Tintin in the land of the Vikings

The beloved Tintin and his faithful Snowy dog are right around the corner here in Aarhus. In a store that breathes passion for collections, the mixed feelings of nostalgia range from old movie posters to Tintin cartoons, and much more. 

by Anna Dittrich, photos by Giang Pham

The red and white chequered rocket has easily become the most recognised symbol from ‘The Adventures of Tintin’. Its colour and shape have become iconic and are well-known, not just by fans of the comics, but by everyone, even though it has been over 65 years since Georges Remi published the first story under his pen name, Hergé.

It makes sense that it’s the first thing you see through the window when you come across the Tintin-Butik in Aarhus. The miniature model of the rocket that took Tintin, his loyal dog Snowy and his travel companion Captain Haddock to the moon is right in front of a poster of the comic issue in which it was featured: ‘Objectif Lune’ in its original French, ‘Destination Moon’ in English or ‘Mission til Månen’ in the Danish version.

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‘Objectif Lune’ is one of the most popular Tintin stories

Co-owner Thomas Haagensen grew up reading the Tintin stories, and says that ‘Destination Moon’ is one their bestselling posters. “The second is ‘Red Rackham’s Treasure’, with Tintin in the shark-shaped submarine.”

A treasure box
The shop itself could also be considered something of a treasure for those who like Tintin. Besides the posters of the comic covers, they  also sell the comics themselves and figurines of the characters featuring in them, from Tintin and his dog to the comedic side-characters of Thomson and Thompson, as well as other merchandise related to Tintin.

Despite having been first published in 1929, the success of the Tintin comics as one of the most popular series in Europe is still obvious in the diverse crowd that the Aarhus shop draws.

“We have everything from 10 year old children to 60 year old adults coming to buy the comics here,” explains Haagensen. He thinks that most children hear about the comics and its various spin-offs in other media forms such as radio features or adaptations for the screen, having shown the cartoon series to his own children.

Haagensen isn’t quite sure though why exactly the Danes like Tintin so much. He heard that Tintin was reportedly based on the Danish actor Palle Huld and his journey around the world at the age of 15, but he doubts that’s the reason the Danes embraced the young reporter so much.

“Maybe it’s because he is so down to earth and ordinary. Maybe people just like that,” he says.

A road to recovery
Haagensen grew up with the comics, but it wasn’t until he befriended Peter Wallmann – the other owner of the shop – that his passion for Tintin really awoke.

“Peter built this shop up for 10 years, and a few years ago he started selling Tintin merchandise,” explains Haagensen. Before that the shop specialised in old movie posters. Now it is split into two parts. The left part is reserved for movie posters, ranging from hand-drawn posters from the 1930s to the modern posters of today, while the right part is occupied by Tintin merchandise.

“I took over as a co-owner last year in November,” Haagensen remembers. Before that he had worked in retail, selling and buying while travelling all over Jutland.

“My work life was very stressful,” Haagensen. says. “I got sick, suffered from depression. Then Peter asked me one day if I wanted to buy part of the shop and take over of part of the business.”

Thomas Haagensen holds up one of his favourite movie posters, H.G. Wells’ The War Of The Worlds.

Thomas Haagensen holds up one of his favourite movie posters, H.G. Wells’ ‘The War Of The Worlds’

A hobby that changed his life
Haagensen didn’t take too long to think about his decision. “I did an internship to see if I could follow the pace since I was still on sick leave back then. And in those months my mood went up.  I was almost my old self again. Working here helped a lot with my recovery,” he says with a smile.

“It’s important to work with something you think is fun and interesting,” he says. It therefore seems fitting that in his own free time Haagensen collects old movie posters himself, which is the reason why Wallmann and him first got into contact six years ago.

The boutique also offers modern posters, Haagensen himself prefers the old hand-drawn posters of the 1930s to 1950s.“My favorites are posters from sci-fi movies,” he says. “Probably because they are the hardest to find, there aren’t many out there.”

Unlike modern movie posters, older posters used a special printing technique Haagensen explained. In the printing process the colours were printed on top of each other, giving the posters more colour and depth. “They don’t do that anymore though,” Haagensen says. “It’s too expensive.”

It is a shame, but at least through collectors like Haagensen, the old posters and their vibrant colours will live on a bit longer.

 

The difference between printing techniques becomes obvious when compared. The left version with its stronger and darker colors is an original from 1937 whereas the right one is a reprint.

The difference between old (left) and new (right) printing techniques is clear


The Tintin-Butik is one of our picks of the best spots in Aarhus. When visiting the 2017 European Capital of Culture, be sure to stop by and be delighted by the collections; it is a shop not just for Tintin lovers, but for all. You can found it at Skovvejen 46, or visit the website and the movie poster collection online: ClassicPoster.dk.

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