Sunday, June 16, 2013

Tintin and the globe

by Trey Thomas

Tintin merchandise in Kinsasha, Congo (source: BBC News)

Comic geography

Probably no other comic book cartoon has made use of globes as a visual hook for audiences more than Belgian cartoonist HergĂ©'s The Adventures of Tintin.

Since the stories in the Tintin comics are set in various locations all over the world, the illustrations make use of maps and globes to advantage. A secondary effect of the Tintin comics is that they (intentionally or not) teach readers geography – even if some of the lands in the comics are totally made up. This, plus the simple drawings resulted to some children developing a curiosity for other countries, and the love of adventure. This is, of course, applicable where the Tintin comics is well-known, like in Europe, Africa (especially formerly Belgian Congo) and Asia.

Treasure in a globe

The treasure in globes – the gift of learning about places and adventure, is perhaps alluded to by one of the Adventures of Tintin books, Red Rackham's Treasure, published in 1944. In the book's conclusion, Tintin and his friend, the hard-drinking Captain Haddock, finds the treasure hidden by Haddock's 17th-century ancestor by way of a globe that served as the base of a statue of St. John, the Eagle of Patmos. By pressing the equivalent of the island previously encountered by the adventurers, the globe sprung open to reveal the treasure.
Globe to Red Rackham's Treasure
The importance of globes as a storytelling device in the Tintin books is underscored by literally having a globe as the ground in the poster for the 2011 motion capture adaptation of the comic books, The Adventures of Tintin.

Start them young ...

A children's globe would be the perfect companion for The Adventures of Tintin, should you want to expose your kids to the love of geography. We carry a good selection of Children's Globes. The Earth by Day and Night globe is particularly good for teaching because it's an ordinary learning globe by day but shows the constellations in the night sky when you turn on the illumination at night.

Globes may not give your kids a literal treasure of gold, but they'll develop a treasure no one is going to steal: knowledge.

For the grown-ups, we offer a globe that hides a different kind of treasure, and that's something that even Captain Haddock can appreciate. :)

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