I now understand all about “CHANG!” and the peculiar storyline that relies on nothing other than Tintin’s dreams and intuition for narrative drive. Tintin in Tibet was the first Tintin I read, and I just didn’t get it at the time – it’s pretty basic fare compared to some of the others, even if the art is amazingly clean and beautiful (and there’s a yeti!).
But now I know the history of Hergé and his real friend Chang (someone who’d opened his eyes to Chinese culture, and even played a major role the creation of Tintin and the Blue Lotus), it becomes clear that Tintin in Tibet is a calling cry to a friend who he’s sure is still alive, even after they’d lost touch many years ago. I was almost in tears reading how events of the 20th Century conspired to keep Hergé from Chang for nearly 50 years.
It is a story worthy of a Tintin book in itself, and I can’t do it justice here, but when I read that after Hergés death Chang took to wearing a yellow scarf in honour of him (the same as the character wore in Tintin in Tibet), I realised that Tintin in Tibet had a lot more going for it than I first thought.
I feel like I’m back at art school all of a sudden. But although I have picture books coming out of my ears, none of them concern landscape painting or Caspar David Friedrich.
It’s all about comics, you see. I’m trying to soak up as much comic brilliance as I can at the moment, as I’m about to create some of my own for the Yetis. It’s all sort of taking shape at the moment, but here is some of the work I picked up on Tuesday.
I’m well known for my love of Hayao Miyazaki, and although he’s more revered for his films, this Nausicca manga is absolutely phenomenal. The movement of the flying machines, the characters, the action scenes – it’s all beautiful, and hand drawn, and as good as any artwork I’ve ever seen in a comic.
Then there’s Osamu Tezuka and Astro Boy. He’s king of the fast-paced action scene and the huge wide-angle landscape shot to create setting. Astro Boy is quite unique, and for a lot younger audience than his other work that I’ve read, but it’s still captivating and full of heart.
As you can probably see, there’s a big Japanese theme here. It’s not intentional, as such, but it’s more a case of me catching up. The League of Extraordinary Gentleman would have been here had I not read it a short while ago.
Next up is Tintin. I’d not read any of these before – I preferred the adventures of Asterix, Obelix and, of course, Dogmatix when I was younger. (It was a sort of Beatles versus the Rolling Stones case, I think.) Tintin didn’t grab me at all, but now I’m loving them. I love the involved stories, the beautifully clean drawings and machines, and I love Captain Haddock and Snowy.
And then there’s Akira, by Katsuhiro Otomo. Speaks for itself, really, but to see the bike scene drawn on paper is a wonder to behold. Here’s the animated version – I can remember getting so excited seeing this as a young teenager. It’s the blurry trail of lights off the back of the bikes that are so awesome.
If anybody in Britain knows someone who speaks german and might like to read it, I have a few spare copies!