Sunday, August 19, 2012

Comic Review: The Adventures Of Tintin: The Broken Ear

Name of Comic: The Broken Ear
Author: Herge
What's It All About: A South American idol is stolen from a museum and replaced with a fake.  Tintin finds that the man who made the fake has also been killed but has left behind a parrot who says the murderer's name.  He tracks down the man on a ship to South America, only to find that the man is killed by other men (Ramon and Alonzo) who are also after the idol.  Tintin turns Ramon and Alonzo, who murdered the man who murdered the man (stay with me) only to find that they are friends of the man he has turned them over to, a Colonel who is corrupt.  Tintin is framed and sentenced to death.  Just as he is about to be killed, supporters of General Alcazar, who are trying to overthrow General Tapioca, burst in and release Tintin, thinking he must be a rebel like them.  General Alcazar is so impressed with Tintin, he makes him his aide-de-camp.  I'm going to actually skip ahead on this one because it is so convoluted that all I'd be doing is saying, "and then he went here and this happened" or "then these guys think this so they do this".  I mean really, this story makes almost no sense.  You find out towards the end that the idol is rumored to have a diamond in it which is why Alonzo and Ramon want it and are apparently willing to go all over the globe for it.  Tintin and the two men finally track down the real idol in an American's possession on a steamship.  They wrestle over it and the diamond falls into the ocean.  Alonzo and Ramon go in after it and drown.  The American agrees to let Tintin take the stolen idol back to the museum.  Whew! Seriously.

My Favorite Bit: In this one I really like the scenes in South America in the city of San Theodoros where General Tapioca is in charge until General Alcazar succeeds with his revolution.  Other than that...not much in this one.

Go Get It: The Broken Ear on Amazon US

Alonzo and Ramon drowning trying to get the diamond.  
Some say this may have been a hallucination of Tintin's.


Monday, August 6, 2012

Comic Book Review: The Blue Lotus

Name of Comic: The Blue Lotus

Author: Herge
What It's All About: The Blue Lotus is the sequel comic to Cigars Of The Pharaoh, which you can read my review about HERE.  After capturing a gang of drug smugglers, Tintin takes a well-earned vacation.  While visiting the Maharaja of Gaipajama, a Chinese man comes with a message from Shanghai but cannot deliver it as he is hit with a dart dipped in the poison of madness and goes crazy.  Tintin travels to Shanghai to find out what's going on.  This story is a bit complicated and I won't have room to tell it in detail, but one of the most interesting things about this story is Herge begins to use real life historical events.  Tintin foils the opium cartel and various people who help him are caught and given the cartel's "poison of madness".  He is saved at one point by a man named Wang Chen-Yee, the leader of a resistance movement called "The Sons of the Dragon".  Wang's son has been protecting Tintin and has also been given the madness poison, also called Rajaijah.  Wang tells Tintin that Mitsuhirato, someone Tintin thought was a friend, is actually a Japanese secret agent.  Our young reporter finds Mitsuhirato just as he blows up a railway line, mirroring the real life Mukden Incident.  No one is killed but the Japanese government calls it a Chinese terrorist attack and invade Manchuria. During a flood Tintin rescues another well-known character, Chang Chon-Chen from drowning in the Yangtze River.  They become friends and Chang helps Tintin avoid the well meaning Thompsons.    At the climax of the comic, Tintin discovers that the drug cartel is being run by Rastapopoulus, a man Tintin thought was a friend and a movie producer.  Tintin helps arrest the cartel and a Chinese doctor finds the cure to the poison of madness.  Chang is adopted by Wang Chen-Yee and Tintin triumphantly returns to Europe.  The fallout from Tintin's involvement with the cartel and Japanese spies leads Japan to withdraw from the League of Nations.

My Favorite Bit: This is a great comic, full of action, daring, and heroic characters.  Chang is a great companion for Tintin.  The full page illustrations are just amazing.  I like this story for it's intrigue and for it's somewhat complicated but fairly believable plot.  So, I suppose I don't have a favorite part--perhaps just the reinstating of those who have gone mad.  It's nice to see people that have been helping Tintin put back to normal afterwards.

Go Get It:  The Blue Lotus On Amazon US (Don't forget to get it with Cigars Of The Pharaoh, as they are a set!)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Comic Book Review: Cigars Of The Pharaoh

Well, you can tell that my summer has not slowed down but rather ramped up.  I apologize for the lengthy quiet in between comics but on to the next.

Name of Comic: Cigars Of The Pharaoh
Author: Herge
What's It All About: We start aboard a cruise ship in the Mediterranean with Tintin and Snowy.  They meet an Egyptologist named Dr. Sarcophagus who invites Tintin to come exploring with him.  They discover a tomb but opium is piped into it and they pass out.  They wake up on the sea in sarcophaguses, not knowing what happened to them.  This comic is filled with opium smugglers, Sheiks, ships, and a poison of madness.  We meet Oliveira de Figueira, Rastapopolus, Sheik Patrash Pasha, and for the first time--Thomson and Thompson, who think Tintin is a thief and a smuggler.  This fine story continues in The Blue Lotus.

Sarcophagus setting off a gun accidentally with Tintin and the Fakir

My Favorite Bit: I like this whole story.  It travels from the desert to the jungle to cruises to tombs.  I like the feel of it, the pacing, and the story line is fun.  Herge is at his best here and you can bet that parts of this story will probably end up in the next Tintin movie.  If you had to get three of these comics to start with, this should definitely be one of them.

Tintin and Snowy running for a plane / Tintin in a car in the rain

Go Get It: Cigars Of The Pharaoh on Amazon US in paperback

Tintin and Snowy back on a cruise ship, looking out to sea...

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Comic Book Review: Tintin In America

I will begin reviewing the Tintin comics with Tintin In America.  While it's not my favorite, it is the first that I'll review since the previous two that Herge wrote (Tintin In The Land Of The Soviets and Tintin In The Congo) are not widely circulated and (my opinion) Herge hadn't hit his stride yet.  This is the third official comic in the series The Adventures Of Tintin.

Name of Comic: Tintin In America
Author: Herge
What's It All About: Tintin, a famous reporter, visits America with his faithful dog Snowy, where he plans to report on the crime syndicates of Chicago.  Tintin gets into many scrapes with the mob and they spend all their energy trying to do away with the meddlesome detective.

My Favorite Bit: In this one my favorite bit is when Tintin has to dive off the train, off a trestle, and into water below.  It's a pretty amazing sequence.  I couldn't find a picture of it online but that just means you'll have to buy the book.
Suitable Age For Reading: My suggestion for a good age to start reading this is around eight.  Kids can look through these at earlier ages but there is a lot of talking and many plot ideas that need a little older mind to be understood.
Go Get It: Tintin In America on Amazon US.  I listed the paperback version as they are more comic-bookey that way. The hardbacks are fine but tend to put three books in one and I prefer each as an individual comic.

A Little About The Author:
Herge is the pen name of Georges Prosper Remi, a Belgian comics writer and artist.  He was born (on my birthday) May 22, 1907 and died March 3, 1983.  He is best known for the Tintin comics but he also wrote the other book series such as Quick & Flupke and Jo, Zette, and Jocko. A Herge museum was opened on June 2, 2009 in Louvain-La-Neuve in Belgium and Herge was inducted into the Comic Book Hall Of Fame in 2003.

Stick around for further reviews of Tintin Comics.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A note

Good day to you blog-world.  Just a note of apology at my lack of reviewing--we have suddenly moved and as you know moving is exhausting and consuming.  I will be posting reviews again very soon.  Thanks for holding on!  Coming soon: Reviews of all Tintin comics!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

In Case You Needed A Few Extra Books For Easter

I already posted my Five Books list but I found a few I couldn't resist.  Beatrix Potter usually comes to mind when people begin thinking of spring, bunnies, and little books for Easter baskets.  And why not? They are a perfect child-size, they have lovely illustrations, and they're nice short tales.  Here are a few of my favorites, along with a couple other books in case you needed them:

Owen's Marshmallow Chick

These are some of my favorite spring books and Owen's Marshmallow Chick is my favorite in a small set of Kevin Henkes books that are just good fun.  Check the set out on Amazon HERE.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Five Books You Should Have For Easter

I love springtime, mostly because of the rain.  Rain means we can stay indoors and read books, work on projects, or just do Legos...that's right--I said Legos.  Here are a few books that are great to put in an Easter basket--saves you having to put in more candy, and books are always a lovely gift.  Our children have too many toys as it is so I love to buy books on all occasions.  

You can find the story of the death and resurrection of Jesus in the Bible in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.  You can also get the book above, which is a pretty good children's Bible.  We read both on Easter and even though we enjoy bunnies, chocolate eggs, chicks, and Easter egg hunts, we still remember why we celebrate Easter in the first place!
Grab it at Amazon HERE

This is a book filled with soft and pretty illustrations.  It is a "lift the flap" book with some gorgeous hidden Easter eggs with added foil detailing.  
I've reviewed this already and you can check out my full review HERE.
Grab this on Amazon HERE

This is another book in a series of photo books.  The photos are from the seventies, but they are quite lovely.  The Little Duck is about about a boy who finds a duck egg in the grass near the edge of a pond. 
Find it on Amazon HERE

(You can also check out "The Little Rabbit" which I've reviewed already HERE.)

A fun book from my childhood, written by Margaret-Wise Brown and illustrated by Garth Williams.  Can you get any more classic than that? Check it out!
I've reviewed this and the link is HERE.

Celebrating the holiday with the most candy thrown at you, this book will look perfect at the back of an Easter basket.  It's one in a series of Happy Day Book's called "How God Gives Us..."  It's my favorite, not only because of the subject, but because it is informative, illustrated nicely, and short.  Pick this one up used today!
Get it on Amazon HERE

So there you have it.  If you need something to watch on Easter, I can always recommend these: