Review by Frank Plowright
There’s a long history of Tintin parodies and homages in Europe, ranging from the sexual pastiche to the earnest homage. The call to revolution of Breaking Free is a rare English example, although Mad, National Lampoon and Spitting Image have included them in anthologies, but Tintin in Thailand is a persistent bootleg.
When arrested in 2001, the creator was revealed as Baudouin de Duve, although hiding behind the pseudonym of Bud E. Weyser, and his work is crude in both senses of the word. It’s a metafictional exercise with Tintin and chums aware they’ve not had an adventure in some while, and so running out of money. Publication of a new book about an exotic trip will fill the coffers again, and the opportunity arises when the wife of pesky salesman Jolyon Wagg turns up wanting to hire Tintin and Captain Haddock to locate her husband, who’s absconded to Thailand. With Professor Calculus in tow, they’re spied on by someone representing the copyright interests of Herge’s company.
Weyser knows his Tintin history, and manages decent approximations of facial expressions, which are probably swiped. Many familiar cast members appear, but in circumstances that rapidly lose their appeal. Once the cast have sworn a few times in the opening pages any later shock value is absent, which is also the case for the repeated obvious jokes about Thailand’s sex trade. In the opening half of the book the art rarely extends beyond talking heads, so there’s no real attempt to emulate Tintin’s fantastic cartooning, and while the plot eventually expands a little it’s long past the point where anyone with anything better to do will have given up.
The final damnation is delivered by the translation, which appears to have been carried out in Thailand and is resolutely literal. Jokes that might have made sense in another language are just non sequiturs, and there are several racist epithets.
Yes, an entire album of Tintin parody holds some appeal, but this isn’t the one to buy.