“Captain Haddock made his first appearance alongside Tintin in 1941, and in the course of the 80 years that followed, has gone on to become one of Hergé best loved characters.”


This is about one the greatest mythological characters of the 20th century who has turned 80 – Herge’s seadog with a weakness for whisky and an amazing vocabulary of insults, none of which are scatological or insulting in the accepted sense. Drunk of otherwise, Haddock’s rages – which Agoud compares to the legendary temper of Achilles – result in an unstoppable flow of language and boast an amazing vocabulary – even though on occasion perhaps Haddock himself is unaware of the meaning of the words.

Agoud’s introduction in fact is a showcase of intellectual somersaults, putting Captain Haddock on a totally different kind of pedestal and might just fly over the heads of 16 year olds, though intellectually-inclined adults flipping through the book will enjoy them. We also discover that Haddock whose first name is Francis, like that of his famous ancestor, wrote a book in French, On a volé un dictateur, which may account for why Fascist and Dictator are two of his favourite rants. This is stuff that most Haddock fans will be unaware of.
Agoud has created a detailed glossary of the words that are attributed to Haddock in the Tintin comics with their meaning and on occasion their context – though on occasion he ducks the meaning of Diplodocus and focuses on drunken as the first word in the phrase.
The curses include the colourful “bashi-bazouk”, “visigoths”, “kleptomaniac”, “sea gherkin”, “anacoluthon”, “pockmark”, “nincompoop”, “abominable snowman”, “nitwits”, “scoundrels”, “steam rollers”, “parasites”, “vegetarians”, “floundering oath”, “carpet seller”, “blundering Bazookas” and ending at Zapotecs, a list of 213 and counting.

Haddock fans will find the pages that have the original cartoons, accompanied by other illustrations, a delight to riffle through and lose themselves in memories of the comics which they might then be tempted to revisit. Agoud’s book is a unique way of paying tribute to the swashbuckling Captain and his family in his own words, throwing in some extra information for readers who might be unaware of the exact origins.


Reviewed by:

Anjana Basu

Added 20th January 2022

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Anjana Basu