If you're a fan of the comic series Tintin and have a few million dollars to spare, then pencil in tomorrow's auction of original artwork by Belgian cartoonist Hergé.
Le Lotus Bleu, from the fifth volume of The Adventures of Tintin, which follows the exploits of the ginger-haired teenager, is estimated to fetch between HK$8.6 million and HK$13 million.
Considered one of the finest examples of the ligne claire (clean line) style, which Hergé pioneered, the 1936 illustration is the highlight of an auction billed as the first dedicated to European comics in Asia. Other items going under the hammer at the "From Paris to Hong Kong" event include works by Enki Bilal, Nicolas de Crécy, Loustal and Jean-Marc Rochette.
Eric Leroy, an expert in comic strips at auction house Artcurial, which has co-organised the event with Spink, says the sale reflects a growing Asian interest in the "ninth art", the term used to describe comic-strip art. (The first art is architecture and the eighth is television, in case you're wondering.)
"Let's not forget that comics provided the inspiration for Andy Warhol's first paintings," says Leroy. "Today, collectors who understand [their] importance in 20th-century art come from a diverse range of backgrounds and are culturally very open-minded, which demonstrates the dynamism of this market."
Other highlights of the auction include 16 original boards and illustrations by Bilal that retrace 25 years of the French comic-book creator's work and are estimated to sell for up to HK$1.5 million.
Le Garage Hermétique, by Jean Henri Gaston Giraud (better known as Moebius, he's worked on sci-fi films Alien, Tron, The Fifth Element and The Abyss), is expected to sell for as much as HK$650,000.
The "From Paris to Hong Kong" auction will be held tomorrow at 6pm at Spink, 4/F, Hua Fu Commercial Building, 111 Queen's Road West, Sheung Wan, tel: 3952 3000.