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The Books > #4: Cigars of the Pharaoh

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message 1: by Sammy (last edited Nov 01, 2010 01:11AM) (new)

Sammy (thecardigankid) | 72 comments Mod
Cigars of the Pharaoh (The Adventures of Tintin) by Hergé
In Cigars of the Pharaoh, Tintin takes a Mediterranean cruise only to be accused - by two lolloping detectives named Thomson & Thompson! - of opium smuggling. Escaping, Tintin sets off through Egypt on the start of an adventure that will encompass several countries, politicians and movie moguls, and a dangerous battle of wits.

"Cigars of the Pharaoh" marks the dawn of a new era for Tintin, an era in which Hergé began dogged research, and sought to introduce plotting and pacing instead of simply regular cliffhangers. That is not to say things were completed: Herge was obviously obligated to give cliffhangers in the album's original serialised format, and some elements of the countries were less well-researched than his later works. But this album is certainly the next step in the great evolution of Tintin's stories.

Among other firsts, this album introduces Thompson & Thomson, Roberto Rastopopoulous, Olivier da Figueira and - in the colour version at least - Allan Thompson.

There are, however, several continuity errors in the English version, because - although this was the 4th album - it wasn't published in English until after many other adventures. As a result, Snowy mentions Marlinspike Hall (which they won't see for several years yet!), and Tintin seems to recall an earlier adventure with Rastopopoulos which we haven't seen. (Although, in "Tintin in America" he did sit next to a very Rastopopoulos-looking man at a dinner party.)

Most bizarrely, Pasha has not only heard of Tintin, but he has even read some of the books! It's a very amusing meta-reference, but unfortunately the book he has read is "Destination Moon" which won't happen chronologically for quite some time...

"Cigars of the Pharaoh" was published in English by Methuen in 1971. It has been adapted just once, as part of the Canadian series in the early 1990s.


Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cigars_o...

Tintinologist: http://www.tintinologist.org/guides/b...

24 Days of Tintin: http://tintinblog.com/2009/11/21/24-d...

message 2: by Merry (new)

Merry | 34 comments this was the first tintin book I ever read, and looking forward to reading it again. I remember loving the weird professor, and thought it was a pity he never came back.

message 3: by Sammy (new)

Sammy (thecardigankid) | 72 comments Mod
Miscellaneous thoughts on this marvellous, though still embryonic, work (with thanks to Martin Farr's brilliant work Tintin: The Complete Companion:

* Thompson and Thomson were originally identified as X-33 and X-33A (furthering the joke of them as drones) in the black-and-white version.
* This is the first album not to feature Tintin's name in the title, evidencing how quickly the character had become a success.
* The film actors' looks change between the black-and-white and colour versions, in line with the public's impressions of movie stars from those periods.
* As one of the earlier albums, before a typical length had been developed, this story faced extensive cuts for the published version, including at least two separate episodes involving snakes attacking Tintin and Snowy.

This is certainly a thoroughly enjoyable, if somewhat peripatetic, work, and shows - with its addition of a bustling cast of recurring and guest characters, and a thrilling variety of atmospheres - just why Tintin was already taking off.

message 4: by Merry (last edited Oct 27, 2010 03:46PM) (new)

Merry | 34 comments Places visited and mentioned in "Cigars of the Pharaoh" (courtesy Wikipedia):

* Brussels, Belgium
* Port Said, Egypt
* The Valley of the Kings, Egypt
* Cairo, Egypt
* Tangier, French Morocco [first edition only]
* Algiers, Algeria
* Tunis, Tunisia
* Tripoli, Libya
* Saudi Arabia
* Bombay, India
* Gaipajama, India

(This is Tintin's only trip to these African countries except Egypt, which he'll drop past in "The Blue Lotus" - he will return to Africa to visit Morocco in The Crab with the Golden Claws. It is also his first trip to India.)

message 5: by Samuel (new)

Samuel Jammeh | 1 comments does anyone know where the pharaohs logo comes from?

message 6: by Sammy (new)

Sammy (thecardigankid) | 72 comments Mod
Samuel wrote: "does anyone know where the pharaohs logo comes from?"

I'm not 100% sure, but Michael Farr suggests that it was designed as a kind of version of the "Yin and Yang" symbol (Herge was reading a lot of Jung at the time). The important difference is that, while the Yin and Yang symbol has a smooth curve between the two halves, the pharaoh Kih-Oskh's symbol has a rough squiggly line. Which is fitting for a nefarious smuggling ring!

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