But will my heart be broken yet again?


I LOVE Tin Tin.

I admit that it took me a while to warm up to him. I did not love him immediately.

When I was a kid, I just couldn’t see the appeal. I thought Tin Tin was a) weird-looking, and b) not funny. Where were the jokes? So I categorized Tin Tin as Do Not Like, and passed him by whenever he showed up on the comics shelves.

This went on for, oh, thirty years or so…

And then, one time, I was in Europe, moaning yet again about my lack of skill in German. Whenever I’m in Germany, I regret not speaking German better, but when I’m not in Germany, how can I motivate myself to study German? I’ve got stuff to do! Urgent stuff! Interesting stuff! Plus: limited amount of time not devoted to whatever DayJob was currently in place.

Then it occurred to me: you know what would be a smart thing to do? Read comics in German! Because I read comics fairly often anyway; and there are pictures, which will give you a clue as to what they’re talking about; and the dialog is conversational, thus helping one get a solid grounding in the basics before excursions into difficult tenses.

So, there we were in Kiel, strolling down one of those dedicated store-front streets, and we wandered into a bookstore, where Sabine and I perplexed our aunts by parking ourselves in the comics section and not moving for a long time. Apparently adult German women of their generation did not read comic books.

But we were young! American! Geeks! We do not submit under the glare of society’s disapproval!

It was cool.

In amongst the weirder and wilder offerings, I came across this:

Auf Deutsch

Auf Deutsch

Tim Und Struppi/Tim in Tibet (German Edition)

“Hm,” says I, picking it up, “that guy looks familiar.”

And I opened it up to a huge, glorious image of a plane crashed in the Himalayan snows, with such amazing detail, clarity, color — I was stunned. Had to have it, for its own lovely sake.

Plus: Adventure! Absolutely this was adventure. All the best stories are adventures.

And on the plane back to the States, when I pulled it out of my carry-on to have something to read while crossing the Atlantic, I discovered: plenty of humor, too. In fact, much funnier in German. Why? Beats me.

Thus began my love for reading Tin Tin in languages I barely know.

en francais

en francais

Les Aventures de Tintin: On A Marche sur la Lune (French Edition of Explorers on the Moon)

I wonder why I enjoy it so much more in unfamiliar languages? Is it something to do with the need to absolutely focus to extract the meaning from the text, that makes the experience — how can I put it? More adventurous? I think that’s it. More adventurous.

Of course, I soon came to appreciate Tin Tin in English as well. Now I’m a fan.

Why am I mentioning this now?

Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson, and Stephen Moffat? How can this go wrong?

But if it does, I shall be oh, so sad…

On one hand, who remembers Ralph Bakshi’s Lord of the Rings?

On the other hand, who can forget M.Knight Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender?

I wait and wonder.

14 Responses to “But will my heart be broken yet again?”

  • Sean Fagan Says:

    Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson, and Stephen Moffat? How can this go wrong?

    Well, Spielberg, Jackson, and/or Moffat…

    (They’ve all done fabulous things. They’ve all done some really bad things. And that’s two at least two enourmous egos there…)

  • Lindig Harris Says:

    Well, yes, TinTin, very nice . . .


    I’m a Little Nemo fan. Fabulous art by Winsor McCay, kind of surrealistic and startling and dreamy all at once. Glorious.

  • Kithica Says:

    There’s something about comedy in a foreign language. Eddie Izzard does part of one of his routines in French. Exactly the same content as in English, but for some reason it’s ten times funnier. Also, I recently worked on a play that was in both English and French. The one French joke that everyone got always got a huge laugh even though the joke itself was pretty lame. There’s just the excitement of ‘getting it’ that feeds into things, I think.

    • Rosemary Says:

      Kithica —

      You may be right about that… I know that the TinTin joke that set me laughing like a loon on the airplane on the way home, was, when translated into English, hardly funny at all!

  • Yves Meynard Says:

    The French-speaking world has a radically different vision of what comics are precisely because of Tintin and his ilk: Franco-Belgian “bandes dessinées” dominate the market. Not only are they graphically different, they have narratives that tend to be quite different from the typical superhero comics. I’ve always liked the 70s live-action Tintin movie “Le Mystère de la Toison d’Or”, which was not based on any of the books. This one, I admit, makes me quake in dread.

    • Rosemary Says:

      Yves —

      Where you quake in dread, I tremble in anticipation.

      I do have hopes that the film will be excellent, even spectacular — while admitting that it’s just as likely to be utter crap. But it’s the excellent and spectacular possibility that I tend to focus on.

      I shall be very sad if it sucks.

      re: the difference between French-language comics and what I see on the funny pages in my town — Aside from Tintin and Metal Hurlant, I don’t believe I’ve ever come across any!

      But that makes no sense…. I must have, somewhere.

  • Linnea Rowlatt Says:

    Ah! You’ve (re)discovered Tin Tin? Have you met Asterix the Gaul yet? He’s my personal favourite.

    • Rosemary Says:

      Linnea –

      You know, I’ve tried Asterix several times, and although I found him sort of amusing, he just didn’t grab me.

      I even tried him in French… chacun a son gout.

      Well, it’s just as well, I suppose — it’s not like I don’t have enough to read (and no time to read it all)!

  • Brian Says:

    Dramatizations of Tintin adventures are now on the BBC. Go to “Drama & Soaps” and look for “Herge’s The Adventures of Tintin”. The current episode is the first of series 1. It’s called “The Black Island”. It’s available until 10/31.

  • Yves Meynard Says:

    I saw Tintin on the 24th. I understand it may not be out in the US yet. It didn’t suck! Do let us know what you think about it when you have a chance to see it.

    • Rosemary Says:

      Yves —

      It is in fact out, and I’m dying to see it. In 3D! On Imax! (If possible.)

      The previews look very jolly indeed.

      I can’t help wondering… Does Milou (aka Snowy) have any dialog (or monologue, more accurately)? His comments are very droll in the comics…

      Wait — no spoilers!!! I’ll just have to see for myself.