Tintin and the Picaros

Hergé created Peggy, Alcazar’s wife in “Tintin and the Picaros,” after seeing a lady with a simlar personality on television in a documentary on the KKK.

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By popular demand, the highly praised Travels of a Boy Reporter has returned. This map tracks the journey of Tintin in his 23 adventures across the world.

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The map is available as a download for just £10. Once you’ve downloaded it you are free to use it how you wish (non-commercially only). Print it out, have t-shirts made, use it as your computer’s desktop. You are free to use it however you want.

It comes in a variety of sizes ranging from the small 480×320 pixels, suitable for an iPhone, to the huge 6679×4722 pixels, suitable for an A1 poster.

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High resolution graphics with license to print and use the map for any non-commercial purpose.

Ligne Claire (Clear Line), Tintin and the Picaros, Uncategorized

After my last post on the Tintin exhibit in Madrid, the owner himself left a comment here and was willing to send us scans of the missing page of Tintin in the Picaros. Hergé had finished the entire album when he discovered that he had one extra page. This was the most appropriate page to take out. It must have pained him to get rid of it because, as you are about to see, it took him a lot of work to complete. Thank you so much ”guardiadetroya” for sending us these scans. They are also available in the Spanish book ”El mundo imaginario de Tintin”, which is also on display in Madrid. The page, like any page from a Tintin album, went through multiple stages. If you read ”Tintin and the Alph-Art” you’ll recognize the first few stages. The first thing Hergé did was draw a basic sketch in ink of what happened in the page, along with a few key words in talk balloons.  Personally, I love Hergé’s style of sketching his characters. I especially love the expression the villain makes in the third line down when he raises his eyebrow, deep in thought.

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After he had the first draft completed, he completely redrew everything in pencil, this time with more detail. The page shows us how the villain walks in and threatens to destroy Tintin just like he would destroy his glass( sorry, last time I said it was an icecube…it’s just a glass. Ice might have made more sense actually, come to think of it…). But his glass bounces off the floor and smashes the  very whiskers of Kurvi-Tasch off the ruler’s bust (”Pleszky-Gladz” in the original French). The guard laughs uncontrollably and is scolded, but when the villain realizes that he could tell other people that he had broken the mustache off, he gives the guard the position he wants and tells him to punish ”the cleaning lady who broke the bust”. The message gets across.

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The page is now cleaned and drawn in black ink. Back in Tintin’s earlier black and white adventures, the process finished here and only needed the words added. The beginning of this page is strikingly similar to when Rastapopoulos threatens to kill Tintin like he would kill a spider…that later gets away with no trouble. When will these villains ever learn?

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But of course by now Tintin had to be in color. And so Hergé once again drew the page in fine blue ink (so fine it doesn’t show up in the scan below) and then painted over it. Finally he drew the black lines.  23-4

Finally, after all that work, another one of Hergé’s famous ”ligne claire” style pages is completed. And it never even made it in the album! At least it made it here.
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For those of you who don’t speak french, here is a fan made English translation of the page:

Very special thanks to the owner for sending us these scans. Something I found very interesting is that he himself made several of the items on display, for example, the box of cigarettes in my last post from ”The Calculus Affair”. He also made these awesome ”Syldavian” stamps, which are also on display. I collect stamps, and I think this is a very good idea.

syldavya stamps

I can relate to this because when I was little I made this hideous little Tintin out of paper mache, similar to crafts you might see on Art Attack. Even though his head is massive and one hand is huge next to his other, I still have him. Why? Because he’s part of my collection. Anybody with a little bit of creativity could do stuff like this. Sure, the Tintin shop online is awesome. But there are more options. You don’t need a lot of money to have a cool Tintin collection. If anybody out there feels inspired to create a cool Tintin craft based off of something from the albums, you might just get it posted online.

If any of  you readers live in Spain but can’t make it to the exhibit in Madrid, the owner is interested in moving his collection around. At least I assume just inside of Spain, but I guess that’s up to him. Anyway, if you are interested in seeing it, leave a comment, he’s sure to see it there.

Tintin, Tintin and the Picaros, Uncategorized

Do any of you readers live anywhere near Madrid? I don’t know why you would, but in case you do, there’s a Tintin treat in store for you in the Gran Via de Hortaleza  Mall, right outside the Mar de Cristal metro stop on the Brown metro line. On display in the mall are a series of collectible Tintin items from the collection of a true Tintinologist. Among the objects on display were a copy of the world’s first edition of Tintin in Tibet, a copy of ”German Research in World War II” seen in the Calculus affair, and copies of Tintin books in every language from Vietnamese to Latin. Since many of you don’t live in Madrid, and I do, I was more than happy to go check out this display and see if anything there was worth a blog post. This post looks long but it really isn’t! It just has a lot of large photos. By the way I would appreciate it if you would look at them, because I was informed half way through taking them that photography was not allowed in the mall. Not to be left with an unfinished post, I evaded guards and risked imprisonment just so you could get a taste of the display.

It’s free, and consists of about 10 glass boxes with collector’s items in them running along a hallway on the ground floor. The first one I saw covered Tintin in the movies, and had a few copies of the movie books based off the two live action films. SAM_3349

Above: a frame from the stop motion film ”The Crab with the Golden Claws”, the movie book for ”Tintin and the Golden Fleece” and the first Spanish hardcover ”Tintin and the Lake of Sharks” album version.

There was a bit m0re related to Tintin in the media.

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From left to right: a copy of ”Destination adventure”, 2 DVD’s from the 90’s series,  a copy of ”Tintin and the blue oranges” on DVD, an advertisement for the film, and the movie book in french.

A large amount of the collection was related to Tintin trivia, which I love. Did you know that there was an extra page from ”Tintin in the Picaros” that was never published?  Hergé apparently didn’t like it and never included it in the album. The entire page is a conversation between two main villains from the book, and a comical sequence where the mustache of an important bust is broken off by a piece of ice. I guess Hergé decided, and rightly so, that leaving this in would stress credibility…The display had a copy of the missing page in every stage from draft to final product. I have zoomed in only on the final page.missing page

The display also showed a copy of a ”fake” page completed by two of Hergé’s coworkers, Bob de Moor and Jacques Martin. Four years after ”The Castafiore Emerald” Hergé hadn’t even started a new album. The public wanted something new, and so did the newspapers. So while Hergé was on holiday in Sicily, the two created a fake page with Haddock and Tintin in an airplane, telling the papers ”a new album is on it’s way!”. It was only supposed to be a gag, but it gave Hergé some grief when he had to apologize to the world and reveal that the page wasn’t real. How could Hergé just smash the world’s hopes and leave them with nothing? He was suddenly forced into making a new album, Flight 714.  Fans have since added color to the page:

Hergé used a real book as a model for ”German Research in World War II” from The Calculus Affair. To settle further doubts to the lazy question ”Was Tintin a Nazi?”, Hergé wouldn’t even include the swastika from the cover in his album.

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On the bottom right are the cigarettes from ”The Calculus Affair”. Bottom left is the book seen in The Calculus Affair. This book directly inspired the sound weapon, and almost definitely inspired the paint job for the moon rocket. In the back is a very collectible copy of the first edition of ”Tintin in Tibet”

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I could hardly believe my eyes at the end of the display when I saw this board game, which I just posted about recently but with my ”Mille Bornes” post but had never seen in my life. Such a coincidence is almost characteristic of  one of Hergé’s albums!

Dibujo

But what really blew me away was the fact that behind a nice statue of Tintin and Snowy running was the very ”Travels of a Boy Reporter” Tintin map Chris Tregenza has worked so hard on, hanging up on the glass! The last thing I had expected to find at the display was anything related to this site. Apparently the owner of this great collection is a fan of this site. Well, if you are reading this, Tintinology hopes you will continue to follow this blog for years to come. And Chris, you can rest happy that your map has become popular among Spanish tintinologists and is deemed as a valuable part of one’s Tintin collection. Do check it out if you haven’t seen it already.

Source: http://www.naufrageur.com/a-bob-planche_bidon.htm

The Broken Ear, Tintin and the Picaros

General Tapioca is the rival of General General Alcazar. He is first mentioned in The Seven Crystal Balls when Tintin finds Alcazar reduced to a knife throwing stage act because of Tapioca’s coup.

The general’s name gives us another clue to the location San Theodoros. Tapioca, the bland yet somehow disgusting foodstuff, comes from the plant Cassava. Though widespread in the Americas it was first cultivated at a 1400 year old Mayan site Joya de Ceren. Located in present day El Salvador.

General Tapioca’s name in conjunction with the other Mayan references in the books, adds to the evidence that San Theodoros is located in central America and not South America as had been assumed.

Captain Haddock, Tintin, Tintin and the Picaros

I’m rereading Tintin and the Picaros and it is amazing how many little things I did not notice before.

Tintin for Nuclear Disarmament

Written in the mid-70s, Tintin and the Picaros saw Tintin updated for a new generation. Gone are the trademark plus-fours and Tintin appears more mature, less innocent about the world. This signs are subtle, such as the CND sticker on Tintin’s helmet on page 1, but whether this is a deliberate attempt to modernise the character or a reflection on Herge’s growing weariness of Tintin’s naivety it is impossible to tell.

Haddock and Whisky

Herge’s relationship with alcohol through all the books is interesting but in Tintin and the Picaros we see it develop. The undoubtedly alcoholic Haddock was always a strange companion for the T-Total Tintin. Alcohol is certainly presented as a negative influence and numerous times it gets Captain Haddock, Snowy and very occasionally Tintin into trouble. In Picaros, we see Haddock cured of his taste for whisky (unknowingly) with a pill that is a remarkably like a super-strong version of Disulfiram.

One interesting take on alcohol in Tintin and the Picaros are these two panels from page 8. Loch Lomond whisky advert Tintin picarosThe text reads “Are you depressed? Does the day seem long? We have the answer. Loch Lomand”. A typically Herge ironic attack on advertising and alcohol. Totally unconnected with this, on the same page (panel 8) Captain Haddock uses the word pachyrhizus about General Tapioca. Pachyrhizus is a small genus of five or six species of tropical and subtropical plants, mostly found in Bolivia.

Later on in the book we see Loch Lomand whisky being responsible for drunkenness amongst the native Arumbayas and the Picaros rebels under General Alcazar.

Tintin Monkeys Around

On of the questions about Tintin and the Picaros (and Tintin and the Broken Ear) is where the country of San Theodoros is located. There are several contradictory clues. On page 28, whist Tintin seems to be back into his normal adventuring style despite his uncharacteristic unwillingness to get involved early on the book, a monkey saves Tintin’s life. The monkey looks like a Titi monkey, common in Colombia to Brazil, Peru and north Paraguay. This puts San Theodoros more in a more southerly location than previously assumed.

Callice BrunneusTiti Monkey Tintin Picaros

Further wildlife clues can be found on page 37 of Tintin and the Picaros. A cayman crocodile, an adaconda and an electric eel (Gymnotus) all make an appearance. There are several varieties of cayman crocodiles but the largest (and most likely to attack a human) is Spectacled Caiman and is common in Venezuela but can be found as far north as El Salvador. The largest and most common of the anaconda family is the Eunectes murinus that can grow us to 25 feet (7.6 m) in length. The species is found in Colombia, Venezuela, the Guianas, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Brazil. The gymnotus or electric knifefish can be found all over the south and central americas, from southern Mexico to Argentina.

Herge’s Ambivalence to the Picaros

One of the striking things about Tintin and the Picaros is how little Tintin cares about the country of San Theodoros. In earlier books, Tintin would be leading the revolution for the sake of the people. In this book, Tintin is lax in coming to his friends help early on in the book. Later on, he almost walks away from helping Alcazar with the revolution.

The most telling of aspect of the book are the comparison between page 11 (panel 9) and page 62 (panel 11). Both are images of the slums of the capital. In both, there are shanty town houses and rubbish strewed streets. The only difference is the name of the capital has been changed. With this, is Herge indicating his own disillusion with the world? Rejecting the idea that one man, no matter how good or brave, can save so many poor and downtrodden people. If so, Tintin and the Picaros represent a low point for Tintin and Herge.

Tintin and the Picaros, like the best of Herge’s work, leaves us with more questions about Herge than it answers.

Herge, The Broken Ear, Tintin and Snowy, Tintin and the Picaros

Continuing my work on updating the Tintin Map, I’m looking into San Theodoros. This fictional country appeared in Tintin and the Picaros (TatP) and The Broken Ear. It is described as a Latin American country and Castafiore stops there after visiting Ecuador, Columbia and Venezuela. However, the temple Tintin visits in TatP clearly looks Mayan, compare the photo of the Chichen Itza temple with the one on page 25 of Tintin and the Picaros. This ancient culture was dominant in present day Mexico but did extend into Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador and western Honduras.

Chichen Itza Mayan Temple Tintin Picaros

In The Broken Ear, the countryside, dress and general look of San Theodoros has a predominately Mexican feel. The use of spanish prefixes in both the county’s name, the capital (Los Dopicos) and the capital its neighbours Nuevo-Rican (San Facion) suggest Mexico or another Central American such as Costa Rica.

Tintin sails to Los Dopicos from Le Harve. There is no mention of the Panama canal so San Theodoros’ capital must be on the east coast of central or south America.

As with all of Herge’s fictional places, he did not tie himself down to specifics but instead took what he need from different places. Locations are further confused by differences between the originals and their translations and between different editions as Herge habitually made many changes when updating albums. Herge lacked consistency in his own work as well. Los Dopicos is a port city in The Broken Ear but by Tintin and the Picaros it seems to be inland.

Putting the different clues together – Mayan pyramids, styles of dress and buildings, coastal location and the strong Spanish influence on names, I think the east coast of the Mexico including the Yucatán Peninsula, Belize and Honduras is the best fitting region.