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Explorers on the Moon (The Adventures of Tintin) (1954)

by Hergé

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Tintin {Hergé} (17)

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1,696189,302 (4.14)24
Tintin and his friends are involved in the first manned flight to the moon which proves perilous.

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English (12)  Danish (3)  French (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (17)
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My review, as posted in Tintin Books:

A review:

[b:Destination Moon|179172|Destination Moon (The Adventures of Tintin)|Hergé|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1172468323s/179172.jpg|2278369] was an engrossing read, but at times Herge's interest in the science overwhelmed the story. "Explorers on the Moon" doesn't make that same mistake: there are almost no false notes here. This is a suspenseful, emotional, hilarious and engaging story.

For a start, the plot moves along at a nice pace. After takeoff, there are both comic and serious misadventures on board the rocket, and then we arrive at the moon and several more events take place. Things never get the time to lag, as they do in many Tintin albums that precede this one. As the adventure reaches its climax, the stakes are higher than they have ever been before, and this is reflected in Tintin's seriousness. For the story to work, we have to be aware of the life-or-death situation inherent in space travel, and Herge doesn't let us forget it.

Yet comedy is far from lost because of this: the Thompsons have never been grander - their decision to dance a ballet on the moon is beautiful, even more so their immediate concern that they might be seen. Haddock trimming the ever-growing beards of the stricken Thompsons is also a laugh-out-loud moment, thanks to Herge's clever cutting between frames. Amidst all this, there is a level of emotional sincerity previously unheard of in the albums. I still adore the fact that Haddock gets drunk so often, AND sometimes as an emotional crutch. I can't imagine modern American comics doing this - at least not the ones intended partially for children. And as surely the only Tintin work with a suicide involved, this is much more mature and sombre stuff, although well tempered by the comedy and majestic scenes of scientific discovery.

All this is without even mentioning Cuthbert Calculus, a marvelous character who has never been better used. Equipped with an ear trumpet for (moderate) hearing improvement, he is articulate, intelligent and practical - if sometimes too much so. On Haddock drifting away from the rocket, Calculus just sighs and admits that they will have to notify Earth of another celestial body.

Herge's knowledge, of course, still comes through but for whatever reason it is more agreeable here than in the previous album. Perhaps this is because kids at the time would've just been so eager to learn everything about the moon and space travel, or just because even to those of us sixty years later, walking on the moon is as astounding a concept as it has ever been. Moreso than any other Tintin work - in an already gobsmacking oeuvre - "Explorers on the Moon" is magical. Between the startlingly beautiful full-page shots of the rocket en route to the moon (in which we see Herge working with a far less varied palette) and the gleeful excitement of the crew, this work reflects a mature and emotional Herge in all his glory.

Incidentally, to finish on a low note, if there is one misstep it is the overkill of cliffhangers in the final few pages. I know that he needed to make the requisite number of pages, and of course returning to earth was - and still is - a perilous business. But after so many pages of intrigue and emotion, it feels a little false to spend four or five pages with consecutive cliffhangers . But a minor point in a major success. ( )
  therebelprince | May 1, 2023 |
This was so good! I liked it even better than Objectif Lune. The story was exciting; I gasped out loud at certain plot developments. The sneaky guy with glasses listening in on the expedition’s comms does take a while to be explained… either that or I’d already forgotten who he was from the previous book. But he is explained in the end. And once again Captain Haddock steals the show. My favourite Haddockism this time was when he and Tintin were walking on the moon and he started singing “Au clair… de la Terre…” Genius. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Feb 18, 2023 |
Fun. Captain Haddock drunk in antigravity having smuggled his whiskey inside a fake book Guide to Astronomy was very amusing. I particularly liked the author's mentions of the Adonis meteorite, and the places on the moon itself - The Sea of Nectar, Craters Bailly and Hipparchus. ( )
  AChild | Mar 12, 2021 |
Two words: Reaction mass.

That said, this and Destination Moon are what got me interested in rocketry. A most lovely re-visit. ( )
  wetdryvac | Mar 2, 2021 |
Mayores de 8 años
  Alba26 | Aug 23, 2019 |
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» Add other authors (28 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
HergéAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jones, DafyddTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lonsdale-Cooper, LeslieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Turner, MichaelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zendrera, ConcepciónTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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