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The Black Island by Hergé

The Black Island (1938)

by Hergé, Hergé

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Tintin (7)

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Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
Tintin is wondering through the Belgian countryside, out for a nice leisurely stroll, when he sees a plane making an emergency landing. Being the helpful young man that he is he goes to see if he can help but is immediately shot and left for dead. However, as we have discovered, it is very hard to kill Tintin, and it turns out that the bullet only grazed him, and he decides that he must go and investigate, so he jumps on a train and travels to England after discovering that the same plane crashed near Cornwell.
This is the first Tintin album (they seem to refer to the books as albums) in which I discovered that Tintin was not English. Up until that time I was always under the impression that Tintin lived in London (I guess the English versions suggested that, particularly implying that Thompson and Thomson worked at Scotland Yard). However, in this album it is clear that Tintin has to cross the English channel, and as a kid this left me confused, trying to work out where Tintin lived (turns out that it is Brussels).
This is probably nowhere near the best of Herge's work, but it is still very amusing and quite quirky. In this album Tintin is on the trail of some counterfeiters and travels to Scotland to confront them. Once again the Thompson twins are on a false trail as they pursue Tintin for an alleged robbery on the train. We have seen this aspect of the twins before, where they would rescue Tintin because they wanted to be the ones that arrested him. In this album we are also introduced to Loch Lommond whiskey, and we discover that Snowy as a taste for it.
This album has been revised a few times, and I suspect that the version that I read was one of the later versions. The reason I say this is because when he travels from Brussels to the English coast, the train travels on an electrified track. Also, at the end, when he leaves Scotland, he leaves by a large passenger jet, something that I do not believe was available in 1937 (though Hitler had begun using the plane as a means of campaigning, and large planes had been built to drop bombs on Germany during the war). I'm not sure if you could consider it anachronistic though since many of the later editions of Tintin had been moved into a 60s time period, though we do notice that he does travel by ship often (particularly in the Blue Lotus and Tintin in America where he travels by ship to China and America respectively). In the later albums we begin to see him travelling more by plane, to Flight 714 where we discover them in a modern airport travelling by Lear Jet.
This album is still a good album, and scenes where the huge gorilla is running away from little Snowy is quite impressive. I note that Snowy seems to speak a lot less here, though the attitude of Tintin towards his dog has changed since the original album (where Tintin would constantly chastise him for not being obedient) however we see Tintin punish Snowy for his alcoholism in this particular story. ( )
  David.Alfred.Sarkies | Apr 17, 2014 |
The art is pretty cool and there's a lot of slapstick humor. Not my favorite.
  Frenzie | Feb 19, 2014 |

The Black Island is a bit of a step backwards for Tintin; he is shot and wounded ion the first page, and then chases a group of forgers to Scotland by a series of improbable incidents involving various means of transport and defeats a gorilla in a ruined castle, all the while hindered by the bungling detectives Thomson and Thompson (who in fairness get some good lines here). One wonders why anyone would go to the trouble of forging Belgian francs in Scotland (or indeed anywhere at all); the basic plot, of a criminal conspiracy being unmasked, is awfully similar to Cigars of the Pharaoh and Tintin in America, though the story is on safer ground by mocking the British rather than Arabs, Indians or native Americans. Not really one of the classics. ( )
  nwhyte | Nov 16, 2013 |
So far the best adventure in the series. Gone is the overt racism and political agendas. Here is Tintin and Snowy at their best, trying to solve a mystery. After witnessing a plane crash while out walking Tintin rushes to help only to be fired upon. So begins a chance across the English Channel through Britain to Scotland.

The main stand out in this book is the prominence of Snowy. Here he evolves from annoying follower to active adventurer, helping Tintin get out of (and sometimes into) trouble. And he also gets a taste for Scotch whisky.

I'm glad to see Tintin how I remember it. A man and his dog solving mysteries not involving a multi-coloured van and suspicious snacks or racist, colonial overtones. ( )
  Shirezu | Mar 31, 2013 |
Tintin and Snowy in Scotland! Hoots, mon! The stereotyped vernacular of the locals is amusing, but then I'm not Scottish!

I like Snowy's thought bubbles - it's a pity Hergé didn't maintain them throughout the whole series. Thomson and Thompson continue to be twits!

Hergé's illustrations of the Black Island and its castle are very atmospheric; I particularly liked them. ( )
  Michael.Rimmer | Mar 29, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (19 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hergéprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hergémain authorall editionsconfirmed
Lonsdale-Cooper, LeslieTranslatormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Turner, MichaelTranslatormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Janzon, Allan B.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Janzon, KarinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zendrera, ConcepciónTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Tien?... un avion...
"But there's more than one way of using an automatic... I'll demonstrate!" - Tintin, before pistol-whipping two thugs into unconsciousness.
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Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Disambiguation notice
This is the 1966 redrawn and colourised version of The Black Island (L'Île Noire). Please, do not combine it with the 1937 black and white version or the 1943 first colourised version.
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Information from the Swedish Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.

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Follow Tintin, his dog Snowy, and his pals as they track down a sinister gang that counterfeits money in their hide away on Scotland's Black Island!

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