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So I decided to try out Tin Tin, I started with the crab with the golden claws (I learned about the series from the Jackson movie so I wanted to start were Captain Hadock was introduced) and Iíve read the shooting star, which I unfortunately didnít like as much. Iím looking forward to secret of the unicorn but Iím wondering if there were any previous albums I should read first or any I would be better of skipping altogether.
The albums generally come in pairs.
Avoid Soviets and Congo unless you are morbidly curious about Herge's work before he actually became good. America is better but still not as good as later comics. Shooting Star is a bit of a weird outlier in a long line of good comics.
Starting with Emerald, Tintin enters a more experimental, deconstructive, and cynical phase. Emerald is an attempt to tell an exciting story without the usual trappings and settings of Tintin, and is still pretty good. 714 is a deconstruction of one of Tintin's biggest villains, and this is where the cynicism starts. Picaros is a really cynical deconstruction of revolutions and of Tintin's effectiveness in changing things for the better. Alph Art was never finished.
I recommend sticking between Cigars and Emerald, and exploring the rest if you're curious.
Thanks for the advice. So one more question. Can I enjoy Blue Lotus without having to read Cigars of the pharaoh? I want to read Blue Lotus because Iíve heard it be called ďHergťís first masterpiece.Ē
You can, but some things will be clearer by reading Cigars first. In these pairs, there IS continuity, but they also function as self contained adventures with a clear beginning and end. One of the first albums I read was Men on the Moon, and I read the lead up story much later, but it was very enjoyable on it's own.
My favourite pairs would be Cigars of the Pharaoh/The Blue Lotus, The Secret of the Unicorn/Red Rackham's Treasure, and Destination Moon/Explorers on the Moon.
Of course I read most of Tintin as a kid.
Having recently re-read my whole Tintin collection (they still are quite enjoyable as an adult), I can confirm that the Blue Lotus really stands out. That does not mean the others are bad, apart from Congo and Soviets, which are only interesting if you want to see how Hergé started. And yeah, it is better to read Cigars of the Pharaoh before Blue Lotus, but the story can be enjoyed on its own. Cigars is already quite good anyway, even if it carries on some of the Early Installment Weirdness of the previous books.
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