The Black Island


On his return from South America, Tintin embarks on an exciting British adventure, full of unexpected surprises. Tintin clashes with the villainous Dr. Müller for the first, but not the last time. Müller is the mastermind behind a vast European counterfeiting operation. After numerous incidents, Tintin succeeds in breaking up this criminal network.

The difficulties of a scotsman in Scotland

Our hero uses numerous and diverse modes of transport ranging from, a Belgian train, a truck, the Ostend to Dover cross channel ferry, a taxi, hitchhiking, a car, a caravan, a British train, a goods train, a private single engined light aircraft, a motorboat, and for the return journey, a commercial airliner. The freight train is of particular interest. In the first two editions, the container besides which Tintin and Snowy sit features the name of Johnnie Walker, a very well known brand of whisky. In the 1966 version, the name has been changed to the fictitious name of Loch Lomond whisky. Loch Lomond is the largest loch (lake) in the UK. Unbeknown to Hergé, there was a distillery in Loch Lomond.


In this story we learn that Tintin loves puzzles, and aided by the circumstances, succeeds in deciphering them.

JJ.W. Müller a doctor above suspicion

The character of Müller was inspired by Dr Georg BELL, a Scot who had ties with the Nazis, and was living in Germany. MÜLLER tries to destabilise Westerndemocracies by swamping the market with counterfeit currency. Bell had been involved in an attempt to destabilise Soviet Russia by flooding the country with counterfeit Russian roubles. This was a very effective form of economic warfare.

The Black Island

There are many theories about the origins of the island on which the castle of Ben More is located. Some people think that the rocky cliffs of England were the inspiration for the landscape of the island, whilst others think that it was located in the etc... There isn't enough research material to confirm the sources of Hergé's inspiration for this island.

Banking on fear

At the beginning of the 1930's there were two popular mythical creatures, the Loch Ness monster, and the fearsome King Kong, a film released in 1933.

Due to the popularity of these monsters, Hergé had created Ranko the Scottish gorilla.

David and Goliath

Snowy's barking frightens Ranko the gorilla. Is this an inspirational example of David triumphing over Goliath, or rather a premonition about the abominable snowman, caused by the captain's snoring? Is this story filled with anticipation?

Much to his dismay, Müller will cross paths with Tintin twice. Doesn't the magpie which flies away with the fireman's key remind you of the one which stole Bianca Castafiore's emerald from Marlinspike Hall?

Good ale

In keeping with local tradition and culture, the teetotal Tintin joins the locals in drinking a pint of beer at:

Ye White Hart Inn, which didn't feature in the first version.

which becomes

Ye Dolphine, cut 41 of the original colour edition published in 1943.

The Kiltoch Arms frame D1, p41, in the 1966 edition.

Vos contributions (7) Contribuer
element50Friday 22nd February 2019 à 17:23
The name "Ranko" given to the gorilla is an interesting choice, as it is apparently a Japanese name (was Herge influenced by King Kong films?) and a South-Slavic name (was Herge already researching for his next adventure set in Balkanesque Syldavia and Borduria?)
vikdeeSunday 26th March 2017 à 20:35
Never a let down grew up with it and still with it
marlinhoisteSaturday 22nd October 2016 à 07:48
Excellent. Loved revisiting Tintin and fascinated by the background to the creation of the story in the bonus material.
shankarbalanFriday 6th May 2016 à 06:38
I truly wish they would accelerate the availability of all the titles in English Digitized versions!
shankarbalanThursday 5th May 2016 à 20:05
Can never stop re reading Tintin
Mad about Tintin since 1976!
tintinlover1Monday 30th November 2015 à 18:48
One of the best tintin books I ever read.
emmaqianWednesday 26th August 2015 à 14:10
I think it's the most interesting story.
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