Tintin Comic Cover Sells for $1.12 Million

When most people think of influential comic book characters and valuable issues, they often think [...]

When most people think of influential comic book characters and valuable issues, they often think of Superman and the very first issue of Action Comics, of which one copy sold for over $2 million last summer. But the world of comics is wide, its history rich, and there are other characters -- and the artists who created them -- whose early appearances are just as valuable, including Belgian cartoonist Hergé and his character, Tintin. The very first original cover art featuring the beloved character just sold for $1.12 million.

The Adventures of Tintin Vol. 1: Tintin in the Land of the Soviets sold on June 8 by Heritage Auctions in a sale of European Comic Art held in Dallas, Texas. The piece is one of the few known privately owned cover illustrations signed by Hergé and is also the oldest. The artwork is from 1930 and features both Tintin and Snowy, his faithful canine companion.

"Tintin is a seminal character, who has been loved and admired for generations the world over," said Joe Mannarino, a Director of Comics and Comic Art at Heritage Auctions. "His popularity is as great now as it has ever been."

The cover art, which measures 21 by 26 centimeters, features Tintin carving a makeshift propeller for his plane out of a tree trunk while a bandaged Snowy watches. The art features Hergé unique artistic style -- a clean, expressive drawing style that many artists, including Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein claimed as an influence on their own work.

Tintin books have been translated into more than 70 languages and has sold more than 200 million copies, as well as has been adapted for radio, television, theater, and film. The stories follow the titular hero, a courageous young Belgian reporter and adventurer. Other characters in the Tintin stories include Snowy, the cynical Captain Haddock, the hearing-impaired Professor Calculus, as well as incompetent detectives Thomson and Thompson (Dupont et Dupond in French) and opera diva Bianca Castafiore.

Hergé, whose real name was Georges Remi, remains a significant figure in European comics even 26 years after his death in 1983 at the age of 75. Most of his existing original cover art featuring Tintin is the property of the Hergé Museum in Louvain-la-Nueve, near Brussels.