Nicholas Whyte's Reviews > Tintin in America

Tintin in America by Hergé
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Aug 06, 11


This is one of the three pre-war Tintin books which are not in general circulation in English, and for fairly good reason; it's not all that good. Tintin goes to America in 1931, briefly captures Al Capone (who was still just about at liberty in real life at that stage), is himself captured by the Blackfoot tribe, and then has a series of unlikely and disjointed adventures ending with him rolling up the entire Chicago Syndicate of Gansters and sent back to Belgium as a hero. The only African-Americans in the book (at least in the current version) are lynched off-screen (apparently even this is omitted in the English translation), and the Blackfoot are kicked off their land because Tintin discovers oil on it; Hergé is at least offering a critique of racism, though not a very elegant one. It's interesting as a fore-runner of the much better stuff to come. It's a very long time since I last read Cigars of the Pharaoh, the next album in sequence, but my memory is that it is a massive upshift in quality and coherence compared with this.
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