A tribute to Tin Tin

It is holiday time here (the great festival of Diwali will be upon us in couple of days) and I thought i will write a tribute to Tin Tin. This post has been inspired by an article i read recently in the British Airways’s High Life in-flight magazine Nov 2007 issue.

As a child i have derived endless hours of fun reading the Tin Tin comics and I am sure many of you have done as well. Priya Raju is a great fan of Tin Tin and she now has the entire collection in her possession. We have been reading the series again and we are amazed that we are able to enjoy the series even at this ripe old age [Okay, that is me, Priya Raju is still very young :)]. To us, it shows the timelessness of this series.

Through the magazine article [Sorry the article is not online], i learnt a few things that i didn’t know before:

1. George Remi, better known as Herge, the author of the series, never travelled outside his country Belgium. All that he wrote about the various countries that Tin Tin visited was from the detailed research he did. Amazing isn’t it? It is hard to believe that all the vivid details he presents are entirely from research.

2. Herge included some self-portraits in crowd scenes in the series. Myself and Priya Raju had some great fun looking through the series and trying to find Herge in the crowd scenes.

3. Tin Tin series has sold 200 million copies in 50 languages so far.

4. Tin Tin is partly based on Herge’s brother Paul Remi.

5. The 24th book Tin Tin and Alph Art was left unfinished after Herge’s death in 1983.

6. Tin Tin has no love interest and only cries twice in the whole series.

7. Though Tin Tin is an ace reporter he submits a story only once in the entire series and seems to have no editor or deadlines!

The article also said that Tin Tin in Congo has come in for some criticism due to its insensitive portrayal of Africans. I have read Tin Tin in Congo and I would have to agree on this point. Maybe we can allow for a few blemishes in this otherwise delightful series, right?

I had written about this earlier – why did Captain Haddock use all those funny sounding curse words and not real ones? The Haddock page in the Wikipedia comes to the rescue – see the Expletives section.

Happy Diwali to all of you that celebrate it! And if you have a young child, buy a copy of Tin Tin and gift it to your child or better still read it with your child. Fun guaranteed.


1. A-Z List of Captain Haddock’s curses.

2. If you want to play the game we played – find Herge’s self portrait in the crowd scenes and you need help, try this site [Warning: Spoilers].

3. Lots of Tin Tin related info at this site including a world map with markers for the locations of the Tin Tin adventures.


  1. Quote
    Anonymous said November 4, 2007, 1:19 pm:

    Blistering Barnacles thats good tribute ……I luv that guy πŸ™‚

  2. Quote
    Anonymous said November 4, 2007, 10:02 pm:

    Thundering typhoons. Thanks Karthik.

  3. Quote
    Anonymous said November 4, 2007, 11:29 pm:

    Nice post Sukumar. I have never read Tin-Tin, do you think it is a good idea to start these at a ripe old age πŸ™‚

  4. Quote
    Anonymous said November 5, 2007, 7:24 am:

    I am sure u will luv him Archana…i dont think any age is old for Ripe…even now when i read about Tin Tin and his Gaulic Neighbours(Read Astreix and obelix ) i become 10 year younger…..:)

  5. Quote
    Anonymous said November 5, 2007, 9:35 am:


    i am sure you will enjoy Tin Tin. I bet my shirt on that.

    Karthik has also chimed in. Thanks man.

  6. Quote
    Anonymous said November 5, 2007, 10:37 am:

    Thank you Sukumar, Karthik. Please lend me one of your favorite books.

  7. Quote
    Anonymous said November 5, 2007, 12:43 pm:

    I have CD of all Tini Tins comics archana…will locate it and mail it too u:)

  8. Quote
    Anonymous said November 5, 2007, 12:46 pm:

    Wow Sukumar i never knew about Herge spotting ..thinking about it all these faces look familar…i have noticed caricatures in Asterix but never in Tin Tin : this an excellant link thanx for it…have u tried hitch spotting (Spot Alfred Hitchcok in his movies)

  9. Quote
    Anonymous said November 5, 2007, 4:18 pm:


    Thanks. I haven’t noticed caricatures in Asterix? Can you give some examples?

    And yes, I love Hitch spotting. I’m a big fan of Hitchcock movies.

  10. Quote
    Anonymous said November 5, 2007, 8:29 pm:

    Ten thousand thundering applause !!! I fondly remenber visiting the Tin-Tin museum at the Comic Strips center in Brussels. My first acqaintance with Tin-Tin was thru “The Week” magazine. Am also a great fan of Asterix & Obelix….I wonder how they came up with those names Getafix, Vitalstatistix, Cacaphonix, Geriatrix…the name tells it all !!!

  11. Quote
    Anonymous said November 5, 2007, 10:44 pm:

    Thanks Mahesh. I’m a big fan of Asterix as well. Karthik talks about the presence of caricatures in Asterix above. Do you know anything on that?

    As for the names in Asterix, they seem to be a twist on common english words like get-a-fix (medicine man),cacophony (cacofonix) etc, right? The best name award in Asterix goes to Gluteus Maximus – I’m sure you know what that means. Looks like I could do a separate post on Asterix.

  12. Quote
    Anonymous said November 6, 2007, 12:44 am:

    Sukumar ,

    In Asterrix and Black gold…there is secret agent called dubbleosix who looks lot like Sean Connery,

    In Asterix in Belgiium we have 2 characters like Dupont and Dupond (Thompson and Thomson)

    In Asterix in Britain we have bards who lile beatles…..

    In Asterix and Cleopatra cleopatra looks a lot like Liz Taylor…

    I dont remeber which one but i have spotted Jacques Chriac in one of the books… have spotted Spartacus in Asterix and greater crossing(Kirk Douglas)..will google and let u know more…

  13. Quote
    Anonymous said November 6, 2007, 4:25 am:

    I never knew until now that caricatures were hidden inside the Asterix comics. It would be more interesting from now on that I’ll be scratching my head to figure them out.

    As you (we?) said, the names of characters in Asterix go with their looks or their profession. What I wonder is how they came up with such a brilliant idea !!

  14. Quote
    Anonymous said November 6, 2007, 7:12 am:

    Thanks Karthik. I vaguely remember the beatles reference. Maybe I’m imagining. As Mahesh says, this will make me a take a 2nd look at the Asterix series. Thanks for sharing.

  15. Quote
    Anonymous said November 6, 2007, 7:24 am:


    Sukumar please have look at this site in Wikipedia….I had pleasure of updating part of it πŸ™‚

  16. Quote
    Anonymous said November 6, 2007, 7:26 am:


    Thanks. I’ll need to do some research on how they came up with such names. It is truly brilliant. Just the names add a whole layer of entertainment.

  17. Quote
    Anonymous said November 6, 2007, 10:28 am:

    Thanks Karthik. Cool page. The page doesn’t mention gluteus maximus though, my vote for the best name in the series. πŸ™‚

  18. Quote
    Anonymous said November 6, 2007, 11:53 am:

    i guess u shud do the honors…:) by including that name…

  19. Quote
    Anonymous said November 6, 2007, 12:10 pm:

    Nice post Sukumar.

  20. Quote
    Anonymous said November 6, 2007, 12:17 pm:

    Thanks Sudhakar. I take it that you are a Tin Tin fan?

  21. Quote
    Anonymous said November 6, 2007, 12:25 pm:

    Yeah. Maybe I’ll do I have never edited the wikipedia. So maybe this will provide the much needed impetus. Let’s see.

  22. Quote
    Anonymous said November 8, 2007, 1:05 pm:

    Great post Sukumar. The blog has renewed my desire to complete my collection of Tintin comics.

    I had procured a set of 21 comics through ebay couple of years back. This was a 7 volume Little Brown Hardback edition. The soft cover edition is definitely better for those of you who have not yet started a collection. The collection unfortunately did not include Tintin in Congo ( which I think Herge was embarrassed to showcase), Tintin in the Land of Soviets & the Alph Art. I am not sure if it is true, but lot of countries including India had banned Tintin in Congo.

    While I am a huge Herge fan, I think his portrayal of India was very stereo typical. (Maharajah’s, half naked fakirs , tigers & cows ). That apart the folks who have not yet read Tintin are in for a treat.

    For those of you that already have completed their collection, I would recommend by Micheal Farr to round off your collection.

    Happy Diwali


  23. Quote
    Anonymous said November 8, 2007, 3:08 pm:

    Slight correction to the previous post.

    “For those of you that already have completed their collection, I would recommend Tintin: The Complete Companion by Micheal Farr to round off your collection.”


  24. Quote
    Anonymous said November 8, 2007, 10:10 pm:

    Thanks Joe. I didn’t know Tin Tin in Congo had been banned. I’m not surprised. Yeah, his depictions of India are a bit stereotypical.

    I haven’t read the Michael Farr companion book. I’ll add it to my to do list. Thanks for the pointer. Does this companion book talk about Herge’s self portrait imbedded?

  25. Quote
    Anonymous said November 9, 2007, 12:55 am:

    Yes it does. There are couple of references to Herge’s Self Portrait in this book.

    Look for Herge’s self portrait in the Broken Ear & Blue Lotus – I got it from this book.

  26. Quote
    Anonymous said November 9, 2007, 1:38 am:

    Thanks Joe. The link i provided within my post has a few more pointers for the self-portrait embeds.

  27. Quote
    Anonymous said November 9, 2007, 2:01 pm:

    Great post Sukumar! I infact started my “reading” habit from the Tintin comics. Though I haven’t read many of them, the few which I read did leave a great impact on me. I love all the characters in Tintin, especially snowy, professor calculus and ofcourse captain haddock. Recently read this book called “Understanding comics” by Scott Mccloud, in that he mentions why Tintin comics are so alive. If you notice, the backgrounds used in tintin, they are always picturesque, like a sea or mountain or desert. That’s what makes them very real. And the characters(I mean their features like eyes or face is not pictured in detail) are always abstract because in our mind map the image of our own selves in inanimate(as we dont get to see our own emotions on our face).

  28. Quote
    Anonymous said November 9, 2007, 10:55 pm:

    Thanks Saraswathi. I haven’t read the book you refer to by Scott McCloud. Sounds like an interesting one. That is interesting point about the backdrops in the series and facial expressions. I hadn’t formed an opinion on that. Good one. He does show sweat drops flying off, exclamatory facial expressions etc. Does that not count as facial expressions?

  29. Quote
    Anonymous said November 10, 2007, 12:22 am:

    Ya sweat drops and exclamatory facial expressions are animate, but then I guess Scott McCloud describes the abstractness of features like eyes, nose, hair etc….He mentions that why elders/kids enjoy cartoons is because they can see themselves in the cartoon which is an abstract representation of a human face. The details are hidden so that any human being can fit his/her face into the cartoon and feel closer to the cartoon character. Also here abstract does not mean without “any” details. Here it means that the character in a comic is never a graphic image/high resolution image.

    Hope I made sense. But I would recommend you to read “Understanding comics”. You will surely love it. It introduced me to look at comics in a whole new way.

  30. Quote
    Anonymous said November 10, 2007, 1:19 am:

    Now i understand. that sounds very interesting. I need to read the “Understanding Comics” book. I had not given that much thought into why people like comics other than the perfunctory – it appeals to children. You have given me some serious food for thought. Thank you Saraswathi.

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