It will be almost 80-85 years ago that the world fell in love with a boy. To be precise, he was a comic character. Herge created such a character that was to be loved by one and all. This boy who with blonde hair flying back and a cute poodle has lost popularity among growing up kids these days, but anyone of my age or above would know whom I am talking about. Tintin did not fail to steal our hearts.

However, a very few shelves would now feel the weight of the Tintin comic books nowadays. Though there were quite a few intriguing comics and stories making their marks, but it used to be an integral part of our parents’ shelves when they were growing up as well as for us. Tintin, who is basically a reporter and accompanied by his dog ‘Snowy’ solved many mysteries in the past. In the first few mysteries we see the journo only with his dog. As we flip through the pages and proceed with the stories we get to see more funny characters coming up.

With Tintin getting acquainted with Captain Haddock in the story Red Rackham’s Treasure,the stories tend to get more captivating because the hilarious captain decides to be with Tintin and add a helping hand to his solving mysteries. What with Tintin meeting Professor Caspert Calculus during an expedition, the stories just do not get dumber.

Professor Calculus, who is a little short of hearing, is a renowned scientist and a friend to Tintin and Captain Haddock. He also resides in Marlen Spike Hall along with the captain. Given the fact that the professor’s a bit short of hearing, sometimes he misunderstands serious phrases to such a hilarious extent that we just tend to die laughing.

The series also sees additional characters like Thomson and Thompson who are twins and are sleuths. They are mirthful characters too who gives us a good laugh.

The stories also witnesses characters like Bianca Castafiore who is a singer and is much disliked by Captain Haddock and also Nester who is the Captain’s butler. The stories and comics are also available in the digital form.

In 2013 a movie was also released based on the story Red Rackham’s Treasure. Tintin has also inspired various other characters. ‘Rappa Ray’, a character which saw the light of the day few years back in the hands of Sujog Bandopadhyay, seems to be inspired from Tintin.

Also the original comics are available in various languages, not excluding Bengali. The stories which are based in America (The Prisoners of the Sun, Tintin in America), Tibet (Tintin in Tibet), Egypt (The Cigars of the Pharaoh), Chicago and various other places are enthralling to young and older readers alike. Each story also portrays Herge’s knowledge and imagination.

If read with care and scrutiny, one is sure to gain knowledge. Though kids find Captain America, Spiderman or Batman more engaging, if they once read Tintin, they are sure to forget Captain America for a while.

(Coordinator, Class VIII, St Joseph’s Convent, Chandannagar)