Is Tintin gay? Cartoon birthday boy dogged by rumours
The Times journalist Matthew Parris under the headline "Of course Tintin's gay. Ask Snowy".
"Billions of blue blistering barnacles, isn't it staring us in the face?," wrote The Times journalist Matthew Parris under the headline "Of course Tintin's gay. Ask Snowy," ahead of Saturday's anniversary.
"What debate can there be when the evidence is so overwhelmingly one-way? A callow, androgynous blonde-quiffed youth in funny trousers and a scarf moving into the country mansion of his best friend, a middle-aged sailor?" he wrote.
Tintin, the creation of Belgian Georges Remi - whose pen name Hergé comes from his initials, inverted and pronounced in French - first appeared in 1929 along with his faithful companions Captain Haddock and trusty dog Snowy.
Translated into 60 languages, the cartoon books still sell upwards of two million copies per year.
Parris, a former British lawmaker who is openly gay, said Tintin's sexuality was obvious to anyone who reads the cartoon books closely.
His family background gives a first clue.
"Tintin never talks about his parents or family, as though trying to block out the very existence of a father or mother. As psychologists will confirm, this is common among young gay men," says Parris.
The fact that, while being nominally a journalist, he almost never files any stories, is also fishy - fuelling speculation that he is a spy.
"As the remotest acquaintance with (for instance) British espionage will confirm, secret intelligence has always attracted gay men. I myself applied for and was offered a post in MI6."
The lack of women in his adventures is also suspicious - only eight out of some 350 characters are identifiable as female.
While Tintin never shows any interest in girls of women, his canine sidekick is "unambiguously heterosexual," having a "tendency to be distracted by lady dogs: a tendency in which he is consistently foiled by his master."
"Pity this dog, wretchedly straight and trapped in a ghastly web of gay human males," says Parris.