Snowy (Milou), by Hergé
|First appearance||Tintin in the Land of the Soviets (1929)
The Adventures of Tintin
|Team affiliations||List of main characters|
|Supporting character of||Tintin|
Snowy (French: Milou) is a fictional character in The Adventures of Tintin, the comics series by Belgian cartoonist Hergé. Snowy is a white Fox Terrier companion to the series' protagonist Tintin, and appears as a central character in all albums. He debuted in the first sequence of Tintin in the Land of the Soviets, published in Le Petit Vingtième on 10 January 1929.
Snowy was in part inspired by a Fox Terrier owned by a cafékeeper where Hergé was a regular; the French name is the nickname of Hergé's first girlfriend, although Snowy is male. For the first eight albums Snowy provides a significant amount of commentary aimed at the fourth wall. With the introduction of Captain Haddock in The Crab with the Golden Claws, Snowy's role providing cynical dialog and comedy is downplayed and the role was taken over by Haddock.
Inspiration and design
Terriers were a popular breed of dogs during the late 1920s and early 1930s. They were known for their intelligence and character, two traits which are also reflected in Snowy. He was inspired by various breeds of terriers, most closely the Wire Fox Terrier. A pure white fox terrier is highly unusual, as most have patches of color. Hergé always draws Snowy at particular angles, usually three-quarters-on to align his expressions with the panel. Snowy's size in comparison with Tintin and other humans varies between strips.
Hergé never had a dog in his family until his last years, but in 1929 was a regular at a café where the owner had a terrier—a major source of inspiration for Snowy. The French name Milou is a portmanteau of Marie-Louise, the nickname of Hergé's first girlfriend, Marie-Louise Van Cutsem. Their relationship dwindled because of her father's disapproval of Hergé's low social class, but Hergé remained fond of her and chose the name for Tintin's most trusted friend. The English name Snowy was chosen to reflect the dog's color.
Throughout the series, Snowy is Tintin's sidekick and companion on journeys. Along with Tintin he is the only character to appear in all of the albums. In Tintin in the Land of the Soviets, where he is introduced, Snowy acts as the source of humor. Throughout the first eight stories Snowy is the series' co-star; he is able to understand human language and is portrayed with speech bubbles. His comments provide comedy or urge his master to use caution or fear. In the early albums he takes an interest in mechanics, geography, and in Tintin in the Congo makes biblical references. He also takes on a more traditional role of a dog and is able to sniff, track, chase, and bite.
The character of Snowy evolved through the course of the Tintin series. In early works he exchanges dialog with other characters, including animals, and provides a running commentary on the situation. His character then became affected by the introduction of Captain Haddock in The Crab with the Golden Claws. Before Haddock's appearance, Snowy was the source of dry and cynical side-commentary, which balanced out Tintin's constantly positive, optimistic perspective. When Haddock entered the series, the Captain took over the role of the cynic, and Snowy gradually shifted into a more light-hearted role, having dialog only with Tintin.
Snowy is portrayed as brave and often is fearless against much larger creatures when Tintin is threatened. He repeatedly is able to free Tintin from captivity and save him from dangerous situations, and will sometimes identify a villain before Tintin. His only fear is arachnophobia. Snowy is loyal to Tintin and always wishes to stay by his master's side; in a scene in The Shooting Star where Tintin temporarily abandoned him, Snowy is inconsolable.
Snowy has a love of whiskey and is displayed as drunk several times, an attribute which was first displayed in Tintin in the Land of the Soviets. His appetite for food is the basis for several short, comical sequences. The dog's biggest lust is for bones. This repeatedly becomes the center of moral dilemmas as Snowy has to make decisions between carrying out important tasks, such as carrying an SOS message, and picking up a bone. Snowy takes on a rowdy behavior chasing the Siamese cat at Marlinspike Hall until the two become friends at the end of The Calculus Affair. Snowy often adds to the story in notable ways. For instance, Snowy is the only character in Flight 714 to escape mass hypnosis and to know of their abduction by aliens.
At the end of the run of Tintin in the Land of the Soviets on 8 May 1930, a mock reception for Tintin and Snowy was conducted at Brussels North Station. There Snowy was played by Hergé's cafékeeper's Fox Terrier. In The Adventures of Tintin television series, Snowy is voiced by Susan Roman. However, Snowy's comments are not present.
Among the anthropomorphic cast of Bryan Talbot's graphic novel Grandville, there is a white Wire Fox Terrier named "Snowy Milou". In a drug-induced delirium, he describes the dreams he has had, with close parallels to the various adventures of the Tintin books.
From a computer-generated imagery point of view, Snowy was the most difficult character to film during production of the 2011 motion-capture computer-animated film The Adventures of Tintin. Fur is generally difficult to render, with white being the most difficult color and curly fur being the most difficult shape. Another issue was Snowy is always shown at particular angles, which made it difficult to make him recognizable with moving camera shots. Early in the development process, when the motion-capture was being filmed in-studio, the production team considered casting a dog as Snowy. Instead a puppet was used, acted out by a puppeteer. Thus, the actors worked with the puppet placeholder; Snowy and the other characters were then animated afterwards.
- Farr (2007): 24
- Farr (2007): 25
- Farr (2007): 31
- Farr (2007): 23
- Weta Workshop: 37
- Rao, Rohit (22 November 2011). "The Adventures Of Tintin: Season One". DVD Talk. Retrieved 26 November 2011.
- Farr (2007): 30
- Farr (2007): 29
- Farr (2007): 27
- "Susan Roman". Behind the Voice Actors. Retrieved 26 November 2011.
- Weta Workshop: 38
- Weta Workshop: 39
- Farr, Michael (2007). Tintin & Co. London: Egmont. ISBN 978-1-4052-3264-7.
- Weta Workshop (2011). The Art of the Adventures of Tintin. New Zealand: HarperCollins. ISBN 9780062087492.