After having a quick look at various top 50 graphic novels lists on the net, I was slightly disappointed to find hardly any Tintin or Asterix mentions.
The story starts the same as pretty much any other Tintin book… With his trustful fox terrier Snowy at his side, our intrepid young reporter wanders straight into trouble within the first few pages!
In a first for Herge the plot is spread out over two books, allowing the action to move at a slower pace than usual. Lets face it, deep down we all really just want to wake up in the morning and walk into an adventure by lunch time, and if you don’t feel this, then I don’t think you’d be cut out for Tintin.
The artwork is very impressive, drawn in the same clear Herge style, with vivid colours jumping out from every page. The Secret of the Unicorn was Herge’s favourite book of his own work, and also his first double length story. We would like to say a big thank you to all of the thousands of teachers that have worked with us. Is there a rule that once a strip is around for more than 50 years it loses its status as a comic book?


At a market stall in his native Belgium, Tintin comes across a model of a ship thinking it to be the perfect present for his friend Captain Haddock. The scenes are much longer, and the dialogue is fleshed out a great deal with some brilliant exchanges (an aspect of Tintin that is often overlooked). The Secret of the Unicorn has maybe the most sophisticated narrative structure of any Tintin book; Herge’s masterful grasp of adventure is clearly on display as he slowly weaves together a story full of mystery and suspense. In maybe my favourite sequence in the book, Captain Haddock recounts the tale of his ancestor and a pirate attack on his ship.
Tintinoligist Michael Farr (best job title in the world ever?) has described it as Tintin’s last great detective adventure. Well, GCB will always fight for the ‘Classic Comic Book’ status these titles rightfully deserve, and in preparation for the Hollywood adaptation of Tintin being released later this year, we will be reviewing (but mostly gushing over) the Tintin books making their way to the big screen. After purchasing the model, two mysterious gentlemen step forward and try to forcibly buy it from Tintin, but he refuses to sell and heads home. Unusually for Herge, the action is cut between both Haddock becoming more and more animated as the tale unfolds and a flashback to the events happening, giving the perfect opportunity to draw some beautifully detailed images of a ship on the high seas.


The book is full of classic Herge humour but also compelling and adventurous, spreading the action out over two books leaves Herge the space to fully flesh out the characters he would have left in the background before, and lets the plot run at a slower pace than usual. Permission Is Sought For All Images But If You Feel Your Work Is Being Used Unfairly It Will Be Removed.
Back at his flat, Snowy knocks over the model and breaks the mast and once Captain Haddock arrives he is amazed to find it is a replica of a ship his ancestor used to command before suffering at the hands of a vicious pirate attack. Herge was near obsessive about researching all elements of his books down to the smallest detail, and this can be seen not just in the image below but also in all his work. I would usually give slightly more of the plot away here, but I am worried that to say more would ruin this brilliant story.




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