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Tintin: A lack of fatal violence in the books?

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#1 · Posted: 13 Dec 2004 11:31
I have read all Tintin books except Soviets and Congo. The most intriguing factor in all these books is that rarely has any character "died" from any violence.

Tintin has been involved in a wide range of adventures. He has been in the middle of military coups, aliens, ruthless crooks, torpedo firing submarines, blazing machine-guns, and yet, Hergé has been able to avoid fatal incidents in almost all his titles.

I can remember only one instance, in The Broken Ear, where the two villains can be presumed to be dead. Here too, Hergé finds a unique way to show this. I don't know if there has been any discussion on this topic already, but can anyone state any other incident of "deaths" in the Tintin series?
#2 · Posted: 13 Dec 2004 12:33

Yes, I do agree and I too felt the same when I started reading Tintin almost 15 years ago, that Herge avoids fatal incidents throughout the series. I guess this might be to avoid children from viewing such pictures. There are chances of parents' objections and may be, due to that Herge would have lost his market share. Or, there are all chances of Herge's personal preference not to put such scenes in the comics.

And regarding your query, there is one incident in "Explorers on the Moon [Page 52, 9th scene]" where Wolff accidentally shoots Boris. This is the second such scene where Herge has shown a man dead.
#3 · Posted: 13 Dec 2004 14:16
Well, the artist Jacob Balthazar was murdered by opening the gas tap in The Broken Ear, and Tortilla was murdered by the two crooks in same album.

The drowned man was actually murdered in The Crab with Golden Claws.

Barnaby was also shot by one of the Bird Brothers in The Secret of the Unicorn/ Red Rackham's Treasure; though he does not die, this could be termed violence with the intention of killing, I think.

However the way Hergé depicted these scenes is one of the reason Tintin has a wide appeal for readers of any age.
#4 · Posted: 13 Dec 2004 15:34
I've been thinking about it for some time. Here are the instances I can recollect:

1. Mitsuhirato commiting Hara-Kiri, Blue Lotus
2. Death overboard of the villians, Broken Ear
3. The most dramatic shootout death of Colonel Jorgen (Boris) in Explorers on the Moon.
Trivia Challenge Score Keeper
#5 · Posted: 13 Dec 2004 15:52
Here's a list of all the fatalities I've picked up.
I've not included the deaths of animals (e.g. the multitude in Tintin in the Congo!), incidental deaths in wars (e.g. the Gran Chapo War, Broken Ear), or those occurring outside of the story's timeframe (i.e. the head-hunted tribesmen, again in The Broken Ear), unless they're of particular significance to the story (e.g. the mummified Egyptologists (Cigars) or Herbert Dawes (Claws)).

I've also only included deaths that are depicted or explicitly referred to. For example, one can assume that in Tintin in America, Pedro Ramirez ends up being hanged after he confesses to the Old West Bank robbery, though as this is not shown or mentioned, it is not included.

Tintin in the Congo:
Tom - torn apart by crocodiles - p.48 (colour ed.)

Tintin in America:
Unnamed number - lynched after Old West Bank robbery - p.34
Forty-four hoboes (originally blacks) - lynched - p.36

Cigars of the Pharaoh:
Egyptologists - mummified - pp.7-8
[NB: the head of the smugglers is presumed to have died after falling off a cliff (on p.60), but in The Blue Lotus we find that Rastapopoulos actually survived]

The Blue Lotus:
Chang's parents - lost, presumed dead after the Hukow floods - p.43
Mitsuhirato - commits hara-kiri - p.61

The Broken Ear:
Jacob Balthazar - murdered - p.3
Rodrigo Tortilla - murdered - p.16
Corporal Diaz - blown up by his own bomb - p.36
Alonszo & Ramon - drowned - p.61

The Crab with the Golden Claws:
Herbert Dawes - drowned - p.8 (revealed on p.61 to have been murdered)

The Secret of the Unicorn:
Several sailors & pirates - killed and wounded in the boarding of The Unicorn (pp.19-20); remaining sailors made to walk the plank (p.20)
Red Rackham - killed in combat by Sir Francis Haddock - (p.25)
Remaining - pirates blown up with The Unicorn - (p.26)

Prisoners of the Sun:
Four Indians - roll over a cliff - p.33

Destination Moon:
Spy - parachute fails to open - p.18

Explorers on the Moon:
Jorgen - shot through the heart - p.52
Wolff - commits suicide - p.55

Tintin in Tibet:
Seventeen passengers & crew - die in air crash (not including Chang) - p.2

Tintin and Alph-Art:
Jacques Monastir - presumed drowned (probably murdered) - p.7 (p.11, 2004 ed.)
Henri Fourcart - in car crash (probably murdered) - p.12 (p.16, 2004 ed.)


I'm sure there must be others, but you can all let me know!

#6 · Posted: 13 Dec 2004 16:01
Good job, Ed! I missed the failed parachute in Destination, and Wolff (although I did remember Jorgen - funny)!
Harrock n roll
#7 · Posted: 13 Dec 2004 16:44
Nice work Ed!

Indeed, if you were to include those occuring outside the story's timeframe you would have to include the many that were "put to the sword" in the Syldavian travel brochure! :)

I just totted-up the numbers from your list and (excluding the unknown numbers that perished from the lynchings and on board The Unicorn) it came to 99! (I counted the number of mummified Egyptologists as 19; Sarcophagus, Snowy and Tintin were to have been 20, 20a and 21, although Sophocles does say "scores of Egytologists have tried to find the spot... every single one has vanished.")

That averages 4 a book, certainly a larger number than most would have expected!
John Sewell
#8 · Posted: 13 Dec 2004 18:05
A few more "possibles":

Tintin in the Land of the Soviets:
The bomb on the train causes the "disappearance of 218 people", with only Tintin and Snowy apparently unscathed, and getting the blame when they arrive in Berlin (p. 7). That certainly adds substantially to the total if we take it at face value!

Tintin In America:
The taxi driver copping a boomerang in the head might possibly be fatal - we never find out as Tintin and the cops take the taxi and set off in pursuit of the thrower, leaving the poor bloke just lying there! If it didn't kill him outright, I bet he had one heck of a headache when he woke up! (colour version, p. 3)

Similarly, in the colour version, we don't find out exactly what happens to Mike MacAdam after he's grabbed by the villains on p. 58, but judging by the number of stars flying out from behind that bush, it looks pretty nasty! Then again, the B&W version has a frame of him laid out against a tree looking very comfy, next to a bottle of chloroform, so we probably don't need to worry about him!

The Black Island:
I haven't got a copy to hand, but is there a reference to people vanishing on the island, presumably at the hands of Ranko? I might be getting confused with Tintin being told of the legend of the "Beast" though!
Harrock n roll
#9 · Posted: 14 Dec 2004 01:22
I haven't got a copy to hand, but is there a reference to people vanishing on the island, presumably at the hands of Ranko?

Aye, "twa young laddies" and "puir MacGregor" are quoted as among the missing.

320 fatalities and rising...
#10 · Posted: 22 Dec 2004 00:56
I was about to produce my painstakingly compiled list of fatalities/ near misses... But have been beaten to it, by thunder!

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