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on 19 July 2004
"The Broken Ear" is an early adventure of Tintin from 1937 where our hero and his faithful terrier companion Snowy go it alone through a series of perilous episodes (there are brief appearances by the Thom(p)sons and Professor Calculus). The title defect belongs to an Arumbaya Fetish at the Museum of Ethnography which is stolen and then mysteriously returned. When Tintin notices the sacred tribal object now has two perfect ears and our hero is quickly in full Sherlock Holmes mode. However, Tintin is not the only one in search of the real fetish as his path starts crossing that of a pair of mysterious figures. After a series of incidents involving the search for a talking parrot, everyone finds themselves on a ship bound South American way for the Republic of San Theodoros, which happens to be where the Arumbaya tribe lives along the banks of the River Coliflor. There Tintin becomes involved in the political turmoil of San Theodoros and eventually gets around to traveling up the jungle river to find the Arumbayas. Meanwhile, poor Snowy finds that his tail becomes a sore point time and time again.
Overall in "The Broken Ear" the mystery takes something of a back seat to the repeated perils faced by Tintin. I went back and counted them up and on average Tintin faces death or severe physical harm once every three pages in this 64-page story. That might not be a record for our intrepid reporter, but it has to be close. This adventure of Tintin has engendered some criticism because of the way Hergé draws a Negro in caricature and I certainly do not want to suggest that a white male European was not representative of the inherent racism of his culture, but I would point out that Hergé, like Edgar Rice Burroughs writing at roughly the same time, relied heavily on stereotypes for many of his characters and that you will find "good" and "bad" types for every race and ethnicity Tintin encounters. Certainly the South Americans Tintin encounters in San Theodoros, with their heavy accents, fiery tempers and tendency towards extreme violence, should be more central to any such critique. Herge also displays some sensitivity towards the native tribes of the area that is rather enlightened. If Tintin engaged in slurs or derogatory comments towards anyone, that would be something different, but our hero only thinks in terms of "good" and "bad," not "white" and "black". "The Broken Ear" is not a great Tintin Adventure, but you can see how the pieces are starting to come together with Hergé 's work.
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on 14 November 2015
The book is great - but this is the Japanese edition, NOT Korean.
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on 18 June 2001
In "The Broken Ear", a fetish (idol) is stolen and replaced in a museum arousing Tintin's curiousity when he notices the fetish that has been replaced is not the same as the one that was stolen (by the lack of a broken ear!). In the hunt for the original fetish Tintin travels, for the first time, to the republic of San Theodorus and it's neighbour Nuevo-Rico. In San Theodorus he experiences a volatile political system with constant rivalry between it's two leaders, General Alcazar and General Tapioca. By accident he becomes General Alcazar's trusted Colonel until the scheming of oil companies and arms dealers makes him fall from grace and puts him once again on the trail of the fetish with the broken ear.
Although first published in England in the 1975, "The Broken Ear" was created by Herge in 1935 between "The Blue Lotus" and "The Black Island" and represents a step towards increasing sophistication which was first prompted by Herge's real life friend Chang during the creation of "The Blue Lotus".
Most of the events in "The Broken Ear" have a basis in reality. The main source for inspiration appears to have been the Gran Chaco war (which Herge turns into the Gran Chapo war). In the real Gran Chaco war two oil companies set Bolivia against Paraguay in 1932. They were desperate for drilling rights on disputed territory and the war was a convenient means to an end. The companies inflamed what was an already existing dispute resulting in 100,000 dead over three years of fighting before an armistice was signed in 1935.
Herge's character, the arms dealer Basil Bazarov is most likely based on the real Basil Zaharoff who in the first world war made a fortune by selling arms to both sides. In "The Broken Ear" the character Bazarov sells equal quantities of a gun to both sides.
Although the sophistication in the story telling is on the increase I still count "The Broken Ear" as being within Herge's early period the end of which was marked by "The Black Island" which was the story after this one. Although the events are based on reality there is still a crudity in the story telling which was to disappear after this work. But the genius of Herge is already very self evident.
Tintin revisits San Theodorus again in Herge's last complete work "Tintin and the Picaro's". General Alcazar pops up again in a number of future stories though his character is more developed then in this story.
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on 15 January 2008
Whether you're 7 or 70 these 3 in 1 volume stories are great.Herge had a real talent for using real historical backdrops for his stories which gives them appeal to a much wider audience than just kids upto 12. The prose is strong as is the imagery. The pacing is fast and plots are engaging. 'The Broken Ear' is very enjoyable and you wonder Lucas tipped the wink at this when writing 'Raiders'. The Black Island is good but it's unfortunately (due to it's rewriting in the 60s)a little out of context visually with the 1930s period (Cars, Planes,Trains, clothing etc)of the other 2 stories in this volume (even though it was originally written / published in between 'The Broken Ear' & 'King Ottakar's Sceptre'. Herge always wanted his stories to flow like movies and the more you read of these the more apparent this is. KOS is again a really strong story and very fast paced which kinda sets you up to want to read it again & again
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on 25 June 2011
The Book Arrived in Great condition with a little stain but i was able to wipe it off. ***** star. money well spent.
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VINE VOICEon 6 May 2005
Of the three stores the Black Island is my favourite - lots of good action. I lliked it when Snowie drinks the whiskey!
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