Auctions | March 1, 2023

Tintin, Astro Boy, and Batman at Art & Anime Auction

Heritage Auctions

Tintin: 1961's Album à colorier No. 5

Heritage Auctions' upcoming International Original Art & Anime Auction Signature Auction March 10-12 features two original works featuring one of comicdom's oldest and most celebrated world traveler, Tintin as rendered by his creator, the Belgian artist Hergé.

Four years after Heritage sold the first published Tintin cover for $1,125,000, the auction house will offer two more originals. Both images were used for the popular Tintin coloring books first published by Casterman in the 1960s.

One hails from 1961's Album à colorier No. 5 and is instantly recognizable to Tintin fans as a modified rendering of the cover to 1941's collection The Crab with the Golden Claws, among the volumes Steven Spielberg used as inspiration for his 2011 film The Adventures of Tintin.

Hergé took the original image featuring Tintin and Captain Haddock and erased a few things — shards of glass from an exploding bottle, bandits just over the dune, the camels' shadows — to make it easier for children to color the work. "It's a real re-composition in the purest style of the ligne claire with, let's say, a more peaceful atmosphere than the World War II-era original," says Olivier Delflas, Director of International Comic Art & Anime.

In the second work Tintin is surrounded by the series' six most important characters, among then Snowy and Haddock. But it didn't only serve as the cover for 1963's Album à colorier No. 6: This illustration was also used as the front of the commercial brochure used when Little, Brown and Company brought Tintin to U.S. shores in 1974. For many Americans, this image was their introduction to him.

Hergé is joined in this auction by venerated comic-strip pioneers Winsor McCay and George Herriman, each represented by their most famous creations, Little Nemo in Slumberland and Krazy Kat, respectively.

George Herriman Krazy Kat Sunday Comic Strip
Heritage Auctions

 George Herriman's Krazy Kat Sunday Comic Strip

Hergé Album à colorier Grand Format 5
Heritage Auctions

Hergé Album à colorier Grand Format 5

samu Tezuka Astro Boy Kamishibai Illustration
Heritage Auctions

Osamu Tezuka. Astro Boy Kamishibai illustration

Winsor McCay Little Nemo in Slumberland Sunday Comic Strip
Heritage Auctions

Winsor McCay, Little Nemo in Slumberland

The original Little Nemo featured here first ran in The New York Herald on Jan. 24, 1909, about four years after McCay debuted the strip about a little boy whose adventures transpired while he slept. The Krazy Kat strip is personalized and includes a thank-you to Elmer Raguse, the eight-time Oscar-nominated sound engineer at Hal Roach Studios, and it's among the rare Herriman-hand-colored originals known to exist.

Other items include:

* Paul Pope's most famous work, the first issue of 2006's Batman: Year 100, an Elseworlds tale set in Gotham City 2039

* Frank Miller's iconic cover of 1982's Daredevil No. 185, the first issue where the writer-artist turned over the pencils to Klaus Janson

* Page 11 from Amazing Spider-Man No. 69, in which John Romita Sr. and Jim Mooney pit the Wall-Crawler against the Kingpin

* Jean-Claude Mézières' original cover for the 1976 edition of Valerian, The City of Shifting Waters

* Mathieu Lauffray's mixed-media and acrylic cover for 1996's Star Wars: Heir to the Empire No. 6, the final issue of that limited-run series. 

Heritage is also offering an original illustration of Astro Boy by his creator Osamu Tezuka. This scene is rendered in kamishibai format, a form of storytelling incorporating Japanese street theater famous in the 1930s. As the catalog notes: "The kamishibai were shown by storytellers who would visit villages and set up a miniature wooden stage, into which they would slide illustrated pictures and embody the different characters of the story they were telling." This rare work featuring the kid robot is exceedingly rare.