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Tintin comic book art breaks auction record at $3.1 million

Thomas Adamson and Oleg Cetinic
Associated Press

Paris — A Tintin drawing by the Belgian artist Herge sold Thursday in Paris for 2.6 million euros ($3.1 million), breaking the record for the most expensive comic book art in history.

The 1936 work in Chinese ink, gouache and watercolor was destined as a cover for “The Blue Lotus,” the fifth volume of the adventures of Tintin, a young reporter created by Herge.

The inked and water-painted original panel of the comic character Tintin from the 1936 "The Blue Lotus" album drawn by Belgian creator Herge, is displayed at the Artcurial auction house in Paris.

The work features a red dragon on a black background by the frightened character's face. It never graced store shelves because it was deemed too expensive to reproduce on a wide scale, a victim of the artist's craftsmanship.

In “Blue Lotus,” Tintin travels to China during the 1931 Japanese invasion with his dog, Snowy, to investigate and expose Japanese spy networks, drug-smuggling rings and other crimes.

Art expert Eric Leroy gestures as he talks to the Associated-Press during an interview as he stands next to the inked and water-painted original panel of the comic character Tintin from the 1936 "The Blue Lotus" album drawn by Belgian creator Herge.

The record price set at Thursday's sale organized by the Artcurial auction house did not include auction fees. Work by Hergé, whose real name was Georges Remi, previously set the record for the most expensive pieces of comic book art with the front pages of Tintin comic books that also sold for 2.6 million euros, including auction fees.

A 1975 bronze sculpture of the comic character Tintin and his dog snowy by Belgian sculptor Nathanael Neujean.