I blush to admit that I’ve never read a Tintin comic book, although of course, I’ve heard of the boy adventurer and I love the ligne claire style. With the movie due here later this year, it seemed an excellent time to sample this Shout! Factory animated release and introduce myself properly to Tintin.
This set includes 13 episodes on two discs, with each episode about 23 minutes, including credits and opening sequence, which is shown here:
Since most of the stories are two-parters, that makes for seven different globe-trotting adventures. There’s no introduction; we’re thrown right into the action, with the assumption that we either know boy hero Tintin (voiced by Colin O’Meara), his dog Snowy, the two goofy detectives Thompson and Thomson, and Captain Haddock (whom we meet in the first episode), or we can pick up their roles pretty quickly. Here’s the list of episodes included in the set:
- The Crab With the Golden Claws (Parts 1 and 2)
- The Secret of the Unicorn (Parts 1 and 2)
- Red Rackham’s Treasure
- Cigars of the Pharaoh (Parts 1 and 2)
- The Blue Lotus (Parts 1 and 2)
- The Black Island (Parts 1 and 2)
- The Calculus Affair (Parts 1 and 2)
Stories 1, 2, and 3 are reported to have influenced the plot of The Adventures of Tintin movie (due out December 21).
The style is very faithful, and the animation is high-quality, with plenty of motion and strong, European-flavored coloring. The series was a joint Canadian-French production from 1991-1993, airing in the US on HBO, then on Nickelodeon. The goal was to accurately capture Herge’s graphic novels, although with a little less violence and fewer ethnic stereotypes to make it suitable for kids as well as adults.
The only flaw in this set is the lack of any extras. A short documentary would have been helpful in introducing the American audience to the character and his significance over the decades. Otherwise, I haven’t seen a cartoon series with this much quality and exciting adventure in ages, and I love the world-wide perspective. This is a terrific way to enjoy the famous comic character. (The studio provided a review copy.)