Top critical review
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Be greeted, oh Amenhotep great
on 7 August 2015
“Cigars of the Pharaoh” was one of my favorite Tintin adventures as a kid. It has suspense, a complex plot, magical elements and bizarre humor in the form of two insane men, one of them an Egyptologist.. As a kid, I actually assumed that “Egyptologist” was a joke, too! LOL. The story revolves around the brave reporter Tintin who exposes an international opium smuggling operation which uses an ancient Egyptian tomb as a storage facility. The criminals are organized as a secret brotherhood, spouting occult symbols and Klan-like outfits. One of the members is a fakir with paranormal powers!
Rereading the story lately, I admit that it didn't move me as much as it used to. I also noticed a couple of strange anachronisms: yes, they are deliberate additions of Hergé to later editions of “Cigars”. The comic features an in-universe gag: a scene where Sheikh Patrash Pasha shows Tintin a comic album…featuring Tintin himself! In earlier versions of the story, it was “Tintin in America” or “Tintin in the Congo”, but in later editions, it was changed to “Destination Moon”.
Tintinologists may be interested to know that the hilariously incompetent detectives Thomson & Thompson make their first appearance in this story, and so does the arch-villain with the inimitable name Roberto Rastapopoulos. People studying “tropes” will note that all menial laborers in Arabia are Black Africans – indeed, slavery still existed in Saudi Arabia when the comic was produced.
Overall, however, I no longer consider this such a good read as I once did, but for ol' times sake, I give it three stars.