herge and marie louise milou snowy

If you asked people for a list of famous literary double acts, surely Tintin and Snowy would be mentioned. Snowy is Tintin’s friend, his companion, and his confident. Snowy is there for Tintin when no one else is. Snowy would appear in every book by Tintin’s side, and often help him along on his travels. Could you have gotten a closer bond between man and an animal?

snowy Tintin

This makes sense when you realise the history behind the character.

It has often been said that Herge created Tintin as an alternate version of himself. It is also said that the many characters that Tintin encounters are actually based on real characters from throughout Herge’s life. So if Tintin is Herge, and the other characters are people Herge met, what does that mean for Snowy?

Herge has said that Snowy was based on a wire fox terrier he used to see in a local restaurant. He thought it was intelligent, brave, and funny. A perfect companion to Tintin. The thing is it is much more complicated than that.

Wire-Fox-Terrier Tintin Snowy Milou

Snowy is not the real name of Tintin’s companion, in the original French version, Snowy is called Milou.

Milou is actually a sweet homage to Herge’s first girlfriend. It is said that he went out with a girl named Marie-Louise van Cutsem. It was young love.

herge and marie louise milou snowy
A Young Marie-Louise

Unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be. Marie’s father did not approve of the relationship as Herge was of a lower social standing than his daughter. He obviously wanted his daughter to marry at her level and lower herself because of a mere infatuation. The relationship ended after this. After this Herge still had feelings for Marie and supposedly named Milou after her. Marie-Louise became Milou.

herge and marie louise milou snowy
Herge and Marie-Louise

It is interesting to point out that if Herge is Tintin and Milou is Marie Louise, Herge made the two inseparable in the books. Tintin could not go anywhere without Milou, and would often risk his life for him. Maybe Herge used the Tintin books as a kind of escapism from his heartbreak?

So we know how Milou got his name. But why Snowy.

Apparently the name Snowy was chosen, because it was the same amount of letters as Milou so it would fit into the speech bubbles. It was also chosen because he is white.

herge Tintin snowy milou

So Herge was a hopeless romantic and ended up naming one of his most popular characters after an old girlfriend. I wonder if Marie-Louise knew?

tintin feature

Before Herge died, he gave the rights of a Tintin film to Steven Spielberg. Although the film deviated from the book plot, I think Steven did the young reporter justice. According to some sources, Steven first became aware of Tintin after someone told him he was similar to Indiana Jones. I really enjoyed the film. I also really enjoyed the little nods Steven put into the film as a fan. These nods are what I have included in this post.

As you can imagine all the Easter Eggs point towards the different Tintin books.

In Tintin’s room we can see the statue from the Broken Ear.

Broken Ear Easter Eggs in Tintin Movie

broken ear Tintin

In the palace and the docks we can see two golden crabs. This is the logo found on the crab tins full of opium in The Crab with the Golden Claws book.

Crab with the golden claws Easter Eggs in Tintin Movie

Golden Grab Easter Eggs in Tintin Movie

The Crab with the Golden Claws Tintin Easter Eggs

I love this little addition. In Red Rackham’s Treaure, Captain Haddock bumps into a news poster advertising the Daily Reporter with the same tagline; the News Which Hits You.

Daily reporter Easter Eggs in Tintin Movie

A running joke throughout the last few Tintin books plays on the fact that people keep calling up Captain Haddock at Marlinspike, when they really wanted E. Cutts the Butchers.

E.Cutts Easter Eggs in Tintin Movie

This one is an interesting nod towards one of Spielberg’s films. On the typewriter in the opening scene we see E T being typed.

ET Easter Eggs in Tintin Movie

This next one should be obvious. Its Herge!

Herge Easter Eggs in Tintin Movie

During the opening scenes we see a lot of different elements of the many books. This wallpaper is actually the end papers of the Tintin books.

inside pages Easter Eggs in Tintin Movie

tintin endpapers

Surely that isn’t Mr T?

Mr T Easter Eggs in Tintin Movie

Also during the opening sequence we we a list of destinations. All of the destinations are ones that Tintin has visited in his books.Place names Easter Eggs in Tintin Movie

This shooting star must be a homage to the Shooting Star book!

shooting star Easter Eggs in Tintin Movie

Last but not least is also from the title sequence. The logo above the pub is the bird from the Syldavian flag.

Syldavian Flag Easter Eggs in Tintin Movie

Syldavian Flag

It was nice to watch the film though again. I know I missed some, but I found a great site that has gone through the film with a fine tooth comb. You can see this site here.

Tintin easter eggs

Tintin is often seen as one of the best series of stories. While Herge is often seen as a visionary, political commentator, and genius. So I am not surprised he managed to sneak in some Easter eggs into the series of books.

All the notable easter eggs are from three books: King Ottokar’s Sceptre, The Calculus Affair, and Tintin and the Picaros.

The Easter eggs from King Ottokar’s Sceptre and The Calculus Affair are sneaky cameos of Herge himself.

herge king ottakar's sceptre cameo Tintin

In this scene Herge is the chap in the green on the left.

herge king ottakar's sceptre cameo Tintin easter eggs

You can see him again in the crowd, this time on the left.

herge cameo Tintin easter eggs calculus affair

Herge is still wearing green at the bottom right of this scene smoking a cigarette.

herge tintin easter eggs
The man himself.

Other than himself, Herge likes to pay homage to other famous characters too.

tintin easter eggs mickey mouse asterix

If you look closely at this scene from Tintin and the Picaros you should be able to see two very recognisable characters. Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse can be seen in the crowd. Herge also includes fellow European comic character, Asterix!

Tintin Easter Eggs Snoopy Picaros

Herge must also have a soft spot of Charles M. Schulz’s Peanuts comics, as he included Snoopy in the crowd.

Tintin Easter Eggs 2 Donald Duck PIcaros

Finally another Disney cameo. I am not sure if you can say Donald Duck is making a cameo as he fairly obvious! Oh Boy, Oh Boy!

These are just a few different Tintin easter eggs that I find interesting. I hope you enjoyed them. Look out for tomorrow’s post about the Easter Eggs in the recent Tintin animated film!

 

tintin phoenix comic feature

I love it when comics pay homage to things that inspire them. It is obvious that the artist loves Tintin and all the other classic comic characters. If you have never read the Phoenix, I would definitely recommend it. It is full of great stories and strips. It is also full of great artwork.

The strip that pays homage to Tintin is called Von Doogan. Von Doogan, or the Doog as he is sometimes called, is a strip dedicated to puzzles. Each week a puzzle would be given to the readers for them to solve by the next week’s issue. The artwork is brilliant and the puzzles are tricky. It was in one series where the Doog is in search of the mystery Asteroid X. A story I would say is similar to Tintin and the Shooting Star. I will just let you see the page and see how many Tintin nods you can see.

Tintin Phoenix Comic

The artist, Lorenzo, must also love some of the other classic comics because the puzzle the week after features 5 characters; Asterix, Obelix, Calvin, Hobbes, and Snowy!

Tintin Phoenix Comic 2

I had found these great little details quite a while, but I waited until Tintin week to show them! I hope you find them as cool as I do!

tintin week feature

As I am sure you have gathered this week is Tintin week! Every post this week will be dedicated to the young reporter and his many adventures. As always I have written out a schedule. Bare in mind I probably won’t stick to it, but one can dream.

Tuesday: A nice page from the Phoenix Comic in honour of Tintin.

Wednesday: Easter Eggs in The Tintin Books

Thursday: Easter Eggs in The Tintin Film

Friday: Snowy, Milou, and Herge’s young love.

Saturday: My day off as always.

Sunday: Review of Herge’s Adventures of Tintin Cartoon DVD Box Set.

This week’s Culture Clash is between two old friends. It is…

Captain Haddock vs Tintin

Who is your favourite character?

tintin vs captain haddock culture clash tintin week
Click the picture to cast your vote!
pixarpediafeature

Welcome to the first in a new format of Sunday Suggestions, where instead of suggesting alternatives to products, I will be reviewing them. As it is Pixar week I have decided to review one of my favourite books when I was younger, Pixarpedia.

Pixarpedia Review Blog Blowfish

Details:

The Pixarpedia is a book dedicated to everything Pixar created by DK. DK like to produce books like this centered around different films, shows, and games. This book was written in 2009 and features all the films and shorts from before that date. They did do an updated version where they included Toy Story 3 and Cars 2. The book has 352 pages with 3 main divisions. These divisions are:

Forward – A  forward by Andrew Stanton, an introduction into the history of Pixar, a timeline, and how they make the films.

Movies.. – Dedicated to every Pixar film, character, and setting. Each character gets a write up with information about them, while each setting is explored and described.

…and Beyond – A few pages for each film including easter eggs, hidden details, fascinating facts, and staff interviews. It also includes an index of all terms mentioned throughout the book.

Content:

As a huge Pixar fan having a book full of every character you can think of, including non talking characters, is great. Each character has a description of them; with the more well-known characters having more written about them. I find the sheer breadth of characters astounding. The fact that the authors found time to write up descriptions on obscure characters is brilliant. Throughout the book there are various text boxes containing little snippets of info separated from the overall content. All the pictures and image have been taken straight from the films. In the Movies section all the characters are seen as the characters they were in the film, so for example, Hamm from Toy Story has info about his role in the film, a fact file containing his full name, occupation, and talents, as well as some plot points he was involved in. It is in the Behind the Scenes pages where they list the credits. Each film has it’s own style with different fonts, colours, and decals. The Behind the Scenes pages are very nice with some great facts and hidden details. They show where each A 113, hidden Mickey, and Pizza Planet truck appears in the films. The staff interviews are good too.

pixarpedia pages review Blog Blowfish
Example pages from Pixarpedia

Final Thoughts:

Pros:

A great book for any Pixar fan.

A good way to learn the different characters and their roles in the films.

The superb behind the scenes pages.

The insane amount of supporting characters.

Cons:

Maybe the main font could be nicer. (All I could think of)

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes Pixar, character design, and animated films in general. It is a great reference book, which you will find you dip in and out of. I would give this fascinating book…

4.5/5

If you would like to buy this book it is available on Amazon UK.

 

 

Part5

When the 1960s came, many comics had settled in and found a reliable reader base, because of this the comic stalwarts sold steadily throughout the decade. Now comics were seen as a staple for British children, and each child bought their favourite comic weekly. Comics were now coming into their own because of their new contemporary approaches, the artists began to find their own style, and the artwork became as popular as the storyline. The two main publishers brought out many new comic during this decade. IPC created their first real competitor to The Beano and Dandy in 1960. and named it Buster. Buster was an amalgamation of all they had learned from their previous comic ventures. Its title character, Buster, was originally billed as the son of Andy Capp, the star of his own strip in the Mirror. Andy Capp never alluded to Buster in his strip, while only a few cameos appeared of Andy Capp in Buster’s strip. Later on, to avoid any link with the unsavoury nature of some of the Andy Capp strips, Buster’s links to his father were cut and thus became a standalone character in his own comic. Buster comic, being a standout publication for IPC amongst its other less unsuccessful comics, became a “graveyard” for almost all the IPC comics that folded. Just in the ‘60s alone Buster merged with four other IPC comics including Radio Fun and Film Fun in 1961 and 1962 respectively. Often during a merger, the best characters from the deceased comic would join the bigger, more popular comics. Unless these characters were very special they would eventually stop appearing in the comic and all trace of the merged comic would disappear. Whenever a comic was to closed or merge, the ironic tag line read “Great News Inside,” which to most of the readers would signal the end of their favourite comic; this phrase has now become an “in joke” between collectors. Buster was the first comic launched by the newly merged IPC, and paved the way for many more IPC comics to come.

Andy Capp
Not a good example
Buster Capp
Buster appearing on a stamp

One of these comics was Whizzer and Chips. IPC brought out this title to add to their stable, and give Buster a sister comic. Whizzer and Chips launched in 1969, nine years after Buster, produced many memorable characters. IPC actually billed Whizzer and Chips as two comics in one; Whizzer, whose leader was Sid and his snake, and Chips, whose leader was Shiner. The two comics in one originally billed as companion comics, soon became rivals. Later on, the rivalry played out in the comics as well as between groups of children. Back in the 1970s, being either a Whizzer or a Chipite could cause cliques and gangs among the children. The comic would also play on this rivalry by having what they called “raiders.” These raiders would be a character from the opposite comic that hid in amongst the other comic’s strips. This provided children with an extra bit of fun once they had finished reading the comic. If you were wondering, I would call myself a Whizzer.

First Whizzer and Chips
First Whizzer and Chips Comic

After the launch of Buster, and before Whizzer and Chips came out, D.C. Thomson put out their fare for the ‘60s. Sparky, launched in 1967, became their fifth humour comic. It contained the same zany and fun filled pages as its predecessors did. Sparky took many of the defunct characters from the early Beano and Dandy comics and refreshed them for the modern audience. Keyhole Kate, Hungry Horace, and Freddie the Fearless Fly from The Dandy and Pansy Potter, Hairy Dan, and Frosty McNab from The Beano had makeovers when they reappeared in the Sparky. Apart from these standout humour comics, IPC and D.C. Thomson also brought out many boys’ papers during this period. D.C. Thomson launched the Victor and Hornet in 1961 and 1963 respectively, while IPC brought out Valiant in 1962 and the five Power Comics, Wow!, Smash!, Pow!, Fantastic, and Terrific between 1967 and 1968. Sadly, with the success of the new humour comics coming onto the market, D.C. Thomson’s “Big Five” disappeared in this decade. The industry became humour only with a pinch of adventure offered by the boys’ papers. Text stories also lost popularity during this period. If children wanted a comic, they did not want to read stories as if they were from a book; they wanted action, jokes, and japery from the comic strips. The 60s were known as an era of psychedelic colour and the comics were no exception; the new comics brought out reflected the mood by adding more colour on the front cover as well as the content inside.

sparky comic 1
First Issue of the Sparky Comic
wally

As a massive fan of Where’s Wally, or Where’s Waldo for the Americans, I find it hard seeing all the blatant copycats of Martin Handford’s classic series of books. Books like Where’s the Meerkat, Where’s Bin Laden, and Where’s Mo, all seem to be cash ins on the popularity of Where’s Wally. However this does not mean that there aren’t books that are good for fans of Wally. This week I chosen some books that I feel any fan of Wally would enjoy.

 Where’s Stig

This book takes the popular cast of BBC’s Top Gear and puts them in search it book form. I really like the art style of this book as it is reminiscent of eBoy, who create pixel art towns and cities. The book is as controversial as the tv show it is based on with the book containing elements of some of the outlandish trips and challenges. Like Where’s Wally, you must find the main character, the Stig, as well as the rest of the cast. Also like Wally, it contains fun word play and jokes that are found throughout. Although not for children, Where’s Stig would be a good search it book that adults can enjoy. The book can be found here.

Where's Stig
Where’s Stig Scene of the Studio

 

I Spy Books

I Spy are are a series of books containing scenes of different objects that must be found. These objects are set up in a fun and interesting way. The pages of the book contain a riddle of what you can find; some of the riddles are easy, while some need logical thinking. They even made video games where you wander around a place solving mysteries. I think a Where’s Wally fan would enjoy these books because they contain a lot of colour and require the reader to find objects.

I Spy Book
Scene from an I Spy Book

Look-alikes

The Look-alike books are so amazingly done, I defy anyone to look at them and not immediately take a second look to notice the detail. In these books every scene is made of household objects. All the scenes were built by Joan Steiner from everyday materials. At the back of the book you will see a list of every object used, but try to get as many items as you can before you peak. A Where’s Wally fan should enjoy finding each item, however small, in each scene. You can see a video about Joan and her work here, or you can buy her books here.

Look-alike General Store
Trumps General Store… Can you see the playing cards?

Bonus: Where’s Walle?

whereswalle