The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that while demolishing a wall, David Gonzalez struck gold amid newspapers from the 1930s that had been used for insulation: a copy of 1938′s Action Comics #1, featuring the debut of Superman.
He says he knew immediately the comic was valuable, but he had no idea how much it was actually worth. He’ll know for sure in another 20 days, when an online auction ends for the CGC-graded 1.5 copy. The top bid is a $113,111; Gonzalez will receive about half of the final sale price.
Unfortunately for the father of four, that figure would be significantly higher if not for the actions of one of his in-laws. It seems his wife’s over-eager aunt snatched the comic, and when Gonzalez went to grab it, the back cover was ripped, resulting in what ComicConnect’s Stephen Fishler calls “a $75,000 tear.” Without the rip, the comic would have been graded 3.0.
According to the Asbury Park Press, Brick and Britta Wenzel of Lavallette didn’t have flood insurance for their seven properties — among them, a restaurant, gift store and ice cream parlor — which received $850,000 worth of damage in the October storm. In its aftermath, they rented an unfurnished apartment, applied for a disaster loan, and then began taking inventory of their belongings.
That’s when Brick remembered the nearly two-dozen boxes of old comic books left by his father, who passed away in 2005. Named for Brick Bradford, star of the classic sci-fi comic strip, Brick Wenzel began researching the 1,200-comic collection, which he discovered is worth nearly $1 million.
So the Wenzels turned to ComicConnect.com, which is auctioning more than 400 of the comics through May 16. Among the highlights are Young Allies #1-2, All-Star Comics #18, Mystery in Space #1, Donald Duck Four Color #9 and Action Comics #34.
You won’t find any Brick Bradford comics, however; the Wenzels are keeping those.
Manga | Call it the Manga Paradox: Manga sales are way down, but traffic on scanlation sites is robust and attendance at anime conventions is way up. What’s the story? I crunched some numbers and talked to some publishers to get a picture of the new normal for the manga market in North America. [Publishers Weekly]
Comics | A collection of 60,000 comics sold for $200,000 at auction over the weekend in East Vancouver. It seems impressive until you do the math and realize that’s a little more than three bucks a comic. The star of the collection was a restored Hulk comic that went for $6,500. [CBC]
Business | Marvel parent Disney is expected to begin layoffs in the coming weeks as part of a planned reorganization that follows a company-wide review of operations. The film studio is believed to undergo the deepest cuts, specifically in marketing, home entertainment and production.
The news arrives a little more than five months after Disney announced its $4.05 billion purchase of Lucasfilm; earlier this week, word spread the media giant has closed LucasArts, the video-game subsidiary of Lucasfilm, and axed 150 employees. According to Variety, Disney executives told each division to ensure “that staff levels are in line with the company’s needs in a changing marketplace, particularly in divisions affected by shifts in new media and technologies.” The film division will bear the brunt of the layoffs in large part because of Disney’s increasing reliance on Pixar (purchased in 2006 for $7.4 billion), Marvel (purchased in 2009 for $4 billion) and, soon, Lucasfilm. [Variety]
Passings | French cartoonist Theodor Friedrich Otto Aristidès, aka Fred, passed away Tuesday in a Paris hospital at age 82. He was best known for Philémon, his surrealistic comic about a French farm boy who fell down a well into a fantasy world akin to Wonderland. Fred was awarded the Grand Prix de la ville d’Angoulême in 1980, and had been the oldest living recipient. [L'Observateu de Beauvais]
Creators | John Layman, who’s writing the 900th issue of Detective Comics (No. 19 in the New 52 continuity) talks about his plans for that and his creator-owned series Chew, and contrasts the two: “Well, the cases are weirder in Chew. There is an element that’s the same – you introduce a conflict, and then you have a detective with a certain skill set resolving it. … Batman’s just happen to be gadgets and fists. I guess if there’s a formula in the skeletal layer, it’s probably the same.” [Hero Complex]
Conventions | The organizers of Asbury Park Comic Con emphasize they are getting back to basics, with a comics event that eschews movies and other media to focus solely on comics. The headline guests for the Saturday event are Michael Uslan, Al Jaffee and Herb Trimpe. [The New York Times]
Conventions | In Pennsylvania, the first-ever Nittany-Con drew about 400 people to enjoy the three c’s of comics conventions: Creators, cheap comics, and cosplay. [Centre Daily Times]
Conventions | And in New Jersey, the Hasbrouck Heights Comics Expo drew an equally enthusiastic, if somewhat smaller, crowd. [NorthJersey.com]
– Dave Gibbons, responding with humor to the news that his original cover art for Watchmen #1 fetched $155,350 at auction on Friday, many times what he originally sold it for. (As the artist recently noted, the covers were included in an agreement for the original pages to all 12 issues of the landmark series.) “I thought I had a great deal. At the time,” he added in response to a tweet.
The original covers for the first three issues brought a total of $216,892.50 at the New York City auction. The covers for Watchmen #4-12 are expected to be put up for sale later this year.
Vintage comics and original comic art brought in $4.4 million over the weekend during a Heritage auction in New York City, Artinfo reports. Among the bigger sales were a CGC-graded 6.5 copy of Detective Comics #27, for $567,625, and John Romita Sr.’s original cover for The Amazing Spider-Man #121, which fetched $286,800.
As we noted on Friday, Dave Gibbons’ original cover art for Watchmen #1 sold for $155,350, with the first three covers going for a combined $216,892.50. John Higgins’ color guide for the first cover was bought for $7,767.50. The remaining covers for the 12-issue landmark series are expected to go up for auction later this year.
Wired.com delves into the history of the 12 covers, which were purchased at a Sotheby’s auction in 1993 by former Wizard Publisher Gareb Shamus for what’s been reported to be in the neighborhood of $26,000. The article doesn’t repeat that figure, but it does say what was paid was “a bargain price” (for instance, Higgins’ color guide for the cover of Watchmen #1 was picked up for $50, which was then five to 10 times the usual price).
Dave Gibbons’ original cover art for Watchmen #1-3 sold today at auction for a combined $216,892.50. The first cover, featuring the iconic blood-splattered smiley face, was responsible for the lion’s share of that total, bringing in $155,350 alone. They were joined by John Higgins’ color guide for the cover of Watchmen #1, which went for $7,767.50.
Part of the $1.4 million Shamus Modern Masterworks, accumulated in the 1980s and ’90s by retailer Martin Shamus, father of Wizard magazine founder Gareb Shamus, the Watchmen covers were included in Heritage’s Heritage’s Vintage Comics & Comic Art Signature Auction, held today and Saturday in New York City. Consigned last year to Heritage, the collection already has produced one remarkable sale: Todd McFarlane’s original cover art for The Amazing Spider-Man #328 fetched $657,250 in July, breaking the record for a single piece of American comics art set in 2011 by a splash page from The Dark Knight Returns #3 ($448,125).
Heritage’s Vintage Comics & Comic Art Signature Auction also includes John Romita Sr.’s original cover art for The Amazing Spider-Man #121, an original Calvin and Hobbes strip by Bill Watterson, and 10 pages from Dave Sim’s Cerebus: High Society.
Gibbons’ covers for Watchmen #4-12 reportedly will be put up for sale later this year.
John Romita Sr.’s original cover art for the landmark Amazing Spider-Man #121 has reached $268, 875 in online bidding ahead of a live auction scheduled for today in New York City.
The piece is being offered as part of Heritage’s Vintage Comics & Comic Art Signature Auction, which includes Dave Gibbons’ iconic Watchmen covers, an original Calvin and Hobbes strip by Bill Watterson, and 10 pages from Dave Sim’s Cerebus: High Society.
The Amazing Spider-Man #121, “The Night Gwen Stacy Died,” was a defining moment not only for Peter Parker but for the comics industry; as Heritage Auctions notes in its description, some point to the story as the end point for the Silver Age. (This was the end of innocence for comics,” Arnold Blumberg wrote in Comic Book Marketplace. “It remains one of the most potent stories ever published.”)
Asked by A Moment of Cerebus whether the sale was part of the “Doomsday Scenario” he outlined last summer in Glamourpuss #26, Sim explained, “Well, in a sense, when you’re 57 years old in the comic-book field, everything is a Doomsday Scenario. I set this in motion by calling Lon and finding out if Heritage was interested, which they were. Very. So, that was very gratifying. But you have to start early. It’s a long process of negotiation and I knew that would be the case. I set that in motion and then John and I did the Kickstarter campaign which didn’t require AS early a start. It was successful but I guessed the money wouldn’t last much past the end of the year with all the overhead and that was what happened. Lon and I weren’t ready for the November auction which is what we originally planned. There was still some negotiating to do. But we were ready for the February auction. Lead time. Everything is lead time.”
Bidding continues online through Thursday, with the sale scheduled for Friday in New York City as part of Heritage Auctions’ Vintage Comics & Comic Art Signature Auction.
Three months after an original 1986 Sunday installment of Calvin and Hobbes, drawn and hand-colored by Bill Watterson, sold for $203,150, another original strip is going on the auction block.
Like the previous piece, this daily strip was part of a 1986 swap between Watterson and Adam@Home and Red and Rover cartoonist Brian Bassett. However, The Daily Cartoonist notes that while Bassett sold the other original to help with the expenses of a divorce and upcoming marriage, this one is being offered by his ex-wife Linda through Heritage Auctions (both are signed by Watterson to Brian and Linda).
The strip, part of Heritage’s Feb. 21-23 Vintage Comics & Comic Art Signature Auction in New York City, has already garnered a top online/telephone bid of $15,000. The company cautions, “We know you’ve heard us say this before, but consider this a rare opportunity that may not be repeated for a long time to come. We have no more Watterson Calvin originals ‘waiting in the wings’ to trot out next time around.”
See the full strip below.
Digital comics | ComiXology, which earlier this week announced the opening of a European branch, has revealed its first big score: a digital-distribution agreement with Delcourt, the top independent publisher in France. And comiXology kicked off the agreement by updating its dedicated Walking Dead app to include a French interface and the French editions of the comic. The company also plans a dedicated Lanfeust of Troy app, and of course it will roll out Delcourt titles on its regular app as well. [ComiXology]
Auctions | A copy of Detective Comics #27, which contains the first appearance of Batman (or, as he was called in 1939, “the Bat-Man”), will go on the auction block later this month. The comic, which is CGC rated 6.5, is expected to fetch $500,000, but there’s no reserve, so this might be an opportunity to pick up a bargain. [Art Daily]
The iconic blood-splattered smiley face cover for Watchmen #1 is among a handful of original artwork from the seminal 1986 miniseries by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons up for sale next month as part of a Heritage Auctions signature auction in New York City.
Described by the auction house as “historic” and a “DC masterwork,” the 10-inch by 15-inch image is joined by Gibbons’ covers for Watchmen #2 and #3, John Higgins’ color guide for the cover of Issue 1, a page from Issue 7, and a page and color guide from Issue 8.
The pieces are part of the $1.4 million Shamus Modern Masterworks, accumulated in the 1980s and ’90s by retailer Martin Shamus, father of Wizard magazine founder Gareb Shamus. Consigned last year to Heritage, the collection already has produced one remarkable sale: Todd McFarlane’s original cover art for The Amazing Spider-Man #328 fetched $657,250 in July, shattering the record for a single piece of American comics art set in 2011 by a splash page from The Dark Knight Returns #3 ($448,125).
Online bidding for the Watchmen art begins Feb. 2. The auction will be held Feb. 21-22 at the Ukrainian Institute of America at The Fletcher-Sinclair Mansion in New York City.
Ever since Rick Champagne was a kid playing with his toy replica of the Batmobile, he’s wanted to own the iconic car from the 1960s Batman television series. On Saturday, that dream at last became a reality.
The Arizona businessman, and lifelong Batman fan, shelled out $4.62 million for the customized 1955 Lincoln Futura, the second-highest amount ever paid for a vehicle at the famed Barrett-Jackson collector car auctions (a 1966 Cobra Super Snake owned by auto designer and racing driver Carroll Shelby sold for a record $5.5 million in 2007).
“I’m going to keep it at home,” Champagne told SPEED TV. “Maybe take it out for a Sunday drive.” Asked whether he’d store the Batmobile in his garage, he said he’ll probably put it in his living room.