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Quote of the Day | The Great Asterix-Tintin War of 2014

asterix and the picts

“Perhaps it’s simply the appeal of the underdog. Asterix is clearly for children, and for losers: it depicts a world where ungovernable appetites are momentarily sated and fulfilled. Growing up, one knew instinctively that Tintin and his adventures represented a world of adult meanings and responsibilities, unattainable sophistication and privilege. The Tintin books were for the sort of people who went to actual France on actual holidays; the sort of people who might read the books in the original French. Asterix, with its absurd levels of comic-book violence – all those swirling stars and sticking-out tongues, black eyes and bumps to the head – was for anybody and everybody. It was the sort of thing you actually wanted to read. One could imagine a Tintin book as a gift from a benevolent godfather but you discovered Asterix for yourself, well-thumbed and plastic-covered, in the grubby wooden dump-bins of the local library.”

— author Ian Sansom, arguing “why Asterix is better than Tintin” in the New Statesman (if your Twitter feed blew up this morning with U.K. folks drawing lines in the sand, this is why)

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7 Comments

Also, Asterix never tried to justify brutal imperialism.

I grew up with them both. They satiated different appetites and I don’t think I could ever choose one over the other.

That’s an argument against Tintin? That it’s more adult? Some would call that a virtue.

Never read either, so I can’t offer an opinion, though.

Oh yeah, call a deus ex machina loaded comic like Tinting an adult, and sophisticated. Asterisk may punch things but at least he solves problems, either by brawl or brain!

If you hadn’t included the title of the New Statesman article, I honestly wouldn’t have known which side he was arguing for…

Asterix
Tintin
and lets not forget…
The Smurfs

Loved all three growing up. But I agree that Tintin seemed the more “James Bond/ wide-screen adventure” template than the “Looney Tunesque” Asterix and Smurfs.

But I loved them all.

I love both for different reasons. Started reading them as a kid, Asterix at 5, Tintin at 7. Tintin is the slow burn of gracious storytelling and a beautiful clear line. Asterix is a treasure-trove of hidden in-jokes and linguistic shenanigans that made studying Latin much more enjoyable. The world is richer for them both, and 40 years later, I still enjoy them.

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