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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
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 "Read 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: 9 Jan 2019 18:13
mct16
Rastapopulos is involved in the shipping business. Remember the Karaboudjian (Crabs) and the Ramona (Red Sea). Both belonged to RR.
Very interesting your info about the Italian fellow! Thank you! Amaïh you! I can recall three Italians in Tintin: Castafiore (from Milan), Cartoffoli (from Milan), and Gino (who works for Carreidas, no idea where is he from).
Shivam302001
Member
#9 · Posted: 9 Jan 2019 18:33
RicardoOlcese
Did Rastapopoulos really own Karaboudjan? I did not know that. Could you please tell me where it is mentioned?
RicardoOlcese
Member
#10 · Posted: 9 Jan 2019 19:33
Shivam302001
True, I now remember it better, and it wasn't a Rastapopulos story. As Alan involved, it was for me a safe guess that our friend Robert was behind the drug dealing ring. But your point is true: he's not mentioned in the story.

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