Saturday, October 22, 2011

Blistering barnacles!

I have very happy memories of reading Tintin books as a child: oblivious to any anachronistic colonial undertones – which delayed the publication in English of Tintin in the Congo until 1991, and now, on re-reading, seem pretty dated – I took it all at face value and loved the stories. My attitude to Tintin himself was not dissimilar to my feelings about the hero of the other omnipresent cartoon books of my childhood, Asterix: I thought both of them were jumped up little squits, too smug for their own good, and in Tintin's case, accompanied by an insufferable little know-it-all dog which didn't even have a proper bark (wo-ah! wo-ah!).

Never mind Tintin: my favourite character was Captain Haddock, mainly on account of his endlessly inventive vocabulary of curses (of which "Bashi-bazouks!" is one of the finest), but also because of his perpetually dishevelled, frequently bemused demeanour, his constant battle with the temptations of booze, and his underlying nobility and capacity for self-sacrifice (see Tintin in Tibet, a particularly moving Tintin book in which my hero (Haddock) offers to die in order to save Tintin). It's because of apprehension about the potential depiction of Captain Haddock (a Scottish accent? I'm still mulling that one) that I find myself with mixed feelings about seeing the new performance capture film, The Adventures of Tintin (although of course I'm excited: who wouldn't be?). Frankly I couldn't care less what they do with/to Tintin; I never liked him anyway.

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