The Black Island

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First edition book (Belgium) published 1938.

Tintin hopes for a well-earned rest following his escapades in Latin America (The Broken Ear), but his hopes are quickly dashed. As he comes to the aid of an aircraft that has made a forced landing, one of the pilots shoots him. This is the beginning of an adventure that takes Tintin to Great Britain, where certain people are determined to make him disappear once and for all. Framed for theft, Tintin is arrested by Thomson & Thompson, who are on the trail of a gang of counterfeiters.

Tintin discovers that the head of the organization is the sinister Doctor J.W. Müller, and that the printing press used to create the false money is hidden on the terrifying Black Island, off the coast of Scotland. According to local folklore, the island is haunted by a wild beast. Will Tintin discover the truth behind these stories?

The Black IslandBackstory

Once again inspired by the news of his time, Hergé based his story on reports that counterfeit Russian currency was being smuggled into the Soviet Union to destabilize its economy. Dr. Georg Bell, a Scotsman who had become a German citizen, orchestrated this counterfeiting scheme in a deal with the Nazi Party, and here he serves as the source for Hergé’s sinister Doctor Müller character.

With Ranko the Gorilla, Hergé revisited — in his own way — the legend of the Loch Ness monster. This story also introduced television, a new technology of the time. Two years before this story was written, the BBC in England had introduced the world’s first high-definition television service. When Tintin breaks into the office of the leader of a counterfeiters’ ring, he finds himself in front of a television.

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The Black Island

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