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CAPTAIN HADDOCK - TINTIN

Thursday April 21st, 2011
NAUTICAL HEROES AND VILLAINS - CAPTAIN HADDOCK

Captain Haddock was first introduced into the comic book series The Adventures of Tintin by Belgian comics writer and artist Herge in 1940. His appearance in The Crab with the Golden Claws proved so successful that he became quite possibly the most popular character in the series, essentially sidelining Tintin’s faithful canine sidekick snowy.

Captain Haddock is by far the most colourful and interesting of Herge’s creations and this was reflected in his vast array of expressions. Previously Herge had used a minimalist approach to his characters facial tics, in particular Tintin himself. Haddock however was blessed with a full range of scowls, grimaces, growls and looks of dazed drunkenness. Appropriately, his name was suggested by Herge’s wife when she noted that Haddock was a ‘sad English Fish’.

The Rum swigging multi-millionaire ex merchant seaman is probably best loved for his colourful language. Herge realized that, as veteran a sailor, Haddock would need to swear, but as he was writing for children he couldn’t use obscene language. He solved the problem by having his spout irrelevant often surreal or ridiculous phrases angrily, the most famous of which is probably ‘Blistering Barnacles!’ Indeed there is even a published dictionary of Captain Haddock’s insults.

Initially a somewhat sad alcoholic character prone to many weaknesses, throughout the series Haddock developed into a hero on a par with Tintin himself and the perfect foil for the young protagonist. His course humanity and sarcasm are the ideal counterpoint for Tintin’s implausible bravery and his dry wit is often used when the boy reporter becomes to idealistic.

Over seventy years after he first stepped aboard the Karaboudjan, Captain Archibald Haddock remains one of the best loved comic creations in the world. Indeed he is soon to appear on the big screen played by Andy Serkis in a blockbuster from no other than Steve Spielberg! 'Blistering Barnacles!'
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