Tintin in America


I’ve been a fan since I found Tintin as a child in my local library in Noblesville, IN. I used to check them out over and over again, and I can still remember the torn pages of a book that’s been on the shelf way too long. I’ve been able to pass on the joy of reading Tintin to my 7 year old – who loves the adventure, laughs at the well timed slapstick humor – and mimics the Captain’s endearing outbursts.

And now, after being dubbed “The Mickey Mouse of Europe” he’s coming to America in a big way. Armed with Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson – he’s in 3D and in a movie theater near you starting this week.

To begin, if you’re not a fan – he started in Belgium back in 1929. Hergé, the man behind Tintin has quite a story, and has multiple documentaries surrounding his life. But unlike someone like Walt Disney, he was content with creating new adventures (24 1/2 in all) – and never branched out into theme parks, toys, etc… Although now the estate has a museum, product line, and a large assortment of high-end collectibles (which I have many of – and are just now available on amazon!).

I even have had friends bring me back Tintin in different languages – which there are 88 in all…

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With his American debut, we get video games – Console, PC and Mobile. And some collectables, with tie-ins at World Market, Gowalla, and new movie tie-in books at places like Barnes & Noble.

The games are actually really good, which can’t always be said for movie tie-ins. My 7 year old played through the Xbox game, and we’re now working on the secondary co-op campaigns. The game has a mix of genres – some platforming, free-roaming, climbing, flying, driving, and sword fighting (my son’s favorite). Even my two year old enjoyed watching him play.

The iOS version is the same story from the movie and Xbox game, but totally different play, and again my son loved it and played it all the way through. It was another one of those “wow, can’t believe this is on an iPad” kind of games, it looks great.

The movie has been out now for months in Europe, debuting in Belgium – and so far, before opening in the U.S. has made over $230 million. But will American viewers go? I hope so. There is something about the books, and I now see it in my 7 year old. The adventure, the characters, the humor… It’s just that perfect mix that most people can’t get right.

If you want to learn a litte more neatorama has a good post up today that goes into some detail around the history of tintin.

Even if you haven’t read a single book in the series, the movie won’t really spoil anything – this is a combination of a couple books, but has the first meeting of Tintin and the Captain – which make for a good pairing.

So, order a book. Play the game. Go see the movie. It’s sure to be a grand adventure. And while my son enjoys Tintin on our iPad, we’ll be enjoying it together this week in IMAX 3D, who would have thought?

3 thoughts on “Tintin in America

  1. Great write up. I can stll see you in tbe library discovering the Tintin books. It is so great that you can share this with your son. And the beat goes on…

  2. I also grew up on Tintin books. I think it was one of the few English comics we could find in Norway. I re-read the same five or so books countless times, and they still remained exciting. The moment I heard the movie was being made I was immediately afraid it wouldn’t translate well to an American audience. Months later it hasn’t fared well (despite doing well in every other country and the highest grossing animated film in India!) — which is unfortunate.

    Admittedly I haven’t seen the movie, but I think the comics may have a timing/cadence too slow for American youth. But for me that was part of the magic! A whole page of panels featuring Professor Calculus stumbling around, accidentally solving a clue. I think the Studio Ghibli (Miyazaki) cartoons have a similar disconnect with US audiences. The lulls as a character is finding themselves seem unsettlingly slow. We want edge of your seat action every second.

    For those of us lucky enough to have experienced Tintin, we can always return to that slower time past through Herge’s books.

  3. The movie was good – and true to the books (maybe a bit more action packed!). My 7yo son loved the movie, the game – and still is re-reading the same couple of books I have around the house. I still don’t think there is another book that makes him laugh more – the combination of the Thompson Twins and the Captain make for a good time :-)

    The movie is out on Blu-Ray and DVD – you should check it out!

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