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Red Rackham's Treasure: Was "Calico Jack" an inspiration?

Roger
Member
#1 · Posted: 19 Feb 2017 00:53
I am watching a Starz TV show called Black Sails.
There is a character called Jack Rackham who is based on a real pirate, Calico Jack. I wonder if this was the inspiration for Hergé's book, since the original French language used the same name?
jock123
Moderator
#2 · Posted: 19 Feb 2017 13:49
I'm sure we had a thread about this in the past, but if so, it sank with all hands many moons ago, as it doesn't seem to be there now!
According to the Yves Horeau book which accompanied the The Adventures of Tintin at Sea exhibition, there were three models combined to bring us Red Rackham: John Rackham, Haitian pirate "Lerouge", and Montbars the Exterminator.
John Rackham was the one to whom you refer, who became known as Calico Jack, and who - although famous enough that Daniel Defoe mentioned him - was apparently quite lazy, and wasn't really that effective a pirate, mainly taking on small vessels, fishing boats and the like; after a two year career as a pirate, he was caught and hanged in 1720.
Lerouge ("The Red") was around a bit later, in 1814, and was well enough known for his piracy to be included in a novel by C.S. Forester; his signature "look" was a scarlet British Army tunic, that he stole from an officer - although he seems to have worn it to complement his name, rather than the tunic giving him his name.
These two obviously combine to make up the name of "Red Rackham".
The actual look of Red Rackham comes from an engraving of Montbars the Exterminator, by an artist named Rascalon, which Hergé used as reference. This puts him in a costume from the Reign of Louis XIII in the 17th Century, with his grand hat, cape and boots. Montbars was a Frenchman, from the Languedoc, who, together others in his band was more interested in seeking revenge on the Spanish, than in getting treasure.
So it was elements of all three which gave Hergé his inspiration, but in reality, Red Rackham was very much his own man!
Roger
Member
#3 · Posted: 20 Feb 2017 19:03
Great answer! Thanks for the insights!

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