The Adventures of Tintin by Herge were comics from 1929 to 1979 written about a young journalist Tintin and his many adventures. Tintin never ages between each story and must have a skeleton of steel (he takes constant knocks to the head) has a knockout punch but is in no way evil.

Tintin in Tibet by Herge

Over the years and decades the quality of the comic adventures would improve along with the stories. Settings and drawings would be updated and amended where necessary also.

The adventures see Tintin with his trusty dog Snowy (Milou in the French language originals) cross the paths of criminals, revolutionaries, spies and he also gets help from a number of friends and Interesting characters along the way, from Captain Haddock to Lady Castafiore and Thompson and Thomson.

The earliest of the Tintin adventures don’t resemble anything like Here’s later adventures. The first Tintin adventure The Land of the Soviets is in black and white and is a not so subtle criticism of communism, the second, Tintin in the Congo is a promotion of Belgian colonialism and by any standards (not just today’s) has an apalling view of the Congolese along with the of hunting exotic animals and Tintin in America criticises American capitalism (although the US reaction to realising there’s oil on a native American reservation as said in the story is some what prescient).

The back of a French language edition I own. The English translation change minor things such as names of characters and places but is still the same stories.

The fifth Tintin adventure Tintin and Blue Lotus is arguably Here’s first great story. Herge does not show the Chinese in a bad light and is critical of the Japanese meddling in the country (as was the case in the early twentieth century).

Within the Tintin adventures there are the classic adventures which have The 39 Steps feel about them like The Black Island and King Ottokar’s Sceptre, to treasure hunting with Captain Haddock and there’s the adventures involving going to the Moon and The Calculus Affair which have a Cold War feel about them.

Available adventures of Tintin in English. Note how Tintin in the Congo has been omitted due to the negative depiction of the Congolese and promotion of colonianism.

My favourite Tintin novel however, is Tintin in Tibet. This is nothing like any of the previous Tintin adventures,  there’s no sinister group trying to kill Tintin for starters. No, this adventure is about Tintin wanting to find his friend Chang (who we meet in the Blue Lotus) who he suspects is in some trouble due to the close bond he has with him. This story is about loyalty and friendship even if it means taking on great obstacles and risking your own life. In Tintin’s case it’s the mountains of the Himalayas along with the snow of which Tintin has to travel thousands of miles to get to help Chang. Tintin, Snowy, Captain Haddock and Tharkey risk their lives to find Chang, there’s no ulterior motive other than doing out of love for a friend. We also meet a Yeti and learn never to take things at face value.

What I’ve also found amusing in some of the Tintin adventures is that Snowy talks as he does in this one. He doesn’t talk to Tintin but to the reader. He breaches the fourth wall like he knows we are there.

If you’ve never read a Tintin comic before, I probably would not start with this one because it’s definitely not representative of the other adventures, but I would say it’s the best of all them. The artwork in this adventure is of a high standard and the negative racial stereotypes that were seen in Herge’s earlier work is long gone. Tintin in Tibet is beautiful as it is endearing.

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