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Thomson and Thompson the Bumbling Detectives From Tintin


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Thomson and Thompson are two of the best loved characters in the Adventures of Tintin. Thomson and Thompson first featured in Cigars of the Pharaoh where they arrest Tintin and Snowy as they are enjoying a holiday cruise. In their first outing they prove to be highly efficient characters using a cunning not seen in later albums they appear in. They save Tintin from a firing squad using a disguise that even fools Tintin.

Thomson and Thompson still cause much debate over whether they are twins or not despite their names being different. In Tintin and the Broken Ear Herge uses “Dupont” twice for the two characters. The common consensus is that they are not twins even though Snowy thinks they are in Destination Moon (pg 18; last frame) Snowy says “This is it! . . . Sensational appearance of the Thomson twins!” To add to the confusion both characters claim to have worn the same mustaches since they were born.

It is the mustaches of Thomson and Thompson that allow the reader to differ between the two. Thomson sports a pointed mustache; his colleague Thompson sports a straight mustache (e. g. Land of Black Gold, p2, frames 6, 7, and p9, frame 6, and p33, frame 11).

One of the main reasons that the pair is so popular is that they provide a lot of the comic relief in the albums they appear in. They are the bumbling detectives that spend much of their time chasing the wrong suspects throughout the story lines (they pursue Tintin in Land of Black Gold for crimes he didn’t commit) and are afflicted with spoonerism. They are always seen to be clumsy and bumble their way through each adventure and in spite of this always seem to be sent on important missions or given extra special tasks to perform such as guaranteeing security for the Syldavian space project.

The detective with the flared mustache is Thomson (without “p"), who often describes himself as “Thomson, without a ‘p', as in Venezuela!” The detective with the flat mustache has described himself as “Thompson with a ‘P', as in. . . " and then used words with either a silent “P, " or in which the “P" is combined with another letter, as to change the sound, such as Philadelphia, psychology and so on. Thomson and Thompson are easily familiar with everyone as they are most often seen in their bowler hats and carrying walking sticks. They though always cause amusement when they go abroad as they change into costumes that they believe make them fit in the locals but in actuality are so poorly chosen they stick out like sore thumbs.

Herge based Thomson and Thompson on his uncles who were twins that wore bowler matching bowler hats. Herge then also drew further inspiration for the detectives from two mustachioed, bowler hated and formally dressed detectives in Le Miroir who were seen escorting a criminal in the picture. One was handcuffed to the criminal while the other was holding their two umbrellas.

Thomson and Thompson is going to be very popular search topic as the movie draws near. John Helios has been a big Tintin fan for a number of years. He is very much looking forward to the new Tintin movie trilogy due for release in 2009.


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