Tintin in the Congo (The Adventures of Tintin)

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9781405220989: Tintin in the Congo (The Adventures of Tintin)

Belgian reporter Tintin and his faithful dog Snowy travel to the Congo, where the pair are greeted by a cheering crowd of native Congolese. Hiring a native boy, Coco, to assist him in his travels, Tintin rescues Snowy from a crocodile. He recognised a stowaway from the ship that had brought them to the continent who attempts to kill Tintin. Tintin is saved by monkeys who throw coconuts down from a tree, knocking the stowaway unconscious. Snowy is kidnapped by a monkey, and Tintin rescues him.
The next morning, Tintin, Snowy, and Coco crash their car into a train, which the reporter fixes and tows to the Babaorum's village. He is greeted there by the king, and accompanies the king on a hunt the next day, where Tintin is knocked unconscious by a lion. Snowy rescues him by biting the lion's tail off. Tintin gains the admiration of the natives, which makes the Babaorum witch-doctor Muganga jealous; with the help of the stowaway, he plots to accuse Tintin of destroying the tribe's sacred idol. Imprisoned by the villagers, Tintin is rescued by Coco and shows the villagers footage of Muganga conspiring with the stowaway to destroy the idol, which enrages the villagers. Tintin becomes a hero in the village, and a local woman bows down to him, saying, White man very great! Has good spirits ... White mister is big juju man!
Angered, Muganga starts a war between the Babaorum and their neighbours, the M'Hatuvu, whose king leads an attack on the Babaorum village. Tintin outwits them, and the M'Hatuvu people cease hostilities and also come to idolise Tintin. Muganga and the stowaway plot to kill Tintin while framing it on a leopard, but Tintin survives, while saving Muganga from a boa constrictor; Muganga pleads mercy and ends his hostilities. The stowaway attempts to capture Tintin again, and eventually succeeds disguised as a Catholic missionary. They fight across a waterfall, and the stowaway is eaten by crocodiles.[ After reading a letter from the stowaway's pocket, Tintin finds that someone called A.C has ordered that he be killed. Tintin captures a criminal who tried to rendezvous with the stowaway, and learns that A.C. is American gangster Al Capone, who was trying to gain control of African diamond production. Tintin and the colonial police arrest the rest of the diamond smuggling gang.

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Review:

In Tintin in the Congo, one of his earliest adventures, our intrepid reporter hunts down both criminals and wild game. The story was written in 1930 and first appeared in book form in 1931, and some of the parts are so dated that for years the book was unavailable in English. This edition reprints on black-and-white newsprint the original 1931 version. In one scene, Tintin tells a group of African children "Today, I'm going to talk to you about your country: Belgium!" When the story was updated and colorized (but not translated into English) in 1946, this became a simple lesson in addition. In addition to the colonial attitude, the Africans are portrayed as primitive, simple-minded folk ("He doesn't look very bright," Snowy opines about their guide), and Tintin reveals a brutal side by slaughtering half the wildlife on the continent (including blowing up a rhinoceros with dynamite!) and declaring while pursuing an enemy, "Sure as my name's Tintin, I'll get rid of him once and for all." Herge himself was embarrassed by much of Tintin in the Congo, and it's not a part of the regular canon, but fans who can accept it as a product of its time will enjoy seeing their hero in one more adventure, one that provides a jumping-off point for the much-better-known Tintin in America. --David Horiuchi

About the Author:

Herge (Georges Remi) was born in Brussels in 1907. His pseudonym comes from his initials backwards (R.G., as pronounced in French). Over the course of 54 years he completed 23 albums of The Adventures of Tintin series, which is now considered to be one of the greatest, if not the greatest, comics series of all time. With translations published in over 80 languages, more than 230 million copies sold worldwide and a Hollywood movie to its name, Tintin dominates the Comics and Graphic Novels chart even today. Sadly, Herge died in 1983, leaving his 24th album, Tintin and Alph-Art, unfinished, but his hero continues to be one of the most iconic characters in both adult and children's fiction.

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