Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Graphic Novel of the Month: Tintin in Tibet

Boy adventurer & reporter Tintin gets a horrible premonition involving his good friend, Chang, and a plane crash in the Himalayas. When it turns out that his vision is true, Tintin and his allies, the graceless Captain Haddock & Tintin's white terrier, Snowy, head to the Himalayas in search of Chang. The locals make it clear that the mountains are dangerous & Captain Haddock repeatedly states that the trek is most likely fruitless, but Tintin won't stop until he finds his friend. The three get a guide, Tharkey, and three porters to help with the expedition, but the porters run when there are signs of the fabled yeti. At the plane crash site, Chang isn't anywhere to be found, but Tintin doesn't give up hope, as little clues lead to party further into the mountains, but they have to weather the cold, wind, & the abominable snowman.

Tintin in Tibet is the 20th book in the Tintin series created by the Belgian Hergé. It follows the Tintin trend created by Hergé: cartoony characters with realistic backgrounds, flat-coloring, international adventure, & slapstick humor, usually created by Haddock. Fans and critics of Tintin find Tibet to be Hergé's best work. Tintin has never been braver, & the same goes for the usually cowardly Haddock. This book also features one of the few times Tintin has ever cried in the series, who is usually an unshakable character.  There is a good deal of drama and drive in this book.

The personal history revolving around this book is interesting. Hergé was experiencing nervous breakdowns while going through a divorce from a marriage of twenty-five years & he was experiencing reoccurring dreams of nothing but white space. His therapist advised Hergé to quit the Tintin series, but Hergé sought out to finish his current story, which turned out to be therapeutic. Hergé set the story in the Himalayas to convey the lost & emptiness he feels during his dreams, making Tibet the most colorless book of the otherwise vibrant series. After he finished the book, Hergé's breakdowns lessened, he married his new wife that year, & he never experienced anymore dreams of white.

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