Bleeding Cool has received reports that Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Boris Johnson MP, has received copies of his favourite Tintin comics to read in hospital. Boris, who was infected with the coronavirus, was hospitalised into intensive care and given oxygen to support his breathing. He is now undergoing a long recovery procedure at St Thomas' Hospital, but as well as walking and talking, he has been watching movies in bed and reading the Tintin comics by the side of his bed, sent to him by his family. He has stated to friends that he owes his life to the NHS medics who cared for him and said 'I can't thank them enough.' Previously having been given a 50/50 chance of survival, he has now been moved into a general care ward.
The Tintin comic books, created by Herge and published through the twentieth century were a particular favourite of boys of a certain age in Britain, in the fifties and sixties. Created from the point of view of the Franco-Belgian Empire, they also fitted in with a British Empire point of view rather well. Tintin, boy journalist, and his dog travelling the world, discovering new worlds, bringing civilisation to the natives, uncovering crime and corruption, even travelling to the moon. Certain volumes have been condemned as racist, and have been censored and edited over the years. Although American editions were made worse with, volumes were edited not to show people of different races working and living together. Overall there remains a fondness for the worlds that Tintin opened up to young readers, and one that has been retained into adult years, fuelling a collector market. Frankly, there's nothing better to keep your spirits up when sick in bed. Maybe Asterix.
Boris Johnson was a journalist before he was a politician and it seems that Tintin was an influence on that earlier career decision. Two years ago, when Foreign Secretary, he was spotted by the Daily Telegraph going jogging in a T-shirt emblazoned with insults in French used by Tintin's Captain Haddock, interpreted as a dig at the EU. The phrases were translated into English as "Thundering typhoons", "blistering barnacles", "scoundrels" and more. Last year, the back of his car was photographed, which included a discarded copy of Tintin And The Blue Lotus in the original French.
It's not the only time Boris Johnson has shown his love for comic books, he's compared Britain – and himself – to the Incredible Hulk after coming out of the European Union before. He has also been compared to a Beano comic book character before now. One commentator on the TV show Have I Got News For You on which Boris made his name, stating that if you held him by his ankles and shook hard, that all that would spill out would be toffee and conkers. In our household however, he will be best known for giving my youngest daughter a blue balloon when he was canvassing for London Mayor. I may not have voted for him, but he remains the cartoonist's friend.