BOOK REViEW: Tintin & the Picaros

The last Tintin adventure that Hergé saw through to completion, Tintin And The Picaros has divided opinion among fans and critics. 

As the author of Tintin: Hergé And His Creation notes, somewhat disdainfully, Hergé appears to make some concessions to the times. Our plucky hero loses his plus-fours, does yoga, and has the CND anti-nuclear logo on his scooter crash-helmet! Prior to this Tintin and co. seemed to inhabit a permanent time warp located somewhere between the 1930s and the 1950s. 

Well, I for one still enjoy this Tintin adventure, despite agreeing that these concessions to modernity weren’t needed. It’s also not the best most engaging Tintin story either, although it is, both visually and narratively undoubtedly a ‘mature’ work. But nonetheless, it has all the major qualities: a fun globetrotting adventure, with intrigue, treachery, nobility and comedy all mixed in.

Considering some of the political ups and downs Hergé lived through, his final comment seems apt: the book starts with one form of tyranny – the neo-fascist regime of General Tapioca – and ends with General Alcazar’s socialist regime. Both add up to the same thing: the slums policed by disinterested armed cronies of either regime. 

By this time Hergé was fed up with Tintin and politics, but true pro that he was, he managed to turn in a decent solidly enjoyable final instalment in the long-running saga.

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