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Thomson and Thompson: What is their relationship, if any?

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ZGDK
Member
#21 · Posted: 1 Oct 2008 20:34
Personally I've always felt that all the main characters aside from Calculus are asexual.
tintinagalog
Member
#22 · Posted: 2 Oct 2008 11:36
Thomson and Thompson? Gay couple? Hmmm... remindis me of the TV version lines:

ANNOUNCER: How close are you in actually catching the pickpocket?
THOMSON: Aaah... ahm...I... aah...
THOMPSON: To be precise, we're very close
THOMSON: Precisely, very close indeed.
Bordurian Thug
Member
#23 · Posted: 4 Oct 2008 19:24
Here's the Pet Shop Boys in Thomson and Thompson garb:

Balthazar
Moderator
#24 · Posted: 4 Oct 2008 23:16
And then there's the gay artist duo Gilbert and George:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/devon/content/images/2007/02/27/gilbert_and_georg e_465x350.jpg

Although not moustached or bowler hatted, they have rather an air of the Thom[p]sons, in their deadpan manner, their formal dress sense and their inseparableness. (They're rarely seen apart and regard themselves as a single artist, apparently.)

I wonder if the Thom[p]sons, though probably not intended to be explicitly seen as gay by Hergé, have nonetheless become an influence on gay culture.

On the question of whether Hergé's Catholic upbringing would have made him antagonistic to the idea of homosexuality generally, he actually seems to have had a fairly relaxed attitude towards homosexuality, at least by the latter stage of his life. I'm basing this view on this passage from an article by comics expert Paul Gravett (reviewing a Hergé biography by Benoît Peeters):

Peeters goes on to quote from Numa Sadoul's definitive book of interviews from 1975, in which he asked Hergé if the absence of feminine characters in Tintin might mask a repressed homosexuality. Hergé replied, without embarrassment it seems: "I don't think so. You never know. If I had tendencies towards homosexuality, I don't see why I'd conceal it."

Here's the link to the full article, which is interesting generally:

http://www.paulgravett.com/articles/018_tintin_2/018_tintin_2.htm

Though not particularly concerned with the topic of this thread - the Thom[p]son's sexuality - some of the biographies that Paul Gravett reviews deal with the general lack of sexuality or family life of the Tintin characters and the theories for why this is so.

Of course wth the Tintin books being aimed (at least partly) at children, you wouldn't expect the sex lives of Thom[p]sons to be spelt out in explicit detail. But the idea that they can be seen as a long-standing gay couple who are so inseparable that they dress alike and even look virtually identical doesn't seem to me to be a completely invalid reading, nor one that is inappropriate for child readers to be allowed to consider. Many children know openly gay couples in their family or within their parents' circle of friends, so wouldn't be taken aback to encounter a gay or possibly gay couple in a work of children's fiction.

The theory that they are twin brothers who have decided to spell their surname differently is equally valid, of course. It may be a better theory, especially since they never use their Christian names (whatever they are) which might otherwise distinguish them. And it's a more realistic explanantion for them looking so nearly identical. But one of the great things about the Tintin characters is that we're told so little about their backgrounds that each reader is free to interpret them in their own way.
Harrock n roll
Moderator
#25 · Posted: 5 Oct 2008 13:48 · Edited by: Harrock n roll
Balthazar:
The theory that they are twin brothers who have decided to spell their surname differently is equally valid, of course. It may be a better theory, especially since they never use their Christian names (whatever they are) which might otherwise distinguish them. And it's a more realistic explanantion for them looking so nearly identical

There's also the theory they share the same mother but have different fathers, i.e half-brothers who kept their father's family name. This would also account for their physical similarities despite their different surnames.

Has anyone considered this theory before?
mct16
Member
#26 · Posted: 5 Oct 2008 17:40
It might be noted that a number of European comics featured male duos who lived together. I think that this was because it was easier for the artists and writers in terms of plot rather than making any kind of social comment. How would the "Castafiore Emerald" have developed if Tintin had been continuously going to and from his old flat in the city (like in the "Seven Crystal Balls")?

Other comics featuring male duos living in the same house, but with separate beds and sometimes separate rooms, have included "Spirou and Fantasio" and "Tif and Tondu". There are no hints of gay relationships that I have seen, in fact Tif and Tondu, for instance, have had a number of girlfriends.

Other popular comics included Italian versions of Walt Disney characters. I remember a number of Italian comics had Goofy and Mickey Mouse often sharing a bed on the course of their adventures. So tell me where Minnie comes in.
mct16
Member
#27 · Posted: 5 Oct 2008 18:04
This thread was started by the fact that, as they are about to be shot in "Picaros", one of them tells the other to kiss him, a reference to Admiral Nelson's dying remark to Captain Hardy.

In the original French version, the other remarks "San Theodorans, oui, je vous ai compris" ("San Theodorans, yes, I understand you"), a reference to a speech made by General Charles de Gaulle in Algeria in 1958.
Balthazar
Moderator
#28 · Posted: 7 Oct 2008 11:05
Harrock n roll
There's also the theory they share the same mother but have different fathers, i.e half-brothers who kept their father's family name. This would also account for their physical similarities despite their different surnames.

I'm all for adding another new theory to the mix, but if they were merely half brothers, rather than full brothers or twins, would they look so nearly identical? I suppose their mother might have had a very particular taste in men, so that their two different fathers looked very similar!

mct16, I agree that neither of the reasons for this "Are they gay?" speculation - the fact they share a flat and bedroom, and the "Kiss me Thompson" quote (which isn't in the French original and is clearly a famous historical reference anyway) - are in themselves good reasons for thinking that Hergé intended them to be seen as gay.

I just think it's interesting that, in our era, they do have something of the air of a gay married couple with a fetish for dressing alike, and interesting that they might have had some influence on gay culture. And given that Hergé chose to give us no background explanations for their identicalness or their different surnames, I'm not sure he'd have minded people considering the doppelganger gay couple theory as one interpretation.

To be honest, I think it's most likely that Hergé didn't have a precise background reason for their different surnmes and near-identicalness when he created the Thom[p]sons - or rather, the Dupond/ts - for the Cigars of the Pharaoh (any more than he knew what Captain Haddock's ancestory and Christian name would be when he first created him for The Crab with the Golden Claws.) My guess would be that Hergé just liked the idea of a pair of idiot detectives who are made more comical and bizarre by having almost the same looks and surname. Maybe, as someone suggested, it's meant to be a joke on how all plainclothes policemen look the same. Maybe it was influenced by his twin father and uncle. But maybe it was mostly just a funny visual idea, expressed visually without the need for rational explanation. Hergé was a great surrealist.

I wonder whether Hergé's fellow Belgium surrealist Magritte was influenced by the Thom[p]sons/Dupond/ts when painting his pictures on identical men in black suits and bowler hats (most famously his 1950s painting, Gondola, of the faceless identical bowler-hatted men raining from the sky.) But maybe that's another topic!
ZGDK
Member
#29 · Posted: 7 Oct 2008 20:06
I have to disagree with the above post, it's like the whole thing about Ernie and Bert being gay for lack of a better example. The Thom[p]sons are just children trapped in adult bodies.
waveofplague
Member
#30 · Posted: 8 Oct 2008 06:55
ZGDK:
Personally I've always felt that all the main characters aside from Calculus are asexual.

dare i ask you to elaborate?

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