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The Adventures of Tintin
Tintin is standing in front of all of his friends
The main characters of The Adventures of Tintin from left to right:
Professor Calculus, Captain Haddock, Tintin, Thompson, Snowy (dog), Thomson, and Bianca Castafiore
Created by Hergé
Publication information
  • Casterman
  • Le Lombard
  • Egmont Group
  • Little, Brown and Company
Formats Original material for the series has been published as a strip in the comics anthology(s)
  • Le Petit Vingtième (newspaper supplement, 1929-1940)
  • Le Soir (newspaper, 1940-1944)
  • Tintin (magazine, 1946-1976)
 and a set of graphic novels.
Original language French
Genre Action/adventure
Publication date 1929 – 1976
Main character(s)
  • Tintin
  • Snowy (Milou)
  • Captain Haddock
  • Professor Calculus (Tryphon Tournesol)
  • Thomson and Thompson (Dupond and Dupont)
  • Bianca Castafiore
Creative team
Writer(s) Hergé
  • Hergé
  • Uncredited:
  • Bob de Moor
  • Edgar P. Jacobs
  • Jacques Martin
  • Roger Leloup
(all uncredited)

The Adventures of Tintin (French: Les Aventures de Tintin) is a series of 24 bande dessinée albums created by Belgian cartoonist Georges Remi, who wrote under the pen name Hergé. The series was one of the most popular European comics of the 20th century. By 2007, a century after Hergé's birth in 1907, Tintin had been published in more than 70 languages with sales of more than 200 million copies, and had been adapted for radio, television, theatre, and film.

The series first appeared in French on 10 January 1929, in Le Petit Vingtième (The Little Twentieth), a youth supplement to the Belgian newspaper Le Vingtième Siècle (The Twentieth Century). The success of the series led to serialized strips published in Belgium's leading newspaper Le Soir (The Evening) and spun into a successful Tintin magazine. In 1950, Hergé created Studios Hergé, which produced the canonical versions of 11 Tintin albums.

The series is set during a largely realistic 20th century. Its protagonist is Tintin, a courageous young Belgian reporter and adventurer aided by his faithful dog Snowy (Milou in the original French edition). Other allies include the brash and cynical Captain Haddock, the intelligent but hearing-impaired Professor Calculus (French: Professeur Tournesol), incompetent detectives Thomson and Thompson (French: Dupont et Dupond), and the opera diva Bianca Castafiore.

The series has been admired for its clean, expressive drawings in Hergé's signature ligne claire ("clear line") style. Its well-researched plots straddle the action-adventure and mystery genres and draw upon themes of politics, history, culture and technology, offset by moments of slapstick comedy.

The stories are a mixture of many different genres, including adventure, satire, and social commentary and changed over time. Twenty-three completed books, came out between 1929 and 1976. A twenty-fourth story, Tintin in Alph-Art, was never officially finished following the death of Hergé in 1983. There have been many unofficial books, but most of those are parodies or not part of the official series.


Tintin and Snowy

Tintin and Snowy, the main characters of the series
Mr. Bohlwinkel

Tintin is a young Belgian reporter and adventurer who becomes involved in dangerous cases in which he takes heroic action to save the day. The Adventures may feature Tintin hard at work in his investigative journalism, but seldom is he seen actually turning in a story. Readers and critics have described Tintin as a well-rounded yet open-ended, intelligent, and creative character, noting that his lack of backstory and neutral personality permits a reflection of the evil, folly, and foolhardiness which surrounds him. The character never compromises his Boy Scout ideals, which represent Hergé's own, and his status allows the reader to assume his position within the story, rather than merely following the adventures of a strong protagonist. Tintin's iconic representation enhances this aspect, with Scott McCloud noting that it "allows readers to mask themselves in a character and safely enter a sensually stimulating world". Tintin frequently is depicted wearing plus fours, a type of trouser favored by golfers and aristocrats.

Snowy (Milou in Hergé's original version), a white Wire Fox Terrier dog, is Tintin's loyal companion. Like Captain Haddock, Snowy is fond of Loch Lomond brand Scotch whisky. Snowy is also afraid of spiders.

Captain Haddock

Captain Archibald Haddock (Capitaine Haddock in Hergé's original version) is a Merchant Marine sea captain and Tintin's best friend. Introduced in The Crab with the Golden Claws, Haddock is initially depicted as a weak character, but later evolves to become genuinely heroic and even a socialite after he finds a treasure from his ancestor, Sir Francis Haddock (Chevalier François de Hadoque in the original version). The Captain's coarse humanity and sarcasm act as a counterpoint to Tintin's often-implausible heroism; he is always quick with a dry comment whenever the boy reporter seems too idealistic. The hot-tempered Haddock uses a range of colourful insults and curses to express his feelings, such as "billions of bilious blue blistering barnacles" (Mille milliards de mille sabords de tonnerre de Brest in the original version) or "ten thousand thundering typhoons".

Professor Calculus

Professor Cuthbert Calculus (Professeur Tryphon Tournesol in Hergé's original version; tournesol is the French word for "sunflower") is an absent-minded and partially deaf physicist and a regular character alongside Tintin, Snowy, and Captain Haddock. He was introduced in Red Rackham's Treasure, and based partially on Auguste Piccard, a Swiss physicist.

Supporting characters

"Everybody wants to be Tintin: generation after generation. In a world of Rastapopouloses, Tricklers and Carreidases—or, more prosaically, Jolyon Waggs and Bolt-the-builders—Tintin represents an unattainable ideal of goodness, cleanness, authenticity".

—Literary critic Tom McCarthy, 2006

Hergé's supporting characters have been cited as far more developed than the central character, each imbued with strength of character and depth of personality, which has been compared with that of the characters of Charles Dickens. Hergé used the supporting characters to create a realistic world in which to set his protagonists' adventures. To further the realism and continuity, characters would recur throughout the series. The occupation of Belgium and the restrictions imposed upon Hergé forced him to focus on characterisation to avoid depicting troublesome political situations. As a result, the colourful supporting cast was developed during this period.

Thomson and Thompson (Dupont et Dupond in Hergé's original version) are two incompetent detectives who look like identical twins, their only discernible difference being the shape of their moustaches. First introduced in Cigars of the Pharaoh, they provide much of the comic relief throughout the series, being afflicted with chronic spoonerisms. They are extremely clumsy, thoroughly incompetent, and usually bent on arresting the wrong character just to look good as detectives. They usually wear bowler hats and carry walking sticks except when sent abroad; during those missions they attempt the national costume of the locality they are visiting, but instead dress in conspicuously stereotypical folkloric attire which makes them stand apart. The detectives were based partly on Hergé's father Alexis and uncle Léon, identical twins who often took walks together, wearing matching bowler hats while carrying matching walking sticks.

Bianca Castafiore is an opera singer of whom Haddock is terrified. She was first introduced in King Ottokar's Sceptre and seems to appear wherever the protagonists travel, along with her maid Irma and pianist Igor Wagner. Although amiable and strong-willed, she is also comically foolish, whimsical, absent-minded, talkative, and seemingly unaware that her voice is shrill and appallingly loud. Her speciality is the Jewel Song (Ah! Je ris de me voir si belle en ce miroir / Ah! My beauty past compare, these jewels bright I wear) from Gounod's opera, Faust, which she sings at the least provocation, much to Haddock's dismay. She is often maternal toward Haddock, of whose dislike she remains ignorant. She often confuses words, especially names, with other words that rhyme with them or of which they remind her; "Haddock" is frequently replaced by malapropisms such as "Paddock", "Stopcock", or "Hopscotch", while Nestor, Haddock's butler, is confused with "Chestor" and "Hector". Her own name means "white and chaste flower": a meaning to which Professor Calculus once refers when he breeds a white rose and names it for the singer. She was based upon opera divas in general (according to Hergé's perception), Hergé's Aunt Ninie (who was known for her "shrill" singing of opera), and, in the post-war comics, on Maria Callas.

Other recurring characters include Nestor the butler, Chang (or Chang-Chong-Chen in full) the loyal Chinese boy who, like Tintin, is not defined by a particular backstory, Rastapopoulos the criminal mastermind, Jolyon Wagg the infuriating (to Haddock) insurance salesman, General Alcazar the South American freedom fighter and President of San Theodoros, Mohammed Ben Kalish Ezab the Arab emir, and Abdullah his mischievous son, Dr. Müller the evil German psychiatrist, Oliveira da Figueira the friendly Portuguese salesman, Cutts the butcher whose phone number is repeatedly confused with Haddock's, and Allan the henchman of Rastapopoulos and formerly Haddock's first mate.


The settings within Tintin have also added depth to the strips. Hergé mixes real and fictional lands into his stories. In King Ottokar's Sceptre (revisited once more in The Calculus Affair) Hergé creates two fictional countries, Syldavia and Borduria, and invites the reader to tour them in text through the insertion of a travel brochure into the storyline. Other fictional lands include Khemed on the Arabian Peninsula and San Theodoros, São Rico, and Nuevo Rico in South America, as well as the kingdom of Gaipajama in India. Apart from these fictitious locations, Tintin also visits real places such as Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States, the Soviet Union, Belgian Congo, Peru, India, Egypt, Morocco, Indonesia, Iceland, Nepal, Tibet, and China. Other actual locales used were the Sahara Desert, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Moon.

Other media

The Adventures of Tintin has been adapted in a variety of media besides the original comic strip and its collections. Hergé encouraged adaptations and members of his studio working on the animated films. After Hergé's death in 1983, the Hergé Foundation and Moulinsart, the foundation's commercial and copyright wing, became responsible for authorising adaptations and exhibitions.

Television and radio

Two animated television adaptations and one radio adaptation have been made.

Hergé's Adventures of Tintin (Les aventures de Tintin d'après Hergé) (1957) was the first production of Belvision Studios. Ten of Hergé's books were adapted, each serialised into a set of five-minute episodes, with 103 episodes produced. The series was directed by Ray Goossens and written by Belgian comic artist Greg, later editor-in-chief of Tintin magazine, and produced by Raymond Leblanc. Most stories in the series varied widely from the original books, often changing whole plots.

The Adventures of Tintin (Les aventures de Tintin) (1991–92) was the more successful Tintin television series. An adaptation of twenty-one Tintin books, it was directed by Stéphane Bernasconi and was produced by Ellipse (France) and Canadian Nelvana on behalf of the Hergé Foundation. The series adhered closely to the albums to such an extent that panels from the original were often transposed directly to the screen. The series aired in over fifty countries and was released on DVD. It aired in the US on HBO.

The Adventures of Tintin (1992–93) radio series was produced by BBC Radio 5. The dramas starred Richard Pearce as Tintin and Andrew Sachs as Snowy. Captain Haddock was played by Leo McKern in Series One and Lionel Jeffries in Series Two, Professor Calculus was played by Stephen Moore and Thomson and Thompson were played by Charles Kay.

The Adventures of Tintin were also released as radio dramas on LP and compact cassette recordings in French language versions in Belgium, France and Canada, German language versions in Germany, Swedish language versions in Sweden, Danish language versions in Denmark and Norwegian language versions in Norway.


Five feature-length Tintin films were made before Hergé's death in 1983 and one more in 2011.

The Crab with the Golden Claws (Le crabe aux pinces d'or) (1947) was the first successful attempt to adapt one of the comics into a feature film. Written and directed by Claude Misonne and João B Michiels, the film was a stop-motion puppet production created by a small Belgian studio.

Tintin and the Golden Fleece (Tintin et le mystère de la Toison d'Or) (1961), the first live action Tintin film, was adapted not from one of Hergé's Adventures of Tintin but instead from an original script written by André Barret and Rémo Forlani. Directed by Jean-Jacques Vierne and starring Jean-Pierre Talbot as Tintin and Georges Wilson as Haddock, the plot involves Tintin travelling to Istanbul to collect the Golden Fleece, a ship left to Haddock in the will of his friend, Themistocle Paparanic. Whilst in the city however, Tintin and Haddock discover that a group of villains also want possession of the ship, believing that it would lead them to a hidden treasure.

Tintin and the Blue Oranges (Tintin et les oranges bleues) (1964), the second live action Tintin film, was released due to the success of the first. Again based upon an original script, once more by André Barret, it was directed by Philippe Condroyer and starred Talbot as Tintin and Jean Bouise as Haddock. The plot reveals a new invention, the blue orange, that can grow in the desert and solve world famines, devised by Calculus' friend, the Spanish Professor Zalamea. An emir whose interests are threatened by the invention of the blue orange proceeds to kidnap both Zalamea and Calculus, and Tintin and Haddock travel to Spain in order to rescue them.

Tintin and the Temple of the Sun (Tintin et le temple du soleil) (1969), the first traditional animation Tintin film, was adapted from two of Hergé's Adventures of Tintin: The Seven Crystal Balls and Prisoners of the Sun. The first full-length, animated film from Raymond Leblanc's Belvision, which had recently completed its television series based upon the Tintin stories; it was directed by Eddie Lateste and featured a musical score by the critically acclaimed composer François Rauber. The adaptation is mostly faithful, although the Seven Crystal Balls portion of the story was heavily condensed.

Tintin and the Lake of Sharks (Tintin et le lac aux requins) (1972), the second traditional animation Tintin film and the last Tintin release for nearly 40 years, it was based on an original script by Greg and directed by Raymond Leblanc. Belvision's second feature takes Tintin to Syldavia to outwit his old foe Rastapopoulos. While the look of the film is richer, the story is less convincing. The movie was subsequently adapted into a comic album made up of stills from the film.

The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn (2011) was Steven Spielberg's motion capture 3D film based on three Hergé albums: The Crab with the Golden Claws (1941), The Secret of the Unicorn (1943), and Red Rackham's Treasure (1944). Peter Jackson's company Weta Digital provided the animation and special effects. The movie received positive reviews and was a box office success.


I, Tintin (Moi, Tintin) (1976) was produced by Belvision Studios and Pierre Film.

Tintin and I (Tintin et moi) (2003), a documentary film directed by Anders Høgsbro Østergaard and co-produced by companies from Denmark, Belgium, France, and Switzerland, was based on a taped interview with Hergé by Numa Sadoul from 1971. Although the interview was published as a book, Hergé was allowed to edit the work prior to publishing and much of the interview was excised. Years after Hergé's death, the filmmaker returned to the original tapes and restored Hergé's often personal, insightful thoughts—and in the process brought viewers closer to the world of Tintin and Hergé. It was broadcast in the US on the PBS network on 11 July 2006.

Sur les traces de Tintin (On the trail of Tintin) (2010) was a five-part documentary television series which recaps several albums of the book series by combining comic panels (motionless or otherwise) with live-action imagery, with commentary provided.


Tintin and the Black Island - Unicorn Theatre Company
Tintin and the Black Island at the Arts Theatre in the West End of London, by the Unicorn Theatre Company, in 1980–81

Hergé himself helped to create two stage plays, collaborating with humourist Jacques Van Melkebeke. Tintin in the Indies: The Mystery of the Blue Diamond (1941) covers much of the second half of Cigars of the Pharaoh as Tintin attempts to rescue a stolen blue diamond. Mr. Boullock's Disappearance (1941–1942) has Tintin, Snowy, and Thomson and Thompson travel around the world and back to Brussels again to unmask an impostor trying to lay claim to a missing millionaire's fortune. The plays were performed at the Théâtre Royal des Galeries in Brussels. The scripts of the plays are lost.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, two Tintin plays were produced at the Arts Theatre in the West End of London, adapted by Geoffrey Case for the Unicorn Theatre Company. These were Tintin's Great American Adventure, based on the comic Tintin in America (1976–1977) and Tintin and the Black Island, based on The Black Island (1980–81); this second play later toured.

A musical based on The Seven Crystal Balls and Prisoners of the Sun premièred on 15 September 2001 at the Stadsschouwburg (City Theatre) in Antwerp, Belgium. It was entitled Kuifje – De Zonnetempel (De Musical) ("Tintin – Temple of the Sun (The Musical)") and was broadcast on Canal Plus, before moving on to Charleroi in 2002 as Tintin – Le Temple du Soleil – Le Spectacle Musical.

The Young Vic theatre company in London ran Hergé's Adventures of Tintin, a musical version of Tintin in Tibet, at the Barbican Arts Centre (2005–2006); the production was directed by Rufus Norris and was adapted by Norris and David Greig. The show was successfully revived at the Playhouse Theatre in the West End of London before touring (2006–2007) to celebrate the centenary of Hergé's birth in 2007.

Video games

Tintin began appearing in video games when Infogrames Entertainment, SA, a French game company, released the side scroller Tintin on the Moon in 1989. The same company released a platform game titled Tintin in Tibet in 1995 for the Super NES and Mega Drive/Genesis. Another platform game from Infogrames titled Prisoners of the Sun was released the following year for the Super NES, Microsoft Windows, and Game Boy Color.

In 2001, Tintin became 3D in Tintin: Destination Adventure, released by Infogrames for Windows and PlayStation. Then in 2011, an action-adventure game called The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, a tie-in to the 2011 movie, was released by Ubisoft in October. In 2020, a match-3 mobile game called Tintin Match was released by 5th Planet games. An adventure game, titled Tintin Reporter: Cigars of the Pharaoh, will be released by Microids in 2023.

Memorabilia and merchandise

Tintin Shop
The Tintin Shop in Covent Garden, London

Images from the series have long been licensed for use on merchandise, the success of Tintin magazine helping to create a market for such items. Tintin's image has been used to sell a wide variety of products, from alarm clocks to underpants. Countless separate items related to the character have been available, with some becoming collectors' items in their own right.

The Hergé Foundation has maintained control of the licenses, through Moulinsart (now Tintin Imaginatio), the commercial wing of the foundation. Speaking in 2002, Peter Horemans, the then director general at Moulinsart, noted this control: "We have to be very protective of the property. We don't take lightly any potential partners and we have to be very selective ... for him to continue to be as popular as he is, great care needs to be taken of his use". However, the Foundation has been criticised by scholars as "trivialising the work of Hergé by concentrating on the more lucrative merchandising" in the wake of a move in the late 1990s to charge them for using relevant images to illustrate their papers on the series.

Tintin memorabilia and merchandise has allowed a chain of stores based solely on the character to become viable. The first shop was launched in 1984 in Covent Garden, London. Tintin shops have also opened in both Bruges and Brussels in Belgium, and in Montpellier, France. In 2014, a Tintin shop opened in Taguig, the Philippines, only the second of its kind in Southeast Asia. The first Tintin shop in Southeast Asia opened in Singapore in 2010. The British bookstore chain, Ottakar's, founded in 1987, was named after the character of King Ottokar from the Tintin book King Ottokar's Sceptre, and their shops stocked a large amount of Tintin merchandise until their takeover by Waterstone's in 2006.

Stamps and coins

Tintin on screen - Belgian Post
Belgian Post's series of postage stamps "Tintin on screen" issued 30 August 2011 featuring a chronological review of Tintin film adaptations made through years.

Tintin's image has been used on postage stamps on numerous occasions. The first Tintin postage stamp was an eight-franc stamp issued by Belgian Post for the 50th anniversary of the publication of Tintin's first adventure on 29 September 1979, featuring Tintin and Snowy looking through a magnifying glass at several stamps. In 1999, a nine-stamp block celebrating ten years of the Belgian Comic Strip Center was issued, with the center stamp a photo of Tintin's famous Moon rocket that dominates the Comic Strip Center's entry hall. To mark the end of the Belgian Franc and to celebrate the seventieth anniversary of the publication of Tintin in the Congo, two more stamps were issued by Belgian Post on 31 December 2001: Tintin in a pith helmet and a souvenir sheet with a single stamp in the center. The stamps were jointly issued in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In 2004, Belgian Post celebrated its own seventy-fifth anniversary, as well as the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Explorers on the Moon, and the thirty-fifth anniversary of the Moon landings with a souvenir sheet of five stamps based upon the Explorers on the Moon adventure. To celebrate the centenary of Hergé's birth in 2007, Belgian Post issued a sheet of 25 stamps depicting the album covers of all 24 Adventures of Tintin (in 24 languages) plus Hergé's portrait in the center. A souvenir sheet of ten stamps called "Tintin on screen", issued 30 August 2011, depicts the Tintin film and television adaptations.

Tintin has also been commemorated by coin several times. In 1995, the Monnaie de Paris (Paris Mint) issued a set of twelve gold medallions, available in a limited edition of 5000. A silver medallion was minted in 2004 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Tintin book Explorers on the Moon, again in a limited run, this time of 10,000. It quickly sold out. In 2004, Belgium minted a limited edition commemorative euro coin featuring Tintin and Snowy celebrating the 75th anniversary of Tintin's first adventure in January 2004. Although it has a face value of €10, it is, as with other commemorative euro coins, legal tender only in the country in which it was issued—in this case, Belgium. In 2006–2012 France issued the Comic Strip Heroes commemorative coin series featuring famous Franco-Belgian comics, beginning in 2006 with Tintin. It was a set of six different euro coins honouring Hergé: three 1½-euro silver coins featuring Tintin and the Professor, Tintin and Captain Haddock, and Tintin and Chang; a €10 (gold) featuring Tintin; and a €20 (silver) and a €50 (gold) featuring Tintin and Snowy. In 2007, on Hergé's centenary, Belgium issued its €20 (silver) Hergé/Tintin coin.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Las aventuras de Tintín para niños

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