Saturday, October 10, 2009

Tintin and The Blue Lotus by Herge

The Blue Lotus,1936, is a sequel to Cigars of the Pharaoh, where Tintin continues with his struggle against a major gang of drug smugglers. The title, Blue Lotus, is an opium den.

In those times, Japanese troops were occupying parts of the Chinese mainland. Shanghai was a trading base in China for Western nations i.e., British and Americans. Hergé based his narrative upon the events of the time, which includes the blowing-up of the South Manchurian railway.

The Blue Lotus was the most important album in the sense that it depicted Tin Tin the way we know him now. In a way, it sets the mood of the subsequent albums.

Here in this album, the intrigue with the smugglers takes Tintin, from India to Shanghai where his life is constantly in danger as the smugglers try to stop him from finding a cure for their secret poison of madness.

Tintin's friendly adversaries, the twin Thompson brothers, detectives, make their appearance in this album and there is a very humorous scene where they disguise themselves as Chinese in pre-reform costumes and become the centre of attention. Wang and young Chang, two remarkably clever and resourceful allies, along with Tintin can overcome anything.

This album depicts the world between the two wars. The adventures are well crafted and the colour illustrations are sumptuous in detail. Shanghai marvelously comes to life in this book with its opium dens, busy streets, and tea shops. All this, considering that Herge had not visited Shanghai at that point of time. He went there much later.


Louise said...

Oddly enough, The Blue Lotus is one of my least faves of the whole Tintin-series. I always found the Chinese and Japanese characters to look very sinister, and remember actually being a tad bit scared (and not in the good-way-scared) when reading it as a kid. But I have to agree that the drawings are excellent in this one! Love Hergé.

Brooke from The Bluestocking Guide said...

I haven't heard if this series.