Captain Haddock, an unexpected friend

The adventure The Crab with the Golden Claws introduces us to a unique Hergé character.

Up until this story we have all been content with Tintin and Snowy along with Thompson, Thomson and Tchang. But then bursting through a porthole Tintin and Snowy land on Captain Archibald Haddock. Slumped over a glass of whiskey feeling deeply sorry for himself, he is not what we were all expecting to be the character who we would come to love and admire. Unpredictable, hot headed, dangerous and above all things a loyal friend!

Along with Tintin and Snowy our friendship with Captain Haddock grows with each adventure. How clever of Hergé to give us a friend who portrays some of our own characteristics, well not so much the whiskey but quick to explode and then calm down immediately. Impulsive, yes, we would if we could board a plane and go to rescue a friend in need.

Take this book from your shelf or digital bookcase and read it again. It begins at walking pace, discovering a scrap of paper with a name on it? Which leads swiftly to being aboard the Karaboudjan, then riding barefoot on camels in the desert. Some of the desert landscapes give us the perfect view of Hergé’s skill in using the frames. And of course, on page thirty-seven a great four frame illustration of Haddock at his best… REVENGE!

The Crab with the Golden Claws first appeared in French in Le Soir Jeunesse. 1941 saw Casterman publish it in book form in black and white and in 1943 in the revised 62-page colour format.