Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Tintin & Asterix - Trivia

I think even as I try to sound serious about comics, I shouldn’t desist from posting a bit of interesting observations. Even though in one of my earlier posts, I had said that Tintin and Asterix are as different as chalk and cheese in the sense that they don’t fall into the same genre in comics, I cannot help notice a lot of similarity between the main stars of both the comics. Maybe it’s because they are from the same backyard, or maybe it’s accidental, or maybe certain things inspire certain other things. But as the Boy Reporter appeared almost 30 years before the Gaul, I guess the onus is on the latter to vindicate his name that I am about to sully a bit.

Tintin & Asterix

All right, protagonists first! No comments on the funny nature of names. That happens with every single comic book hero. But couldn’t help notice the lack of height! Well yeah, Tintin is a boy (though he often gives the impression that he is at least a 20 year old). So he has to be short! But being the first kid on the block, he owes no one no explanation. But what about Asterix? Why does he have to be a midget? So that he’ll look cute? Or is it that before he debuted in the comic book he was part of a stock character team along with Obelix as shortso and fatso?

Haddock & Obelix

Both the protagonists got companions who are not as brilliant as them and are there mostly for comic relief! One drinks like a fish and one eats like a pig!

Snowy & Dogmatix

The dogs! The only difference here is that the latter belong to the sidekick. There is a huge mystery here. How did Dogmatix end up on Obelix’s lap instead of on Asterix’s lap, as is usually the case? I mean it’s the hero, who always has a dog, isn’t it? I mean the hero does all the adventuring, doesn’t he? I mean the hero deserves the dog, doesn’t he? So was it rather deliberate?

Calculus & Getafix

When you are in fix, get a fix! That’s what the Druid is for. Lack of technology meant that he had to fool around with potions and mistletoes. But his earlier Belgian counterpart, a certain Professor Calculus has the 20th century at his disposal and dabbles in modern day inventions. Not as potent as the magic potion, nevertheless his inventions can take you all the way to the moon. Bottom line is, both are inventors in the their own right.

Castafiore & Cacofonix

Now it’s a mere question of gender! The ladyhood and 20th century snobbery might have saved Madam Castafiore a lot of blushes, but for the poor old Cacofonix, it was tough life indeed. But then you can’t expect a bunch of bashing barbarians to have an ear for music, can you?

Apart from the main stars I can only think of one other character similarity off hand, but this one is even more striking.

Abdulla and Pepe

Aha! Both of them are spoiled brats and irritate the hell out of the readers themselves that you want to enter into the comic book just to spank the hell out them. But that’s beside the point. The point is that both of them are there for diplomatic reasons and their protection is top priority. Besides both look similar. Coincidence?

But well, even though one can point out all these similarities proudly like Thomson and Thompson, I am not going to argue that the creators of Asterix liberally helped themselves to the characters from Tintin except perhaps in the case of Pepe and to a certain extent in the case of Cacofonix. It was perhaps merely a question of creating a wide array of characters and besides in Asterix some of the stories revolve entirely around these characters, which is not the case with Tintin.

But then at the end of the day it is quite interesting to note these little similarities that add a lot of colour and breadth to the two great comic book series ever written!