Monday, January 02, 2012

Capitaine Haddock: Iconoclast

I am surrounded by Tintin lovers.

As much as we are sceptical of the translation of Tintin to the big screen, we are eager to see it. But for various reasons, it will have to wait a little while.

Myself, I have only a passing acquaintance with the intrepid young reporter. So by "we" I really mean my daughter, her father, his mother, her brother, and so on.

Being surrounded by Tintin as I am, there's nothing to do but grab an album off the stack: Le Crabe aux pinces d'or, in which we are first introduced to Capitaine Haddock.

I read this in French, and while I didn't get all the words, I got most of them. In fact, the most entertaining aspect of the story was the stream of insults Capitaine Haddock would let forth.

Canailles!... Empl­âtres!... Va-nu-pieds!... Troglodytes!... Tchouk-tchouk-nougat!...

Sauvages!... Aztèques!... Grenouilles!... Marchands de tapis!... Iconoclastes!...

Chenapan!... Ectoplasmes!... Marins d'eau douce!... Bachie-Bouzouks!... Zoulous!... Doryphores!...

Froussards!... Macaques!... Parasites! Moules à gaufres!


Filibustier!... Végétarien!... Pacte-à-quatre!...

Pirate!... Corsaire!

Arlequin! Hydrocarbure! Zoulou! Canaque! Gyroscope!

Empl­âtre!... Doryphore!... Noix de coco!... Zouave!... Cannibale!...

Anthropopithèque!... Iconoclaste!...

Paltoquet! Anacoluthe!... Invertèbre!... Jus de réglisse!

Do these insults really need translation?

I'm informed that this character trait of the good captain's pervades the rest of the adventures. There is much to look forward to.

1 comment:

John Michael Cummings said...

re: book review request by award-winning author

Dear Magnificent Octopus:

I'm an award-winning author with a new book of fiction out last month.
Ugly To Start With is a series of thirteen interrelated stories about
adolescence published by West Virginia University Press.

All the stories in my collection have been previously published in
well-regarded print and online literary magazines such as The Iowa
Review, Passager, The Bitter Oleander, Confrontation, Salt River
Review, The Foliate Oak. and The Cortland Review.

Can I interest you in reviewing it?

If you write me back at, I can email you a PDF of my book. If you require a bound copy, please ask, and I will forward your reply to my publisher. Or you can write directly to Abby Freeland at:

My publisher, I should add, can also offer your readers a free excerpt of my book through a link from your blog to my publisher's website:

Here’s what Jacob Appel, celebrated author of
Dyads and The Vermin Episode, says about my new collection: "In Ugly to Start With, set in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia, Cummings tackles the challenges of boyhood adventure and family conflict in a taut, crystalline style that captures the triumphs and tribulations of small-town life. He has a gift for transcending the particular experiences to his characters to capture the universal truths of human affection and suffering--emotional truths that the members of his audience will recognize from their own experiences of childhood and adolescence.”

My short stories have appeared in more than seventy-five literary journals, including North American Review, The Kenyon Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, and The Chattahoochee Review. Twice I have been nominated for The Pushcart Prize. My short story "The Scratchboard Project" received an honorable mention in The Best American Short Stories 2007.

I am also the author of the nationally acclaimed coming-of-age novel The Night I Freed John Brown (Philomel Books, Penguin Group, 2009), winner of The Paterson Prize for Books for Young Readers (Grades 7-12) and one of ten books recommended by USA TODAY.

For more information about me, please visit:

Thank you very much, and I look forward to hearing back from you.


John Michael Cummings