'Missing' Batman painting expected to fetch $100,000 at auction

A 1962 painting of Batman by pop artist Mel Ramos, long thought missing, is expected to sell at auction next month for as much as $100,000.

Called A Sinister Figure Lurks in the Shadows, the oil painting has all this time been in the collection of Bill Steinfelt, who received it in1962 after trading Ramos, then an unknown young painter, a pile of comic books. Or, as Steinfelt refers to them, "a bunch of old books."

“He had all of these comic books drawn up quite well,” he told Heritage Auctions. “When I went to leave later that month he wanted a bunch of my comic books. I didn’t want to sell my collection, but I said, ‘I’ll take one of your drawings and you can have these comic books.’ He had a bunch of them, but I thought this was the best one.”

A lot of collectors would probably agree. It's one of five paintings from Ramos' superhero series -- considered his "first mature body work" -- that's been out of public view for decades.

The painting will be sold at auction Oct. 28 at Heritage Auctions in Dallas. Online bidding has already reached $60,000.

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