Tintin the nonagenarian: 90 years ago on Thursday, the character was published for the first time in a Belgian newspaper. And though strongly associated with Brussels, the globe-trotting reporter – along with creator Hergé – also had Swiss links.
Indeed, just three years after Tintin’s 1929 unveiling in the Belgian Petit Vingtième paper, the character’s cartoon strips were seen in the Swiss weekly L’Echo – one of the first publications outside Belgium to publish him.
And a few decades later, in 1956 Tintin himself – as well as Hergé (1907-1983), who kept a house in the Villars ski station in canton Vaud – would make a real appearance in the Alpine nation.
The 18th of Tintin’s adventures, the Calculus Affair saw the reporter flying into Geneva airport before heading to Nyon and Rolleexternal link in search of the famous Professor Calculus, who has mysteriously disappeared after attending a nuclear physics conference in Geneva.
Indeed, Professor Calculus himself (who is rescued) was based on another illustrious Swiss adventurer: Auguste Piccard, the first man to reach the stratosphere in a balloon and the inventor of the deep diving vessel he called a “bathyscaphe”. Later, the Piccard family tradition of adventuring was continued by Auguste’s son Jacques and grandson Bertrand.
Over the years, Tintin appeared in 23 editions that sold over 250 million copies and were translated into over 100 languages around the world.