When Captain Haddock makes his debut in The Crab with the Golden Claws, he makes quite an impression. First, he nearly puts an end to Tintin by burning the oars of their lifeboat to keep warm. As if that weren’t enough, he cracks Tintin over the head with a bottle as he’s piloting an aircraft, causing it to crash in the desert. Despite this inauspicious beginning, the captain goes on to become Tintin’s closest friend.
As the stories progress, Captain Haddock proves himself to be much more than a clumsy, hotheaded sea captain with a colorful vocabulary. He is clearly a highly competent mariner and navigator, and his years of experience on the high seas prove invaluable in numerous adventures, including The Red Sea Sharks.
While Hergé admitted that there was a good deal of himself in Haddock, he also acknowledged that there was a measure of his colleague, Edgar-Pierre Jacobs, who had helped him adapt the Tintin books into color. As Hergé explained it, both Jacobs and Captain Haddock were “gruff, capable of expansive gestures and prone occasionally to minor mishaps.”
As Hergé was considering names for his new character, he asked his wife, Germaine, what she had cooked for dinner. She told him, “a sad English fish — haddock.” Hergé thought it a perfect name for Tintin’s new mariner friend.
Swearing (un)like a sailor
Captain Haddock is famous for his imaginative and educational insults. In The Crab with the Golden Claws, the first adventure in which Haddock makes his appearance, he loses his temper with marksmen who have shattered his bottle of whiskey. His fury is unleashed in a torrent of colorful expletives: “Swine!….Jellyfish!….Tramps!….Troglodytes!….Toffee-noses!….Savages!….Aztecs!….Toads!….Carpet-sellers!…. Iconoclasts!….Rats!…. Ectoplasms!…. Freshwater swabs!….Bashibazouks!….Cannibals!…. Caterpillars!…. Cowards!….Baboons!….Parasites!…. Pockmarks!”
Fun Facts about Captain Haddock
- Captain Haddock is constantly voted the most popular character in The Adventures of Tintin.
- Tintin fans have counted Captain Haddock’s insults, claiming that he has over 200 different variations!
- In the last Tintin adventure, Tintin and the Picaros, Captain Haddock’s first name is finally revealed: Archibald.