Thursday, October 01, 2020


It is rather peculiar that this debut appearance from the legendary Belgian comic strip character Tintin never did get the royal re-drawing treatment unlike the rest of the series (even the infamous 'un set in the Belgian Congo!) and thus is not as omnipresent in Western Culture as Coca-Cola signs or VW Beetles.

Perhaps the subject matter was just too controversial for IN THE LAND OF THE SOVIETS to get the royal remake given how Cold War sensitive the subject coulda been in leftist-ravaged Europe back in the fifties. Thankfully the original tale published in LE PETIT VINGTIEME had been reissued at least this time in a nice hard-covered edition making for a rather classy presentation of a comic saga that has to rank as one of the more important ones in twentieth-century art (as in something that affects you in a right, positive way). An art that really stirs the soul of the observer rather than berates him which is wont of too much of that modern quap that's been spoofed so much inna funnies to the point of you know why...

The early Tintin artwork is surprisingly primitive. No wonder the other early efforts were updated for more cultured comics tastes, but despite the delineation which would have been considered primitive even...make that especially during the early days of nineteenth-century proto-comic stripdom...there lies a story which really excites and envelops the reader just as well as any then-running Amerigan adventure comic could. A story which not only delivers on an adventure that undoubtedly kept the reader coming back week after week but had a message that spoke to the core of Europe and what was unfortunately happening thanks to the beliefs of assorted intellectuals and useful idiots who just happened to be hanging around. A story that, with a few weird changes and twists, has pretty much the same relevancy and (now get this!) moral a good ninetysome years later when ya woulda thought everyone woulda known better!

On assignment, LE PETIT VINGTIEME's top reporter Tintin, along with dog Milou/Snowy, head to the Soviet Union to get the real scoop on what's going on there and of course isn't being reported by the variety of publications that were portraying that nation as the model for which all future governments should be based upon. Even from the start Soviet spies are out to get the pair, though thankfully Tintin and Snowy outwit the badskis at every turn and come up with a number of interesting (and true) accounts of what was really going on in the Worker's Paradise. One outrageous scam uncovered (on pages 95 and 96 if you're following along) was the illusion being created to a number of visiting Englishmen of a factory working to full capacity which turns out to be a total sound and smoke prefab job made within the supposed steel mill where men are burning hay and banging on metal sheets to create a rather doozy of an illusion!

Natch that Tintin has more'n just good luck as he wiggles outta NKVD action that has offed quite a few enemies of the state to the point where you wonder when the kid's finally gonna GET IT GOOD, but in this fantasy the evils of red fascism (as they used to call it much to the dismay of folk on both sides of the same side of the coin) are trotted out to look about as ridiculous as they were in actuality. More left-leaning readers will naturally shudder at it all considering it more old time right wing propaganda, but unlike alla that Mother Russia good communist blather that many of us have been inundated with since the days when Phil Donahue was pallin' it up with Vladimir Posner these stories put a deserved tint on that whole Soviet mystique that continues to grossly upset people who spent a good portion of time in the Eastern Bloc and just can't fathom why anyone would want to romanticize such a dank and depressing form of existence.

And frankly, if you don't wanna cheer and salute along with the throngs of supporters in the final panel especially after reading this comparatively primitive yet compelling saga, you really must lack not only a head, but a heart and soul as well.


debs said...

lol i saw the tin tin movie it was cool lol i didn't know it was a comic book lol cool :)

New York 'Dolf said...