Hergé drew inspiration for his star character from the career of the French foreign correspondent Albert Londres. A pioneer of investigative journalism, Londres traveled the world to uncover the truth behind business, politics, governments and the criminal underworld. Tintin represented the reporter that Hergé himself would have liked to be.
An instant icon
Tintin’s features are simple: a round head, a button for a nose, two dots for eyes and a quiff. This is the key to his success. He is flexible, distinctive yet anonymous: any child or adult, of any age or culture, can identify with him.
Although he starts out as an investigative reporter, Tintin develops into a detective. Snowy and others regularly refer to him as Sherlock Holmes, and he has a good deal of the famous English detective about him, including a sharp eye for detail and considerable powers of deduction. Like Holmes, Tintin is a master of disguise!
An all-around expert
A bit like James Bond, there is no car, motorcycle, locomotive, submarine, airplane, helicopter, horse or camel that Tintin cannot drive, ride, steer or fly. In Tintin in the Land of the Soviets, he carves an airplane propeller from a tree using a pocketknife. In Cigars of the Pharaoh, he fashions a wooden trumpet with which to communicate with the elephants. No matter what situation Tintin finds himself in, he’s never at a loss for what to do.
Tintin wholeheartedly embraces the role of the explorer, which culminates in his most memorable achievement — taking the first steps on the moon, some 16 years before the American astronaut Neil Armstrong. By this time, it is clear that Tintin has ceased to report news and is instead making it.
How Tintin is Drawn
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Fun Facts about Tintin
- Tintin didn’t always have a quiff on his head. During a car chase in his first adventure, Tintin in the Land of the Soviets, the wind blows his hair up, and it stays that way forever after!
- The Tintin books have been translated into over 100 languages. In German he is called Tim, in Turkish he is called Tenten and in Latin he is known as Titinus.
- In 1935, when Belgian radio began broadcasting fitness exercises, Hergé drew Tintin listening to the program and exercising with Snowy in Tintin and the Broken Ear.