“The Adventures of Tintin” Primer: A 101 guide to the famous boy detective


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Steven Spielberg’s ambitious film “The Adventures of Tintin” will finally make it to American theaters today, nearly two months after being released in the United Kingdom. While the boy reporter Tintin is one of the most famous comic characters in the world, stateside the beloved creation of Belgian cartoonist Hergé has always played second fiddle to superheroes.

So, in order to ensure that you, our beloved readers, are ready to fully enjoy and appreciate Steven Spielberg’s “The Adventures of Tintin,” we’ve compiled the following primer. The flick, which adapts elements from three of Hergé’s books, including “The Crab with the Golden Claws,” “The Secret of the Unicorn” and “Red Rackham’s Treasure,” is totally self-sufficient and succeeds on its own merits, but with this primer, you’ll be able to impress fellow filmgoers with your knowledge of bande dessinée (French for comics, natch).


The focus of Hergé’s most famous work, Tintin is an intrepid boy reporter, easily identifiable by his blonde, flipped up hairstyle and signature blue sweater. Somewhat of a blank slate, Tintin’s past and family are never mentioned, and his only character traits seem to be culled from the Boy Scout Oath and Law. In the past, Tintin has sometimes been criticized as an unrealized or even bland character – similar to the complaints lodged against contemporary portrayals of Superman. But like Superman, Tintin is interesting not because of any character flaws, but as an idealized force of nature (in this case, his curiosity, dependability and optimism) cast into a world of deceit and shady goings-on.

Fun fact: The proper Franco-Belgian pronunciation of the character’s name actually sounds like “Tantan,” but unless you’re wearing a beret, you should probably just stick to “Tintin.”


Tintin’s constant companion is his small, white terrier-esque dog Snowy. Though he can’t speak, in the comics Snowy does occasionally have thought balloons, and is also otherwise heavily anthropomorphized. Snowy is a faithful, well-meaning pet, but frequently lets his animal nature get in the way of a case. Just as often, however, its Snowy’s reckless exploration that sets Tintin on the path of solving a mystery. Thus, Snowy’s impulsiveness serves as a counterpoint to the measured, almost analytical acts of his owner.

Captain Haddock

Similarly, Tintin’s friend Captain Haddock (who he meets for the first time in “The Crab with the Golden Claws”) serves to illustrate what Tintin is not. While Haddock is a loyal friend, he’s also a drunkard, and given the option, he’ll choose Scotch Whiskey over pretty much anything else. In this way, he’s like an extreme version of Snowy, often ruled almost entirely by his base instincts, and the source of countless tirades that substitute a bevy of great SAT words for actual profanity. Unlike Tintin and Snowy, who are largely ciphers, Captain Haddock is a more fully realized character, with strengths and weaknesses that serve as a contrast to the ultra-goodness of Tintin.

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”

Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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GIFS via Giphy

On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”

But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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Draught Pick

Sam Adams “Keeps It Brockmire”

All New Brockmire airs Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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From baseball to beer, Jim Brockmire calls ’em like he sees ’em.


It’s no wonder at all, then, that Sam Adams would reach out to Brockmire to be their shockingly-honest (and inevitably short-term) new spokesperson. Unscripted and unrestrained, he’ll talk straight about Sam—and we’ll take his word. Check out this new testimonial for proof:

See more Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC, presented by Samuel Adams. Good f***** beer.

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