2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The first Tintin is very different,
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This review is from: Les Aventures de Tintin : Tintin au pays des soviets (Hardcover)
We all know Tintin as a plucky but not obviously heroic or charismatic figure who gets himself into scrapes but doesn't exactly offend anyone.
Well, that's not how he began. In his first adventure, he takes the indestructible Milou (Snowy) on a trip to Russia to uncover the corrupt ways of the Bolsheviks. Hergé was commissioned to produce this story as propaganda against Russia in the early 1940s and, well, let's just say it doesn't hold back in that regard. Reading it now, it seems almost astounding it could ever have been published, it is so crudely done. It is quite bizarre in places.
The drawing, in black and white only, is also quite crudely done, in a rather Soviet era stylised way that seems jarring at first. It's very different from later books. Even Milou looks different, but at least his personality is pretty much the same, unlike Tintin's. Tintin is a bit of a thug in this book: he's quite happy to beat people to a pulp (not exactly sure how he manages it...), leave them for dead in the frozen wastes, steal cars and planes and whatever else he fancies, and laugh in his victim's faces in a not very pleasant way. He's not the nice boy we know and love, and would make a News of the World reporter seem like Miss Marple.
So Tintin isn't very likeable, but Milou definitely is, and Milou gets all the best lines, smokes and drinks, blows himself up, and impersonates a tiger in the most absurd coincidence ever published in a book. Milou makes the rest of the story bearable.
I enjoyed it, but I doubt very much if Tintin would be the phenomenon it is today if Hergé hadn't made some major changes to the character and the drawing style. Buy with caution.
This, by the way, is the large format hard cover version. Always check the size before you buy Tintin books because some are half the size.