Philip Johnson has been, since early school days, a fan of the youthful journalist adventure-hero Tintin. Fans the world over, known as Tintinologists, have been enthralled by Tintin’s escapades ever since he first appeared as a comic-strip character in the late 1920s.
In primary school there were regular class-periods set aside for reading in the library. Philip used to scramble amongst his friends to read the Tintin books. There was always a “high demand” for home-borrowing of the books too! All praise to the librarian at Hurstville South Public School for obtaining the Tintin books (and for sometimes acceding to school-boy requests to acquire stories not in the library’s collection).
At school and at home, Philip eagerly gobbled up one-by-one Hergé’s marvellous stories The Black Island, The Shooting Star, The Calculus Affair, Flight 714, The Red Sea Sharks, The Crab with the Golden Claws, The Secret of the Unicorn, Red Rackham’s Treasure, Tintin in Tibet, The Castafiore Emerald, The Seven Crystal Balls, and Prisoners of the Sun. The books were not only an imaginative escape but also made links to overseas countries and historical events, both topics of which interested Philip right throughout primary school.
His parents gave Christmas and birthday gifts of Destination Moon, Explorers on the Moon, Cigars of the Pharoah, and King Ottokar’s Sceptre, and also the “movie-book” (not written by Hergé) Tintin and the Golden Fleece. Later he saw the film broadcast on television but missed out on both the “movie-book” and the second film Tintin and the Blue Oranges.
Not all of the Tintin stories were held in the primary school’s library. In later life he obtained copies of Land of Black Gold, The Blue Lotus, The Broken Ear, Tintin in America, Tintin and the Picaros and Tintin in The Congo (once the latter book was finally translated into English).
Philip later viewed the joint French and Candian animated adaptation of twenty-one Tintin stories (it excludes the first story Tintin in the Land of the Soviets).
In January 2012, he attended the cinema and viewed the film The Adventures of Tintin starring Jamie Bell as Tintin.
He has also been interested in Tintin studies and enjoyed Harry Thompson’s book Tintin: Hergé and His Creation (London: Sceptre, 1992).
Philip is an Australian theologian and has been a guest lecturer at Morling College for many years and is known for his co-written books in apologetics, theology, missions and new religious movements: The Cross is not Enough, Riding the Rollercoaster, Jesus and the gods of the New Age, Beyond Prediction, Beyond the Burning Times and Religious and Non-Religious Spirituality in the Western World (“New Age”). He has also contributed chapters to several books including Encountering New Religious Movements, Tough-Minded Christianity, Baker Dictionary of Cults, Australian Stories for the Soul, and Australian Stories for the Heart. He is a founding co-editor of the e-journal Sacred Tribes Journal. He holds the BA and BD from the University of Sydney, and an MTh from the Australian College of Theology.
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