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Tintin's Cigars and Opium 


Monday, August 20, 2007

Reading along smoothly on my Tintin-and-Asterix streak, I recently finished reading the Tintin adventures Cigars of the Pharaoh and The Blue Lotus.

Though Cigars of the Pharaoh is still not a completely cohesive story, Hergé was by now losing interest in disconnected episodes. Notable for having the first appearance of the Thompson Twins, Tintin also proves he is cuter in local costumes than the decidedly uncute Twins.

In The Blue Lotus, Tintin also wears the local outift, spending most of the book in a blue Chinese suit. I forgot how cute Tintin looks with his new friend Chang Chong-chen, inspired by Hergé's real-life friend and Chinese culture advisor Zhang Chongren.

Father Gosset, the University of Leuven Chinese students' chaplain, introduced Zhang to Hergé so that the cartoonist wouldn't mess up the depiction of China as he did in previous books (apparently there is a Fu Manchu torture chamber in Land of the Soviets). Hergé ended up doing so well in depicting the realities of 1930s China, that the Japanese diplomats complained to the Belgian government.

(Hergé and Zhang were eventually reunited in 1981 in France; Zhang received French citizenship in 1985, living in Paris until his death in 1998.)

Hopefully, I can track down the next Tintin adventure, The Broken Ear.


*****

Other Tintin links found while writing this post:

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