May 22 2011

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.