Official Press Release
The original Frank Miller cover art from Daredevil #188 (1982) –a
high point from near the end of Miller’s legendary run of the title and a
piece that shows the full range of his peak-period mastery–sold
for a world record price of $101,575 on Friday, May 21, as part of
Heritage Auctions’ $3.2+ million Signature Comics & Comic Art Auction.
All prices include 19.5% Buyer’s Premium.
“This is a world record public auction price for a piece of 1980s comic art,” said Todd Hignite, Consignment Director for Original Comic and Illustration Art at Heritage Auctions, “and it’s one of the handful of highest prices that Heritage has ever seen paid for a piece of comic art, period. It’s in very rarefied company.”
When Miller’s run on Marvel’s Daredevil (#158 to #191) began in
the early 1980s, “DD” was a second tier title in a market dominated
by Spider-Man and the X-Men. By the time he finished the story arc,
Daredevil was one of the most popular in the whole of the Marvel Universe. In this amazing and haunting cover the Black Widow has a desperate grasp on a struggling Matt Murdock. The image is at once menacing and intricately beautiful, with Miller spinning a fascinating design of intricate lacing white line work juxtaposed against stark black shapes.
The Heritage Comics & Comic Art Auction overall saw more than 1900 bidders competing for more than 1200 lots. The $3.2
million+ total represents an astounding 99.35% sell-through rate by
Superman has been much in the new lately for record setting copies of his early adventures, and the May 21 auction added to that recent run as two bound volumes of Action Comics #1-24 (1938-1940) sold for the most ever paid for a bound volume lot when it brought $143,400.
“Think about how much it would cost to try and assemble a collection like this today,” said Ed Jaster, Vice President of Heritage Auctions. “Even if you could find copies of all these books individually, you’d never find them in condition this good, and forget about the prices. At $143,400, this represents a very smart buy for a sharp collector.”
Original Robert Crumb artwork showed its considerable sustained strength in the auction, led by his Help! #22 “Fritz Comes On Strong” Page 2 Original Art (Warren, 1965), which realized a very healthy $35,850 final price.
This artwork is from the first piece that Crumb had published when he began his professional career at age 21, with a two-page story published in Harvey Kurtzman’s Help! Magazine. The story features a cartoon version of the Crumb family pet cat, Fritz, as he brings home a kitty girlfriend and proceeds to gleefully strip off all her clothing.
“This is a truly great and historic page from one of the most important
American artists of the last 50 years,” said Jaster. “Crumb had been drawing the adventures of Fritz in his homemade comics since childhood, but this was the first time the public was exposed to this randy feline, and it certainly wouldn’t be the last.”
Crumb also figured prominently in another record setting lot in the auction, as a Zap Comix #1 First Printing – Plymell Edition (Apex Novelties, 1967) CGC NM 9.4 –the highest graded copy of the issue known – set a new record price for an underground comic with a total of $26,290. It also precisely doubled the previous record set by a different copy of Zap 1 sold by Heritage last year.
The demand for rare original comic art continued with more record prices when Gary Larson’s The Far Side Daily Comic Strip Original Art dated 2-12-83 (Chronicle Features, 1983) realized $20,315 for a comic in which the artist pays a sly tribute to Walt Disney’s classic animated feature Pinocchio in this clever panel, featuring a very special, top hat-wearing “field cricket” preserved in alcohol.
“It’s a rare treat to see Far Side originals as they certainly don’t
come into the market often,” said Jaster. “Larson has preferred to hang onto most of his artwork. This particular example is a true gem, and one of the best Heritage has had the opportunity to offer; it’s no surprise that it brought such a premium.”
Heritage Auctions, headed by Steve Ivy, Jim Halperin and Greg Rohan, is the world’s third largest auction house, with annual sales more than $600 million, and 500,000+ registered online bidder members. For more information about Heritage Auctions, and to join and gain access to a complete record of prices realized, along with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit HA.com.
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