Tintin is neither a surname nor a first name, it is much more than that Tintin is a totally unique world, a myth or a saga. Tintin is created from Hergé's subconscious desire to be perfect, to be a hero. The hero who everyone between 7 and 77 years old wants to be, or become while reading the Adventures of Tintin.
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“Tintin is me wanting to be heroic and perfect…” “Tintin is me… my eyes, my feelings, my lungs, my guts!... I believe I am the only person able to animate him, the only person able to give him a soul.” (Hergé)
Tintin was created in 1929. He was like Totor’s (the first cartoon created by Hergé) young brother, a kind of Totor who had become a journalist but kept his boy scout’s spirit. He is aged between 16 and 18. He is definitely young and his face is not wrinkled even though he is officially 90 years old in 2019. “Since the Soviets, the character of Tintin has not evolved. From a graphic standpoint Tintin is still a sketch” (Numa Sadoul, Tintin et moi, Casterman, p.40)
Tintin is created by his father Georges Remi, Hergé, the world renowned Belgian cartoonist. This spiritual heir is more than an adopted child! Hergé has stressed the fact that he raised Tintin, protected him, fed him just like a father would (Numa Sadoul, Tintin et moi, Casterman, p. 66) Over the years and in the course of the Adventures, Tintin surrounds himself with friends who became part his family so to speak.
Among his friends, Snowy comes first. Admittedly he is a dog, but he is above all, the faithful friend of Tintin with a generous spirit. Secondly, Tchang appears in the family circle and becomes a lifelong friend of Tintin and almost a brother. Thirdly, Captain Haddock whose debut was to come a good ten years later is ready to sacrifice his own life for Tintin. Not forgetting all the others, Castafiore, Calculus, Thomson and Thompson who form Tintin’s family circle.
Without doubt, a top reporter. He went to Russia to cover a story for his newspaper and wrote his first reportage there.
Tintin in the Land of the Soviets page 35 © Hergé / Moulinsart 2021
This is the only time the reader will see the young reporter preparing an article for his newspaper. We assume that Tintin kept the reader of his newspaper informed of his action-packed adventures. Tintin keeps travelling around the world and acts more like a detective always seeking the truth and fighting against injustice. Hergé was himself a reporter and his son has inherited a great deal of his father’s passion.
Tintin appears on each of the 24 covers. That makes sense! He was always accompanied by Snowy except on the final album cover, Tintin and Alph-Art. This is understandable, because this cover was not designed by Hergé. Although Captain Haddock plays an important role in The Adventures of Tintin, the latter is always in the limelight.
His distinguishing feature is of course his little quiff! In the beginning, there was no such distinguishing feature. Most notably the first strips (the first 8 pages) show Tintin with smooth and combed hair.
Tintin in the Land of the Soviets page 4 © Hergé - Moulinsart 2021
Tintin in the Land of the Soviets page 8 © Hergé - Moulinsart 2021
The famous hairstyle only appears when Tintin jumps into a car and races away. The sudden acceleration gives Tintin the distinctive quiff with which he is synonymous. The little tuft of hair will remain, and never droops.
Tintin is free, and a very moral person with great integrity. He was considered by the Tibetan monks as a guileless person.
Tintin in Tibet page 50 © Hergé - Moulinsart 2021
These words reveal the true nature of the Tintin's personality. He is the hero that everyone wishes to become, or at least the friend that everyone would like to have. Tintin supports his friends all the way and pushes himself to the limit and fights to the last.