Yesterday, my nephew, Bagus, had a unique birthday present from his siblings: complete series of “Petualangan Tintin”. That legendary comic was one of must-read book back in my childhood years. I remember every kids (around me) had read (or even had) at least one edition of them that days. But I think, in this era where mangas flooding on racks in almost every bookstores, this comic doesn’t attract kids that much anymore./
No, I don’t intend to compare that Belgian comic to that made-in-Japan book. I’m gonna share what I thought when I read one of those birthday present. After I looked at those series one by one, I found that there were three titles I hadn’t read. I never read them because those three were not published yet when I was little. Then before I went to sleep that night, I decided to take one of them as my pre-sleep reading. I chose “Tintin di Congo”. On the first couple pages, I felt this title will bring same excitement & laughs like the other series I had read before.
Instead, I found there was one fun fact in this book. The name of Tintin’s sidekick animal is MILO! I think every Tintin’s reader knew the name of the dog is Snowy. In this series, the picture of the dog, it’s size, color, even it’s foolness is exactly the same with the one called snowy, but Herge named it differently. In parts when Tintin already in Africa, some picture started taking my surprise.. and disappointment.
First, there was fragment where Tintin hunted for his dinner. You know what? He killed 15 (fifteen!) antelopes for just one dinner!! OK, he unintentionally killed them. But I didn’t find any fun out of to see 15 dead antelopes which caused by a carelessness of “the hero”. I thought Herge might just want to make a “black joke” in that chapter. But for me, it wasn’t a good one.
Another one took place when Tintin tried to save Milo, which was kidnapped by an Africa monkey. You know what? Tintin then killed one monkey and scalped it, just to use its skin for him to make a camouflage! In this chapter, the author seemed want to make a joke out of when the kidnapped monkey looked confuse not realize that “a monkey” in front of him/her was Tintin wearing monkey’s skin as his camouflage. Again, I didn’t find any fun of it!
The third “joke” out of killing animal was when Tintin went to elephant hunting. Ok, he didn’t kill the elephant. An animal accidentally pulled the trigger of Tintin’s gun. But, it was him who intend to kill that elephant, right? I felt sad when I saw Tintin smiled proudly, carrying two ivories of that dead elephant!
After I finished reading it, I wonder why Tintin was so mean to animals. Did animal rights issue not concern the author much when he created it? Aside of message that human can have a good mutual relation with animal (represented by Tintin-Milo/Snowy relationship), why did Herge not send another good message about relation between human and animal?
Suddenly, I felt that edition was the worst Tintin’s comic I’ve ever read. I also felt grateful that edition didn’t appear when I was a kid. Or maybe the publisher, “Indira” did it on purpose knowing it’s content potentially streaked the good image of the famous journalist-adventurer? Hem.. Tintin, I know heroes are human after all. But to kill those rare animals is intolerable cruelty. I don’t think my love for you remain the same after I read that book…