The soft-cover Tintin and the Lake of Sharks stands out from the rest in the wondrous world of Herge’s Tintin works quite simply for NOT being an actual part of the Tintin legacy at all. In fact, the book itself is actually made up of panels taken directly from Raymond LeBlanc’s 1972 animated feature, Tintin et le Lac aux Requins (Tintin and the Lake of Sharks), a story written by another Belgian comics creator, Greg (Michel Regnier), though with some supervisory input from Herge himself.
Of course, all this however means is that although the story and art is most definitely Tintin at heart, it simply doesn’t form part of the recognised Tintin stable and as such is therefore far harder for one to lay their hands on than any other book available in the collection.
The plot for the comic is simple enough: essentially there is a mysterious gang of thieves at work across the world, stealing priceless artifacts from the world’s museums and replacing the stolen goods with forgeries in the hope of misleading the public and even the museum curators for that matter. The always in the right spot Tintin, his constant companion Snowy and his old comrade Captain Haddock find themselves landing in the small country of Syldavia in order to pay a visit to Professor Calculus, who happens to be holed up near the big late working on some or other invention of his, something that of course just happens to be related to creating duplicate copies of any matter put down in front of it.
Of course, this means that Tintin isn’t the only one interested in Prof. Calculus’ current work and so begins a tale of robbery, espionage and kidnapping, all of which leads to quite a surprise revelation as to the opponent which Tintin now finds himself going toe to toe with…
Being essentially a condensed version of the film, the writing and dialogue in Tintin and the Lake of Sharks isn’t particularly strong, feeling very rushed, very narrated and for the most part, rather impersonal. The story and characters certainly don’t flow as nicely as they do in the proper Tintin adventures and as such one can’t help but not really enjoy this book as much as one perhaps could have if it had been properly penned by say Herge himself.
The artwork like I’ve mentioned before is lifted directly from the film panels and as such you get a strange phenomenon of the penciled and inked character models superimposed on the painted background images, something that is NOT particularly pleasing to the eye. However, the clean, expressive lines that are synonymous with Herge’s signature ligne claire style are still there and thus the book does at least quite look the part, even if it doesn’t necessarily read the part quite right.
So in summary then, Tintin and the Lake of Sharks is certainly written and drawn in the same adventurous manner that all the other successful books have been penned (and thus makes a worthy read if you’re a fan), but unfortunately the rushed dialogue and compressed story combine with the not quite organic visuals and turns this read into something a little bit more ordinary than what it perhaps should have been, all of which means that unless you really are a HARDCORE Tintin fan, there really isn’t all that much point to tracking this baby down.
(If you can find one that is of course! :P)
Related link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tintin_and_the_Lake_of_Sharks