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Top 10 comic book cities: #9 Tintin's Inca city

From Radiant City to Mega City One, the Architects’ Journal presents a selection of the greatest illustrated urban spaces

Tintin’s Inca city

Probably the world’s most famous Belgian, plucky reporter Tintin was the creation of former art student George Remi, James Pallister writes. Like Corb, he swapped his real name for a pseudonym - Herge, .

The ripping yarns and credulity-pushing antics of his tuft-haired protagonist took place within meticulously-drawn environments.From the opium dens in Shanghai (The Blue Lotus) to the evil bearded forger Dr Mueller’s castle (The Black Island) off the coast of Scotland, the built enviroment is just as important to the action as his sidekick Snowy.

After Tintin’s seadog pal Captain Haddock is reunited with his ancestral seat, Marlinspike Hall becomes the starting point for many an adventure. The house was modelled on the Château de Cheverny in the Loire valley built by Philippe Hurault between 1624 and 1630.

In several books (The Broken Ear, The Seven Crystal Balls, The Red Sea Sharks and Tintin and the Picaros) Herge explored cities in South America, notably with the politically troubled fictional country San Theodoros. A host of treats are here, including the ‘Paztec’ Inca-style pyramids and the poverty-stricken capital called Tapiocapolis/ Alcazarpolis, depending on the presidential incumbent.

Other highlights include the hidden Inca settlement discovered by Tintin and Haddock in Prisoners of the Sun. Blistering Barnacles indeed!


10 - Radiant City
9 - Tintin’s Inca city
8 - Metropolis
7 - Ubicand
6 - Gotham City
5 - The city in Moebius’ The Long Tomorrow
4 - Daredevil’s New York
3 - From Hell’s London
2 - Chris Ware’s Chicago
1 - Mega City One

Readers' comments (1)

  • A great article and a good selection of comics. I would also point to Cerebus and his urban environment.

    Just to be pedantic - you are mixing up Aztec and Inca influences and how Herge used them.

    The Broken Ear & Tintin and the Picaros are set in San Theodoros, a fictional central american country with strong Aztec influences.

    The Seven Crystal Balls & Prisoners of the Sun is set in the very real county of Peru and is based on Inca heritage.

    The Red Sea Sharks is set in the Red Sea and the fictional Arabian country of Khemed.

    You might want to check out 'Travels of a Boy Reporter' which maps out Tintin's journeys - - Disclaimer: I'm the artist.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

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