This story is entirely in black and white with simple outline drawings. Like the early episodes of the Simpsons, characters are recognisable but the style is still forming and growing. Tintin has a much rounder head and there is less definition in the character’s features. However, the simplistic method and the monochrome texture means you don’t stop to admire the view and are whisked along by the story.
It was originally a newspaper comic strip so the regular cliff-hangers mean that Tintin is getting shot at, blown-up, or in car crashes every other page. Whilst this gets a bit fatiguing after a while it means the story moves along at a fair old pace. You won’t get bored and can finish the book very quickly.
Herge wrote this in 1929 meaning the politics are just as black and white as the pictures. The Soviets are evil. Like the Nazis in Indiana Jones they have no redeeming features. This conjures the feel of an old Saturday Morning serial like Flash Gordon or Buck Rogers. Much of the humour wouldn’t look out of place in a Charlie Chaplin movie either. This is definitely a fascinating snapshot of a bygone era and quite an accomplishment for a 22 year old amateur with no formal art training. Whilst the English translation can sometimes get a bit patchy it is still an interesting read.
Tomorrow: The Walking Dead Volume 1: Days Gone Bye – Robert Kirkman
PS: Later tonight – Tintin in the Congo – Herge