I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
“NEPAL AIR DISASTER — NO SURVIVORS.” This newspaper headline transforms Tintin’s holiday into an extraordinary adventure. The little reporter learns that his friend, Chang, was in the aircraft that crashed, and that there were no survivors. Nevertheless, the strength of their friendship and some powerful and vivid dreams convince Tintin to set off to rescue Chang, whom he believes is still alive. Accompanied by his faithful companion, Captain Haddock, Tintin sets out for the site of the crash.
The trek through the Himalayas is merciless. Despite several major setbacks and the fact that his companions seem to give up hope, Tintin’s faith is unshakable. Unfortunately, finding Chang is made even more difficult by the presence of the “Abominable Snowman” (the Yeti) — a mysterious, wild beast.
***Wanda’s Summer Carnival of Children’s Literature***
Would you believe that this particular adventure story was the cause of my very first financial crisis? I was a devoted reader of Children’s Digest, which brought all kinds of interesting topics to me out on our small Canadian farm and serialized in the centre of each issue was The Adventures of Tintin. I don’t even know who started my subscription, but I know that I had to save my money to keep it renewed. I gladly did so because I so enjoyed the eclectic variety of information that I received each month.
I remember my excitement when I saw the advertisement for Tintin in Tibet and I learned a bit about the yeti. I absolutely knew that I needed to read this adventure! But I had also received a renewal form, warning that my subscription was going to lapse before this new adventure got underway. I can’t remember what other demands on my limited childhood budget were facing me at that point—I just recall the complete meltdown that I had while trying to decide which of those things I could afford to do, and which ones I would have to give up.
Reluctantly, I decided to let go of Children’s Digest. I was getting a little bit old for it anyway, but I did bitterly regret that I wouldn’t be able to read about Tintin and the yeti. Tears were cried. Temper was displayed. Blue blistering barnacles! But I put my money elsewhere.
Lucky for me, the magazine continued to come—I’m still not sure if some sympathetic adult renewed it for me or if the publisher just lost track and kept sending it. I was able to enjoy years more entertainment without straining my budget, a bonus.
Looking back at Tintin now, I can see where it stoked my desire to travel. I have to admire how well illustrated the Buddhist dzongs in Tibet are portrayed (I’ve visited dzongs in Bhutan now, fulfilling that childhood desire). I do remember, even as a child, noticing how Euro-centric the cartoons were (although I didn’t have those words to use). I have to wonder now that the alcoholic, profane Captain Haddock was considered appropriate for children, although I think he was an excellent negative example! I found him amusing back then (and still do, truth be told). I love his oaths, his loyalty to Tintin, and his weakness for liquor.
Professor Calculus, Thomson and Thompson, Captain Haddock, and Tintin—old friends rediscovered this summer.