Sohrab Armari of The Wall Street Journal reports for NY1 on newly released book titles and the world of publishing in "The Book Reader."
Growing up as the only son of a middle-class family in Tehran, Iran, I had my share of good boyhood friends. Among the best of them was Tintin, the boy-reporter created by the Belgian graphic novelist Herge, pen name of Georges Remi.
My childhood copies of Tintin's adventures were published before Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution. I came to them secondhand after the revolution, when, thanks to the ruling mullah's new editions, ceased to be published in Persian.
In the rest of world, however, Tintin continues to be printed in dozens of languages, selling, to this day, a mind-boggling 3 million copies a year, 30 years since Herge's death.
So what makes Tintin so charming to new young readers and their parents? The journalist Michel Daubert comes close to an answer in"Tintin: The Art of Herge," a gorgeous new book that traces Tintin's origins and the influences behind Herge's storytelling and designs.
Tintin made his debut in 1929 in a Belgian Catholic newspaper. In the 24 comic books that followed, he journeys to South American jungles, Arabian deserts and Tibetan peaks, even to the moon. Tintin's supposedly a journalist, but he never files a story, finding satisfaction instead in unraveling international criminal conspiracies and saving his friends from the clutches of totalitarian dictators.
As Mr. Daubert shows, much of Tintin's popularity is owed to Herge's detailed, vibrantly colored illustrations. But equally compelling is Tintin's eternal boyhood, his loyalty, moral stalwart-ness and endless curiosity about the world.
That’s what drew me to Tintin in as a child in the ayatollahs' Iran, and what keeps me going back all these many years later.