Norton of Morton

Read a new instalment of Norton of Morton every Saturday at 4 o'clock

Saturday 5 January 2019

Tintin's top 3 fearsome foes

In which G.M. Norton lists his top three vile villains from the Tintin adventures.

This will come as a great surprise given his boyish looks, but on 10th January, Tintin turns 90. Crikey.

I must be in a villainous mood, given the end to my last periodical post and my current Bond obsession. My beloved and I have been binging on Gotham recently and our little family of four just finished the final Netflix season of Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events, so this is no doubt another contributing factor. 

Anyway, back onto the topic in hand. To mark Tintin's big day, I thought it would be fun to list my top three villains from the world of our favourite Belgian hero. 

3. The Bird Brothers

Bird Brothers, Max and Gustav, are antique collectors who had one of the three original models of the Unicorn ship. In an attempt to gain one of the scrolls which will point them in the direction of the sunken ship, they kidnapped Tintin and keep him hostage at Marlinspike Hall.

It is later revealed that Max escapes from prison and the brothers were depicted in sketches for the unfinished Tintin and Alpha-Art. Sadly Hergé passed away before it's completion.

2. Doctor Müller

Müller is an evil psychiatrist who uses his qualifications and position as a cover for illegal activity.

In his initial appearance he was the head of a counterfeit ring based in England before he was exposed by Tintin, chased to Scotland and arrested for his crimes. But not before committing Tintin to an insane asylum and leaving him in a burning house. 

He appeared later as an ally to Bab-El-Ehr, helping the rebel to overthrow the Emir of Khemed, Mohammed Ezab. He designed the explosive Formula 14 which increased the flammable properties of petrol and used it to target the pipeline of Ezab's oil company.

1. Roberto Rastapopoulos

Rastapopoulos was first introduced as a Hollywood film producer and initially aided Tintin but only did so to create a false sense of security for the adventurer and would go on to be his most fearsome foe. A master of disguise, few villains have reappeared to menace Tintin and his compatriots as often as Rastapopoulos.

He reappeared as the slave trader known as the Marquis di Gorgonzola before he fakes his death by sinking his own ship. He then later reappeared in an attempt to recoup his fortune by gaining access to the bank account of a wealthy Swedish aircraft manufacturer. However, he was once again stopped by Tintin and spent most of the flight bound after being at the receiving end of multiple injuries.

Rastapopoulos was among the criminals compelled to enter the UFO and his fate from there was never confirmed. He was going to feature in the unfinished story, Tintin and the Alpha-Art as a mysterious religious guru.

Whether in Tintin, Bond or other works, I do admire a villain that seemingly has nine lives. Of course, one always wants the hero to triumph, but a villain's ability to slink away at the end does have a certain charm. 

G.M. Norton
Protagonist of 'Norton of Morton'

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