Sunday, February 13, 2011
Ranking the Tintin series
Of the twenty-three completed Tintin adventures, I don't think any are outright bad, but some are obviously better then others. Here's my ranking from best to worst, with the chronological ordering in parentheses.
1. The Calculus Affair (18) – all the series’ best elements; none of its weaker ones
2. The Castafiore Emerald (21) – a masterful smaller-scale piece
3. Land of Black Gold (15) – fun, diverse settings and a still-scary political yarn
4. Tintin in Tibet (20) – a wonderful, touching tale; the only one without a villain!
5. King Ottokar's Sceptre (8) – the last pre-Haddock adventure is also the best
6. Tie: Destination Moon (16) – an excellent set-up to...
Explorers on the Moon, which is just as strong
8. The Red Sea Sharks (19) – the least original later adventure still pops
9. Tintin and the Picaros (23) – what it lacks in exuberance it makes up in maturity
10. Red Rackham's Treasure (12) – a splendid payoff to its predecessor
11. Prisoners of the Sun (14) – a mostly terrific adventure
12. The Seven Crystal Balls (13) – suspenseful horror, but ultimately a bit silly
13. The Blue Lotus (5) – humane, informed and exciting, but unrefined artwork
14. Cigars of the Pharaoh (4) – less researched than later capers, but just as fun
15. The Black Island (7) – lively and charming, if somewhat thin
16. The Crab with the Golden Claws (9) – Haddock’s debut is great; the rest, okay
17. The Secret of the Unicorn (11) – engaging story, but not much sense of place
18. The Broken Ear (6) – slapstick plotting and weaker artwork, but strong satire
19. The Shooting Star (10) – a fun if ultimately shaggy-dog caper
20. Tintin in America (3) – visually inventive and amusing, but overly cartoonish
21. Flight 714 (22) – aliens? Forced amnesia? A wussified Rastapopulous? Lame.
22. Tintin in the Congo (2) – a youthful error in racism, though visually dynamic
- Tintin in the Land of the Soviets (1): no color edition, and I haven’t read it
- Tintin and Alph-Art (24): incomplete, and I haven’t read it