X-POSITION: Phoenix, Upstarts & More Tear Up Bowers & Sims' "X-Men '92"
Analysis | Rob Salkowitz kicks off the new year with big-picture questions about “geek culture”: With the popularity of comics-based movies, will continuity and nostalgia become less important? And will comics themselves become less important? “Putting out comics is a relatively costly and troublesome process with limited revenue potential relative to other ways of exploiting the intellectual property. A fan base that buys licensed merchandise and watches entertainment programming without needing a monthly fix of new art and story is probably considered a feature of the new comics economy, not a bug.” [ICv2]
Creators | Chew artist Rob Guillory, who will appear this weekend at Wizard World New Orleans, talks about the strange comics that he read as a kid (The Adventures of Kool-Aid Man) and the unexpected success of Chew, which will end next year with its 60th issue: “In the beginning, John and I were kind of like, ‘Well, best-case scenario, we can go 60 issues. Worst-case scenario, we can do five and go our separate ways and never speak again.’ I don’t know if we’ve seen the peak of our reception. I don’t think we’ll see how popular we’ve been until it’s over. When it’s wrapped and it’s the complete thing, I think people will start missing us.” [Best of New Orleans]
Auctions | An original 1939 drawing of Tintin created by Herge for the cover of the weekly magazine Le Petit Vingtième sold Sunday for $673,468 at an auction of French and Belgian comics art held simultaneously in Paris and Brussels. The auction featured 101 works, of which 86 were purchased for a total of $2.4 million. [Agence France-Presse]
Auctions | A copy of The Hulk #181, featuring the first appearance of Wolverine, fetched $8,000 at an auction held Saturday at Back to the Past comics store in Redford, Michigan. [My Fox Detroit]
Retailing | System of a Down drummer John Dolmayan, who shuttered his online store Torpedo Comics in 2010 after about three years in business, is looking to open a brick-and-mortar shop. A brief story notes that while Las Vegas store Comic Oasis, owner Derrick Taylor is partnering with Dolmayan to open Torpedo Comics in January at 8775 Lindell Road, Building H, Suite 150. [Vegas Inc.]
The earliest known licensed Batmobile — a customized 1956 Oldsmobile 88 built in a New Hampshire barn — sold at auction over the weekend for a whopping $137,000.
As we noted last month, the vehicle has more humble origins than the iconic Lincoln Futura concept car created by George Barris for the 1966 Batman television series: Completed in 1963, it was built from the ground up by 23-year-old Forrest Robinson and his friend Len Perham simply to drive around.
Creators | In an interview to be published in Japan next Friday, Naruto creator Masashi Kishimoto says he plans to spend some time with his wife and child, and take a long-delayed honeymoon, before starting his next series. And as he is about to turn 40, he hints that he may not be up for another weekly series. [Anime News Network]
Comic strips | The first color Sunday funnies appeared on Nov. 18, 1894, in Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World. David Shedden observes the 120th anniversary of this innovation with a look back at some popular comic strips and footage of New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia reading the funnies over the radio during the newspaper strike of 1945. [Poynter]
The owners of Metropolis Collectibles and ComicConnect, who in August paid a record $3.2 million for a pristine copy of Action Comics #1, will display “the Holy Grail of comic books” on Thursday at their New York Comic Con booth (#2630). Alas it’s only on Thursday.
The first comic to fetch more than $3 million at auction, the issue is one of just two copies of 1938’s Action Comics #1 — featuring the first appearance of Superman — to be graded 9.0 by the Certified Guaranty Company (the other is the comic once owned by actor Nicolas Cage, which sold in 2011 for a then-record $2.16 million; however, its pages aren’t considered “pristine”). Only about 30 unrestored copies of Action Comics #1 are thought to exist.
This copy was acquired several years ago in a private sale by Darren Adams of Pristine Comics in Federal Way, Washington, and stored a temperature-controlled vault. He said the original owner bought the comic from a newsstand in 1938, and then kept in a cedar box for about four decades until a local dealer in West Virginia purchased it in an estate sale. The issue then passed to a third person, who held onto it for 30 years. Adams said he turned down an offer of $3 million, and instead opted to sell the comic in a highly publicized eBay auction.
Awards | The finalists for the inaugural Kirkus Prize literary awards include two graphic novels: Roz Chast’s Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? is one of six nominees in the Nonfiction category, and Cece Bell’s El Deafo is one of the picks for the Young Readers award. The winners in all three categories, who will receive $50,000 each, will be announced during a ceremony held Oct. 23 in Austin, Texas. [The Washington Post]
Manga | A prequel to Osamu Tezuka’s classic Astro Boy manga is in the works for the Japanese magazine Monthly Hero’s. Tezuka’s son, Makoto Tezuka, is supervising the production of the story, which focuses on the time before the “birth” of the iconic robot boy. [Anime News Network]
Comics | Vincent Zurzolo of Metropolis Collectibles explains why he and his partner Stephen Fishler were willing to pay a record $3.2 million last month for a pristine copy of Action Comics #1: “We feel very confidently this was a good price and that we will be able to sell this for a profit. We really believe in the strength of the comic book market and that it has a long way to go.” Zurzolo also talks about how he built up his business, starting out selling comics at conventions at the age of 15. [The Hollywood Reporter]
Legal | More trouble for Square Enix over the gamer manga Hi Score Girl: Publication was suspended last month following allegations the series, which runs in the Japanese magazine Monthly Big Gangan, had used characters owned by the game company SNK Playmore without permission. Now it turns out Square Enix asked permission from Sega to use characters from its Virtua Fighter game, but then went ahead and published the story before permission was granted. Sega executives “strongly objected” but took no further action and did grant the permission, reasoning it would be good publicity for the game. [Anime News Network]
The finest known copy of Action Comics #1, featuring the first appearance of Superman, sold late this afternoon on eBay for a record $3.2 million. It’s the first comic to fetch more than $3 million at auction.
The previous record price of $2.16 million was paid in 2011 for a copy of the same comic once owned by actor Nicolas Cage. While both are rated 9.0 by the Certified Guaranty Company, the Cage issue had “cream to off-white pages”; this one is considered to be in pristine condition. They’re the only two copies of Action Comics #1 to receive that high of a rating.
This copy was acquired several years ago in a private sale by Darren Adams of Pristine Comics in Federal Way, Washington, and stored a temperature-controlled vault. He said the original owner bought the comic from a newsstand in 1938, and then kept in a cedar box for about four decades until a local dealer in West Virginia purchased it in an estate sale. The issue then passed to a third person, who held onto it for 30 years.
Halfway through the 10-day eBay auction, bidding for the finest known copy of Action Comics #1 has surpassed $1.95 million.
Owned by Darren Adams of Pristine Comics in Federal Way, Washington, it’s just one of two copies of Superman’s first appearance to receive a 9.0 rating from the Certified Guaranty Company. The other, previously owned by actor Nicolas Cage, sold at auction in 2011 for a record $2.16 million. The difference between the two is that the Cage issue had “cream to off-white pages,” while Adams’ copy is considered to be in pristine condition.
Bidding has slowed considerably as the price inches higher: The comic jumped from a starting price of 99 cents to more than $1.6 million in the auction’s first day. Still, already this morning the price has moved from $1.8 million to a little more than $1.95 million. It appears just nine people have participated in the auction, for a total of 27 bids.
The auction continues through Aug. 24, with a portion of the proceeds going to benefit the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, dedicated to curing spinal cord injury. Adams, who acquired the comic several years ago, is only its fourth owner. He said he recently turned down an offer of $3 million, deciding instead to sell the book on eBay.
It’s just one of two copies to receive a 9.0 rating from the Certified Guaranty Company. The other, previously owned by actor Nicolas Cage, sold at auction in 2011 for a record $2.16 million. However, the Cage issue had “cream to off-white pages,” while this copy is considered to be in pristine edition.
An opening bid of $1 million was submitted Thursday within four minutes of the auction’s opening. Although the comic’s owner, retailer Darren Adams of Pristine Comics in Federal Way, Washington, had said more than 75 people had applied to bid in the restricted sale, it appears as if just five have participated so far.
For serious collectors with seriously deep pockets, this is a momentous day: It’s the beginning of the 10-day eBay auction of the holy grail of comic books — the finest known copy of Action Comics #1.
“I’ve been in business 28 years and you chase a lot of leads hoping to find something like this,” retailer Darren Adams, who owns the CGC-graded 9.0 copy, tells Seattle’s KCPQ TV. “This is the needle in the haystack, because most books are not preserved with such quality.”
The owner of Pristine Comics in Federal Way, Washington, Adams acquired the comic several years ago in a private sale, and stored it in a temperature-controlled vault. He tells the Federal Way Mirror the original owner bought the comic (for 10 cents) from a newsstand in 1938, and then stored it in a cedar box for about four decades until a local dealer in West Virginia purchased it in an estate sale. The issue then passed to a third person, who held onto it for 30 years.
Bill Watterson’s original artwork from his surprise guest stint in June on Pearls Before Swine sold at auction Friday for a combined $74,040, with the proceeds going to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.
According to The Associated Press, Heritage Auctions sold the three comic strips to three collectors, who wished to remain anonymous. The Dallas auction house had expected the pieces to bring in more than $30,000 combined (the June 5 strip alone went for $35,840).
Fans with a little extra cash in their pockets — OK, a lot of cash — have a chance to acquire pieces of Dark Knight history, as ComicConnect and Metropolis Collectibles are auctioning Batman co-creator Bob Kane’s own file copies of the character’s earliest appearances.
Those searching for pristine editions of Detective Comics #27 or Batman #1 will have to look elsewhere. These are copies of Detective Comics #27-45 and Batman #1-3 that were bound by DC Comics for editorial reference — as you can see, there’s a row of holes down the left — and later given to Kane. Still, the colors remain vibrant.
“Treasures like this only surface once in a blue moon,” ComicConnect/Metropolis Collectibles CEO Stephen Fishler said in a statement. “I was lucky enough to know Bob Kane. He told me, along with others, that he was just 17 when he sold the Batman character to an unwitting DC. Once the franchise took off, he leveraged that to renegotiate his contract with DC, and the file copies were part of the deal.”
Piracy | The Japanese government is joining with 15 anime production companies and manga publishers to launch a major initiative that will target foreign pirate sites. The push will start Aug. 1 and will have two components: The government will send takedown requests to 580 pirate sites and also launch a website that directs people to legitimate sources of online manga. The Japanese Cultural Affairs Agency estimates that Chinese pirate sites cost the industry 560 billion yen (about $5.5 million) last year. [Crunchyroll]
Comics | Lidia Jean Kott talks with writer Jason Aaron about his female Thor and pays a visit to Fantom Comics in Washington, D.C., where a quarter of the customers are women and the bestselling title is Saga (the bestselling superhero comic is Ms. Marvel). [NPR]
Horning in on Batman Day, eBay has announced it will auction a CGC-graded 9.0 copy of Action Comics #1, the finest known copy of the 1938 first appearance of Superman.
Just one other copy of Action Comics #1, the one previously owned by actor Nicolas Cage, has received a 9.0 rating from the Certified Guaranty Company, but it had “cream to off-white pages,” while this comic is considered to be in pristine edition. The Cage issue sold at auction in 2011 for a record $2.16 million; the expectation is, of course, that this copy, owned by collectibles dealer Darren Adams, will fetch a considerably higher price.
“The quality and preservation of this Action #1 is astounding,” Paul Litch, CGC’s Primary Grader, said in a statement. “The book looks and feels like it just came off the newsstand. It is supple, the colors are deep and rich and the quality of the white pages is amazing for a comic that is 76 years old.”
The eBay auction will be held Aug. 10-24, with a portion of proceeds going to the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, which is dedicated to curing spinal cord injury.
You can view the comic on the CGC Comics website.