Did you know that Tintin was created by Belgian cartoonist Georges Prosper Remi, better known by his pen name Herge? Herge created the “Tintin, the boy reporter” character as early as in 1929 and kept on writing Tintin stories up to his death in 1983.
Today’s generation will probably know Tintin best from the motion capture computer-animated action-adventure film “The adventures of Tintin” (2011), directed by Steven Spielberg. It sported a predominantly English voiceover cast including Jamie Bell as Tintin, Andy Serkis as Captain Archibald Haddock and James Bond actor Daniel Craig as the villain Ivan Ivanovitch Sakharine.
Not a comic book character, but as news recently broke about a new live action Pippi Longstocking film from the Paddington producers, we felt we needed to start off with this pigtailed headstrong book character girl. Pippi Longstocking, the main character in a series of children’s books by Swedish author Astrid Lindgren, made her first appearance in 1945 and the books about her have since been translated into 64 languages. The daughter of a buccaneer captain, Pippi lives on her own in her house Villa Villekulla, accompanied only by her horse “Horse” and her pet monkey Mr Nilsson.
Several live action films and TV series based on the Pippi books have been produced in the character’s native Swedish as well as an animated musical adventure comedy film in English in 1997. The voiceovers were provided by a Canadian cast including Canadian voice talents Melissa Altro as Pippi, Catherine O’Hara as the meddling Mrs Prysselius and Gordon Pinsent as Captain Efraim Longstocking. We can’t wait for the new live action film, which should be released in 2020.
The first actual Moomin book (novel) was already published in 1945 but did you now that the Moomins started out as a comic strip in many countries? And that Finnish writer Tove Jansson provided the comic strip Moomintroll for the London Evening News from 1954 to 1959?
There have been many animated TV adaptions and animated feature films, with many famous actors providing voiceovers. Max Von Sydow from The Game of Thrones narrated “Moomins and the Comet Chase” (2010) which also featured Stellan Skarsgård (Mamma Mia and Chernobyl) providing the International voiceover of Moominpappa. And not to mention the recent TV-series Moominvalley (2019) that had a multitude of British acting stars providing English voiceovers, such as Kate Winslet, Jennifer Saunders, Warwick Davies and Taron Egerton.
The French comics first appeared in 1959 in the Franco-Belgian comics magazine Pilote. The main characters, Asterix and his friend Obelix, live in the village of Gauls, who are resisting the Roman occupation in 50 BCE. The series of comic books have been phenomenally successful and have since been translated into 111 languages and dialects, making it into 13 films, nine of them animated.
“Asterix: The Mansions of Gods” (2014) was the first 3D computer-animated Asterix film whose English dub boasted famous British voiceovers by a fine collection of British comedians, including Jack Whitehall as Asterix, Nick Frost as Obelix as well as Greg Davies, Catherine Tate and Harry Enfield voicing characters. The French cast had famous actor and voice talent Roger Carel provide the French voiceover for Asterix.
French author Jean de Brunhoff introduced us to Babar in 1931, but it was thanks to A.A. Milne (author of Winnie the Pooh) that Britain and the United States were introduced to this gentle elephant in 1933!
Strictly speaking Babar is not a comic book character but being a picture book character with his own animated TV-series of 78 episodes broadcast in 30 languages in 150 countries and having inspired some major concert works, he deserves a mention!
Babar the Elephant has also starred in several animation films, such as “Babar: King of Elephants” (1999), a Canadian French-German animated film with voiceovers by Canadian voiceover artists Dan Lett (as King Babar) and Janet-Laine Green as Queen Celeste. The film received a mixed response, but we are sure that all the true Babar fans enjoyed it!
We hope you have enjoyed our top five famous international comic and children’s book characters and maybe even recognised some, or most of them! And if you didn’t – maybe we’ve given you an idea of which books and films to check out for the holidays!