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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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Ailing dentist’s Silver Age comics sell for $570,000

tales to astonish27An Illinois dentist sold part of his comic book collection at auction last week for $570,000 to help him pay for treatments for a rare autoimmune disease.

Among the more than 400 Silver Age comics were a copy of Fantastic Four #1, which fetched $60,000, and Tales to Astonish #27, featuring the first appearance of Ant-Man, which went for $40,000. Even a CGC-graded 5.0 copy of Amazing Fantasy #15 sold for $13,400.

The Daily Herald reports that Steve Landman, aka “Dr. Fate,” who is closing his Lake Zurich dental practice because of his disease, was diagnosed about two years ago with anti-MAG IgM peripheral neuropathy, which attacks the nerves. He’ll use the money from the auction, minus fees, to set aside from potentially costly medical treatments and travel expenses.

The 62-year-old Landman has been buying comics since childhood, amassing a collection of more than 15,000. He’ originally intended to sell them after he retired, but those plans changed with his diagnosis.

“”I imagine that this is a good enough time as any to sell a comic collection,” Landman said, “what with all the superhero movies out there.”

DC acquires Al Plastino’s Superman art to give to Kennedy library

plastino-supermans missionFulfilling one of Al Plastino’s final wishes, DC Entertainment announced it has acquired his original art for the 1964 story “Superman’s Mission For President Kennedy” for donation to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston.

A prolific Golden Age artist who passed away Nov. 25 at age 91, Plastino was surprised to discover at New York Comic Con a month earlier that the pages hadn’t been given five decades earlier to the library, as he’d been led to believe, but were instead set to be sold at auction on the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination. The seller had purchased the pages in 1993 at a Sotheby’s auction for $5,000.

Plastino, who spent the last weeks of his life campaigning for the return of the artwork — Heritage Auctions put the sale on hold until questions about ownership could be resolved — drew the story in 1963 for DC Comics to promote Kennedy’s physical fitness program. The issue was intended to go on sale in late November but was quickly pulled following the assassination, and other material substituted. President Lyndon Johnson’s staff later asked DC to publish the original, which was edited to add a commemorate page showing Superman saluting a ghostly image of Kennedy.

In a joint statement, Plastino’s wife Annmarie and children MaryAnn, Fred, Janice and Arlene said:  “We are extremely grateful to DC Entertainment for ensuring that the original art Al Plastino created for ‘Superman’s Mission for President Kennedy’ will be preserved as part of his artistic legacy and as a tribute to President Kennedy. This art was always very, very special to Al and our whole family and it would have meant a great deal to Al to know that DC Entertainment stepped in to make this possible.”

Aw, we missed our shot at a Batman Tumbler Golf Cart

bat-cart

OK, so that $200,000 street-legal Batmobile replica is a little bit out of your price range. It’s understandable: After all, the economy is soft and crime-fighting doesn’t pay as much as it used to. Then maybe you’d have been better suited for a “one-of-a-kind” Batman Tumbler Golf Cart.

Alas, someone just snapped it up for a Buy It Now price of $17,500, ending the eBay auction a few days early. Sure, it isn’t Warner Bros.-approved, and it doesn’t have a blinking Batphone, it does look like an adorably squat version of the vehicle from the Christopher Nolan movies. Plus, hey, four cupholders!

The other former superheroes at Gotham Acres Retirement Community will definitely be jealous when they see the Can’t-Drive-After-Dark Knight cruising around in this baby.

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