When it comes to The Adventures of Tintin, the tried and usually true adage that tells us not to judge a book by its cover doesn’t apply. Each entry in Hergé’s ridiculously successful series of long-form comics was as appealing on the outside as it was inside, their front covers enough to convince children the world over to hand over weeks of pocket money and do so with a smile.
With Spielberg’s wondrous 3D-interpretation of Hergé’s vision (based mainly on numbers five and 20 on this list) airing on SBS VICELAND this Saturday night, we decided to channel our inner child and brave the seemingly impossible task of ranking the 24 books by the allure of their cover. Wish us luck.
NB: For certain books in the series, more than one cover was released, but we’ve gone with the illustrations most recognisable to Australians.
24. Tintin and Alph-Art (24th book)
As this cover was released posthumously, it was always going to sit at the bottom.
23. Tintin in America (third book)
We’re sure you can guess why this cover comes in second last.
22. The Castiafore Emerald (21st book)
For some reason, this illustration seems a little more polished and therefore less charming than the others.
21. The Secret of the Unicorn (11th book)
Can that boat please move out of the way?
20. The Calculus Affair (18th book)
Professor Calculus is just taking a nap, right?
19. Tintin and the Land of the Soviets (first book)
Before the covers came into their own, but a classic nonetheless.
18. The Broken Ear (sixth book)
Tintin, never go downriver!
17. Flight 714 to Sydney (22nd book)
Unfortunately, Tintin never reaches Australia.
16. King Ottokar’s Sceptre (eighth book)
Is Tintin hiding something in his coat?
15. The Red Sea Sharks (19th book)
Someone better keep an eye on Snowy.
14. Prisoners of the Sun (14th book)
13. Tintin in the Congo (second book)
12. The Shooting Star (10th book)
11. Land of Black Gold (15th book)
You had us at Thompson and Thompson’s wigs.
10. Tintin and the Picaros (23rd book)
Is that pyramid about to grow legs?
9. Tintin in Tibet (20th book)
Ooh, that title’s not in the signature font?
8. The Seven Crystal Balls (13th book)
The professor is looking a little light.
7. The Blue Lotus (fifth book)
So red. So dangerous. Yet so inviting.
6. The Crab with the Golden Claws (ninth book)
They’re not crabs, they’re camels. Camels have hooves, not claws. What’s going on?
5. Red Rakham’s Treasure (12th book)
Is that a whale or a submarine? Buy it and find out.
3 and 4. Destination Moon / On the Surface of the Moon (16th and 17th books)
Mum, can you get me that Tintin book set in outer space? Yes, both.
2. The Black Island (seventh book)
As ominous as it is gorgeous. Oh, to be on that boat.
1. Cigars of the Pharaoh (fourth book)
Mummies + Tintin’s wariness = irresistible.
Watch The Adventures of Tintin on Saturday 2 December at 8:20pm on SBS VICELAND.