Wednesday, February 20, 2013

WWTD? (What Would Tintin Do?)

By Ianto Ware

I'm a big Tintin fan. I've been reading (and rereading) the comics since I was a kid, I've read books about Tintin, I've read the novel (it's weird), I went to Belgium just to go to the Hergé Museum, for the better part of a decade my default haircut was Tintin's (I finally have a new one), and in general I've spent probably too much time semi-basing my life goals on him. I aimed to be a globe trotting reporter who had adventures all the time, and to some extent I succeeded in doing that.

When I saw that the Vancouver Public Library's guide to zines recommended one about Tintin I had to read it! Screw all those zines and minicomics that are in a pile in my bedroom just waiting to be reviewed, this was what I needed to read next!

So I tore into it, and it rekindled my love of Tintin. He's super rad! But it also made me look at some aspects of the work, and our society in general, in a different way.

Ware says that he was inspired to create this zine after breaking up with his partner. He felt pressured by his friends, and society, to enter into another relationship. Ware brings up the prevalent idea that to be happy you must be in a (hetero-normative, monogamous) relationship. Ware didn't really like this idea (it kinds of makes me uncomfortable too), and decided to seek out positive bachelor role models. Men who weren't in relationships and who didn't care because they filled their lives with other things.

The person Ware settled on was Tintin, the "boy" reporter who (at least as the beginning of the series) lives independently without any apparent friends or family (apart from Snowy). In fact the entire series barely features any female characters at all, and instead populated by a seemingly infinite number of bachelor scientists and adventurers (kind of strange when you consider Hergé's two marriages).

Ware tracks the adventures of Tintin through all the books, discussing problematic aspects of the stories and breaking the characters down into what makes them so appealing. He discusses how they embody different ways of dealing with life, and how they evolve along with the life of their creator, reflecting various aspects of his life.

It made me look at some parts of the books in a different way, and while I don't agree with all of Ware's conclusions, I did finish the zine reminded of the fact that Tintin is awesome, and that maybe having a fictional character (who manages to concentrate on the important aspects of life and have awesome adventures with his friends) as a role model isn't a bad thing.

1 comment:

  1. I LOVED Tintin as a young girl. I used to cycle to library, fill my rucksack with ten Tintin comics (the maximum book allowance at the library) and cycle home to devour them. He was a terrific role model, I also wanted a life like this, and I loved how fair play and strong morales played a large part in Tintin's philosophy. Being a girl doesn't stop me agreeing with the sentiments in this zine. Thanks for reviewing, I'll have to take a look!

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