I’m a huge fan of the 24 Tintin cartoon albums by Belgian artist Georges Remi, who used the name “Herge”. I vividly remember buying my first book when I was a very young man. My father had loaded us into the family station wagon and we stopped at the Sav-On drug store to buy supplies for a fairly long drive. I was fascinated by the cover art and bought “King Ottokar’s Sceptre”. From the very first page I was absolutely mesmerized.
Here are my top 10 favorite Tintin adventures. (And I refuse to acknowledge the dreadful 2011 film “The Adventures of Tintin”. Ugh. What a huge disappointment.)
1. King Ottokar’s Sceptre (1939). The young Belgian reporter and his dog Snowy travel to Syldavia where they foil a plot to overthrow the monarchy that involved an ancient Sceptre.
2. The Crab with the Golden Claws (1941) – Tintin solves a mystery involving opium smuggling and a brand of tinned crab meat. The action takes place on the high seas and in the Sahara Desert.
3. The Cigars of the Pharaoh (1934) – Another drug smuggling mystery, this time in Egypt. And this time the opium is being smuggled in cigars.
4. The Blue Lotus (1936) – This continues the Cigars drug smuggling story. Tintin goes to China during the 1931 invasion by Japan and battles spies in addition to the smugglers.
5. Destination Moon (1953) – Tintin, Snowy, Captain Haddock, Professor Calculus, Thomson & Thompson, Frank Wolff, and a stowaway travel to the moon. Remarkably accurate depiction of the first moon flights in the late 1960s.
6. Explorers on the Moon (1954) – This story picks up with Tintin and six others on the moon. There’s a stowaway and one of the crew is an enemy spy. Who is it? Will the adventurers make it back to earth?
7. The Calculus Affair (1956) – The plot involves enemy spies and the plans for a secret ultrasonic weapon. The story echoes the cold war at the time between the Soviets and the West.
8. The Secret of the Unicorn (1943) – Tintin discovers a riddle left by Captain Haddock’s ancestor, which could lead to the hidden treasure of the pirate Red Rackham. Tintin and Haddock must obtain three identical models of Sir Francis’s ship, the Unicorn.
9. Red Rackham’s Treasure (1944) – Picking up where The Secret of the Unicorn left off, Tintin and Captain Haddock go to the West Indies, find the wreck of the treasure ship, but don’t find any treasure there. Where did it go?
10. The Castafiore Emerald (1963) – This story is quite unlike the other adventures; there is almost no travel. Someone has stolen the huge emerald from opera diva Bianca Castafiore. Can Tintin recover it?