Hergé decides to send Tintin, his dog and his friends on the Moon after they contributed to the development of the space program. The story is titled On a marché sur la Lune (English title : Explorers on the Moon) and will be pre-published in the Belgian weekly Journal de Tintin.
The publication began in 1950 but was stopped after 24 pages, just before the launch of the test rocket. The novelty of the subject, seven years before Sputnik 1, apparently intimidated Hergé ever anxious to wrap his fantasies in a realistic surrounding. He takes the relevant information on the lunar topography, on movements in weightlessness and on the weak gravitational pull of the Moon.
The weekly issue restarts two years later and ends on 30 December 1953. Unlike the pre-war stories that were prepared in double pages, each original is limited to one page.
They must now prepare for the album. The story is very long and is split at that time in two albums released in 1954 : the adventures on Earth become Objectif Lune (English title : Destination Moon) and the actual journey retains the original title. To adjust to two books of 62 pages each, many changes are made in the settings of the pages and some gags are reworked.
Two original drawings 37 x 51 cm in black and white before letters and colors are sold in Paris on November 19 by two separate auction houses.
Christie's sells the page 117 of the first version, published in Le Journal de Tintin on December 9, 1953 and remaining unchanged as page 59 of second album. The rocket reaches Earth after a late braking and a disaster is likely. The traveling heroes are not visible. The art is estimated € 350K, lot 75.
Artcurial sells the page 26 of the second album, which is a rearranged copy of the bottom of page 78 and of the full page 79 of the pre-publication. The arrival of Milou (Snowy) on the Lunar ground and his first experience with Lunar gravitation have been simplified. This page shows the astonishment of the characters in those conditions that no living creature had experienced before them. It is funny and emblematic. It is estimated € 700K, lot 498.
RESULTS INCLUDING PREMIUM :
Artcurial : € 1.55M
Christie's : € 600K