Tintin, the subject of 200 million comics sold, was likely based on a real 15-year-old …

 

In the overcrowded world of fictional characters, there are few faces as adorable as Tintin’s. Unlike Batman, Superman, or Wonder Woman, Tintin, the young investigative reporter, is not a household name in America, but he is definitely one of the most beloved figures in Europe.

With no specific magic powers, he is the antithesis of a superhero, but that didn’t prevent him from being widely admired by both children and adults. Charles de Gaulle once declared that Tintin is his only international rival, saying that “nobody notices, because of my height. We are both little fellows who won’t be got at by big fellows.”

Tintin and his fox terrier, Snowy, appeared for the first time on January 10, 1929, in the children’s supplement of the Belgian newspaper Le Vingtième Siecle. What started as the subject of a supplement went on to become a symbol of the 20th century, appearing in an inde­pen­dent comic book, on television, and even on the big screen in Steven Spiel­berg’s animated movie The Adven­tures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn.

Tintin is one of the most beloved figures in the comic book world.Author: Joi/Flickr-CC By 2.0

Georges Prosper Remi, known by the pen name Hergé, is the man behind the creation of Tintin. With almost no formal training, Hergé began drawing the legendary comic-book character in 1929, but little did he know that by doing so he would give birth to an entire European comics publishing industry.

Tintin and his fox terrier Snowy appeared for the first time in 1929. Author: karrikas/Flickr CC By 2.0

Since 1929, Tintin comics have sold more than 200 million copies, and over the years, this beloved character served as an inspiration for many people and influenced the ways comic book readers perceive the world around them. But what actually inspired Hergé to create the iconic character?

Debate still exists on what exactly inspired Hergé to come up with the snub-nosed teenage reporter, but most people agree that it was a real life person known by the name Palle Huld. It is one of the most original of origin stories in the comic book world.

Less than a year before Tintin made his first appearance, in the children’s supplement of  Le Vingtième Siecle, a 15-year-old Danish Boy Scout named Palle Huld won a competition organized by a Danish newspaper to mark the centennial of Jules Verne.

 

Palle Huld, during his trip around the world in 1928, almost certainly influenced Hergé to create Tintin.

The winner of the competition would re-enact Phileas Fogg’s voyage from Verne’s famous novel Around the World in Eighty Days. Strangely enough, only teenage boys were allowed to take part in the competition, and the 15-year-old was the perfect match. There was another twist: The winner had to complete the journey within 46 days, without any company and without using planes.

Hundreds of Danish teenagers applied to participate in the competition, and Palle was lucky enough to be chosen. He started his journey on March 1, 1928, from Copenhagen and traveled by rail and steamship through England, Scotland, Canada, Japan, the Soviet Union, Poland, and Germany.

His journey made the headlines at the time and when he arrived in Denmark, he was already a celebrity. Over 20,000 admirers greeted their hero when he came back home.

The next thing he did was write a book about his journey, which was quite popular among his admirers, and published in several languages. That book also came into the hands of a Belgian cartoonist known by the name of Hergé and that same year, when Huld’s book was published, Tintin made his debut.

Huld himself suggested on several occasions that he was the inspiration for Tintin. However, others believe that the inspiration behind the character was actually the French travel photojournalist Robert Sexe, whose journeys were exactly in the same order as Tintin’s first three books.

With no specific superpowers, Tintin is the antithesis of a superhero. Author: Hicham Souilmi CC By 2.0

Nonetheless, true Tintin fans couldn’t care less. For them it is all about the character, a hero they all know and love, representing something that others don’t have: uncompromising vigilance and the need to succeed no matter what the cost.

Tintin proves that a hero doesn’t need to be big or strong, he or she just needs to be tenacious and stubborn enough to do what needs to be done.

By Goran Blazeski

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Scots haggis exports to Canada to resume after 46 years

Scots haggis exports to Canada to resume after 46 years

haggisImage copyrightPAImage captionHaggis producers have been working on new recipes to get around regulations in Canada and the US

Scotland is to start exporting haggis to Canada for the first time in 46 years, it has been announced.

Canada lifted a ban on imports of red meat from Europe in 2015 but still does not allow imports of offal.

This has left Scottish producers, including Macsween of…

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Scots haggis exports to Canada to resume after 46 years

haggisImage copyrightPA
Image captionHaggis producers have been working on new recipes to get around regulations in Canada and the US

Scotland is to start exporting haggis to Canada for the first time in 46 years, it has been announced.

Canada lifted a ban on imports of red meat from Europe in 2015 but still does not allow imports of offal.

This has left Scottish producers, including Macsween of Edinburgh, working on new haggis recipes to meet local regulations there and in the US.

Economy Secretary Keith Brown welcomed the news during his tour of the US and Canada.

Scottish food and drink exports to Canada are now worth more than £94m, following increases in recent years.

‘Iconic symbol’

James Macsween, managing director of Macsween of Edinburgh, said he was “delighted” that his family’s firm would be the first to sell haggis in Canada for almost 50 years.

He said: “My grandfather, Charlie, would be very proud to see how far we’ve come from his original butcher’s shop in Bruntsfield, which he opened back in 1953.”


Selling haggis in Canada

Simon Bentall
Image captionThe authorities will raid shops to look for illegal imports, according to Simon Bentall

Simon Bentall, at the Scottish Loft in Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario, told the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme he was delighted about the change in the rules.

“We had haggis from the States, which was OK, but it’s not the same is it?

“We pride ourselves in having Scottish stuff; something from the States is not Scottish.”

Simon said there is an established demand for haggis in North America.

“The other day I sent it to California. Two tins of haggis to California.

“Florida once too. Sent a can to Florida. That was last November.”

The regulations can be rigorously enforced. Another shop specialising in imported goods was recently raided by the authorities.

“The Customs check all the time. Not my shop, but a friend has a shop about 20 miles away and he got raided.

“Some of the stuff was thrown away. Probably about £1,000 to £2,000 worth of stuff.”


Mr Brown, who is currently in Toronto promoting Scottish food and drink to Canadian buyers, said haggis was “a truly iconic symbol of Scotland”.

He added: “After waiting 46 years, I’m sure there will be many Canadians and ex-pat Scots looking forward to having Scotland’s national dish at the centre of their table at the next Burns’ supper.

“This development is an indication of the increasing interest in, and love of, Scottish food and drink produce in North America.

“As a government, we have supported Macsween to grow their business and will continue to support Scottish companies in unlocking the significant opportunities to be found in this fast-growing market.”