are portrayed in a generally very positive and wholesome manner. Nowadays, many writers will likely have those roles swapped around if the story takes place in modern times.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • The references to "coke" in The Red Sea Sharks. At the time it was widely used to refer to as a derivative of coal, but nowadays "coke" usually refers to either Coca-Cola or cocaine. The latter interpretation makes Haddock's shocked reaction to Tintin's question if their ship is carrying any coke look particularly hilarious.
    • In The Castafiore Emerald, Bianca Castafiore gives Haddock a violent and ill-tempered, red-feathered pet parrot named Iago. Only applicable to the English translation, though; in the French version the parrot is named Coco.
    • Also in The Seven Crystal Balls and The Castafiore Emerald, Captain Haddock, a character with black scruffy hair and beard, falling down the stairs...
  • Ho Yay:
    • Tintin's relationship with Captain Haddock gives many readers this impression. Neither characters shows any interest in women throughout the series, and a few books after Haddock buys Marlinspike Manor, Tintin moves in with him, and lives there with him.
    • Less obviously, Tintin and Chang from The Blue Lotus and Tintin in Tibet.
  • Inferred Holocaust: Happens at the start of the first Tintin story, Land of the Soviets, as the train that Tintin is taking to the USSR gets blown up by a bomb, and all the passengers and crew are apparently killed (except for Tintin and Snowy, who survive... just because, really).
  • It Was His Sled: Everybody knows that Roberto Rastapopoulos is more than just a movie director...
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • "HA HA HA, OH WOW", an edit of two panels from Destination Moon of Captain Haddock laughing at Prof. Calculus's plans to build a moon rocket.
    • "Caramba! Encore raté!" ("Caramba! Missed again!") from Broken Ear, whenever a plan fails or a target is missed.
    • The Thompsons' catchphrase "Je dirais même plus..." (To be precise...)
    • Many of Haddock's Catch Phrases, e.g. "Thundering typhoons!" or "Blistering barnacles!"
    • Among French commentators, Captain Haddock's bandaid in The Calculus Affair is sometimes used as a comparison to any particularly sticky scandal that may plague a politician and that just won't go away.
    • From the Nelvana animated adaptation of Prisoners of the Sun: "Tomorrow's the sixteenth! EUREKA! We're saved!"
  • Mexicans Love Speedy Gonzales: Once the colonialist propaganda was excised from later editions of Tintin in the Congo, it actually became popular in parts of Francophone Africa, most egregiously, in former Belgian Congo itself. (Those caricatured natives? Obviously they represent that other tribe; Tribe A is often perfectly fine with mocking Tribe B, vice versa, and they're both often fine with mocking Tribe C.) However, others don't see the editing as enough.
    • It happens on almost every country that Tintin has been to. Peruvians adore the Temple of the Sun storyline for portraying their country and the Incan culture mostly accurate and not romanticizing the Spanish conquista. Similarly, Tintin is also liked a lot in China and Tibet.
  • Not So Crazy Anymore: In "Destination Moon", Captain Haddock spends a lot of time mocking Professor Calculus for saying that travel to the moon is possible. When the book was published, in 1953, this was understandable, but after 1969, Haddock seems like the crazy one...
  • One-Scene Wonder: The insane Italian driver Arturo Benedetto Giovanni Giuseppe Pietro Archangelo Alfredo Cartoffoli da Milano from The Calculus Affair.
  • The Scrappy: Jolyon Wagg is considered annoying by both the in-universe characters and the readers.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: Young readers who have seen many adventure comics/cartoons find Tintin to be cliché.
  • Shipping: In the draft of Alph-Art that Hergé left incomplete upon his death, Tintin investigates the murder of an art expert and initially accuses the victim's assistant, Martine Vandezande, of being in league with the killers. In Yves Rodier's unauthorized ending, Martine invites Tintin to meet her parents over dinner. Fortunately for the sanity of Tintin fans everywhere, Rodier didn't show whether Tintin accepted or rejected the invitation.
  • Values Dissonance:
    • Usually trying to be averted, but if there is some, it is there big time. For instance, Tintin in the Congo. Where he does everything dissonant known to 21st century man: Blowing up a rhino by drilling dynamite holes into it, shooting an ape to use his skin as camouflage, all the way down to teaching native children imperialist Belgian ideology. Fabulous, eh?
    • Or portraying Japanese as many a big-toothed Jerkass in The Blue Lotus.
      • Note that The Blue Lotus came out during the brutal invasion and occupation of China by Imperial Japan, who committed horrific atrocities on the civilian population, such as the Nanking massacre. As such, that unflattering depiction is a scathing indictment of Japanese imperialism at the time and no different from similar depictions of Nazi Germany. For comparison, in the The Crab with the Golden Claws, there is a sympathetic Japanese character, who appears in the very beginning and the very end, who is not caricatured and is not a Jerkass of any sort, nor is he aligned with Imperial Japan.
      • If only Herge had shown as much disdain for Belgian imperialism in Tintin in the Congo. Although to be fair, that one was mostly forced onto him by Executive Meddling.
      • The main reason for the representations of the normal Chinese and caricatural Japanese in Blue Lotus was due to a Chinese student offering to help Hergé with his research precisely because he was afraid of the stereotyping being as bad as Congo. Hergé put him in the story as Tchang in thanks.
    • About everything in Tintin in the Land of the Soviets.
    • Or in The Shooting Star (published during WWII, when Belgium was occupied by Germany), where Tintin's expedition's nemesis is a certain American industrialist called Blumenstein. In the later versions, the country was renamed Sao Rico and Blumenstein was renamed Bohlwinkel (which incidentally is also a jewish surname, but Herge supposedly did not know this at the time).
    • Or when the world was allegedly going to end in the same album, and two stereotypical Jews are seen talking about it, one of them saying that would spare him paying a debt to another Jew. Those were erased from post-World War II editions.
    • Or (apparently) Tintin landing in the British Mandate of Palestine in Land of Black Gold, as it was replaced with a Qurac-esque nation in later editions.
    • Or some of Captain Haddock's insults, such as "Aborigine" and "Tribe of Polynesians".
    • Tintin even wore blackface to spy on the villains in The Broken Ear. This was thankfully replaced by a wig, mustache and glasses in the Nelvana adaptation.
  • Values Resonance: On the other hand, while the stories are old and filled with antique prejudices of the era, a lot of the messages found in them can also be found engaging and relevant today:
    • The criticism of Japan's invasion of China in The Blue Lotus. Tintin also delivers an excellent speech to Chang about how, while a lot of Chinese are afraid of westerners because they don't know what they're like, a lot of westerners are just as afraid of the Chinese because they believe they're all Yellow Peril Fu Manchu stereotypes, and when you overcome ignorance you realise that race doesn't determine whether people are good or bad.
    • While the Captain's alcoholism was often treated as a joke, it was also shown as a hindrance for the characters in their adventures, and a big part of Haddock's development throughout the series is to learn to not be so dependent on the drink.
    • Portraying the Incas and their descendants as rightfully wary of foreigners due to the past with the Spaniards, and criticizing the European exploitation of Peru and its rich culture in The Seven Crystal Balls / Prisoners of the Sun. It's exemplified the best in the scene that opens the first book, where the gentleman sitting next to Tintin calls out the desecration of Rascar Capac's tomb, and later the scene where Tintin saves Zorrino from being bullied by two presumably Spaniard men.
    • Believing in the Roma's innocence and not supporting the Thompsons' racist accusations in The Castafiore Emerald.
    • Not caring for either Alcazar or Tapioca's regime in Tintin and the Pícaros, since at the end of the day both leaders still abandon the poorer sections of the population to cater to their own whims and to the richer classes.
    • In general, after the stories of Congo and America, Herge just put a lot more of research into his stories, making the world and characters come off as unique and realistic. Considering how many modern authors nowadays barely do a thing of research and leave their token characters to be mere stereotypes, this is more impressive to consider.
  • Vanilla Protagonist: The title character is calm, levelheaded, and lacking in quirks, making the colorful and wacky supporting cast stand out more in comparison.
  • Viewer Name Confusion: Non-French people tend to write Tintin's name as TinTin or Tin Tin.
  • Villain Decay: Rastapopoulos to a tee. In his earlier appearances, he is a powerful, deceptive and menacing chessmaster. Flight 714 sees him reduced to a pathetically short-tempered pink cowboy who can't think even one step ahead (he's still pretty evil though, as he is quick to tell us). His dragon Allan falls prey to this too, becoming nothing more than a dumb and cowardly henchman. Note that this was done on purpose; Hergé deliberately decided to ridicule his villains at this point.
  • Vindicated by History: While it was never poorly received in the States and English Canada, it was pretty obscure owing mostly to its very limited run. (Meaning you had to hope your library had copies or pay pretty steep prices in online auctions.) After its reprints in The New '10s, it's now one of the few Franco-Belgian comics some people in North America can even name.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: For a series primarily aimed at younger audiences, it features some heavily mature undertones such as gun violence, drug usage, organized crime, political conflicts and even terrorism. The earliest albums are even guilty of overt anti-communism, promoting colonialism and had racist depictions of certain ethnic groups like the congolese and the japanese.

Ellipse-Nelvana animated series

See here.

2011 Film

See here.

Other adaptations


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