Just last week, our own Chris Mautner provided an excellent introduction to the Tintin comics, and this week we have an interesting bit of Tintin-related news: Palle Huld, one of the possible models for Herge’s globetrotting reporter, has passed away at the age of 98. In 1928, at the age of 15, Huld won a competition sponsored by a Danish Newspaper to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Jules Verne’s birth. The prize: A trip around the world, unaccompanied, in 44 days, or about half the time it took Verne’s hero Phileas Fogg. The following year, Huld published a book about his travels, A Boy Scout Around the World, and the year after that, Herge began his series of comics about a young, red-haired explorer who favored knickers and kept getting into trouble.
While his exploits were somewhat tamer, Huld’s journey had its share of perils. The most dangerous leg was Manchuria, which was at war at the time, but he made it through unscathed. He got lost in Moscow and missed his train in Newfoundland because he was trying to impress a girl (OK, that doesn’t sound very Tintinish). It is certainly easy to imagine that press accounts of Huld’s travels, or perhaps his book, planted the seed for Tintin. Pierre Assouline, Herge’s biographer, told the New York Times that he had never heard of Huld, but Huld himself believed there was a connection.
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