Friday, June 7, 2019

The Black Island is where Tintin clicked for me

Okay. First of all, I have to eat some crow. While I realized that Hergé and his studio revised the artwork of some of his older works in the 60s, I thought they just added color. It seems they also added a lot of refinement and detail. So, while I still hold that Tintin is pretty awesome, it isn’t a revolutionary and ahead of its time as I thought.

That said, I’ve been reading some of the earlier volumes (with the revisions and I’m very curious how some of the elaborate landscapes looked in the original versions) and Tintin started to really click for me with the eight volume, The Black Island.

The actual story itself is pretty simple and could be described relatively spoiler-free as Tintin and Snowy chase some bad guys pretty much the length of the British Isles. There wasn’t much mystery or complex plans going on.

However, that left room for me to focus on the action sequences and the slapstick comedy sequences, which are sometimes one and the same. The pacing was really solid and I sometimes felt like I was reading the story booking of a movie. Poor Thomson and Thompson’s escapades in a plane felt particularly cinematic.

I also was glad I was reading the story as an album. I enjoyed the keystone kops-esque silliness of two pages of firefighters trying to find the key to the fire station but if I had had to wait a week or a month to find out what was going to happen to Tintin unconscious in a burning building, I wouldn’t have liked it as much :P

Tintin was originally created for a conservative children’s magazine so you don’t get edgy apart from drug dealers, alcoholism, political refugees... and, you know, scratch the surface, Tintin deals with some surprisingly serious issues. The comics have a light-hearted feel aimed at kids but it deals with some adult issues.

What I was going to say, before I got into the last paragraph, was is that Hergé and his studio did a good job telling stories that were full of action and comedy. More and more, I can appreciate why Tintin made such an impact.

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