Tintin in the Land of the Splendid Automobiles

In The Seven Crystal Balls, Tintin’s ride was a golden Lincoln Zephyr.

We’re slightly nervous about the Spielberg-directed The Adventures of Tintin, an animated 3-D extravaganza that brings Hergé‘s spunky gumshoe reporter to life (the title character is played by Jamie Bell, despite our entreaties that the role be given to Burberry’s Christopher Bailey). On the bright side, the film’s imminent American debut has occasioned some swell Tintin coverage. In the Wall Street Journal, Meghan Cox Gurdon did a fine job of elucidating the enduring appeal of the brave yet fallible young Belgian, whose dramatic adventures remain at human scale. “And he is always gorgeously drawn in the distinctive clean lines of his creator, Georges Remi (whose initials reversed and pronounced in French produced the nom de plume Hergé),” she writes. “Hergé’s style is so perfectly suited to the two-dimensional medium of comics that any digital version was bound to produce howls of outrage.” Meanwhile, Fred Bierman of The New York Times calls attention to Tintin’s excellent and wide-ranging taste in cars, from a 1921 Ford Model T to a 1971 Land Rover 109. And how’s this for a kicker?

The automobile is even responsible for Tintin’s most identifiable trait: the upturned tuft of his orange hair. In the first book, Tintin’s hair was combed flat, but it was a fast ride in an open-top 1925 Mercedes that gave rise to his now-famous hairstyle. It has stayed that way ever since.