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Who Is Captain Haddock?

By Lakshmi Sandhana
Updated May 23, 2024
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Captain Haddock is one of the most well-known comic book characters in the iconic Adventures of Tintin series. An extremely colorful figure, Captain Archibald Haddock is one of the most successful characters created by the Belgian writer Herge, whose real name is George Remi. Haddock is one of Tintin's closest friends and made his first appearance in the series in 1941 in the comic "The Crab With the Golden Claws." Known for his aggressive nature and his fondness for rum, Haddock is a British sea captain who spouts outrageous curses whenever he is aggravated. Herge gave this character a luxurious ancestral home called Marlinspike Hall and a number of relatives who turn up in the series from time to time.

When this sea captain was first introduced in the series, he was portrayed as an alcoholic with a raging temper. His character was initially unstable and quite weak, given to volatile behavior and emotional outbursts. He was equally dangerous in his own way as the villains who Tintin was battling because of his temperamental nature. Captain Haddock reforms himself over the course of the series, transitioning from a weak character to a heroic one who even volunteers to sacrifice his life to save Tintin. He finds a fortune, becomes a multimillionaire, and retires from command but still continues to pursue drinking alcohol unflaggingly.

He got his name from a suggestion made by Herge's wife, who described the word haddock as a sad English fish. Herge based this character on several aspects of his own circle of friends. The sea captain was so well received by the public that he expanded the character to become a central figure in the comic series over time. Captain Haddock is admired widely by all Tintin fans for his imaginative curses. Some of the more famous of them include "10,000 thundering typhoons" and "billions of blue-blistering barnacles." Some other popular curses include "miserable earthworms," "gallows fodder," and "lily-livered bandicoots."

When Herge first introduced Captain Haddock, he was faced with the dilemma of giving the character a really colorful vocabulary without having to use actual swear words because it was a children's comic series. He then hit upon the idea of using weird words and combinations of them as insults, which the character could hurl whenever angered without being genuinely offensive. Captain Haddock first began his legendary habit of cursing by shouting strange words like "ectoplasm" and "troglodyte" at raiders with his first appearance. There are now several fan sites devoted to listing Haddock's many interesting curses. Herge researched and collected exotic words to use and came up with extremely creative ones, which became one of the most endearing characteristics of Captain Haddock's character.

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Discussion Comments
By Krunchyman — On May 15, 2014

@Chmander - Yep, the movie and characters are definitely based off of the comic strip. However, like most comic to movie adaptions, if you're not too familiar with the original source material, you might be a little confused.

By Chmander — On May 15, 2014

To be perfectly honest, I'm not too familiar with Captain Haddock. However, the article really gives some great insight and history on the character. In fact, that also makes me wonder, is Captain Haddock also part of a movie called The Adventures of Tintin? I never knew there was a comic book, but I have heard of the movie. I'm assuming the film is based off of the comic strip?

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