The Adventures of Tintin: Season One

Gift Guide: On Tintin, that intrigue-chasing young reporter

Santa, Baby

The Adventures of Tintin: Season One

Shout! Factory, $16.98

It should come as no surprise that I still own the 44-year-old copies of Children's Digest in which I discovered Tintin. As the intrigue-chasing young reporter would surely concur, once you've found a treasure, you don't let it go. At age 9, I saw in those black-and-white serialized installments of his globe-trotting escapades a king's ransom of mysteries, thrills, and exotic locales, and for tales of adventure, I still consider the Tintin comics priceless.

And clearly, I'm not alone, since Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson have put their mammoth Hollywood muscle (and about a bazillion bucks) behind a trilogy of 3-D CGI blockbuster films about Tintin, the first of which hits cinemas stateside Dec. 21. Unfortunately, our cartoon hero's, um, fleshed-out look in these computerized adaptations has some fans fearing they'll be sitting through Tintin and the Curse of the Uncanny Valley. Well, thundering typhoons, here comes Shout! Factory to the rescue, re-releasing an animated series of Tintin tales in which the lad is flat as the good lord – and Hergé, Tintin's Belgian creator – intended.

A joint effort from French animation studio Ellipse and Canadian counterpart Nelvana, the 1991-1992 series adapted 21 Tintin tales over three 13-episode seasons. Though they squeeze each book into one or two half-hours, these streamlined versions maintain a surprising fidelity to the originals, with dialogue lifted directly from the English translations and animation that hews to Hergé's pristine, elegant designs. The animators faithfully reproduce the look of the characters, the international settings, and the vintage planes, trains, and automobiles that the artist rendered so meticulously. They even transfer some of his panels wholesale to the screen. Though the results are rarely as dramatic as when limned by Hergé, they still communicate the flavor of his action, and the cartoons' charcoal lines and vibrant watercolor hues add richness to the visuals.

Tintinophiles will no doubt have their individual nits to pick – for me, the comedic appeal of the Clouseau-like Thompson twins never makes it off the page, and I'd have liked more vocal variety in Snowy's barking – but with what all the cartoons get right, I can bear the rest. After all, they let me face dangers in distant lands in the company of an intrepid, resourceful young man; his band of loyal if somewhat daffy comrades; and his plucky, wacky pooch. The animated Adventures of Tintin hits me squarely in the 9-year-old.

More animated antics: Mr. Magoo: The Television Collection, 1960-1977 (Shout! Factory, $59.99); Winnie the Pooh (Disney, $44.99); Jem and the Holograms: The Truly Outrageous Complete Series (Shout! Factory, $59.99)

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More gift guide
Austin's Holiday Art Bazaars Are Still Bringing Good Cheer
Austin's Holiday Art Bazaars Are Still Bringing Good Cheer
Who wouldn't love a creative gift by an area artist or artisan? Here's where you can find them.

Robert Faires, Dec. 4, 2020

Gifts to Make You Look Away From Your Screens
Gifts to Make You Look Away From Your Screens
Plenty of films to read about this holiday season

The Screens Staff, Dec. 6, 2019

More Screens Reviews
On the Download
On the Download
Dispatches from Wii's Virtual Console

James Renovitch, July 10, 2009

Peep Your Yuletide Games
Cutest. Game. Ever.

James Renovitch, Dec. 12, 2008

More by Robert Faires
Last Bow of an Accidental Critic
Last Bow of an Accidental Critic
Lessons and surprises from a career that shouldn’t have been

Sept. 24, 2021

"Daniel Johnston: I Live My Broken Dreams" Tells the Story of an Artist
The first-ever museum exhibition of Daniel Johnston's work digs deep into the man, the myths

Sept. 17, 2021


gift guide, The Adventures of Tintin

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle