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Red Rackham is a fictional pirate who appears in the comic book The Secret of the Unicorn by Hergé, part of the series The Adventures of Tintin.



Rackham is the pirate who attacks The Unicorn, the ship captained by Sir Francis Haddock (Captain Haddock's ancestor). In the story, Rackham engages Haddock in battle, resulting in the almost total destruction of Rackham's ship. As his ship is sinking, Rackham and his men board The Unicorn and manage to gain control of the vessel. Haddock is captured and tied to the ship's mast and the crew are cast overboard. Rackham intends to have Haddock tortured by his men the following day.

That night Sir Francis is able to creep into the hold where the gunpowder is stored and sets a fuse to set it off. Suddenly Red Rackham walks down and they are in the brink of battle. Haddock hurls insults such as "I'll shave your beard, you porcupine", and "I'll pluck your feathers you poppinjay!" He then kills Red Rackham.

Sir Francis makes his getaway by rowboat to a small island before the ship explodes. He stays on the island for more than 3 years before being rescued. He then makes three replica models of the Unicorn for his three sons which contain three parchments which, put together, lead to the island and, it is believed, Red Rackham's Treasure.

Prior to setting off on their journey to find the treasure, details of Tintin and Haddock's expedition are obtained by the press and they are besieged by dozens of men claiming a share on the grounds of being Red Rackham's descendant. Haddock chases them away on the more firm grounds of being the descendant of the man who killed Red Rackham.


It has been suggested that Red Rackham was inspired by John Rackham, best known as the captain of the ship on which the female pirates Anne Bonny and Mary Read sailed. John Rackham was also known for his bright clothes.[1]


In the upcoming 2011 Tintin film, directed by Steven Spielberg, Red Rackham will be portrayed by Daniel Craig.


  1. ^ Tintin The Complete Companion by Michael Farr, ISBN 0-7195-5522-1, ISBN 978-0-7195-5522-0


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