Monday, July 29, 2013


- Hergé -

One of my literary challenges this year was to delve into the world of the "Graphic Novel" (aka comic books). This genre is continually coming up in my booklife. Online, I seem to be in a crowd of Graphic Novel readers and lovers. Offline, I noticed our library had set up a Graphic Novel section...right near my regular haunts in the Fantasy and Western section. Which makes me think a couple of things. 1) Since when did comic books become 'literature'?  2) Maybe I should take this genre a bit more seriously...I would probably enjoy it anyway.

After some quick google-wikipedia style research, one name kept coming up again and again - Tintin. I've decided to start my journey at the beginning. Apparently the Tintin series was a ground breaker in this genre. Shock to me as I remember reading these books when I was young. Why not reread them and see what they are like through adult eyes?
So, off I go to the library to search out a Tintin.


According to reviews this book is the best of the series. Um, ok, I guess I was expecting more on the 'novel' front. Perhaps I'll have to read a few more before I come to any conclusions of my own.
The 'graphic' front was great. I was very surprised by how good the 'comics' were. The detail in the pictures was outstanding, especially the crowded marketplace scene. You could easily get a good feel for the time period, the location, and the action that was happening. You could even follow the story just by the pictures alone.
The story was good but felt too that to be expected when pictures are added? To sum it up, Prof. Calculus invents a sound machine that could be used as a weapon. He is kidnapped by some secret agent types from what appears to be a cold war era communist country in an attempt to steal his idea. Tintin and the Captain go on a whirlwind tour of what looks like Eastern Europe or East Germany in an attempt to save the professor. As shown by the cover of the book they do save him, but, it was a close one. Thrown in with this action packed adventure was a humorous bit involving a pushy insurance salesman - that was a highlight for me.
But, I did have a hard time dealing with the lack of a backstory. As I stated, I am a novel reader.


Ahh, I'm reading these things all out of order. But, it doesn't make any difference, they are all essentially stand alone stories. Or, at least it seems that way to me after reading two.
This 'episode' was great! Tintin and the gang mistakenly board a spaceship to the moon. Somehow they manage to land the ship on the moon without any mishap. Then, Tintin takes the historic first steps on the moon. The Captain joins in and they go exploring a bit.
In the meantime, an evil villain has stowedaway on the ship...I guess a lot of this is explained in #16...he comes out of hiding and takes over the rocket. Luckily, Tintin is there to save the day, using only a wrench and a pistol I might add.
Explorers was actually kind of humorous with the Captain continually being the brunt of physical harm type jokes (he must have bashed his head two dozen times!) or the Captain getting drunk on his smuggled whiskey.
Onto #10.


Shooting Star was more like the Tintin I remember of my short stint reading them in my youth. This one was far fetched and was so full of scientific holes it could have been mistaken for swiss cheese, haha. But, that is what made it fun.
An earth shattering juggernaut of a meteorite smashes into the Arctic and causes little damage b/c it lands in the ocean. Tintin and crew decide to go find it on the theory that it contains a new mineral non native to Earth. However, a rival gang has the same idea. Tintin and crew win, of course, however, there is more to this meteor than meets the eye. Strange things happen, like the giant mushroom as pictured on the cover. This fantasy science was one part I found pretty amusing. The race was also full of adventure including a harrowing plane flight. There was also a lot of that repetitive humour (The Captain and his drinking problem the majority of the jokes). Ahh, the perfect Tintin.

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