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Twitter is always erupting over something, and today it is the turn of Tintin versus Asterix, sparked by this article. I thought I would use LJ's longhand forum to make a more indepth comment than my earlier '#TeamTintin'.

I've been reading Tintin since I could barely read, taking them out of my local library as a natural progression from the picture book section. Before I was confident enough to follow the large balloons of long words that fill Asterix, I could appreciate the clearly drawn actions and reactions of Tintin, starting with 'Snowy doesn't look where he's going and walks into a dustbin' and working gradually up the layers of sophistication. Comprehension of the plots came later, and a really deep appreciation only arrived when I learned more about the life and times of Hergé.

I came round to Asterix in due course and borrowed his adventures from the library too, even ploughing through my dad's French copies and one in Latin given to me by kowarth. But Tintin was there first and it was the Tintin books I began to collect privately, many as birthday presents from my grandma and grandpa.

The scope of Asterix's world is limited. All the Asterix books have the same structure: a quest, some anachronistic jokes, Romans get thumped, then there's a big feast. Tintin's world constantly expands and deepens, from the simplistic USA and USSR of the early books to the fantastic landscape of Tibet and the surface of the Moon.

I have Tintin on my wall; I wouldn't put Asterix up there. The artwork of Uderzo is lively and funny, but also a touch grotesque. I can close my eyes and recall just about any panel from any Tintin book, while Asterix is more about repeated images: Obelix toting a menhir, Asterix's toes leaving the ground as he drinks the magic potion, any character cocking his head and tapping his temple.

The names in Asterix are brilliant, of course, but remember that Tintin has funny names too, even if Getafix and Fulliautomatix are more obviously hilarious than the Maharajah of Gaipajama.

Finally, clinchingly, Snowy > Dogmatix. Obelix's little dog doesn't really do much, whereas Snowy is always in the thick of the action: getting drunk, chasing cats, occasionally performing feats of intelligence or selfless bravery, and providing wry commentary from ankle level.

So, over to you.

Tintin or Asterix?



Favourite Tintin/Asterix title?

Favourite Tintin/Asterix character?


I pick Tintin, because I've read almost all of them (except for the Congo and the Soviets, which I tried to acquire, but it didn't work, and I haven't tried again). Also, I like the art. The story is no doubt problematic in these times, but what from that time isn't? (That may be why I haven't tried too hard to get the Congo story; it would probably feel icky.)

I've had Asterix recced to me, but have never gotten into it.
I've got the Congo book -- and it certainly makes me feel icky, for the casual animal cruelty as much as the racism. It was (perhaps rather surprisingly) published in the UK a few years ago. However, it's generally shrink-wrapped -- but bookshops don't quite know what to do with it, and it is often seen on the children's shelves. It's a bit of a mess, really.
I find the animal cruelty more disturbing than the racism, which is at least benign on Tintin's part.

Tintin in the Land of the Soviets I have in black and white, and it's interesting to see Tintin's beginnings; the story might be simplistic but all the action, and the relationship with Snowy, is there right from the start.
I love them both, but Asterix is satire, the plot is irrelevant except to provide a situation for a particular attack.
Tintin is much more simple adventure, the plots are more engaging, and the humour more gentle.
Snowy is a classic Fox Terrier, sharing some characteristics with Montmorency from Three Men in a Boat.
Dogmatix... just a generic dog. Bof.
That aspect of Asterix went over my head as a child, which is probably why Tintin runs so much deeper for me.
Both AND Other. I greatly enjoyed (and still enjoy) both; I agree with your assessment of both comics, but I consider them too different to meaningfully compare: not just in terms of art, but also humor, stories and so on. (I'll note that not all Asterix comics follow the formulaic "Asterix and Obelix go to ${PLACE}", though: Obelix and Co. is different for instance. Also, Asterix is peppered with references to French politics and politicians that will inevitably get lost in translation and when the comics get read foreigners such as you and me.)

But yes, Others. What else? Spirou and Fantasio come to mind; in fact, pretty much anything by Franquin, one of the giants of Franco-Belgian comics. Indeed, Gaston is among the funniest comics I've ever read, bar none. I really adore Sfar's and Trondheim's Donjon, and the two also did other comics, such as Herrn Hases haarsträubende Abenteuer.

Lucky Luke can be very good, although it's a big of a mixed bag overall: later comics often made me feel that the series was running out of ideas, and that neither writer nor artist enjoyed their jobs anymore, resulting in humorless comics with lackluster, uninspired art. When it's good, it's good, though, and there's spin-offs like Rantanplan. I also love and practically grew up on Iznogoud: admittedly as formulaic as Asterix, perhaps even more so, but often imbued with an utterly surreal humor.

Then there's Percy Pickwick, who I think should appeal to you by virtue of being a British secret agent alone. :) I really enjoyed these comics, and always considered him to be the epitome of a spy in HM's service, rather than the more well-known Bond. And speaking of secret agents, there's also Ibañez's Clever and Smart: quite whacky, and often extremely funny (if rather lowbrow), although they're suffering from the same problem as Lucky Luke: Ibañez should've done what Watterson did and quit while he was ahead, instead of continuing to endlessly pump out poor comics in the end.

Ibañez also did other comics, but I'm not familiar with them. In the same vein, though, there's other artists like Sergio Aragones, Don Martin etc. (who I'm sure you're familiar with already). If you start crossing from absurdist humor into social commentary territory, you'll also find Gilbert and Shelton (The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, Fat Freddy's Cat etc.) and Gerhard Seyfried — who also collaborated with Ziska later on and whose comic and art were published as a complete edition in two huge "you-could-kill-someone-with-this" volumes.

This is just scratching the surface, though; I was never a big comic buff. But there's a huge number of worthwhile comics, from the less-than-SFW Morbus Gravis to Baltscheit's Valerius, from Mathieu's Acquesfaques to Nick Knatterton (not quite a secret agent, but a private eye, at least!), from Jamiri's semi-autobiographical oeuvre to Ayroles Mit Mantel und Degen (this one's furry!) to Tardi's Nestor Burma (another private eye), and so on. I can only encourage you to explore! :)
Wow, that was very detailed and gave me a lot of new areas to explore! I've never read Lucky Luke, but I recently visited a French friend who was helping her small daughter read one in the original, and I think it's time for me to check them out.
Enjoy them! There's a lot of good ones in that series.
Blake and Mortimer! I reviewed a couple of them in March 2012 and back then I wasn't sure. Since then, I've read everything so far available in English and have decided I approve. The Yellow "M" is probably my least favourite, so a shame I started with that one.
I couldn't bring myself to choose one over the other so I wimped out and chose "both".

Both appeal on different levels and I cannot help but love and cherish them both equally. I do agree with you on the point of Snowy vs Dogmatix although you missed out the fact that Snowy has also been to the Moon, which should make him the winner by default.

I will say that not all Asterix books follow the same formula although I will concede that Tintin does have more diversity in his adventures.

I've had Tintin posters on my wall and yet once planned to draw a huge Dogmatix on my wall, a plan stymied by my parents even though I had enlisted the help of my much more artistically-talented cousin.

I have read much more Tintin than I have Asterix though but I don't consider that enough to choose one over the other.

Tellingly though, I have visited two Tintin shops in my time and I have not forgotten about our proposed visit to the Herge museum, either!
Yes, must get on that! I would also like to go to Parc Asterix, but obviously if there was a Parc Tintin I'd want to go there too :)

> Snowy has also been to the Moon, which should make him the winner by default.

Heh, good point!
Indeed! That sodding IVA should be out of my hair soon and I need to do more "awesome" stuff in my life. My LJ is so Spartan because I largely do bugger-all these days.

This, I've been a fan of both since my kidhood, for entirely different reasons :)

I had a brilliant Tintin tie many years ago, featuring Thomson and Thompson. It was quite subtle, and looked from a distance like a nice, silver/black pattern until you got close up.

I need a Tintin icon. I've been meaning to make one for years: an animated gif of Snowy chasing the Captain's Siamese cat, possibly.