When I was a kid, my heroes were Willie Mays, Snoopy, Donald Duck, Winnie the Pooh, Daredevil and Tintin. I am now an adult and, sadly, those are still pretty much my heroes.
Thus, the Daniel Craig movie I am most eagerly awaiting this week is not "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo'' but "The Adventures of Tintin,'' directed by Steven Spielberg and produced by Peter Jackson. I'm also very nervous. I've been waiting for a Tintin movie ever since I was 8 years old and first read the Herge stories serialized each month in "Children's Digest'' (that and "Baseball Digest'' were my first magazine subscriptions). I want this movie to be good. I want two of cinema's great directors to fill me with the thrill and wonder Herge did. I want the movie to be a hit so that I no longer have to explain who Tintin is, how the comic has been hugely popular in Europe and parts of Asia for more than 70 years, how his adventures have sold more than 200 million copies in more than 50 languages.
But mostly I worry the Tintin movie will be too popular, that if I wear my Tintin watch and my Tintin T-shirt now I'll seem like a Trekkie. That once everyone in America knows who Tintin is, being a fan here will lose the sense of being in a secret, exclusive and cool club. That Tintin will be regarded as Garfield in knickers and a trenchcoat.
I wonder whether some soccer fans felt this same way when the World Cup and foreign games began gaining popularity here. As nice as it must be now that so many sports bars televise so many games and you see so many people wearing Man U and Real Madrid jerseys, there probably is a nostalgia for the days when you and a select few other fans rose on a weekend morning for an early pint at an out-of-the-way pub that showed a feed from England. When you read Nick Hornby's "Fever Pitch'' and shared his obsession with Arsenal, a team few others in this country were even aware of. When you could feel like you were so hip and in the know that it was almost like being able to speak a foreign language. That it was your own personal sport you didn't need to share.