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Picking up where he left off in the Egyptian adventure Les cigares du pharaon, Tintin travels to China in Le Lotus bleu (The Blue Lotus), which is generally considered Herge's first masterpiece. It's also Tintin's only foray into actual history, specifically the Sino-Japanese conflicts of the early 1930s. The political tensions combined with the chilling threats of drugs give the story an especially high and realistic sense of danger. Herge's interest in China was spurred by a friendship with a young Chinese student named Chang Chong-chen, a relationship that Tintin mirrors with a Chinese boy also named Chang Chong-chen. Herge paints a vivid picture of China and takes the opportunity to denounce ethnic prejudices (though ironically his artistic depiction of the Japanese businessman Mitsuhirato is quite grotesque). Years later, Tintin's relationship with Chang would become the basis of Tintin au Tibet. --David Horiuchi
Herge (Georges Remi) was born in Brussels in 1907. Over the course of 54 years he completed 23 albums of The Adventures of Tintin series, which is now considered to be one of the greatest, if not the greatest, comics series of all time. With translations published in over 80 languages, more than 230 million copies sold worldwide and a Hollywood movie to its name, Tintin dominates the Comics and Graphic Novels chart even today. Sadly, Herge died in 1983, leaving his 24th album, Tintin and Alph-Art, unfinished, but his hero continues to be one of the most iconic characters in both adult and children's fiction. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.