Hans Christian Andersen’s first fairy tale was the perfect inspiration for this little comic strip. It’s about a soldier who discovers a tinder box that, when struck, summons a supernatural dog to fetch him his heart’s desire. He uses it to steal gold, then the princess of a kingdom, and finally the crown.
Thing is, this soldier, when you read between the lines, is kind of a psychopath. He chops off a witch’s head for not being straight with him, kidnaps girls, and later decides to murder an entire court to escape its justice. I was intrigued – what kind of world would a person like this belong to? What source did Mr. Andersen have most immediately at hand to draw from? Why, the Napoleonic wars, of course, and the revolution before it.
So the script for Flint and Tinder was written with an eye towards the misery (miserables?) of the soldier, who proclaims he would never fight again if only he could afford it. A common epithet of the revolution. But, having achieved riches and rescued the princess like heroes are supposed to, he finds himself drawn into her plot to take power, and all his proclamations ring false. It’s the story of the dawn of the 19th century, in a nutshell.