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Tintin in Scotland

(Redirected from The Black Island)

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Tintin is a young Belgian reporter and adventurer who becomes involved in dangerous cases in which he takes heroic action to save the day. He is assisted by his faithful dog Snowy (Milou in the original French edition), and a number of recurring characters including: the brash and cynical Captain Haddock; the intelligent but hearing-impaired Professor Calculus (Professeur Tournesol); incompetent detectives Thomson and Thompson (Dupont et Dupond); and the opera diva Bianca Castafiore.

The Adventures of Tintin (Les Aventures de Tintin) is a series of 24 comic albums created by Belgian cartoonist Georges Remi, who wrote under the pen name Hergé.

The series first appeared in French on 10 January 1929 in Le Petit Vingtième (The Little Twentieth), a youth supplement to the Belgian newspaper Le Vingtième Siècle (The Twentieth Century). The success of the series saw the serialised strips published in Belgium's leading newspaper Le Soir (The Evening) and spun into a successful Tintin magazine. In 1950, Hergé created Studios Hergé, which produced the canonical versions of ten Tintin albums. The Adventures of Tintin have been adapted for radio, television, theatre, and film.

Tintin in Scotland - The Black Island

The Black Island (L'ile Noire) was first published in Le Petit Vingtième between 15 April 1937 and 16 June 1938.


The following plot summary appeared in Wikipedia:

''Tintin witnesses a plane land in the Belgian countryside, and is shot by the pilot when he offers his help. While he recovers in hospital, detectives Thomson and Thompson visit him and inform him that the plane subsequently flew to Sussex, England, where it crashed. Tintin and Snowy proceed to Sussex, but along the way, two criminals frame Tintin for robbery, and he is arrested by Thomson and Thompson; he escapes, but is pursued by the detectives. After arriving in England by ferry in Newhaven, Tintin is kidnapped by the criminals, who attempt to kill him over the cliffs of Seaford, but with Snowy's help he escapes. Discovering the plane wreckage, he finds a torn-up note in the pilot's jacket, and following the writing on it arrives at the estate of Dr JW Müller, a German who owns a mental institution. Müller captures Tintin, but the young reporter again escapes. In a scuffle, Müller's house catches ablaze and the criminals escape.

The next morning, Tintin finds electric cables and red beacons in the garden, surmising that they are there designed to attract a plane drop. At night, he lights the flares, and finds that planes drops sacks of counterfeit money, revealing that Müller is part of a gang of forgers. He pursues Müller and his accomplices and along the way, Thompson and Thomson try to arrest him again, but he convinces them to follow him. When Müller takes a plane north, Tintin and Snowy try to follow, but hit a storm and crash land in rural Scotland. The detectives commandeer another plane, but discover too late that the man they told to fly it is actually a mechanic who has never flown before, and after a harrowing air-bound odyssey they end up crash-landing into (and winning) an aerobatics competition.

Learning that Müller's plane had crashed off the coast of Kiltoch, a Scottish coastal village, Tintin travels there to continue his investigation. At Kiltoch, an old man tells him the story of Black Island — an island off the coast where a "ferocious beast" kills any visitors. Tintin and Snowy travel to the island, where they find that the "beast" is a trained gorilla named Ranko. They further discover that the forgers are using the island as their base, and radio the police for help. Although the forgers attempt to capture Tintin, the police arrive and arrest the criminals. Ranko, who was injured during Tintin's attempts to hold off the forgers, becomes docile enough to allow Tintin to bring him to a zoo.''

When Tintin the intrepid fictional reporter came to Scotland

Tintin at Kiltoch
Tintin at Kiltoch

The Scotsman newspaper published a long and detailed review of this episode in July 2017.[1]

An uncredited image contributed to the article carried a caption noting that the fictional village of Kiltoch was based on Castlebay, on the isle of Barra.


King Kong, a film released in 1933, was one of a number from that period which featured some sort of monster. Due to the popularity of such creatures, Hergé created Ranko the Scottish gorilla.

The character of Dr J W Müller, a German who owns a mental institution is said to have been inspired by Dr George Bell, a Scot who had ties with the Nazis and lived in Germany. Müllertries to destabilise Western democracies by swamping the market with counterfeit currency - Bell had been involved in an attempt to destabilise Soviet Russia by flooding the country with counterfeit Russian roubles.

Tintin Loch Lomond Whisky
Tintin Loch Lomond Whisky
Tintin Johnie Walker
Tintin Johnie Walker

A freight train used by Tintin is of particular interest. In the first two editions Tintin and Snowy sit next to a container which features the name of Johnnie Walker. In the 1966 version, the fictitious name of Loch Lomond whisky replaces the original well-known brand. It would seem Hergé, or his researchers, were unaware of the existence of a distillery at Loch Lomond.[2]


1 When Tintin the intrepid fictional reporter came to Scotland - The Scotsman Retrieved 11 July 2017.

2 The Black Island Retrieved 11 July 2017.

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