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Valley of the Cobras: Huberty & Breyne to auction Jo, Zette & Jocko cover art

#1 · Posted: 26 May 2023 17:50
The Brussels auction-house Huberty & Breyne have announced that their forthcoming sale of BD art, albums and memorabilia on Saturday the 17th of June, 2023, will have as one of its star lots Hergé's original artwork for the cover of the third adventure of Jo, Zette & Jocko, The Valley of the Cobras.

Under the title Jo et Zette au pays du Maharadjah (Jo and Zette in the land of the Maharajah), the story had started to appear in the French Catholic weekly magazine Cœurs Vaillants in 1939, but only twenty pages were completed before the war brought publication to a halt.

Due to the heavy work-schedule of creating new Tintin adventures while also managing the release of his existing books in new colour editions, the post war years were busy, and it was not until 1953 that work restarted on what was now to be called La Vallée des Cobras (The Valley of the Cobras), with Hergé being assisted by Bob De Moor to produce this new adveture, which appeared in Tintin magazine from December 1953 for 52 weeks.

To emphasize how busy the studios were, the first epsiode of Valley of the Cobras debuted in the same December issue that brought Tintin's Moon adventures to a close; the last episode of Cobras appeared a year later, in the same issue in which Tintin became embroiled in The Calculus Affair. The same year also saw the preparation and publication of On a marché sur la Lune (Explorers on the Moon) in book form.

Work on The Calculus Affair and preparation for The Red Sea Sharks followed, and it was not until 1957 that The Valley of the Cobras was collected as an album

Made for that Casterman edition of 1957, Hergé created the image in india-ink on paper, measuring 41.2 cm x 30 cm.

The item comes with a certificate of authenticity issued by the Fondation Hergé.

The lots in the sale, including the cover, will be on display to the public in Paris, at 19-21 rue Chapon, from the 8th to the 10th of June, and in Brussels, at 33 Place du Chatelain, from the 15th to the 17th of June.

You can download the auction catalogue here.
#2 · Posted: 30 May 2023 15:58
That's an impressive collection of art for sale. Quite a lot that's "affordable" and then a few items that are serious investments. I remember laughing out loud at that page from Asterix a kid. If only I'd followed that up with a fan letter to Uderzo saying how much I like his work and 'please could I have a page'. It works at football (shirts rather than art). Maybe the Hergé item for the opposite wall, a Tardi for the hall and some Giraud to cover up the water leak in the bedroom... I remember about 15 or so years ago you could get Jije pages from about €600.

The Dave McKean Batman page was a surprise in the middle of all that classic work. I do respect his art but never thought a Batman book the best way to express his expertise.

Was this a series that Hergé, post war at least, relied on the Studio to do the leg work? Am I getting Bob de Moor for my €150,000?

#3 · Posted: 18 Jun 2023 13:11
I remember about 15 or so years ago you could get Jije pages from about €600

Ah the days long gone - I passed up an original Segar Popeye strip at £90 once, because I was a cash-strapped student, but later, having just been paid for a summer of work, could have blown £900 on a great copy of Detective Comics Nº27 as I was flush, but didn't, because I didn't know how I would explain it to my folks that I was suddenly broke again... I could probably retire now if I had...

Anyway, the Valley of the Cobras piece sold for 150,000€ (plus fees of 31%), so the lower estimate.

Am I getting Bob de Moor for my €150,000?

You'll need to tell us, when it drops through your letter box... ;-) Just don't put it too close to the water-leak...!

There will be an element of studio work to it, but Hergé remained involved; I seem to remember that one of the things that delayed, then sank, the J,Z&J version of Le ThermoZéro was that Hergé never got around to doing his pass at the artwork the Studio (probably Bob) had done.

I'd still be more than happy with it, whatever the history...!

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