Thundering Typhoons

As the 75th birthday of the famous cartoon adventurer Tintin is marked at the end of this month by a special exhibition at the National Maritime Museum, Hergé’s biographer Michael Farr tells how his boyhood love of the character led to a special relationship with its creator.

My point of departure rests on two safe assumptions: that every child in the French-speaking world is familiar with Tintin, and that many aspiring reporters derive inspiration from the cartoon character who this year celebrates his 75th birthday. I spent the first four years of my life in Paris and so was introduced to Tintin, along with Babar the elephant, as my first reading. We moved to London in 1957, coincidentally the year of the first publication of Tintin in English. Years later, like Tintin, I became a reporter and, in due course, a foreign correspondent. I too had adventures in Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.

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