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Monday, January 10, 2011

Tintin, is that you?

Credit: Tintin Facebook page
Happy birthday Tintin!

Today is 82nd birthday of the "boy reporter" Tintin. It was January 10, 1929 when he appeared for the first time in the comic strip called “Le Petit Vingtième”, a children's supplement to the Belgian newspaper Le XXe Siècle.

Since then he and his loyal companion Snowy (Milou in French),  traveled all around the world, even gone to the Moon and came back, been to many adventures, made everlasting friends both in the comics & real life. Tintin albums published in more than 80 languages and more than 350 million copies of the books sold to date.

Robert Sexé on his motorcycle. Credit: Alfavendee.com
Tintin's creator Georges Remi, better known as Hergé, never revealed the inspiration for his hero, always claiming "Tintin, c'est moi" (Tintin, that's me). Some say, he might have been inspired by a French war and travel photojournalist called Robert Sexé. Quoting Tintinologist.org
"French writer, Jean-Paul Schulz had revealed many uncanny similiarities between Tintin and a Great War correspondent, Robert Sexé.
Sexé was a journalist and motorcycle fantatic, who became famous in Belgium in the 1920s. His adventures and experiences are recorded in Sexé au Pays des Soviets, published by Vieux Château in 1996. His first foreign reporting trip was to Moscow in 1926, three years before Tintin undertook a similar assignment. That the chronology of Sexé's first three trips matches the first three Hergé albums makes one wonder if Hergé had not based his character, Tintin, on Sexé.
Sexé's best friend, a mechanic by the name of Mihloux accompanied him on many trips. Tintin also has a faithful companion whose name sounds the same as Milhoux, except it is spelt Milou."
Palle Huld (center). Credit: Politiken.dk
Another speculation suggests that a Danish stage and screen actor, late Palle Huld was the inspiration behind Tintin. Deceased on November 26, 2010 Huld was 15 years old in 1928. According to the Guardian:
"Early in 1928, a Danish newspaper ran a competition to mark the centennial of the celebrated author Jules Verne. The winner would re-enact the globe-circling voyage undertaken by Phileas Fogg in Verne's bestselling novel, Around the World in 80 Days... Politiken decided the contest should be open only to teenaged boys, who – if they won – would have to complete the circumnavigation unaccompanied, within 46 days, and without using planes.
Fresh-faced, freckled, with a snub nose, a shock of bright red hair and a penchant for plus-fours, 15-year-old boy scout and car showroom clerk Palle Huld left Copenhagen on March 1 and duly circled the globe – including then-wartorn Manchuria and foreigner-unfriendly Moscow – by train and passenger liner. 
He returned 44 days later to be greeted by a crowd of 20,000 cheering admirers and his mightily relieved mother, who, according to the Copenhagen Post, "had been prescribed sleeping tablets for the duration". 
Whoever was the inspiration for Tintin, doesn't matter anymore. Because there are millions of Tintin's around the world, like me and you, who was inspired by his books to explore, travel, emphasize other cultures and value the friendship, thanks to Hergé's vivid imagination.

Happy birthday to us, all Tintinophile's!

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