The characters we love to love
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- Published 8.11.11
TINTIN: The investigative reporter with a “baby face” is someone we have grown up (and are growing old) with. Ace sleuth (often referred to as Sherlock Holmes by Captain Haddock), master of disguises and super smart — there is no situation he cannot get out of — Tintin is a ‘real’ hero. Someone we want to be like. His biggest feat — he was the first man to set foot on the moon. Yes, many young Tintin readers actually believed that. Great Snakes!
Captain Haddock: The bumbling and hot-headed sea captain with a penchant for rum and Loch Lomond whisky has been consistently voted the most popular Tintin character. Introduced quite inauspiciously — he sets the oars on fire to keep warm, hits Tintin on the head with a bottle causing a plane crash, nearly strangles Tintin imagining him to be a bottle — in The Crab with Golden Claws, Haddock soon turns into Tintin’s loyal ally. Enough can’t be said about his colourful vocabulary — fans have counted over 200 Haddock cuss words that are not cuss words! Billions of blue blistering barnacles!
SNOWY: Tintin’s friend, philosopher and guide, the white Wire Fox Terrier is a globe-trotter with a sharp nose, a sharper mind and a snippy yap, which has saved his master from many a tricky situation. He communicates often with Tintin and conveys his thoughts quite succinctly. But he has an instinctive dislike for talking animals. Snowy’s great love for Loch Lomond whisky — which invariably gets him inebriated and in trouble — rivals that of Captain Haddock’s and despite his canny ways, he has a doggy love for bones that often gets the better of him.
CUTHBERT CALCULUS: The absent-minded genius is deaf as a doorpost and quite the cliched figure of the mad scientist. Professor Calculus is known for his ingenious creations (for which he keeps getting kidnapped), his obsession for his umbrella (he never leaves home without it) and his passion for Bianca Castafiore (which has made him blush, gush, charge to her rescue and even invent a species of rose in The Castafiore Emerald). And though he is best known for holding parallel conversations, sometimes ridiculously random, based on what he thinks you’ve said, don’t underestimate his hearing — he is after all “only a little hard of hearing in one ear”.
And never mention the word “goat” in his presence.
Thompson and Thomson: The identical twins in identical suits and bowler hats — one with a “p” and the other without a “p” — give us some of the most LOL moments in Tintin. They pop up everywhere in hundreds of useless disguises, only to have criminals on the run slip away from under their noses. Mum’s the word, that’s their motto. Or rather, dumb’s the word! They fall flat on their faces all the time, but we like them anyway. To be precise, we love them.
General Alcazar: A cool customer, Alcazar is a general in the army of San Theodoros, engaged in a never-ending power struggle with rival General Tapioca. With a cigarette permanently between his lips, Alcazar first makes an appearance in The Broken Ear. He resurfaces as knife-thrower Ramon Zarate in The Seven Crystal Balls and then as the rebel leader in Tintin and the Picaros. He also remains a henpecked husband to Peggy who often refers to him as “Monster”.
Rastapopoulos: Bald with a bulbous nose, Tintin’s nemesis is as evil as he looks. An underworld kingpin who also operates under the fake name of Marquis di Gorgonzola, he first meets Tintin in The Cigars of the Pharaoh as a film producer; in The Blue Lotus he is the head of an opium cartel. Rastapopoulos keeps popping up — The Red Sea Sharks to Flight 714 — but his diabolical designs are always thwarted by Tintin.
Nestor: Captain Haddock’s butler at Marlinspike Hall, Nestor has a stiff upper lip, but that doesn’t stop him from downing a whisky or two when Haddock isn’t around or listening through the keyhole. He rarely leaves Marlinspike Hall, but, as in The Castafiore Emerald, Nestor often plays a key role in Tintin’s cases.
BIANCA CASTAFIORE: The Milanese Nightingale, whom we first meet in King Ottokar’s Sceptre and then in The Seven Crystal Balls, Tintin and the Picaros, The Red Sea Sharks and, of course, The Castafiore Emerald, is buxom, gregarious and famous the world over for her ear-splitting arias that can part the hair on her audience’s head. She has a crush on the Captain, whom she calls everything (Paddock, Padlock, Hammock, Hassock and finally Havoc) but Haddock.
The Seven Crystal Balls and Prisoners of the Sun:
The plot, which starts with seven archaeologists returning from South America and falling into a mysterious coma in The Seven Crystal Balls, culminates in a super adventure through South America in Prisoners of the Sun. A chase, avalanches, a romp through the jungles, and a climax that is brainy rather than brawny. Whew!
Tintin in America:
One of the most action-packed adventures, this is a plum pick for a film, especially because of its gangster appeal. Tintin travels to Chicago to take ’em on and clean the city. He’s stuck in an underground cave, is caught and almost hanged in place of a thief, is tied to the railway tracks.... All super situations for an edge-of-the-seat film.
Destination Moon and Explorers on the Moon:
Funda meets fun in these two back-to-back adventures in which Professor Calculus designs a rocket that takes Tintin and gang to the moon. Purely on the basis of nail-biting action, visual appeal, and the ROFL moments, the Moon books are crying out to be made into films.
Tintin in Tibet:
When his friend Chang goes missing after a plane crash in the Himalayas, Tintin, Haddock and Snowy trek through snow-capped mountains to take on the Abominable Snowman. Tintin in Tibet will be a visual delight.
Which Tintin adventure would you pick for a film? Tell email@example.com