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Totor

Example of a Totor comic strip.

Totor, Chief Scout of the Cockchafers is the first comic strip series written by Hergé who later wrote The Adventures of Tintin. Le Boy Scout Belge published it monthly from July 1926 to summer 1929 and tells of a Boy Scout called Totor on his adventures. The character would play a large part of inspiration for Tintin, and the idea of a Scout was chosen because, firstly it was for a Scouting magazine, and secondly because Hergé had a great love of the movement. The series was drawn with pictures and captions separate, as most comics of that time were.

In 1930 Hergé allowed a comics artist whose pseudonym was Evany (Eugène van Nijverseel) to write Totor on his own, as Hergé was now very busy with his work on Tintin. This second life of the series ran from February to July, 1930 and produced a total of five pages.                                                                                                                  
Totor with word balloon

Hergé made pioneering use of speech bubbles in the strip.

Synopsis

Totor leaves Brussels to go and visit his Uncle Pad and Aunt Save in Texas. Along the way he is pulled overboard by a huge shark and then thrown onto an American submarine which takes him to New York City. Totor is awed by the spectacular skyscrapers and is unintentionally hit by a car which sends him flying into a passing stranger who turns out to be a criminal named John Blood. After Totor receives a $5,000 reward for the gangster he takes a train to his Uncle's ranch in Rolmopcity. His Uncle picks him up at the station and on their way back they are held up by some Redskins.

Totor manages to distract the Indians and the two of them escape. A few hours later at the ranch however, the same tribe kidnaps Totor in revenge. Standing tied to a torture stake Totor is made into a target for knives, axes and arrows. Luckily though, one of the arrows cut the ropes binding him and when the Chief drew close to scalp the young boy Totor dug his feet into the Sachem's stomach and made a quick getaway into a river, pretending to have drowned. Underwater, he finds an old chest full of countless jewels and buries them at the base of a boulder.

A trapper in a canoe suddenly appears and takes Totor upriver. Leaving the trapper Totor goes back to the ranch only to find it deserted. As he searches the place a hand reaches out and pulls him through a doorway where a fierce brawl ensues in the inky blackness. Soon however Totor throws his three rough captors out of the building and sends them packing. He discovers his Uncle Pad Hatt tied to a chair who tells his nephew that the bandits kidnapped his Aunt Save. Totor suddenly has an idea to use the treasure he found as a ransom for his Aunt. The two of them set out to go fetch it, but along the way a criminal steals their map while they sleep. After discovering the loss of their jewels they follow the thief's unique footprints for a few miles. When they see another set of footprints join the first and then head up into some mountains, Totor continues on his own. Having eluded several Indian sentries he finally spies the chest in the hands of the Chief.

After miraculously recovering the box and outrunning the Redskins back to his Uncle, they hurriedly head home. There they find a ransom note from the leader of the bandits, Jim Blackcat, saying to meet them under a big fir tree that day or they'd kill Save Hatt. Totor rushes to the rendezvous where he makes short work of the bad guys and orders them to tell him where they're keeping his Aunt hostage. After a heroic rescue and an emotional reunion between his aunt and uncle, he finds out that it's time for him to go back to Belgium. Once back, he tells everyone of his adventures and wistfully yearns for more.

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