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Customer Review

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The one where Tintin first meets Captain Haddock, 8 April 2010
This review is from: The Crab with the Golden Claws (The Adventures of Tintin) (Hardcover)
Although not one of the best Tintin adventures, The Crab with the Golden Claws is at least notable for being the first to feature Captain Haddock. Haddock's fondness for whisky is his most immediately apparent characteristic and one that would be consistent throughout later adventures, but here on their first meeting, the Captain's alcohol dependency presents a very sad case indeed.

The Captain is in such a bad state here that the running of his ship The Karaboudjan has been taken over by First Mate Allan, leaving him to nurse a bottle in his cabin while the crew carry on their opium smuggling operation. He cuts such a pathetic figure that he is of no help to Tintin, held captive himself aboard the ship while investigating their haul of mysterious crab meat tins, and is in fact in such a dangerously aggressive and drunken state, prone to hallucinations, that he actively works against Tintin as they try to escape across the Saharan desert in Morocco. It's a long journey to redemption and drying-out for the Captain to become the loveable figure and hurler of inventive terms of abuse that we are more familiar with from later adventures.

Written and first published in 1940-41, in occupied Belgium, Hergé having been forced to temporarily abandon his serialisation of Land of Black Gold, moving from the now defunct Petit Vingtième to the funny pages of collaborationist newspaper Le Soir, The Crab with the Golden Claws perhaps suffers as a consequence. Hergé is careful not to make any overt political references and the story is not the most exciting or the best-drawn Tintin adventure - although there are a few beautiful full-size splash pages here that I don't think occur in any other Tintin book and the 'ligne claire' rendering of the desert and sea scenes is marvellous.
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