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Golden Age comics collection expected to fetch $1 million

flash comics1The Golden Age comics collection of a Kentucky insurance executive is expected to bring more than $1 million in an online auction that ends Tuesday.

Among the about 175 comics being sold by John C. Wise through ComicConnect are Action Comics #1, All Star Comics #1, Detective Comics #27, Marvel Comics #1, Archie Comics #1 and Wonder Woman #1. However, the jewel of the collection may be a pristine copy of 1940’s Flash Comics #1, featuring the first appearances of Jay Garrick, Hawkman and Johnny Thunder.

“This copy is in incredible high-grade condition and is the second-best copy known to exist,” ComicConnect co-owner Vincent Zurzolo told The Associated Press. The current bid for the CGC-graded 9.2 copy of Flash Comics #1 is $91,000; the 7.0 copy of Action Comics #1 is at $75,000.

The record price paid at auction for a comic book is held by a near-mint copy of Action Comics #1, which fetched $2.16 million in 2011.

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Tintin drawings sell for $2.9 million, setting new world record

tintin-auction

An original page of Tintin drawings signed by Hergé sold at auction Saturday in Paris for nearly $2.9 million, setting a new world record for comic art.

Dating to 1937, the double-page spread featuring the boy reporter, Snowy and other characters (above) was created for the inside covers of Tintin books published between 1937 and 1958. According to Agence France-Press, the piece was purchased by an American collector following “15 minutes of furious bidding” at the Artcurial devoted entirely to the Belgian artist and his most famous creation.

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The Blank Page Project auction to benefit Hero Initiative

blank-page-project-cropped

Last year at Comic-Con International, comixology teamed with The Hero Initiative for an event that drew in top industry names to create The Blank Page Project, a massive jam board filled with sketches and signatures, all to benefit the nonprofit organization. One source says the mural is 10 feet by 12 feet, and another says it’s 9 feet by 13 feet. Whatever the case, it’s big, and it’s now up for auction by Heritage Auctions.

Among the contributors to the piece are Tim Bradstreet, Jeffrey Brown, Mark Buckinham, Chris Burnham, Amanda Conner, Colleen Coover, Paul Cornell, Nick Dragotta, Kevin Eastman, Ulisies Farinas, Christos Gage, Sterling Gates, Dave Gibbons, Steven Grant, Lea Hernandez, Phil Jimenez, Denis Kitchen, Ron Marz, Bill Morrison, Jerry Ordway, Jimmy Palmiotti, George Perez, Nate Powell, Norm Rapmund, Stjepan Sejic, Walt Simonson, Bruce Timm, Paul Tobin and Mark Waid.

See the full piece below. Online bidding continues through May 15; the auction will be held May 15-17 in Dallas.

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Another rare ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ original goes up for auction

calvin-and-hobbes-cropped

Another rare original Calvin and Hobbes comic strip by Bill Watterson has been put on the block by Heritage Auctions. Just how rare is it? Only four have been sold through Heritage during its 13 years auctioning comic art — and two of those were in the past couple of years: An original Sunday installment fetched $203,150 in November 2012, and a daily strip went for $65,725 in February 2013.

The current offering, a daily strip dated May 9, 1987, in which Calvin refuses a vegetarian meal and declares himself a “dessertarian,” has faded lettering and panel frames, but is described as otherwise in “Excellent condition.” The current online bid is $16,000, but will likely climb considerably higher before the May 15-17 auction.

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The Beguiling to auction ‘Amazing Fantasy’ #15, ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ #1

The Beguiling owner Peter Birkemoe with the comics

The Beguiling owner Peter Birkemoe with the comics

In conjunction with the return of Peter Parker next Wednesday in the relaunched Amazing Spider-Man #1, respected Toronto comic store The Beguiling will auction off copies of the hero’s first two appearances: 1963’s Amazing Fantasy #15 and The Amazing Spider-Man #1.

“These two books are what you might call ‘Holy Grail’ books for comic book collectors,” The Beguiling owner Peter Birkemoe said in a statement. “They’re two of the most valuable and sought-after issues from the Silver Age of comics, and we’ve had tons of interest already from fans looking to add them to their collections.”

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Comics A.M. | Rare copy of ‘The Beano’ #1 goes up for auction

The Beano #1

The Beano #1

Auctions | A rare copy of The Beano #1 from July 1938 — only about 25 copies are believed to exist — is being auctioned on eBay by Seaford, England, dealer Phil Shrimpton. With just four days remaining, the opening bid of £3,499 (about $5,875 U.S.) has yet to be met. As you can see on the website, the copy certainly isn’t in the best shape. The issue, which sold a reported 442,963 copies when it was released, introduced such characters as original cover star Big Eggo the ostrich, Lord Snooty, Wee Peem and Ping the Elastic Man (the racist caricature in the magazine’s logo is Little Peanut, who stuck around on the cover until 1947, when he was replaced by Big Eggo). “Every year or so another one seems to emerge – often found in someone’s attic,” Shrimpton says. “People didn’t really look at comics as collector’s items until the sixties and seventies, so lots of them got destroyed. Also a lot of the comics were destroyed during the war as people were more conscious about recycling the old issues.” [The Argus]

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Comics A.M. | DC, Marvel shut out of February bookstore chart

The Walking Dead, Vol. 19

The Walking Dead, Vol. 19

Graphic novels | Marvel and DC Comics may dominate the direct market but the bookstore channel is another story: As ICv2 points out, neither publisher landed a title on Nielsen BookScan’s list of the 20 top-selling graphic novels in February. Instead, here’s what it looked like: six volumes of The Walking Dead, six volumes of Attack on Titan, two volumes of Saga, and single volumes of some well-established titles Locke & Key, Bleach, Naruto, Adventure Time and Avatar: The Last Airbender, and the adaptation of the novel Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. That makes Image Comics the winner of the month, followed by Kodansha Comics, and the list is heavy on books with tween and teen appeal. [ICv2]

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Stan & Sharon Sakai benefit auction launches

Art by Roger Langridge

Art by Roger Langridge

The first of the Comic Art Professional Society benefit auctions for Usagi Yojimbo creator Stan Sakai and his wife Sharon has launched on eBay, featuring original artwork by the likes of Mike Allred, Dan Brereton, Josè Luis Garcìa-Lòpez, Mike Mignola and Jeff Smith.

Sharon Sakai suffers from a debilitating illness that required an extended hospital stay and convalescence; she’s back at home but requires 24-hour care and medications that exceed their insurance coverage. All of the proceeds from the auction will go to the Sakais to help cover their medical expenses.

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Humanoids buys original company logo drawn by Moebius

humanoids logo-originalHumanoids has announced it bought the company’s long-missing original logo, hand-drawn in 1974 by co-founder Jean “Moebius” Giraud.

The inked piece, measuring 4.25 inches by 6 inches, was purchased Friday for $6,572.50 in the same Heritage Auctions sale that featured the earliest Superman cover art known to exist.

Moebius teamed with Jean-Pierre Dionnet, Philippe Druillet and Bernard Farkas in December 1974 to form the Paris art collective Les Humanoïdes Associés in order to publish Métal Hurlant, the revolutionary sci-fi anthology that spawned several foreign versions, including the U.S. magazine Heavy Metal.

Now called simply Humanoids, the graphic novel publisher relocated it headquarters last year to Los Angeles and opened an office in Tokyo.

Moebius, the enormously influential artist whose works included The Airtight Garage, The Incal and Blueberry, died in May 2012 at age 73.

Early Superman cover art sells for $286,800

action comics15-cover artThe earliest original Superman cover art known to exist sold at auction over the weekend for $286,800, exceeding early estimates.

Fred Guardineer’s cover for Action Comics #15 (dated August 1939), on the fifth cover appearance of the Man of Steel, depicts the superhero aiding a distressed U.S. submarine on the ocean floor. It was purchased by Richard Evans of Bedrock City Comic Company in Houston.

“Guardineer’s cover is the earliest Superman cover art in existence, and an absolute treasure of comics history,” Ed Jaster, senior vice president of Heritage Auctions, said in a statement. “A price like this shows just how much collectors covet a rarity like this.”

A prolific Golden Age writer and artist, Guardineer created Zatara, whose first appearance in Action Comics #1 was overshadowed by the debut of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster’s Superman.

The Feb. 20-22 auction in New York City featured more than 1,200 lots, including the second part of the Don and Maggie Thompson collection. Highlights included: a near-mint copy of Amazing Fantasy #15, which sold for $191,200; Jack Kirby and Frank Giacola’s original cover art for Tales of Suspense #84, which fetched$167,300; and R. Crumb’s original art for the three-page story “Ducks Yas Yas” from Zap Comix #0, which went for $101,575.

Comics A.M. | U.K. artists Gordon Bell & Tony Harding pass away

"Dennis the Menace," by Gordon Bell

“Dennis the Menace,” by Gordon Bell

Passings | British cartoonist Gordon Bell has died at the age of 79. He was a contributor to DC Thomson’s children’s comics, including The Beano and The Dandy, in the 1960s and ’70s; his creations include The Bash Street Pups. After that, he went on to become a political cartoonist (under the nom de plume Fax) for the Dundee, Scotland, newspaper The Courier, which is also apparently owned by DC Thomson. Lew Stringer has posted a sampling of his work at Blimey! [The Courier]

Passings | Another U.K. creator who drew for weekly children’s comics, Anthony John “Tony” Harding, has also died. While Bell’s work was on the goofy side, Harding drew soccer stories for action-packed boys’ comics such as Bullet, Hornet and Victor. His best-known gig was as the artist for “Look Out for Lefty,” the story of a hotheaded soccer player with a skinhead girlfriend, which got a bit too close to reality with its depictions of violence during soccer games. Again, Lew Stringer posts some of his work. [Down the Tubes]

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Comics A.M. | New DreamWorks imprint won’t affect licenses

DreamWorks Animation

DreamWorks Animation

Publishing | DreamWorks Animation’s announcement on Monday that it is launching its own book-publishing unit doesn’t mean the end of the road for its comics licensees, at least not yet: ICv2 talked to representatives from IDW Publishing, which publishes the Rocky & Bullwinkle comics, and Ape Entertainment, which has had a number of DreamWorks licenses, and both say that this won’t affect their comics. [ICv2]

Auctions | A collection of comics that included the first issues of The Amazing Spider-Man and the British satirical comic Viz, as well as long runs of several Marvel series, brought in almost £25,000 (about $41,300 U.S.) at an auction in Newcastle, England. The majority of the comics were from a single collector whose wife decided to put them up for sale after he died. For those who are curious about the details, Duncan Leatherdale of The Northern Echo liveblogged the auction. [BBC News]

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Bam! Pow! Amazing ‘Fantastic Four’ cels actually justify this title

ff effects1

I somehow missed this incredible auction when it took place in November, but thanks to Tumblr I still get to marvel at the art (not that I would’ve plunked down $850, mind you): 16 crash effects cels from Hanna-Barbera’s 1967 animated series The Fantastic Four.

Of course, those effects, coupled with Alex Toth’s character designs, are pretty much the best things about the cartoon, which like other series of the era was crippled by poor animation. These, however, are suitable for framing.

Check out some of them below, and more here.

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1966 original ‘Peanuts’ daily strip sells for $26,450

peanuts auction

A 1966 original daily Peanuts comic strip from fetched $26,450 at auction earlier this month, surpassing pre-sale estimates of between $15,000 and $20,000.

Featuring Peppermint Patty, Linus and Snoopy, the strip was the top-grossing item in a multi-estate auction held Jan. 18 in Lynbrook, New York, by Philip Weiss Auctions. The auction was devoted primarily to Golden Age comic books, sports memorabilia and comics art, along with some original Disney production cels and paintings.

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Comics A.M. | Police auction off criminal’s comics on eBay

Some of the seized comics

Some of the seized comics

Auctions | The Leicestershire (England) Police are auctioning about 1,200 comics — most of them are post-2000 DC Comics titles, described as in mint condition — seized as criminal assets in Dorset (the police force doesn’t have its own eBay account). “Some are signed by the artists and they are mainly Superman and Spider Man, that sort of thing,” said Dave Hargrave, proceeds of crime asset realization manager. “[...] The person who had the comics was obviously a collector.” About 400 comics have been sold, bringing in £600 (about $985 U.S.). [Leicester Mercury]

Publishing | Avatar Press has returned to Diamond Book Distributors as its distributor to bookstores, the mass market, library services, and other markets. Avatar left DBD in 2011 to sign on with BOOM! Studios to distribute its books through Simon & Schuster in the United States and HarperCollins in Canada. [ICv2]

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