Tintin And The Broken Ear

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Tintin And Alph-Art

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Tintin and Alph-Art (French: Tintin et l’alph-art) was the intended twenty-fourth and final book in the Tintin series, created by Belgian comics artist Hergé. It is a striking departure from the earlier books in tone and subject, as well as in some parts of the style; rather than being set in a usual exotic and action-packed environment this story is largely played out in the world of modern art.

Hergé worked on the book until his death in 1983, and it was published posthumously (despite its unfinished status) in 1986 by Casterman in association with La Fondation Hergé, and was republished in 2004 with further material. It was released again in late 2010 with the original sketch pad as well as newly found notes and scripts recently discovered in a French Bank archive.

The story opens with Captain Haddock having a nightmare of being visited by Bianca Castafiore, who demands that he take his medicine (actually a bottle of Loch Lomond whisky). When he refuses, as he still cannot stand the beverage after the events of the previous book, Castafiore turns into a huge bird-like creature and begins to attack Haddock. Fortunately, Tintin manages to wake him up, whereupon Tintin receives a telephone call from the real Castafiore, who tells him that she has arrived in Belgium for a few days. She continues her conversation with Tintin, telling him about her new spiritual leader, Endaddine Akass, with whom she intends to stay at his villa in Ischia, an island off the coast of Naples.

Later that morning, Captain Haddock comes across Castafiore in a Brussels street, and in order to avoid her, dashes into the nearby Fourcart Gallery, where he meets Jamaican avant-garde artist Ramó Nash (the master of “Alph-Art”) and the owner of the gallery, Henri Fourcart. Fourcart displays considerable interest in meeting Tintin. At the gallery, Haddock is pressed into purchasing a perspex letter “H” (“Personalph-Art”) created by Nash. That evening, when Haddock returns to Marlinspike, he and Tintin watch a news report featuring their old friend Emir Ben Kalish Ezab, who, flushed with oil profits, plans to buy Windsor Castle from the Government of the United Kingdom and the Centre Pompidou in Paris. The same news program then features a report on the suspicious death of art expert Jacques Monastir, who is presumed drowned off the coast of Ajaccio, Corsica.
The last panel in the book and in the series

The next morning, Tintin learns that Fourcart was killed in a car accident, apparently en route to visit him. He visits the gallery to “make a few enquiries” and meets Martine Vandezande, the gallery assistant, who wears large glasses and a strange pendant resembling two E’s lined back to back. She discusses the death of her former employer, while her conversation with Tintin is recorded by a reel-to-reel tape recorder hidden under the counter. Tintin then visits the Garage de l’Avenir at Leignault, where the mechanic tells him the location of Fourcart’s car crash. Tintin drives there on his motor scooter and is pursued by a black Mercedes. At the scene, Tintin discovers that Fourcart was murdered. The drivers of the black Mercedes then make a botched attempt on Tintin’s life. He returns to Marlinspike and tells the Captain about the events of the day.

The next morning, Tintin returns to the gallery and accuses Miss. Martine of telling his attackers he was going to visit Leignault. However, she bursts into tears, suggesting to a shocked Tintin that she may be innocent. On his way home, Tintin sees a poster in the street advertising a conference — “Health and Magnetism” — to be held by the mystic Endaddine Akass, who is shown on the poster wearing a pendant similar to Miss Martine’s. That evening, Tintin and Haddock attend the meeting, where they see not only Miss Martine (a follower of Akass’s movement) but also the Thompson twins and Mr. Sakharine (from The Secret of the Unicorn) in attendance. During the ceremony, Tintin recognises the voice of Akass, but cannot place it. He and Haddock encounter Miss Martine as she leaves the conference. Tintin asks her about the pendant that she wears, which was given to her and “magnetized” by Akass. Believing that he is beginning to understand the affair, Tintin informs Miss Martine the next morning of his plan to unmask Fourcart’s murderers. Late that evening, he arrives, carrying a red lamp, at the old Fréaux factory, where he had arranged to meet an informer. Tintin lights his lamp, and the “informer” shoots at him. He avoids injury and attempts to arrest the informer, who is saved when an accomplice knocks Tintin unconscious. He awakes in hospital with Haddock at his bedside, to whom he explains his revelation that there is a micro-transmitter concealed in the pendant worn by Miss Vandezande. Tintin infers that Endaddine Akass gave the unwitting Miss Martine the pendant in order to spy upon Fourcart and senses that he is inextricably linked to his death.

The next morning (despite doctor’s orders), Tintin visits each of the other occupants in the apartments that house the Fourcart Gallery. He visits the occupants under the pretence of conducting a survey on solar power, and recognises a particularly rude resident as Akass’s assistant at the meeting. Knowing that he has been recognized, Akass’s assistant sends Tintin away and telephones someone, and then agrees to “take care of” Tintin. The next morning, Tintin leaves the Hall for the village on his motor scooter, and is pursued by the same men who had attacked him in the Mercedes. They shoot at Tintin, whose scooter careens off-road and crashes into a tree. Before the would-be assassins can confirm if Tintin was killed, Haddock, having heard the gunfire, arrives in his car, causing them to flee. Once they are gone, Tintin climbs down from his hiding place inside a pollarded willow. Tintin, Haddock and Calculus later assess the situation around the table. Tintin concludes that the entire affair revolves around Endaddine Akass, and that they should find out more about him. Remembering Castafiore’s telephone call several days earlier, he decides to go to Ischia, where Akass has a villa.

Upon their arrival, Tintin and Haddock spy out the land, observing Akass’s villa from a distance, where they see Ramó Nash (the pioneer of “Alph-Art” from whom Haddock bought his perspex “H”). At their hotel, Tintin receives a threatening telephone call warning him to leave the island, and Haddock receives one from Castafiore, who has discovered their presence on the island, and, informing them that Akass is in Rome for a few days, invites them to the villa. The next morning, they arrive at the villa, where Castafiore introduces them to a number of her friends — the debutante Angelina Sordi, the corrupt industrialists Mr Gibbons (from The Blue Lotus) and Mr Trickler (from The Broken Ear), Emir Ben Kalish Ezab (from Land of Black Gold), Luigi Randazzo (a singer), and Ramó Nash. Tintin and Haddock stay the night at the villa on Castafiore’s insistence.

Tintin is awakened by a noise in the middle of the night, and looking out of the window, sees men loading canvases into a van. Intrigued, he explores the villa. In a huge room he comes across a number of paintings by the great masters — Modigliani, Léger, Renoir, Picasso, Gauguin and Monet — and discovers them all to be fakes. He is discovered by Endaddine Akass, of whom it is revealed that he uses Ramó Nash’s “Alph-Art” as a front for large-scale art forgeries. He admits to ordering the “disappearance” of Monastir and Fourcart, who were aware of his activities (and in Fourcart’s case, wanted to expose them to Tintin), and states that as Tintin knows too much, he will have to die, too. Akass tells Tintin that in order to kill him, he will have liquid polyester poured over him, so that he may be turned into a statue, be “signed” by César, and authenticated by a (presumably corrupt) art expert. The “expansion” piece, entitled “Reporter”, will then be sold to a museum or a rich collector. Tintin is led away by one of Akass’s men to a cell, where he is locked up. He manages to make contact with Snowy, who is outside the cell. He writes a note to the Captain and throws it to Snowy through the bars on the window. Night passes, and in the morning, Tintin is awakened by Akass’s bodyguard. As the guard leads Tintin out of the cell, he says,

“Get moving! It’s time for you to be turned into a ‘César’…”

It is at this point that The Adventures of Tintin ends, and what is going to happen next, or who Akass really is, is unknown. The text as a whole is essentially a rough draft, and contains enough room for revision.

Tintin And The Picaros

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Tintin and the Picaros (French: Tintin et les Picaros) is one of The Adventures of Tintin, a series of classic comic-strip graphic novels, written and illustrated by Belgian writer and illustrator Hergé, featuring young reporter Tintin as a hero.

Tintin And The Picaros is the twenty-third and final completed book in the series. Notably, several characters have undergone changes: Tintin no longer enjoys adventuring and has abandoned his trademark plus fours; Captain Haddock can no longer drink alcohol; and General Alcazar’s masculinity is ridiculed by his new dominant wife.

Tintin hears in the news that Bianca Castafiore, her maid Irma, pianist Igor Wagner, and Thomson and Thompson have been imprisoned in San Theodoros for allegedly attempting to overthrow the military dictatorship of General Tapioca, who has yet again deposed Tintin’s old friend, General Alcazar. Tintin, Calculus, and Haddock soon are accused themselves and, travelling to San Theodoros to clear their names (though Tintin at first refuses, only to change his mind and follow a couple of days later), find themselves caught in a trap laid by their old enemy, Colonel Sponsz, who has been sent by the East Bloc nation of Borduria to assist Tapioca. Sponsz has concocted the conspiracy of which Tintin and his friends are accused in a plot to wreak revenge upon them for humiliating him in The Calculus Affair. Escaping, Tintin, Haddock, and Calculus join Alcazar and his small band of guerrillas, the Picaros, in the jungle near a village of the Arumbaya people.

Meanwhile, in a show trial orchestrated by Sponsz, Castafiore is sentenced to life in prison and the Thompsons are ordered to be executed by a firing squad. All three show great contempt at the injustice of the proceedings. Tintin enlists Alcazar’s help in freeing his friends, but upon arrival at his jungle headquarters, finds that Alcazar’s men have become corrupt drunkards since Tapioca started dropping copious quantities of alcohol near their camp. Additionally, Alcazar is continually henpecked by his shrewish wife, Peggy, who nags him constantly about his failure to achieve a successful revolution. Fortunately, Calculus has invented a pill that makes alcohol disgusting to anyone who ingests it (which he proves to have tested on Haddock, much to the latter’s annoyance). Tintin offers to use the pill to cure the Picaros of their alcoholism if Alcazar agrees to refrain from killing Tapioca and his men. Alcazar reluctantly agrees. Moments after his men are cured, Jolyon Wagg arrives with his musical troupe the Jolly Follies, who intend to perform at the upcoming carnival in San Theodoros. Alcazar, with a little advice from Tintin, launches an assault on Tapioca’s palace during the carnival by ‘borrowing’ the troupe’s costumes and sneaking his men into the capital. He topples Tapioca, but on Tintin’s urging, does not execute him, as is the tradition. Tapioca is instead forced to publicly surrender his powers to Alcazar, and is banished, while a disappointed Sponsz is sent back to Borduria.

Meanwhile, Thomson and Thompson are due to be shot on the same day as the carnival. Although as naive as ever in their observations, the detectives show courage by refusing to be blindfolded. Tintin and Haddock reach the state prison in time to prevent the executions from occurring. Castafiore, her maid, and her pianist are also released, and Alcazar can finally give his wife the palace he has promised. With all matters resolved, Tintin and his friends leave. As they fly home, Tintin and Haddock express gratitude about being able to go home.

The second-to-last panel shows a final, skeptical political message: as under Tapioca, the city slums are filled with wretched, starving people and patrolled by apathetic police. Nothing has changed, except the police uniforms and a Viva Tapioca sign that has been changed to read Viva Alcazar.

Flight 714

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Flight 714, first published in 1968, is the 22nd and penultimate complete volume of The Adventures of Tintin, a series of classic comic-strip albums by the Belgian writer and illustrator Hergé, featuring young reporter Tintin as a hero. Its original French title is Vol 714 pour Sydney (“Flight 714 to Sydney”). The title refers to a flight that the heroes fail to catch, as they become involved in a plot to kidnap an eccentric millionaire involving a private jet and an Indonesian island.

This album is unusual in the Tintin series for its science fiction and paranormal influences. The central mystery is essentially left unresolved.

Tintin, Captain Haddock and Professor Calculus are on their way to Sydney for an international conference on space exploration. While their flight makes a refueling stop in Jakarta’s Kemayoran Airport, they unexpectedly meet their old friend Piotr Skut (see The Red Sea Sharks for backstory), who is now the chief pilot for eccentric millionaire Laszlo Carreidas. A short time earlier, the Captain had erroneously taken the somewhat dishevelled Carreidas for a tramp and surreptitiously slipped him a five-dollar bill, which later is taken by the oblivious Professor Calculus, making the millionaire laugh for the first time in years. When introduced to Carreidas, the Captain inadvertently shakes the hand of the millionaire’s secretary, the tall, aloof Spalding.

Unable to politely refuse Carreidas’s offer of a lift, Tintin and his friends join the millionaire on his prototype private jet. Unbeknownst to Carreidas and the others, Spalding and two of the pilots, Boehm and Colombani, have been recruited to hijack the plane and bring it to a deserted volcanic island called Pulau-Pulau Bompa in the Lesser Sunda Islands. Skut is not involved in this plot; therefore he becomes a prisoner too. After a rough landing, our friends are escorted out of the plane, and a terrified Snowy breaks out of Tintin’s arms and runs off. Armed guards shoot at him, and a horrified Tintin believes that he has died.

A moment or two later, to Tintin’s further shock, it is shown that the mastermind of the plot is none other than the evil Rastapopoulos, who declares on grounds that “it’s a bore to stop being a millionaire” that it would be easier to simply take Carreidas’ fortune. Accordingly, he has hatched an elaborate scheme to kidnap Carreidas and extract his Swiss bank account number. Captain Haddock’s corrupt ex-shipmate, Allan, is present as well, working (as in earlier books) as Rastapopoulos’s henchman.

The prisoners are thereafter bound and held in Japanese World War II-era bunkers. Meanwhile, Rastapopoulos takes the defiant Carreidas to another World War II-era bunker and has him strapped to a chair, to be interrogated by one Dr. Krollspell. This corrupt scientist injects the millionaire with a truth serum, so as to enable Rastapopulos to learn Carreidas’s Swiss bank account number. Unfortunately for Rastapopoulos, Carreidas becomes relentlessly eager to tell the truth about everything except the Swiss bank account, launching into long disquisitions about his life of greed, perfidy and corruption since his childhood. Furious, Rastapopulos lunges at Krollspell, who is still holding the truth-drug syringe, and is accidentally injected with the serum, becoming intoxicated. He too recounts hideous deeds in a boasting manner, and he and Carreidas begin to quarrel over which is the more evil, during which it becomes evident that nearly all of the men recruited by Rastapopoulos, including Spalding, the aircraft pilots, and (the increasingly unnerved) Krollspell, are already marked to be killed by Rastapopoulos himself.

With the help of Snowy, who is not dead after all, Tintin and his friends manage to escape the bunker in which they were imprisoned and find the bunker where Carreidas is held prisoner. Tintin and Captain Haddock tie up and gag Krollspell, Rastapopulos, and even the irascible Carreidas, and escort them to lower ground, intending to use Rastapopulos as a hostage. However, the serum wears off and Rastapopulos escapes, while Allan also detects the escaping prisoners. However, Krollspell, in fear of Rastapopoulos, throws in his lot with Tintin and Haddock; he is subsequently released and continues to accompany Tintin and Haddock, watching the still irritable Carreidas.

Rastapopoulos, freed from his bonds, sends Allan and his Sondonesian henchmen to kill and capture the fugitives. Led by a telepathic voice Tintin is hearing, the protagonists discover a hidden entrance to a statue-filled cave. They decide to enter the cave and discover a large hallway, leading to a temple hidden in the inside of the island’s volcano. They enter the volcano’s core by triggering a hidden mechanism. Rastapopulos and his cohorts are not far behind, but they fail to find out how to open the secret passage after realising the group went through there. Instead, they use explosives to make their own entrance.

Penetrating deeper into the volcano, Tintin and his friends meet a strange man, Mik Kanrokitoff, a writer for magazine Space Week, who reveals to them that his is the guiding voice that they have followed, having received it into their minds via a telepathic transmitter. This device was given to Kanrokitoff by a technologically advanced, extraterrestrial race of humanoids, who were formerly worshipped on the island as gods and who use it as a landing-point to contact Earth’s people. Kanrokitoff is one of the few people the aliens keep as familiars and contacts on Earth.

Because an earthquake and the explosion set off by Rastapopoulos and his men has triggered a volcanic eruption, it becomes imperative that all the characters leave the island. With major hindrances presented by the unreasonable Carreidas, getting to safety becomes unnecessarily hazardous for the protagonists, but finally they all arrive safe and sound inside the volcano’s crater bowl. Meanwhile, Rastapopoulos and his henchmen flee the eruption by running down the outside of the volcano and go out to sea in a rubber dinghy from Carreidas’ plane.

Once Tintin and his friends find their way out of the volcano, Kanrokitoff puts them all under telepathic hypnosis. He uses his transmitter to summon a flying saucer piloted by the extraterrestrials, whereupon the hypnotised group climb up a retractable ladder and board the saucer, narrowly escaping the volcano’s dramatic eruption. Kanrokitoff spots the rubber dinghy and exchanges Tintin and his companions for Allan, Spalding, Rastapopulos, and the treacherous pilots, who are whisked away in the saucer to an unknown fate. The group — including Krollspell, who is later deposited by the saucer at his institute in Cairo — awakes from hypnosis and cannot remember what happened to them. The party is eventually rescued, but no one has any recollection of the adventure. Professor Calculus has a souvenir, though — a crafted rod of alloyed cobalt, iron, and nickel, which he had found in the caves and forgotten in his pocket. Because the cobalt is of a state that does not occur on Earth, it is therefore clearly extraterrestrial and is the only evidence of a close encounter with its makers; only Snowy, who cannot speak, remembers the hijacking and alien abduction.

The story ends with Tintin, Carreidas and companions resuming their journey to Australia on a public airline.

The Castafiore Emerald

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The Castafiore Emerald (French: Les Bijoux de la Castafiore) is an album in the classic comic-strip series The Adventures of Tintin by Belgian writer and illustrator Hergé, featuring young reporter Tintin as a hero.

The Castafiore Emerald is the twenty-first and the slowest-moving and most sedate in the series. It was conceived as a narrative exercise by Hergé. Becoming disillusioned with his most famous creation, the cartoonist wanted to see if he could maintain suspense throughout sixty-two pages in which nothing much happens. Consequently it is a story without villains, guns or danger, but rich in comic setpieces, red herrings, mistaken interpretations, and colourful characters. Moreover, this is one of only two Tintin books in which the characters do not go to another part of the world (the other being The Secret of the Unicorn).

Captain Haddock and Tintin are walking through the countryside when they come across a Roma community camped in a garbage dump. They investigate and upon learning that the community chose that site on account of being forbidden by the police to use any other location, the Captain invites them to the grounds of his estate, Marlinspike, over the objections of his butler Nestor.

Shortly afterwards, Bianca Castafiore, famous opera Diva and scourge of the Captain, decides to invite herself to Marlinspike for a holiday. All manner of mayhem ensues. For some time, one of the marble steps leading to the foyer in Marlinspike Hall has had a plate-sized chip; Nestor has been waiting for the repairman, who has been fobbing the Captain off. Upon hearing of Bianca’s impending visit, Haddock rushes to pack for a trip to Italy, figuring that now would be a good time to visit, because he had always avoided visiting the country precisely to avoid Bianca. In his haste, Haddock misses the step, which, just moments before, he had been sanctimoniously warning Nestor and the others about. He sprains his ankle as a result. The doctor arrives, examines the Captain, and insists upon putting the foot and ankle in a cast while imposing a minimum of a fortnight (two weeks)’s bed rest. As a result, the Captain uses a wheelchair for all but the last couple of pages. The broken step becomes a running gag for the rest of the comic, and every character, with the exception of Castafiore, slips and falls down the step at least one time.

Bianca has brought her luggage, her slippers, her pyjamas, her entourage and a parrot for the Captain called “Iago”. Not unlike the parrots featured in Red Rackham’s Treasure, the creature manages to pick up some of the Haddockian argot, much to the Captain’s chagrin. He narrowly averts having to share his study with Bianca and her piano, managing to convince her to locate the instrument, along with her somewhat rebellious pianist Wagner, in the maritime gallery. Wagner, it turns out, indulges a penchant for gambling by making furtive runs into the local village to place bets. Increasing the Captain’s problems, two over-zealous Paris Flash reporters concoct a story claiming that Haddock and Castafiore intend to get married (following a misinterpreted conversation with the very hard-of-hearing Professor Calculus), and an avalanche of congratulations from friends from all over the world pour in for several hours.

Soon after Captain Haddock discovers to his horror the rumors of his engagement spread by the tabloids, he is forced to accommodate an entire television crew, who occupy Marlinspike Hall for several hours while conducting an extensive interview with Castafiore (which is interrupted by several comic mishaps). A few days later, Castafiore’s most prized emerald goes missing, and all eyes turn to the Roma. But they are vindicated when, in a deliberately anti-climactic dénouement, the culprit turns out to have been a magpie. As soon as the emerald is found, it is (temporarily) lost once again by the detectives Thompson and Thomson, only to be found again a few frames later by Snowy, who calls it a “brandyball”, underlining the fact that the emerald is merely a device for the whole story to happen, and is in itself meaningless. Beyond the opening with the initial encounter with the Roma at the landfill, the action never leaves the confines of the Marlinspike estate – all the adventures in this album are decidedly domestic.

Tintin In Tibet

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Tintin in Tibet (in the original French, Tintin au Tibet) is the twentieth title in the comic book series The Adventures of Tintin, written and drawn by Belgian cartoonist Hergé. Originally serialised from September 1958 in the French language magazine named after his creation, Le Journal de Tintin, it was then first published in book form in 1960. An “intensely personal book” for Hergé, who would come to see it as his favourite of the Tintin adventures, it was written and drawn by him at a time when he was suffering from traumatic nightmares and a personal conflict over whether he should divorce his wife of three decades, Germaine Remi, for a younger woman with whom he had fallen in love, Fanny Vlaminck.

The plot of the book revolves around the boy reporter Tintin who, aided by his faithful dog Snowy, friend Captain Haddock and the sherpa Tharkey, treks across the Himalayan mountains in Tibet in order to look for Tintin’s friend Chang Chong-Chen whom the authorities claim had been killed in a plane crash flying over the mountains. Convinced that Chang has somehow survived, Tintin continues to search for him despite the odds, along the way encountering the giant Himalayan ape, the Yeti.

Released after the publication of the previous Tintin adventure, The Red Sea Sharks (1958), Tintin in Tibet would differ from the other stories in the series because many of the core characters from the series, such as Thomson and Thompson and Cuthbert Calculus, barely or didn’t feature in it, whilst at the same time it was the only Tintin adventure to not pit Tintin against an antagonist. Tintin in Tibet is highly thought of by prominent Tintinologists, with Michael Farr calling it “exceptional in many respects” and Jean-Marc and Randy Lofficier describing it as “arguably the best book in the series”. It has also been publicly praised by Tenzing Gyatso, the fourteenth Dalai Lama and prominent Tibetan spokesman, who awarded his own Truth of Light award to the book and to Hergé. Adaptations of Tintin in Tibet have been made in various media, including an animated television series, a radio series and a video game in the 1990s, and then for the theatre in the 2000s.

While on holiday in a resort in the French Alps with Captain Haddock and Professor Calculus, Tintin reads about a plane crash in the Gosain Than Massif in the Himalayas. That evening at their hotel, Tintin dozes off while playing chess with the Captain, who is having trouble deciding his next move. Tintin has a vivid dream that his young Chinese friend Chang Chong-Chen (introduced in The Blue Lotus) is terribly hurt and calling for help from the ruins of a plane crash. The next morning, Tintin reads in the paper that Chang was aboard the plane that crashed in Tibet. Believing that his dream was a telepathic vision, Tintin travels to Kathmandu with Snowy, followed by a skeptical Captain Haddock. They hire a sherpa named Tharkey, and accompanied by some porters, they travel from Nepal to the crash site in Tibet.

Upon entering Tibet, they discover footprints in the snow that Tharkey claims belong to the yeti. The porters abandon the group in fear, and Tintin, Haddock and Tharkey go on and eventually reach the crash site. Tintin sets off with Snowy to try and trace Chang’s steps, and find a cave in which Chang carved his name on a rock, proving that he survived the crash.

Tharkey decides not to go on any further, believing Chang to be dead, but Tintin, Snowy and Haddock travel on after Tintin spots a scarf higher up on a cliff face. While attempting to climb upwards and after having his pick-axe caught with St. Elmo’s fire, Haddock loses his grip and hangs perilously down the cliff wall, imperiling Tintin, who is tied to him. He tells Tintin to cut the rope to save himself, but Tintin refuses. Tharkey, who had had a changed of heart moved by Tintin’s selflessness, returns just in time to save them. That night, they pitch their tent in a storm, but it is taken away by a storm. They trek onwards, unable to sleep lest they freeze, and eventually arrive within sight of the Buddhist monastery of Khor-Biyong before collapsing due to exhaustion. An avalanche occurs, and they are buried in the snow.

Blessed Lightning, a monk at the monastery, ‘sees’ in a vision Tintin, Snowy, Haddock and Tharkey being in peril. Up in the mountains, Tintin regains consciousness and, unable to reach the monastery himself, writes a note and gives it to Snowy to deliver. Snowy lets go of the message when he finds a bone, but then realises what he’s done, and runs to the monastery to make someone follow him. The monks head after him as he is recognised as the white dog in Blessed Lightning’s vision.
Panel from the Tibetan edition

Two days later, Tintin, Haddock and Tharkey awaken in the monastery and receive an audience with the monks. After Tintin tells the Grand Abbot why they are there, the Abbot tells him to abandon his quest and return to his country. However, Blessed Lightning has another vision, through which Tintin learns that Chang is still alive inside a mountain cave, but that the “migou”, or yeti, is also there. Haddock doesn’t believe the vision is genuine, but Tintin, after being given directions by the Abbot, travels to Charabang, a small village near the Horn of the Yak, the mountain mentioned by Blessed Lightning. Haddock initially refuses to follow Tintin anymore, but once again changes his mind and pursues him to Charabang. The two of them, and Snowy, head to the Horn of the Yak on the final lap of their journey.

They wait outside until they see the yeti leave the cave. Tintin ventures inside with a camera while Haddock keeps lookout, and he finally finds Chang, who is feverish and shaking. The yeti returns to the cave before Haddock can warn Tintin, and he reacts with anger upon seeing Tintin taking Chang away. As he reaches toward Tintin however, he sets off the flash bulb of the camera, which scares him away. Tintin and Haddock carry Chang back to the village of Charabang, and he explains to them that the yeti saved him after the crash and took him away from the rescue parties. Along the way, they briefly encounter the yeti again, and he is scared off this time by Haddock blowing his nose.

After Chang has been prepared for comfortable transport, he, Tintin and Haddock are met ceremonially by the Grand Abbot and an emissary group of monks, who present Tintin with a silk scarf in honour of the bravery he has shown, and the strength of his friendship with Chang. The monks take them back to Khor-Biyong, and after a week, when Chang has recovered, they return to Nepal by caravan. As their party travels away from the monastery, Chang muses that the yeti is no wild animal, but instead has a human soul, while the yeti sadly watches their departure from a distance.

The Red Sea Sharks

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The Red Sea Sharks is the nineteenth of The Adventures of Tintin, a series of classic comic-strip albums written and illustrated by Hergé, featuring young reporter Tintin as a hero. Its original French title is Coke en stock (“coke in stock”) a codename used by the villainous antagonists of the story for African slaves.

The Red Sea Sharks is an adventure in which Tintin investigates the supporters of Sheikh Bab El Ehr’s overthrow of Mohammed Ben Kalish Ezab, the Emir of Khemed.

After watching a movie, Tintin and Captain Haddock round a corner and bump into General Alcazar, who drops his wallet. Tintin attempts to return it, but the hotel he claimed to be staying at has never heard of him, and when Tintin calls a phone number found in his wallet, the man refuses to talk to him. When Tintin and Haddock return home, they discover that the Emir’s bratty, incorrigibly spoiled son Abdullah has been sent there for protection, along with a colorful entourage of servants and dignitaries who have established a bedouin-bivouac in the great hall of Marlinspike Hall. Abdullah proceeds to cause chaos at Marlinspike with his practical jokes.

Thomson and Thompson inform Tintin that they know of his meeting with Alcazar due to their investigation of an arms dealer called Dawson. They then tell him the name of the real hotel where the General is staying. At the hotel, Tintin and Haddock see Alcazar talking with Dawson, whom Tintin recognises as the corrupt police chief of the international settlement in the blue lotus who he exposed and sent to prison guilty of mingling with opium dealers.

Haddock returns the wallet to Alcazar, while Tintin follows Dawson and overhears him discussing how successful his sale of de Havilland Mosquitoes were in starting a coup d’état in Khemed. Tintin decides to go to Khemed and rescue the emir, who has been overthrown by Sheikh Bab El Ehr. Reluctantly, as usual, the Captain agrees to go along, partly because he knows it is his only chance of getting rid of Abdullah, whose practical jokes are getting too much for him. Meanwhile, Dawson, realizing that Tintin is once again meddling in his affairs, resolves to take drastic measures.

At Wadesdah Airport in Khemed, Tintin and Haddock are turned back by customs, while someone (presumably an agent of Dawson) plants a bomb on the plane to “take care of them”. The bombing is foiled by an engine fire, which forces the plane to crash-land minutes before the bomb goes off. Realizing that they best take a lower profile, Tintin and Haddock walk away from the crash site and slip in unobserved at night into Wadesdah. There they meet another old friend, the loquacious Portuguese merchant Oliveira da Figueira. He helps them escape the city by dressing up as veil-wearing women. Once outside they meet a guide with horses and ride to the Emir’s hideout (modelled on the ancient Jordanian city of Petra).

Their escape is reported however, and a leading figure in the new regime sends out a squad of armored cars and Mosquitoes to intercept them. The officer, Mull Pasha, is in fact Doctor Müller, an enemy whom Tintin fought against in The Black Island and Land of Black Gold. Thanks to a military misinterpretation, the Mosquitoes attack their own armored cars instead of Tintin and his friends.

The Emir tells them about the ongoing slave trade run by the Marquis di Gorgonzola, an international businessman with whom the Emir had a tiff several months ago. The Marquis uses the pilgrimage to Mecca to capture and enslave African Muslim travellers. Tintin and Haddock leave for the Red Sea coast and board a boat for Mecca to investigate. They are attacked by the Mosquitoes again, but Tintin manages to down one with a German StG 44. But their schooner receives critical damage and they end up shipwrecked aboard a raft, along with Piotr Skut, the pilot of the downed plane. They are then picked up by di Gorgonzola’s yacht, the Scheherazade (named after the Arab princess and storyteller of One Thousand and One Nights), which happens to pass by, but di Gorgonzola isolates them from his guests and offloads them the next night to the SS Ramona, a tramp steamer. Unbeknownst to Tintin and Haddock, the Ramona is one of di Gorgonzola’s own ships, used in the slave trade.

That night they are locked into their cabin by Allan, Haddock’s former first mate, who commands the Ramona. A fire breaks out on the Ramona and the crew abandons ship. Tintin and Haddock force their cabin door open and manage to put out the fire, not realizing that the front of the ship was loaded with munitions. They then free a number of black African men,who speak Yoruba, from a rear hold and discover that they had paid for the voyage to Mecca, but were intended to be sold as slaves instead. Haddock attempts to explain the situation to them. Initially, many of them don’t understand, or refuse to, stubbornly insisting on still going to Mecca. After some discussion, the men come around: an older member of the group recalls how some men from his village never returned from the Hajj. The Africans agree to help Haddock sail the ship to neutral territory in Djibouti, while Tintin and Skut attempt to fix the radio, which had been smashed.

Tintin finds a slip of paper in the radio room with an order to deliver “coke”, and is puzzled. In shipping, “coke” would normally refer to a coal-derived fuel, but none is being carried. They are then approached by a dhow and take aboard an Arab who wishes to inspect the coke, puzzling Haddock, who claims they have none. The man then turns about and starts examining the physical strength of one of the Africans. With the nature of the term coke, a codename for slaves, clear to him now, Haddock furiously confronts the Arab. The inspected Black African manages to thwart the Arab’s attempt to stab the Captain, and the slaver is ordered away from the ship, the outraged Haddock yelling insults to him until he is out of earshot, even from a megaphone.

Di Gorgonzola (who is actually Rastapopoulos, a member of the international opium smugglers from Cigars of the Pharaoh and The Blue Lotus) finds out from the Arab that Haddock has taken control of the ship, and sends a Type VII U-Boat to attack them. Tintin spots the submarine by accident just prior to attack because of its periscope sticking out. Haddock manages to outmaneuver a number of torpedoes, but all appears lost when the engines of the ship get stuck in half reverse. At this point the Ramona is saved by the arrival of combat aircraft from a nearby US Navy cruiser, the USS Los Angeles, whose crew had been radioed by Tintin. The submarine makes one more attempt to destroy the Ramona by attaching a limpet mine to the front of the boat beside the explosives, but this is foiled when the diver is hit by the Ramona’s anchor. A shark swallows the mine and swims away, exploding some time afterwards.

When the Los Angeles attempts to arrest di Gorgonzola afterwords, he fakes his own death by allowing a motorboat which he steers from his yacht to the cruiser to sink while he escapes in an inbuilt mini-submarine. Thinking him dead, Tintin, Haddock and Skut return to Europe to international renown for their efforts in exposing the slave traders. Soon afterwards, the Emir recaptures control of Khemed and recalls Abdullah home. Tintin and the Captain return home to find Nestor emaciated from Abdullah’s stay and an exploding firework in the Captain’s chair as a parting gift. And no sooner have they got rid of one pest when another arrives – Jolyon Wagg.

The Calculus Affair

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The Calculus Affair (French: L’Affaire Tournesol) is the eighteenth of The Adventures of Tintin, a series of classic comic-strip albums, written and illustrated by Belgian writer and illustrator Hergé, featuring young reporter Tintin as a hero.

Some, such as Benoit Peeters in his book Tintin and the World of Hergé, have labelled this as the greatest of the series. The Calculus Affair is the most “detective-like” of the whole series.

The story is set in the 1950s, several months after Tintin and his friends have returned from the Moon.

During a thunderstorm, Tintin and Captain Haddock shelter in Marlinspike Hall. During the storm, several items of glass and china within the house break for no apparent reason. An insurance agent, Jolyon Wagg barges into the hall seeking shelter. He claims that all the windows of his car have somehow blown to bits. More mysterious incidents of glass breaking occur. After the storm, gunshots are heard outside. Professor Calculus returns from his laboratory with bullet holes in his hat. Investigating outside, Tintin discovers a wounded man in the grounds. He disappears before he can be questioned.

The next day a preoccupied Calculus leaves to attend a conference on nuclear physics in Geneva, Switzerland. With him gone the glass breaking stops, leading Tintin to suspect Calculus may have been responsible for it. He and the Captain investigate inside his laboratory, finding a strange device and boxes of broken glass. Suddenly they are surprised by a man in trenchcoat and mask, who escapes after punching the Captain and Snowy. He drops a key and a packet of cigarettes with the name of the Hotel Cornavin (where Calculus is staying in Geneva) scrawled onto it. Believing that Calculus is in danger, Tintin and Haddock decide to follow him to Switzerland.

In Geneva, Tintin and Haddock miss Calculus at his hotel by seconds, delayed by two men dressed in the same trenchcoats as the man in the lab. They track Calculus to Nyon, at the home of Professor Topolino, an expert in ultrasonics. On the way to Nyon their taxi is forced into a nearby lake by the same two men from the hotel, but they manage to survive and reach Topolino’s house. Calculus’s umbrella is there, but he is not. Topolino is found bound and gagged in his own cellar. Topolino claims that it was Calculus’s doing but when shown a photograph of the professor he does not recognise him. They deduce that someone impersonated Calculus, imprisoned Topolino in his cellar and then kidnapped the real Calculus upon his arrival. As they come to this conclusion, the same two men who had earlier hampered Tintin and Haddock’s efforts to find Calculus in Geneva blow up Topolino’s house in an attempt to get rid of them all, but they survive nonetheless.

Tintin and Haddock conclude that Calculus had invented a sonic device capable of destroying glass and china, and potentially converted into a terrible weapon. Concerned of the consequences of his invention, he had decided to talk it over with Topolino. But Topolino’s manservant, a Bordurian named Boris, learned of this and informed his country’s intelligence service. It soon dawns on them that rival teams of agents from both Syldavia and Borduria are after the device. Abducted at first by Bordurians, Calculus is then snatched by Syldavian agents in spite of Tintin and Haddock’s efforts to rescue him. Pursuing the Syldavians in a helicopter across Lake Geneva into France, they chase a boat and then a car carrying Calculus, but the helicopter runs out of fuel and they lose them.

After being pursued by Tintin and Haddock through the French countryside, the Syldavians escape in a plane, with Calculus as their prisoner. However, the plane is forced down over Bordurian territory, meaning Calculus is back in Bordurian hands. Tintin and Haddock set off for Szohôd, Borduria in hope of finding their friend again.

The Bordurians are alerted to their arrival by the two men in Geneva (who were Bordurian secret agents), and they are intercepted at the airport by the Bordurian Secret Police (ZEP). Assigned two minders who take them to a luxury hotel and keep them in bugged rooms, Tintin and Haddock manage to escape and hide in the Szohôd Opera House, where Bianca Castafiore is performing. She invites them into her dressing room but is visited by Colonel Sponsz, chief of ZEP, in her dressing room. Tintin and Haddock hide in Bianca’s closet, overhearing the conversation between Sponsz and Castafiore. Sponsz reveals Calculus’s location, a gaol in the fortress of Bakhine, and the stress on him to surrender his plans. If he does give them up, then he will be handed over to two officials from the Red Cross, to whom he must swear that he went to the Bordurians of his own accord and gave them his plans voluntarily. Sponsz also reveals that the papers for the officials and Calculus’ release are in his overcoat, hanging in the closet in which Tintin and Haddock are hiding.

Overhearing all this, Tintin and Haddock steal the papers and, disguising themselves as the two Red Cross officials, acquire Calculus’ release. When Sponsz is told of this, he quickly raises the alarm, but the three friends manage to escape to the border in a car and later, a tank. When they arrive back in Marlinspike, they find that Jolyon Wagg’s family is staying there and has nearly wrecked the house. Realising the destructive potential of his invention, Calculus burns his plans….by lighting them with Haddock’s pipe while it is placed in Haddock’s mouth. Haddock is incensed, calling Calculus a “jack-in-a-box”. The hard-of-hearing Calculus thinks that Haddock has said “chicken pox”, and tells Jolyon Wagg that Haddock is suffering from this disease. While Wagg at first interprets it as a joke, he then remembers that chicken pox is infectious, and Wagg doesn’t want to be infected, so he and his family leave Marlinspike.

Explorers On The Moon

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Explorers on the Moon, published in 1954, is the seventeenth of The Adventures of Tintin, a series of classic comic-strip albums, written and illustrated by Belgian writer and illustrator Hergé, featuring young reporter Tintin as a hero. Its original French title is On a marché sur la Lune (“We walked on the Moon”). It is the second of a two-part adventure begun in Destination Moon.

The story continues from Destination Moon. Professor Calculus is taking Tintin, Tintin’s dog Snowy, Captain Haddock and Calculus’ assistant Frank Wolff to the Moon in his rocket. However, the detectives Thomson and Thompson come up from the hold, having mistaken the time of the launch (1:34 a.m. instead of 1:34 p.m.) and been left on board while carrying out a final security check, putting the expedition at risk due to the new strain on the oxygen supply, designed for four people and Snowy and now forced to accommodate six.

The rest of the Moon journey remains not uneventful. The Thompsons accidentally turn off the nuclear power motor, which stops the artificial gravity and sends everyone floating until Tintin restarts the motor. Haddock has smuggled some whisky aboard in hollowed-out books, becomes drunk, and engages in an unscheduled spacewalk that results in him briefly becoming a satellite of the asteroid Adonis. Tintin also dons a space suit to fetch him, and, in a very rare display of temper, berates the Captain for his recklessness. When the rocket engine must temporarily be shut down in order to execute the turnaround maneuver that will enable it to land on the Moon right side up, the momentary lack of artificial gravity also poses problems for Haddock, who has neglected to put on his magnetic boots in time. Additionally, Thomson and Thompson suffer a relapse of the condition caused by their ingestion of the energy-multiplying substance Formula Fourteen (see Land of Black Gold); as a result, they once more sprout thick hair that grows at lightning speed and frequently changes color.

The spacecraft eventually lands safely in the Hipparchus Crater, and by agreement among the crew, Tintin is the first to set foot on the Moon (the first human to do so). Everyone then gets a chance to walk about; even the Captain enjoys it, but upon seeing the Earth, expresses unease over whether they will survive to see it again.

The crew soon starts unpacking the scientific payload – telescopes, cameras, and a battery-powered expedition tank. Calculus decides to reduce the total stay on the lunar surface from fourteen Earth days to six in order to conserve oxygen. Three days later, the Captain, Wolff and Tintin take the battery-powered tank to explore some stalactite caves in the direction of the Ptolemaeus Crater; inside a cave Snowy slips into an ice-covered fissure, damaging his two-way radio, and there is a minor drama in rescuing him, but they all return to the rocket safely.

Tintin decides to rest up and have lunch with Wolff while the Captain, Calculus, Thomson and Thompson immediately go out in the tank again on a 48-hour trip to explore the lunar caves in detail, as Calculus suspects they might find uranium or radium deposits there. A sudden turn of events occurs when the spy plot broached in Destination Moon is revealed: Wolff has been working with a secret agent from a foreign power, the brutish and autocratic Colonel Jorgen, whom Tintin had previously encountered and defeated in King Ottokar’s Sceptre, has been hiding in the rocket since it was launched eight days previously (having been smuggled aboard along with technical equipment). When Tintin goes below to fetch some supplies for lunch, Jorgen knocks him out and binds him, then tries to seize control of the rocket, which he plans to fly back to his own country, leaving the others marooned on the Moon.

Outside, from the Moon tank, the Captain, Calculus, Thomson and Thompson watch, horrified, as the rocket blasts off, but comes crashing back down and coming to rest. Jorgen wrongly accuses Wolff of sabotaging the launching gear and nearly shoots him, but Tintin stops him. Tintin has freed himself and succeeded in foiling the plot, but in order to do so had been forced to sabotage the rocket to prevent Jorgen’s attempted liftoff. Wolff reveals to the stunned group his history of gambling debts, which Jorgen’s employers have used to blackmail him into aiding them involuntarily. After the group interrogates Jorgen and Wolff, Tintin eventually locks them in the hold. Calculus determines that the crew needs at least four days to repair the damaged rocket, while the remaining oxygen supply will last at most four days.

Due to the strain on the oxygen supplies, the crew decides to abandon most of the equipment and to cut short the lunar stay. The repair work is completed slightly ahead of schedule after three days, and the rocket cleared for lift-off. Even so, shortly before lift-off, the Captain becomes the first among them to experience a bout of dizziness due to build-up of carbon dioxide. The lift-off is successful, but the rocket is put off course, and by the time the crew awake from the liftoff-induced blackout and correct it, they have lost additional time and thus consumed more oxygen.

Halfway back to Earth, Jorgen escapes after overpowering the detectives, who have attempted to secure the prisoners more thoroughly. When Jorgen declares his intention to kill Tintin and the others, Wolff intervenes and a fight ensues; the gun goes off, killing Jorgen. However, even without Jorgen there isn’t enough oxygen to make it home. Therefore, and also overcome with guilt, Wolff sacrifices himself by opening the airlock and going out into space while the others are unconscious, leaving behind a moving farewell note that asks for forgiveness.

The rest of the group continues towards Earth as their oxygen runs low. Everyone soon falls unconscious, but Tintin barely manages to set the rocket up to land on auto-pilot. After the ship lands, firemen break the door open. On the tarmac, everyone is revived, except for the Captain. A doctor is giving a prostrate Haddock oxygen, but fears that his heart is worn out because “It seems he was a great whisky drinker.” Suddenly roused by the sound of the word “whisky”, Captain Haddock wakes up with a start.

Everyone rejoices and a ground crew member returns with a bottle of whisky. In the bliss of the moment, Calculus joyfully announces that “we will return” to the Moon (referring to mankind in general), whereupon Haddock furiously declares that he will never be seen inside a rocket again. He then promptly walks away, only to trip and a fall over a stretcher in the midst of declaring that “Man’s proper place … is on dear old Earth!”

Destination Moon

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Destination Moon (French: Objectif Lune) is the sixteenth of The Adventures of Tintin, a series of classic comic-strip albums, written and illustrated by Belgian writer and illustrator Hergé, featuring young reporter Tintin as a hero. Destination Moon is the first part of one of the four multi-book stories in the Tintin series, the other part being Explorers on the Moon (On a marché sur la Lune).

It is one of two latter-day Tintin albums (the other being The Castafiore Emerald) that is not structured as a straightforward adventure story; instead, it is an episodic sequence of events surrounding the development of a moon rocket. There is, however, a subplot involving espionage to hold the episodes together.

Tintin’s friend Professor Calculus has been secretly commissioned by the Syldavian government to build a rocket ship that will fly from the Earth to the Moon. Tintin and Captain Haddock agree to join the expedition, even though Captain Haddock shows considerable reluctance. Upon arriving in Syldavia, they are taken to the Sprodj Atomic Research Centre, called simply “the Centre”, headed by Mr. Baxter, an engineer. They are escorted by the “ZEPO” (Zekrett Politzs), a special security force charged with protecting the Centre from outside threats. While working for Syldavia, Calculus is assisted by engineer Frank Wolff, who works in the Centre, and accompanies Tintin and Haddock around the facility. Prof. Calculus reveals that the Syldavian government invited nuclear physicists from other countries to work at the Centre, which was created four years earlier when large uranium deposits were discovered in the area. The Centre is entirely dedicated to peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Calculus heads the Centre’s astronautics department, since this is his primary area of expertise.

An unmanned subscale prototype of the rocket — the “X-FLR6″, resembling a V-2 rocket — is launched on a circumlunar mission to photograph the far side of the Moon, as well as test Professor Calculus’s revolutionary nuclear rocket engine. The rocket successfully orbits the moon. But then it is intercepted by the foreign power; the leaked information concerned the rocket’s radio control. However, Tintin had anticipated this and asked Calculus to rig a destruct mechanism for the rocket. The Centre has no choice but to use it and destroy the rocket. As the compound is heavily secured, there must have been a spy who leaked information through the grille, but no suspects are found.

Despite this setback, preparations are made for the moon trip – the rocket’s engine still having been confirmed as viable even if they were unable to access the data it gathered – and the equipment is tested. While testing one of the space suits, Captain Haddock becomes frustrated and accuses Calculus of “acting the goat” (a line that would become famous in the Tintin series), causing Calculus to go into a fit of anger. He leads them out of the complex — breaking every security rule in the book — and to the site of the moon rocket which is in near completion. While taking Haddock and Tintin through the rocket’s interior, he falls down a ladder and suffers temporary memory loss. Haddock caringly — and unwittingly — attempts helps him recover, using British redcoat soldier costumes, trick cameras, water guns, fire crackers, and even a ghost costume. When his attempts elicit no reaction whatsoever, Haddock angrily says he will not be “acting the goat”, which makes Calculus recover his memory in a fit of rage.

Preparations are made for a manned flight, and the full-scale rocket is completed. Finally, on June 3, 1952, at 1:34 a.m., the rocket takes off for the Moon with Tintin, Haddock, Calculus and Wolff aboard.

The story continues in Explorers on the Moon.