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on 11 March 2002
This book is not simply good or informative, it is phenominal.
Each book is studied in incredible detail. The historic background to each story is very concise, as Harry Thompson has researched news events of the period, and Herge's life. This is not simply for idle interest either, the information is tied directly to events within each individual Tintin story, to offer an all round look at the circumstances in which each book was written.
Harry Thompson is quick to call himself a 'life-long Tintin fan.' This may seem irrelevant, and obvious, as he has written a book about Tintin, but in fact this ddevotion to Tintin serves to add the final piece of brilliance to this book. Harry Thompson reveals and analyses shortcomings in some of the Tintin books, but he does not reprimand Herge for this, but instead looks for answers in the events surrounding the books being written. For example, artistic shortcomings in the jungle scenes of the Broken Ear are explained by a lack of paint owing to the war. This love of Tintin and Herge's work allows Harry Thompson to revel in Herge finest moments, and a geniune sense of respect and awe at Herge's work has diffused throughout this book.
This does not mean that negative issues, such as Herge's questionable political stance during and after the war are avoided, they are treated with the same interest and professionalism that every issue is.
The book is excellently written, and Harry Thompson's enthusiasm for Tintin allows this book to inform the reader, and increase their appreciation of Tintin. It will certainly not ruin these books for anyone, as throughout, Harry Thompson maintains nothing but respect and enthusiasm for Herge.
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on 26 January 2012
I bought this book for work i am doing for an art project at my college. This book, in short, is fantastic. Really interesting and inciteful history of Herge and how Tintin was created, influenced by Belgium's political situation, colleaugues, his family and upbringing. From the very first page, small details are brought to life and explained thoroughly, but also humorously. A great read.
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on 8 January 2014
I'm not a great one for writing reviews, but this book was so good I just felt I had to.

I've read all 23 Tintin books. I always enjoy them, but have a feeling that there is more to them than I realise... And now I've read this book, I see so much more. It has made me want to go book a pore over each book, and look in more detail at them. I also feel I know more about Herge/Georges Remi, his context and where Tintin came from.

On top of all that, this book is eminently readable; is an ideal length, and really has something to say, even on a subject that has been written about extensively (albeit less so in English).

I would thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who has read any Tintin book. And, indeed, anyone who hasn't!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 8 October 2011
I never have been absolutely sure whether to call them graphic novels or books or stories or something else; apparently the format is bande-dessinee and Tintin was the first! If you`ve owned all the works for most of your life like me, and have added, when they were released, "Tintin in the Land of the Soviets", "Tintin in the Congo" and "Tintin and Alph-Art" to the collection, there is nowhere left to go except biographies! I`ve even bought the adventures of Jo, Zette and Jocko (which are a fairly mixed bag, to say the least)! But if you are unsure about where to start for more background about George Remi and the influences that imprinted themselves on his greatest creation, I would strongly endorse starting with this.

The author, Harry Thompson, has written an exhaustive bio of Peter Cook, and a funny book about Cricket too, so I know his writing style appeals and that his interests matched my own - his passing was a loss to people who share his humour and tastes, as I do - so chose this above others on the market, that are more expensive and look rather filled with psycho-babble to me (something Herge despised - he found catharsis more easily through his art than through many sessions of psychoanalysis).

Herge`s story is told in a linear fashion, in two ways - in the context of addressing his childhood, his typical Belgian Catholic upbringing and the impact that WW1/2 had on him personally and professionally but also each chapter is titled after the stories themselves - beginning with "In The Land of the Soviets" and so on. In the biographical sense, we learn how the wars forced him to change his work, and how the innocence and independence of Tintin`s early personality morphed into the more sociable but also more world-weary friend of Haddock/Calculus/Castafiore etc. Thompson observes that the Tintin of the early books is how Herge was when he was younger - whereas Captain Haddock is how Herge felt when he was older! It`s shocking to learn that Herge had even grown to loathe his creation to the degree that he sketched himself being hung by a malicious looking Tintin! Herge was under such pressure from people looking to exploit him that he suffered depression and marital problems, in his eyes all due to the weight of being the creator of Tintin.

Thompson`s book is both entertaining and informative, his witty style remaining fresh throughout (unsurprising, as he produced "Have I Got News For You"). Reading this has vastly improved my knowledge of Tintin`s creator; hopefully, the film this autumn will successfully introduce Tintin to yet more people, and whether you are one of those or a seasoned Tintinologist, I feel you will not only get a lot of enjoyment from this book but a really good insight into (to my eyes) the definitive comic book series.
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on 2 November 2013
I have read a few of the Tintin books and am generally interested by the idea of the European Bande Dessinee (of which, according to Harry Thompson, Herge is the father). Having said that, this is possibly a book more suited to people with a heavier interest in the young Belgian adventurer than I have. Nevertheless, this is an interesting read that fluently connects Tintin's escapades with the life of Herge (Georges Remi). At least parts of the latter's existence were passed in deep inner turmoil, which to some extent manifested itself in the books and in Herge's love- hate relationship with the character that made him extremely rich and very famous. (Apparently, 'Tintin in Tibet' was inspired by dreams of white snowy wastes at a particularly low point for the writer.)
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on 21 January 2014
A must for all tintin fans Harry Thomson clearly is a fan and his knowledge of all thong Herge shine through .
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on 16 April 2016
For anyone who wants to go beyond just the stories of Tintin.
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VINE VOICEon 3 March 2012
A wonderful book, taking George Remi's creation Herge and the Tintin books in chronological order, showing how they reflected Herge's growing talent and critical contemporary events.
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on 19 March 2012
What a lovely book! What a great writer and what a sad loss to Britain. This Thing of Darkness by Harry Thompson is, quite simply, brilliant. His biography of Peter Cook is revealing and funny; Penguins Stopped Play is "laugh out loud" writing; I haven't bought Ingram!

Although he is no longer with us, we should all have This Thing of Darkness (To the Edge of the World in the USA) - it is utterly brilliant. R.I.P. HarryThis Thing of Darkness
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on 7 March 2013
Bought this for my grandson as he and my daughter are mad Tin Tin fans . . . I had read an excellent review in the press about the book but so far no comment from grandson or daughter so unable to tell you much
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