Tintin is one of the most popular comic characters ever conceived and 220-million copies of the books about his adventures have been sold. Picture: 123RF
Tintin is one of the most popular comic characters ever conceived and 220-million copies of the books about his adventures have been sold. Picture: 123RF

It’s 26.6 cm x 28.7 cm in size and shows a black and white line drawing of a dejected young man sitting under an aeroplane with a broken propeller while a bandaged dog looks on. It also sold for $1.12m at a Heritage Auctions sale of European comic art in Dallas, Texas at the weekend.

That’s because the drawing is one of the few original magazine cover drawings available in the public domain of the world’s most famous young intrepid reporter, Tintin. It’s also the original drawing used for the first published magazine appearance of Belgian creator Hergé’s beloved character on the February 13 1930 cover of Le Petit Vingtième, the children’s supplement of conservative Belgian newspaper Le Vingtième Siècle.

The stories published there would later be collected and published as Tintin in the Land of the Soviets — regarded these days as Hergé’s weakest work and only ever released in black and white, seen by many aficionados as a sign that the Belgian cartoonist was embarrassed by his early anticommunist manifesto for children. It is, however, seen as important in laying the groundwork for the style that he would become so well-known for and that would see the publication of 22 full-colour Tintin adventures before Hergé’s death in 1983.

Since his cover debut, Tintin books have been translated into 110 languages and sold more than 220-million copies and so you can see why someone would fork out such good cash for a piece of the history of a pop-culture character who, nearly 90 years after he sat forlornly looking at a broken propeller, continues to entertain and thrill audiences across the world.