"Explorers on the Moon" ("On a Marche Sur La Lune," 1954) picks up right where "Destination Moon" left off, with Tintin and his friends unconscious in a spaceship hurtling towards the general direction of the moon. Will our hero wake up in time to save everyone from death? Well, I do not think it is giving away too much to point out that the title of this Tintin Adventure is not something along the lines of "Frozen Corpses in Deep Space." However, there is clearly a spy on board the rocket designed by Professor Calculus that took off from the Sprodj Atomic Research Center in Syldavaia, the troubles of Tintin and his friends are far from over.
But more than the standard intrigue and constant brushes with danger that abound in this Tintin adventure, what makes "Explorers on the Moon" so fascinating is the documentary detail that Hergé infuses into the story. I cannot think of a 1950s science fiction film that predicts as accurately what happened when Apollo 11 went to the moon a decade and a half later as this classic comic book tale. One of the chief charms of Hergé's artwork has always been the way his caricature drawings of Tintin and friends are contrasted by the realistic backgrounds, and this artistic style achieves its apex when we see the spaceship approaching the moon. "Explorers on the Moon" would work as a straight-forward first man on the moon type story, but, of course, in Hergé's hands it becomes so much more.
Taken together with "Destination Moon," this has got to constitute Tintin's greatest adventure. After all, what can top being the first man on the moon for our intrepid hero? Especially when the Thom(p)sons are along for the trip. The entire series is pretty good, and I only regret that I waited this long in life to finally get around to checking it out.