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Characters inspired by real people?

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Roger
Member
#1 · Posted: 20 Feb 2017 19:07
Jock123 kindly pointed out to me that Red Rackham was inspired by three real people.
So that got me wondering which, if any other Tintin characters are known to have been inspired by real people? It strikes me that some of Hergé's characters are caricatures (sorry for the alliteration!), but are there any that are specifically inspired by real people?
jock123
Moderator
#2 · Posted: 20 Feb 2017 22:29 · Edited by: jock123
Roger:
which, if any other Tintin characters are known to have been inspired by real people?

You'll find that many have already been identified and noted; if you take a look at our character guide, we have listed them wherever possible.
There are also threads for some of them, plus a guide to cameos by Hergé and his friends and colleagues, when he roped them in as models for his drawings, plus the appearance of his fictional characters across series.
Perhaps you will find some new ones for us? Good hunting! :-)
RicardoOlcese
Member
#3 · Posted: 27 Dec 2018 04:03
One example:

Tossi, Rino
Début: Red Rackham's Treasure - name appeared in a poster on a Colonne Morris, on page 2, frame 6/B3 - Actor.

He was actually a Corsican singer: Tino Rossi. Very popular in the 1930s.
jock123
Moderator
#4 · Posted: 27 Dec 2018 23:38
RicardoOlcese:
He was actually a Corsican singer: Tino Rossi

Oh, excellent! Thank you - good spot! :-)
RicardoOlcese
Member
#5 · Posted: 29 Dec 2018 23:56
I also always felt that His Excelency General Tapioca was based on República Dominicana's dictator Rafael Trujillo. Bald head, moustache, military uniform, body shape. The similarities are strong, almost like Muskar XII and Zog of Albania. But it might also be a mere coincidence, and Tapioca is just a commonly looking, random, Latin American tyrant.
RicardoOlcese
Member
#6 · Posted: 8 Jan 2019 00:31
I also feel like Rastapopoulos could be based on Onassis. According to Wikipedia, Onassis "moved to Argentina in 1923 and established himself as a tobacco trader and later a shipping owner during the Second World War. Moving to Monaco, Onassis fought Prince Rainer III for economic control of the country through his ownership of SBM and its Monte Carlo Casino. In the mid 1950s he sought to secure an oil shipping arrangement with Saudi Arabia, and engaged in whaling expeditions. In the 1960s Onassis attempted to establish a large investment contract, Project Omega, with the Greek military junta, and sold Olympic Airways which he had founded in 1957".
I know, you could tell me Onassis became famous after Rastapopoulos character was established. In which case I would have no other choice but to surrender to the right chronology. But in any case, the "similarities" are remarkable.
mct16
Member
#7 · Posted: 9 Jan 2019 12:29 · Edited by: Moderator
I do not quite get the "similarities", I'm afraid, because although it is assumed that Rastapopoulos is of Greek origin his (legal) businesses are more in the realm of media rather than oil, gambling or shipping as you describe for Onassis.

In "Red Sea Sharks", the Emir describes di Gorgonzola (Rastapopoulos) as being involved in newspapers, radio, film and TV (more Rupert Murdoch than Onassis :).

On the other hand, Onassis was well-known for his luxury yacht on which he would entertain leading celebrities, politicians and businessmen much like Rastapopoulos does in "Sharks", so there is a connection there.

Speaking of "Sharks", we see the return of Muller as Mull Pasha. Muller first appeared in "Black Island" and it is believed that in that story he was based on Georg Bell, an adventurer who was involved in a German Nazi plot to destabilise Soviet Russia by flooding the country with fake roubles (see here for more details). In "Sharks", Muller is based on Glubb Pasha aka John Glubb, a British soldier who led the Jordanian army of King Hussein I during and after World War II.

It has also been suggested that Cartoffoli, the reckless Italian driver in "Calculus Affair", was based on the pianist Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, well-known for his passion for fast cars.
RicardoOlcese
Member
#8 · Posted: 28 Jan 2019 22:42
RicardoOlcese:
I also always felt that His Excelency General Tapioca was based on República Dominicana's dictator Rafael Trujillo.

Adding to this, the capital city of San Theodoros, Alcazaropolis or Tapiocapolis, might be a reference to República Dominicana's capital during the Trujillo regime: Ciudad Trujillo. Currently bearing its historical name: Santo Domingo.
MatthijsBats
Member
#9 · Posted: 16 Apr 2020 15:23
Hi there,

As a new forum member from the Netherlands I'd like to check a rumor/story that's been told for years in the church I was part of in my childhood years. The story goes dat Herge, while visiting or working in Paris, several important characters in his albums has based on people attending the same church denomination as I was part of in the Netherlands. He saw them each sunday morning going to that particular churchbulding. As I was told, some of his most popular characters where, only in appearance I presume, based on a few of that church attendees.

My father specifically told me it was about the two detectives (in Dutch 'Janssen en Jansen'), but I already read on wiki that that couldn't be true. Apparently Herge based them on his father en twin brother of his father as far as the specific hat goes.

I was already forgetting about the story until I talked to een old friend from the same church on the phone today, also a Tintin fan, and he told me the same story. His source where two French 'sisters' as they are called, that where part for years in that Paris church. Important to mention: it's not a very well known big church like the Roman Catholic or whatsoever. In English these groups are called 'the plymouth brethren' or 'Darbistst'. In French I believe they are called 'Assemblee de Dieux'.

Sorry for this long post, especially since it's me first, but I'm really curious: could any of this be true?
snowybella
Member
#10 · Posted: 17 Apr 2020 13:54
MatthijsBats

Welcome to the forums!

That's a very interesting rumour - in my humble opinion, I would say that there could be some weight behind it, especially when it comes to some of the lesser-known characters in the books whose possible visual inspirations from famous people can't be found.

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