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 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!

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.

 

 

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