Tintin, or as the French/Belgians pronounce ‘TanTan’ is one of the most recognisable comic book characters of all time and his recent foray into Hollywood has only increased his long lasting appeal.
Created by Belgian Cartoonist Georges Remi (aka Hergé), the books follow reporter Tintin, his faithful fox terrier Snowy, the brash and caustic Captain Haddock and the scatterbrained Professor Calculus as they uncover mysteries and report on crimes in a collection of story books set around the globe (and one in space).
I really enjoyed these books and appreciated the style, ‘Ligne Claire’, with which the characters were brought to life on paper.
One of those books, The Blue Lotus, is set in Asia, China to be precise, and it is this book that has spawned a million fakes across South East Asia.
While walking through the Central Market in Phonm Penh and Chattachuk Market in Bangkok I noticed that there were t-shirts and posters on sale: Tintin in Cambodia or Tintin in Thailand.
It appears that Tintin is being used by the hawkers and vendors to make money and that there is a full blown war for ‘Hearts and Minds’ over the little blonde Belgian. In particular one image of him on a Cyclo.
In a proper bookshop in Vientiane, Laos there was even an Adult Parody Tintin for sale..Tintin in Thailand.
In this infamous knock-off Tintin and his entourage explore the seedier side of Thailand, including Patpong in Bangkok.
At least there is one traveller in SE Asia who won’t be bought into this sham…