Tintin in America

Writer(s): Hergé
Artist(s): Hergé
Publisher: Little, Brown and Co.
ISBN: 978-0316358521
Price: $10.99
Page count: 62
Year Released: 1978
Status: in print
Original Source: Tintin en Amérique (1932)
Other Collected Edition(s): The Adventures of Tintin, vol. 1 (ISBN 978-0316359405); boxed set (ISBN 978-0316006682)
Genres: all ages; adventure; foreign lit; humor; mystery/crime; suspense/thriller; teen/young adult
Recommended for Fans Of: action-adventure stories
Possibly Objectionable Material: racial stereotypes; mild violence; drunkenness
If You Like This Book, Try: Bone
Also in This Series: preceded by Tintin in the Congo; followed by Cigars of the Pharaoh

Plot Summary
World-famous reporter Tintin and his faithful fox terrier, Snowy, travel to Chicago in 1931 to take on organized crime. First he takes on Al Capone himself, then Capone's rival, Bobby Smiles. Tintin chases him west, all the way to Redskin City, where Smiles fools the chief of the Blackfoot tribe into thinking Tintin is their enemy. Through it all, Tintin barely manages to escape the gangsters' dastardly plots against him time and time again.

My Own 2 Cents
The Adventures of Tintin are beloved by kids all around the world (or at least in the Western world, at which Hergé's hurtful stereotypes aren't generally aimed) and Tintin is one of the trinity of enduring childhood comic book heroes (the other two being Asterix and Archie). But for some reason I was never exposed to Tintin's adventures when I was a kid, so my reaction as an adult to these books is decidedly less enthusiastic than that of someone who grew up with them.

Setting the very un-p.c. stereotypes aside, Tintin in America in particular is plagued with a repetitious storyline, two-dimensional villains, and deus ex machinas out the wazoo. Every time Tintin is about to be killed off by one of the gangsters, some unbelievable event occurs that saves him. When he gets dropped into an industrial meat-grinder, for example, the workers at the factory suddenly and coincidentally go on strike and shut down the machine just as he's about to be ground up. Later, when the gangsters tie a huge dumbbell to his feet and throw him into Lake Michigan, it turns out that they had mistakenly used a prop dumbbell made of wood (which floats, naturally). Apparently gangsters in 1931 had no sense of what is heavy and what isn't.

I suspect that Hergé will have fine-tuned some of these problems in later volumes, but with no personal nostalgia to endear this volume to me, I can't recommend it all that much.