Thomson and Thompson

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Thomson and Thompson
Tintin - Thomson & Thompson.png
Thompson (left) and Thomson (right), from Cigars of the Pharaoh, by Hergé
Publication information
Publisher Casterman (Belgium)
First appearance Cigars of the Pharaoh (1934)
The Adventures of Tintin
Created by Hergé
In-story information
Full name Thomson and Thompson
Team affiliations List of main characters
Supporting character of Tintin

Thomson and Thompson (French: Dupond et Dupont)[1] are fictional characters in The Adventures of Tintin, the comics series by Belgian cartoonist Hergé. They are two incompetent detectives who provide much of the comic relief throughout the series. While the two are apparently unrelated as they have different surnames, they look like identical twins whose only discernible difference is the shape of their moustaches.[2] They are afflicted with chronic spoonerisms, are extremely clumsy, thoroughly incompetent, and usually bent on arresting the wrong character. In spite of this, they somehow get entrusted with delicate missions.

The detective with the flared, pointy moustache is Thomson, who often describes himself as "Thomson, without a 'P', as in Venezuela". The detective with the flat, droopy moustache has described himself as "Thompson, with a 'P', as in psychology" or "Philadelphia", using words with either a silent "P" or in which the "P" is combined with another letter, losing the "P" sound.

Thomson and Thompson usually wear bowler hats and carry walking sticks, except when abroad: during these missions they insist on wearing the stereotypical costume of the country they are visiting so that they blend into the local population, but instead manage to dress in folkloric attire that actually makes them stand apart.

The detectives were in part based on Hergé's father and uncle, identical twins who wore matching bowler hats while carrying matching walking sticks.[3]

Character history[edit]

Thomson and Thompson first appeared in a Tintin adventure in 1932, in Cigars of the Pharaoh, when they came into conflict with Tintin on board a ship where he and Snowy were enjoying a holiday cruise. When this adventure was first published they were referred to as X33 and X33bis (or X33 and X33b).[2][3] Here they showed an unusually high level of cunning and efficiency, going to great lengths to rescue Tintin from the firing squad and save Snowy from sacrifice in disguises that fooled even Tintin. In this and two other early stories The Blue Lotus and The Black Island, they spent most of their time pursuing Tintin himself for crimes he had not committed, forced to follow official orders and faked evidence, the two noting in Blue Lotus that they never believed in Tintin's guilt even if they had to obey their orders.

In the 1946 colour version of the second Tintin story Tintin in the Congo, Hergé added a cameo appearance from Thomson and Thompson, who were introduced fourteen years earlier in the original version of the fourth Tintin story, Cigars of the Pharaoh. Adding them to the first page, Hergé featured them in the backdrop, watching a crowd surrounding Tintin as he boards a train and commenting that it "Seems to be a young reporter going to Africa..."[4] In the same frame, Hergé inserted depictions of himself and his friend Edgar P. Jacobs (the book's colourist) into the crowd seeing Tintin off.[5]

Except for their codenames, they remained nameless in the early adventures. It was not until King Ottokar's Sceptre, published in 1938, that Tintin mentions their definitive names when introducing them to Professor Alembick at the airport.

In his 1941 Tintin play co-written with Jacques Van Melkebeke, Tintin in India: The Mystery of the Blue Diamond, Hergé named them as "Durant and Durand," although he later renamed them as "Dupont and Dupond."[6] The series' English-language translators, Michael Turner and Leslie Lonsdale-Cooper, renamed them "Thomson and Thompson."[7]

While the original version of Cigars of the Pharaoh came out in 1932, the rewritten and redrawn version was issued in 1955, and the English version was not issued until 1971. This resulted in some chronological confusion for new readers of the Tintin series, which is why the text hints that Tintin already knew the pair, and was surprised at their unfriendly behavior; however, on the original chronological sequence, this was indeed the first time they ever met.

Thomson and Thompson also appear on the first page of the 1946 remake of Tintin in the Congo,[2] though they keep at a distance, looking on as Tintin, surrounded by admirers, sets off. A remark made by one of them implies that at that stage they do not even know Tintin by name, only reputation. (In the original publication, made in the 1930s, this remark is made by a railway worker chatting to a colleague.)

Thomson and Thompson were originally only side characters but later became more important. In the redrawings of the earlier books, especially The Black Island, the detectives gained their now-traditional mannerisms.

In Land of Black Gold, the detectives mistakenly swallow some mysterious fuel-related pills that caused them to sprout immensely long beards and hair that change color constantly and grow at a break-neck pace. The condition wears off by the end of this adventure, but it relapses in Explorers on the Moon, causing problems when the captain must continuously cut their hair, repeatedly switching back to re-cut floor length hair (and mustaches and beards) which all grow back in seconds.

In the 19 books following Cigars of the Pharaoh, Thomson and Thompson appear in 17 of them, not appearing in Tintin in Tibet or Flight 714. In some of these books their role is minor; the duo's appearance in The Shooting Star is confined to two panels, they appear briefly only at the beginning of The Broken Ear (before being tricked into closing the case in the belief that the stolen object has been returned when it was actually replaced by a fake), and are imprisoned and face execution on false charges in Tintin and the Picaros. During their other appearances, they serve as the official investigators into whatever crimes Tintin is currently investigating.

Inspiration and cultural impact[edit]

Thomson and Thompson as they appear in Asterix in Belgium

The detectives were in part based on Hergé's father Alexis and uncle Léon, identical twins who often took walks together wearing matching bowler hats while carrying matching walking sticks.[3] Another inspiration was a picture of two mustachioed, bowler-hatted, formally dressed detectives who were featured on the cover of the Le Miroir edition of 2 March 1919. They were shown escorting a criminal—one detective was handcuffed to the man while the other was holding both umbrellas.[8]

They also make a brief appearance in the Asterix book Asterix in Belgium.

They make an appearance in L'ombra che sfidò Sherlock Holmes, an Italian comic spin-off of Martin Mystère, edited by Sergio Bonelli Editore.[9][10]

The name of the pop group "The Thompson Twins" was based on Thomson and Thompson.

In the 1991-1992 The Adventures of Tintin (TV series), the characters appear in almost all of its 39 episodes.[11] In the English language production, Thomson is voiced by actor Dan Hennessey[12] and Thompson is voiced by actor John Stocker.[13]

Simon Pegg and Nick Frost portray Thomson and Thompson in the Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson motion capture film adaptation The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn (2011).[14]

Names in other languages[edit]

In the original French, Dupond and Dupont are stereotypically prevalent surnames (akin to "Smith") and pronounced identically (IPA: [dypɔ̃]). Translators of the series have tried to find in each language names for the pair that are common, and similar or identical in pronunciation. They thus become:

  • Uys and Buys in Afrikaans
  • Tik and Tak in Arabic (تيك و تاك)
  • Johnson and Rohnson in Bengali
  • Kadlec and Tkadlec in Czech
  • Jansen and Janssen in Dutch
  • Thomson and Thompson in English
  • Citserono and Tsicerono in Esperanto
  • Schultze and Schulze in German
  • Clodius and Claudius in Latin
  • Tajniak and Jawniak in Polish
  • Hernández and Fernández in Spanish (Juventud edition only), Galician and Asturian
  • Skapti and Skafti in Icelandic
  • Johns and Jones or Parry-Williams and Williams-Parry in Welsh
  • Tomson and Tompson in Serbian
  • Zigue and Zague in older Portuguese editions references ? In European Portuguese or Brazilian Portuguese ?
  • Nisbet and Nesbit in Scots [15]
  • Roobroeck and Roobrouck in Kortrijk dialect

In some languages, like Greek, Japanese and Persian, the French forms are more directly adapted, using local orthographic ambiguities:

  • In Chinese
    • Doo-bong and Doo-bong or Dù Bāng and Dù Bāng (杜邦 and 杜帮, or 杜邦 and 杜幫 in Traditional Chinese), or
    • Du Bang and Du Pang (杜邦 and 杜庞)
  • Ntypón and Ntipón in Greek (Ντυπόν and Ντιπόν, pronounced [diˈpon])
  • Dyupon and Dyubon in Japanese (デュポン and デュボン)
  • Doupont and Douponṭ in Persian (دوپونت and دوپونط)
  • Dwipong and Dwippong in Korean (뒤퐁 and 뒤뽕[16])
  • Dyupon and Dyuponn in Russian (Дюпон and Дюпонн)

The original Dupond and Dupont are kept in Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Turkish, Finnish, Italian, Basque, Catalan, the Casterman edition in Spanish, and the newer Portuguese editions. In The Amazing Race 19, one of the names of the detectives the teams identified themselves besides Dupond and Dupont and Thomson and Thompson was Johnson and Johnston. That name wasn't part of the foreign names for unknown reasons.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Peeters 2012, p. 341, "Character Names in French and English".
  2. ^ a b c "How to tell a Thompson from a Thomson". Retrieved 9 September 2006. 
  3. ^ a b c Assouline, Pierre (4 November 2009). Hergé: The Man Who Created Tintin. USA: Oxford University Press. pp. 42–43. ISBN 9780195397598. Retrieved 6 January 2013. 
  4. ^ Farr 2001, p. 21.
  5. ^ Thompson 1991, p. 42.
  6. ^ Thompson 1991, p. 52; Lofficier & Lofficier 2002, p. 31; Assouline 2009, p. 42; Peeters 2012, p. 65.
  7. ^ Lofficier & Lofficier 2002, p. 31.
  8. ^ Michael Farr, Tintin: The Complete Companion, John Murray, 2001.
  9. ^ L'ombra che sfidò Sherlock Holmes, Storie da Altrove, Sergio Bonelli Editore, November 2000, p. 55
  10. ^ "L'Ombra che sfidò Sherlock Holmes". Retrieved 6 January 2013. 
  11. ^ Voice actors Dan Hennessey and John Stocker are each credited in 37 episodes, according to IMDB, which is all but two of the series' 39. Four of those credits are "credit only".
  12. ^ "Dan Hennessey". IMDB. , credited for voice in 37 episodes (four indicated as "credit only")
  13. ^ "John Stocker". IMDB. , credited for voice in 37 episodes (four indicated as "credit only")
  14. ^ Stephen Armstrong (21 September 2008). "Simon Pegg: He’s Mr Popular". The Sunday Times (UK). Retrieved 21 September 2008. 
  15. ^ Characters & Places|The Derk Isle retrieved 9 September 2013
  16. ^ ▒ 지성의 전당 도서출판 솔입니다 ▒