This wonderful Tintin illustration by Hergé sold at auction last week for around $3.84 million, making it the most expensive piece of comic book art in the world. Hergé created the art with ink, gouache, and watercolors as a cover for his 1936 comic The Blue Lotus. From Smithsonian:
Per the Associated Press, Hergé's publisher told him that his original design would be too expensive to mass-produce. As a compromise, Hergé created a pared-down—and cheaper—version for the 1936 cover, removing the floating Chinese characters, swapping colors and changing the shading on the dragon, among other adjustments, according to the video.
Hergé gave the original design as a gift to Jean-Paul Casterman, his editor's 7-year-old son. The paper was folded up and placed in a drawer, where it remained until 1981, reports Sian Cain for the Guardian[…]
Casterman's children put the Blue Lotus artwork up for sale on Thursday. Expected to sell for between €2 and €3 million, the art launched a "frenzied" bidding, surpassing the €2 million mark "within seconds," according to the Guardian.
"Owing to its uniqueness, this masterpiece of comic art deserves its world record and confirms that the comic-strip market is in excellent health," says Leroy in the statement, per a translation by Artnet News' Sarah Cascone.