Monday, January 2, 2012

Marbles over Tintin

Acrylic on gessoed hardboard, 2011
5 x 7', painting #204

Maybe I should have entitled this painting ''Losing my marbles over Tintin''. I first mentioned Tintin in 2008, when the book, Tintin in Tibet by Hergé appeared in my painting ''Are we there yet?''. I have been a fan of The Adventures of Tintin since elementary school. Having read all of the two dozen comic books which were written and illustrated between 1929 to 1976.  My son Jean-Luc has the entire collection of book and made-for-TV animated series on DVD. Tintin is a globe-trotting, crime solving Belgium journalist/reporter. He is strong for his stature, an agile fighter, car and motorcycle driver, flies planes and an able marksman. He relies greatly on his keen sense of deduction and intuition to save the day. He was created by Georges Rémi under the pen name Hergé. Tintin first appear as a comic strip in a newspaper in Belgium in 1929. The books have been translated in 50 languages and 200 millions copies have been sold. It remains one of the most popular comic book in Europe, and in French Canada. 

Tintin and Snowy (Milou) by Hergé

I learned back in 2008 that Steven Spielberg had begun work on the film ''The Adventures of Tintin'' with Peter Jackson as a producer. Spielberg had first acquired the rights to make a film based on Hergé's comics back in 1983. It is rumored that someone made a remark to Spielberg after the release of the first Indiana Jones movie, which reminded him of the Adventures of Tintin. At the time he was not familiar with the Tintin serial and was given the whole comic book series in French. 

The film, The Adventues of Tintin opened in Europe in October and has since grossed in excess of 230 million dollars. Opening on the North American screens to favorable reviews on December 21, the film has amassed 40 million dollars on it's first 10 days. The script for the first installment combines the story lines of three books, The Secret of the Unicorn as the main story plot with exerts of Red Rackham's Treasure (1943) which is it's sequel. Scenes from the earlier The Crab with the Golden Claws (1940-41) is intertwined in the script to introduce the Captain Archibald Haddock character, who would eventually become is best friend and joined him in later escapades. 

The film has already garnered a Satellite and a Golden Globe Award for best animation film. Producer Peter Jackson, whose company, Weta Digital provided the computer animation, intends to direct a sequel.

Realism may be falling at the wayside with Academia and the art world, while the opposite is happening in animated movies. The facial features of the characters do retain a cartoonish flair, but the rest of the visuals are simply mind boggling. The hands of Captain Haddock appears so life-like. The evolution in digital animation is so advanced that it is often indistinguishable from real life.  

Hopefully the film will act as a vehicle to promote the books to a greater audience. Respected film critic Leonard Maltin noted in his review that he was ''completely unfamiliar with Hergé’s popular illustrated stories''. Hoping that this film will change all of this.

For this painting I used the cover image of the hand-drawn animated series on DVD of ''Le secret de la Licorne'' (The Secret of the Unicorn) from which the Spielberg film is based on. Underneath the mason jar glass lid hides the Unicorn, the ship that was once the vessel of Captain Haddock ancestor. 

Tintin Trivia:
-The very successful 1980's British band, The Thompson Twins was named after the latter characters.
- Tintin lives at 26 Labrador Street, Brussels, Belgium.   

''Tintin is myself. He reflects the best and brightest in me; he is my successful double. I am not a hero. But like all 15 year-old boys, I dreamt of being one..... and I have never stopped dreaming. Tintin has accomplished many things on my behalf.''
-Georges Rémi (Hergé)

Exhibited at Handworks Gallery
12 King Street, Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada, E2L 1G2