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  • Writer's pictureChris Mads

A tribute to Tintin at 90

I love Tintin. My association with the Beligan boy-detective goes back to my youth. As a kid I used to grab the 'Funday Times' out of my parents' Sunday newspaper and devour the adventures which were serialised on the front page.

Unwittingly, alongside my godfathers, he became my career idol, so much so that I cited Tintin when asked about my motivations in the interview for my first journalistic job. And they hired me.

So it would be remiss of me to let the 90th anniversary of one of my heroes go by without fanfare.

I am in possession of a full set of Tintin's literary adventures, as well as the 2011 film and a complete collection of the animated adventures. To mark the anniversary I have started my trip back through these adventures, starting out with the pencil-sketch Tintin in the Land of the Soviets and the controversial Tintin in the Congo.

They are still just as much fun - if very dated in some respects.

In an odd sort of way, Tintin's buccaneering and straight-arrow approach to chasing the truth and tackling any obstruction in his way are a perfect antidote to the era of fake news and social media-fuelled outrage which we live in today. Despite being nominally a journalist, there are only a few times the intrepid adventurer is seen engaging in any reporting. He writes copy during his trip with the Soviets, takes some photos in the Congo, has a story published in The Blue Lotus and does an interview in The Broken Ear.

That last one - which is one of my favourite stories - represents perfectly why he is the reporter we need today, even if he's not the one we deserve. While doing his morning yoga (start your day right kids) he hears something interesting, heads across, answers questions, finds things which don't add up and hunts down the truth.

Later on in his adventures Tintin stopped pretending to be a reporter in the traditional sense. But, in many ways, he became a prototype for the roving investigating adventurer we see today. He was the precursor to the Simon Reeve of the world, who go to far-out places and talk to locals to bring their truth to the wider world.

The spirit of adventure, human interaction and truth are messages which are as powerful and relevant today as they were 90 years ago - if not more so.

Life tips from Tintin

Exercise - In The Broken Ear we see Tintin start his day with yoga and considering his ability throughout his travels to run, jump and fight as needed it seems like a good tip.

Talk to people - Not only is Tintin an adventurer, he is a people person. Not burdened with the cynicism of many fictional journalists, he makes friends wherever he goes such as Captain Haddock, Professor Calculus, Thomson and Thompson and Chang.

Adventure - Tintin's travels take him all over the world as he chases down truth, but his trips bring him experience, friendship and a flavour of something new. Adventuring is not about where you go, but why you go and who you go with.

Travel light - No matter where he is going and who he is seeing - from ordinary people to military leaders and royalty - Tintin keeps his wardrobe and packing simple. A coat and adventure are all he needs.

Get a dog - Snowy is Tintin's loyal companion and - despite a slight whisky habit - saves his life on a couple of occasions; man's best friend indeed.

#Literature #LongRead

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