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Mint copy of The Walking Dead #1 fetches $10,000 on eBay

Even as The Walking Dead #104 arrived in stores Wednesday, a mint copy of the first issue of the acclaimed horror series sold for $10,000 on eBay.

Characterized by the seller as “the holy grail of comic books,” the slabbed copy is graded 9.9 out of 10 by the Certified Guarantee Company, “the highest grade of this book in an extremely low print run.”

While many would argue whether the October 2003 first issue of The Walking Dead trumps, say, Action Comics #1 or Detective Comics #27 as “the holy grail of comic books,” it did have a pretty low print run: Image Comics Publisher Eric Stephenson revealed this year at the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo that initial orders for the comic by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore “totaled a mere 7,300 copies.”

The Walking Dead came in dead last out of the half dozen new titles we launched that month,” he told the crowd at the Diamond Retailers Summit. It was beaten by Cursed #1, Battle of the Planets: Manga #1, Sword of Dracula #1, Something Wicked #1, and Realm of the Claw #1. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I was actually working at Image back then and aside from the Dracula book and the Battle of the Planets book, I don’t even the vaguest recollection of what those other books were about. And I don’t say that because they were necessarily bad, but because they’re not around anymore.”

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Life With Archie #16 is one hot comic

Hey, you remember how last week the American Family Association, via its OneMillionMoms.com website, called for a boycott of Toys ‘R’ Us because the chain had the temerity to display, in full public view, a comic that it was offering for sale? The comic in question, of course, was Life With Archie #16, whose cover bears an image of two men getting married, which could cause all sorts of discomfort for people who might be forced to explain to their children that sometimes two men love one another, just like mommy and daddy.

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Speculators take notice as DC replaces Green Lantern #1 misprint

Amid the announcements of sellouts and second of third printings for the New 52, Heidi MacDonald catches an email from DC Comics notifying retailers of a printing error on some copies of Green Lantern #1. That noise you just heard was the sound of speculators making a frantic dash to their local comics store.

The flaw in question is a little green teardrop above Sinestro’s ear (you can see it in the image on the right). DC asks retailers to report the flawed copies to Diamond Comic Distributors by Monday. Replacement copies will arrive on Oct. 12, the same day as Green Lantern #2.

Naturally, a flawed copy has already made its way onto eBay, where the starting bid is $9.99. However, what DC labels “a printing error,” the seller characterizes as a sly maneuver by the publisher: “I’VE PLACED THE TEARDROP MISPRINT COVER IN ONE PHOTO AND REGULAR COVER ON THE OTHER PHOTO. ITS REALLY OBVIOUS. I’LL LET YOU BE THE JUDGE, CALL IT WHATEVER YOU LIKE. I think it was intentional especially with a launch of this magnitude.”

What DC would get out of it, I don’t know. But far be it for me to question a shrewd owner of an “unread, NM, dripping wet off the presses” copy of the “Teardrop Misprint Variant.”

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Periscope Studios helps raise funds for Dylan Williams


The good folks at Portland’s Periscope Studios are holding a fundraiser for Sparkplug publisher Dylan Williams, who is dealing with a serious illness. Several of the artists who work out of Periscope, including Jonathan Case (who painted the showdown between Thor and Galactus you see above), Steve Lieber and Colleen Coover, have contributed artwork to an auction to benefit Williams.

You can find all the available pieces on Periscope’s eBay page.

SDCC Wishlist | Gaze into the soulless eyes of Dark Phoenix

Dark Phoenix, from Tonner Dolls

Tonner Doll Company, the folks behind the DC Stars collection, has officially announced its 2011 Comic-Con International exclusive: a kind-of-cool — if you’re into high-priced collectible dolls, that is — kind-of-creepy limited-edition Dark Phoenix doll. How limited? Very, according to the manufacturer; just 150 pieces have been made.

That means, of course, that Dark Phoenix will be very expensive. Although Tonner’s press release doesn’t list a price — file under “If you have to ask, you probably can’t afford it” — eBay already has the doll pegged at anywhere from $254.95 to (gulp) $349.99.

But, hey, isn’t she worth it? Just read this description: “In keeping with the fine detail and quality of Tonner’s other product lines, Dark Phoenix will boast hand-painted facial details, including mesmerizing mirrored eyes and fine quality variegated, rooted saran hair. She features a recently enhanced 16″ high-quality vinyl and hard plastic body with 13-points-of-articulation for dynamic poses. Dark Phoenix’s meticulously crafted costume consists of a searing red bodysuit with metallic ‘Phoenix’ emblem and attached gloves, thigh-high faux leather boots, and matching gold sash with a ‘Phoenix’ charm. A display stand is also included.”

I would’ve gone with “haunting, soulless eyes” rather than “mesmerizing mirrored eyes,” but I’m not really the target audience for this thing, “searing red bodysuit” or no. Tonner will be at Booth #4149 in the San Diego Convention Center, so start saving those pennies.

Comics A.M. | FF #1 breaks 100K; Nic Cage’s stolen Action #1 found

FF #1 -- Marko Djurdjevic variant

Publishing | On the heels of Monday’s direct-market overview for March, ICv2 has released its sales estimates for the month, placing the top-selling FF #1 at 114,472 copies — more than 37,500 ahead of the No. 2 title, Green Lantern #64. The retail news and analysis site notes that the relaunched FF #1, aided by variant covers, joins the Human Torch-killing Fantastic Four #587 as the only titles to sell more than 100,000 copies in the past six months.

While 11 of the Top 25 comics saw sales increases, if only slight, the graphic novel category looked decidedly more grim, with just the third volume of The Unwritten and Batman and Robin: Batman Reborn breaking the 4,000-copy mark. [ICv2.com]

Crime | Los Angeles police have recovered a copy of Action Comics #1 stolen from the home of actor Nicolas Cage in 2000. The 1938 comic, worth as much as $1.5 million, was discovered last month by an unidentified man who claims to have bought the contents of an abandoned San Fernando Valley storage locker. It’s now in an LAPD evidence safe while the department’s art details detectives try to track down the thieves, but Cage says he can’t wait to get the comic back. “It is divine providence that the comic was found and I am hopeful that the heirloom will be returned to my family,” he said in a statement. [Ventura County Star, Los Angeles Times]

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Comics A.M. | One Piece doubles yearly sales, Comico art auction questioned

One Piece, Vol. 60

Publishing | Eiichiro Oda’s blockbuster pirate manga One Piece has sold 32.34 million copies in 2010, more than double what it sold the previous year. According to Japanese market survey company Oricon Communications, the series’ five newest volumes have sold a combined 12.5 million copies. [Anime News Network]

Publishing | Comico co-founder Gerry Giovinco weighs in on an eBay listing that includes original artwork apparently left in the stewardship of his former partners Dennis and Phil LaSorda when the company went bankrupt in 1990: “It always was Comico policy to return all art to the creators. If there is art that was not returned, we are in total agreement that it should be returned to the rightful owners of the work. If you are a creator that believes your work could be among this lot, we would suggest you fight to get it back.” [CO2 Comics Blog]

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Comics A.M. | Kirby/Marvel copyright fight continues, John D’Agostino dies

Jack Kirby

Legal | New York federal judge Colleen McMahon made several decisions last week in the case of Jack Kirby’s heirs attempting to terminate Marvel’s copyright of his works. The judge agreed with Marvel that it would be premature to make an accounting of how much money is at stake, but rejected a bid by Marvel to throw out the Kirby estate’s main counterclaim. She also ruled that the Kirby estate’s attempt to reclaim original art is barred by the statute of limitations, counterclaims of breach-of-contract and violation of the Lanham Act were tossed, and Disney will be part of the case, even though Marvel said it shouldn’t be.

“In sum, the judge has narrowed the case to its most crucial issue. Both sides disagree about Kirby’s working environment in the 1950s and 1960s when he, along with Stan Lee, conceived many of Marvel’s most popular characters. The judge will soon be tasked with looking at Kirby’s work history and some of the loose contracts and oral agreements that guided his efforts in those years,” wrote Eriq Gardner. [The Hollywood Reporter]

Creators | Artist, letterer and colorist John D’Agostino died Nov. 29. D’Agostino started his career as a colorist for Timely Comics and was head of their coloring department for several years. He also worked for Archie Comics, Charlton Comics and Marvel Comics, and lettered the first few issues of Amazing Spider-Man in the 1960s. Tom Spurgeon offers an obituary. [Mark Evanier]

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Comics A.M. | The comics Internet in two minutes

Supreme Court

Legal | The U.S. Supreme Court appeared divided Tuesday during oral arguments on a California law that would forbid the sale or rental of violent video games to minors. Justices Antonin Scalia, Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Sonia Sotomayor raised free-speech objections to the statute, with Ginsberg asking: “If you are supposing a category of violent materials dangerous to children, then how do you cut it off at video games? What about films? What about comic books?” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Stephen G. Breyer and Samuel A. Alito Jr. indicated their belief that the state can restrict the access of minor to video games, while Justices Anthony M. Kennedy and Elena Kagan probed the issues without showing their cards. It will probably be several months before the court hands down a decision. [Los Angeles Times, PC World]

Crime | A man charged with orchestrating the July theft of the expensive comics collection of an elderly Rochester, N.Y., man who was beaten and later died has been arrested by FBI agents for allegedly selling hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of stolen merchandise on eBay. [The Daily News]

Crime | Police in Stamford, Conn., charged Spider-Man and Captain America with assault and Poison Ivy with breach of peace following a weekend brawl in a parking garage. [The Associated Press]

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Chew on this: Would you pay $13,000 for the first issue of the hit series?

The $13,000 copy of Chew #1?

Chew, the action-comedy series by John Layman and Rob Guillory, has been one of the surprise hits of the past year, earning critical acclaim, Eisner and Harvey awards, spots on The New York Times bestseller list, and the attention of Hollywood.

So you might expect the speculator market to take interest in the quirky comic, which centers on police detective turned FDA agent Tony Chu, a cibopath who receives psychic impressions from whatever he eats. But does that interest amount to, say, $13,000? For one issue?

Guillory points this morning to an eBay auction for a Certified Guaranty Company-graded 10.0 copy of Chew #1 — it’s billed as “the ONLY one” — for a starting bid of $3,500. Or you could buy it now for a mere $12,999.

“Will this sell?” Guillory asked. “WILL IT?” He goes on to call the “Buy It Now” price “a steal.”

When asked on Twitter whether the issue is worth that much, Guillory responded, “As co-creator and artist of the book, I can (without bias) say YES. YES, IT IS.”

If you have an extra $13,000 burning a hole in your pocket, take note: The auction ends on Saturday. Chew #15, priced at just $2.99, is set for release on Nov. 10.

Straight for the art | 2010 Doug Wright Awards art auction

Catwoman by Jillian Tamaki

Catwoman by Jillian Tamaki

Since my repertoire of Canada-based witticisms is entirely derived from half-remembered viewings of Strange Brew, I’m just gonna skip the clever opening and point you straight to this rather amazing gallery of (mostly) DC Comics superheroes drawn by (mostly) alternative comics artists (entirely) from Canada. It’s The Doug Wright Awards 2010 All-Star All-Canadian Art Auction, in which these pieces are being sold on eBay to help fund the annual award program. That’s Jillian Tamaki’s gorgeous take on Catwoman above (DC editors, are you paying attention?); click here to see Kate Beaton’s Wonder Woman, Chester Brown’s Batman, Jeff Lemire’s Hawkman & Atom, Matt Forsythe’s Hawkman, Marc Bell’s Iron Man (guess he didn’t get the “DC Comics characters” memo), original art from Bryan Lee O’Malley and more, and click here to start bidding.

(via Tom Spurgeon)

Mid-Ohio-Con holds charity auction to benefit Hero Initiative

The Mid-Ohio-Con is holding a charity auction to benefit the Hero Initiative:

Wolverine by Todd Nauck

Wolverine by Todd Nauck

I wanted to let you know that the Mid-Ohio-Con charity auction is now up and running on eBay. The auction features original art and other work, including books and DVDs from our creative guests at Mid-Ohio-Con 2009, many of whom made incredibly generous contributions of their talent and time. Of particular note, the auction includes all the giant sketches (19″ x 24″) done by artists on the Main Stage easel during last October’s show.

Among the artists whose work is featured in the auction are Dave Aikins, Arvell Jones, Dick Ayers, Art Baltazar, Darryl Banks, Andy Bennett, George Broderick, Pat Block, Jacob Chabot, Jay Fife, Sean Forney, Michael Golden, Chris Giarrusso, Fred Hembeck, Lora Innes, Scott Kolins, Gary Kwapisz, Ren McKinzie, Todd Nauck, Chris Sprouse, Steve Scott, Mark Texeira, Billy Tucci, Uko Smith, Chris Yambar, and Thom Zahler.

All proceeds from the auction will go to benefit the Hero Initiative, a nonprofit organization that creates a financial safety net for comic creators who need emergency medical aid, financial support for the essentials of life, and an avenue back into paying work, so I’d really appreciate it if you would spread the word so that we can get a lot of attention and proceeds for this year’s auction.

You can check out all the auction items here.

Heroes 4 Haiti auctions go live

by Dean Haspiel

by Dean Haspiel

As we mentioned last week, Heroes 4 Haiti is putting together various charity auctions to benefit the victims of the earthquake in Haiti. You can now bid on several donated pieces, including the above art by Dean Haspiel, A Graveyard Book drawing from Dave McKean and many more. Find the complete list here.

Alex Ross donates Catwoman artwork to cat rescue organization

Catwoman by Alex Ross

Catwoman by Alex Ross

Artist Alex Ross donated this incredible piece of Catwoman art to benefit the Saved Whiskers Rescue Organization, Inc., a non-profit cat and kitten rescue organization. You can find more details and place a bid over at the eBay listing; the auction ends this Friday.

Straight for the art | Silvestri & Portacio’s Philippines flood relief jam piece

Witchblade by Marc Silvestri & Wetworks' Dane by Whilce Portacio

Witchblade by Marc Silvestri & Wetworks' Dane by Whilce Portacio

Sure, Image co-founders Marc Silvestri and Whilce Portacio have teamed up in the past—most recently for the Robert Kirkman-penned mega-crossover Image United—but this is their noblest joint effort yet. The pair is auctioning off the above jam piece, starring Portacio’s Wetworks character Drew and Silvestri’s flagship heroine Witchblade, to raise money for flood relief in the Philippines.

The Southeast Asian nation was recently hit hard by back-to-back typhoons Ketsana and Parma, and the number of casualties and people left homeless by flooding is grim. But as reported by Comic Book Resources, the burgeoning Filipino comics scene—which includes such world-famous artists as Leinil Francis Yu, Francis Manapul, Philip Tan, and Carlo Pagulayan, plus a thriving national industry–is rallying to help raise much-needed funds for the victims. The effort has been led by Gerry Alanguilan, Yu’s frequent inker and a writer-artist in his own right, and the Silvestri/Portacio jam is just one of several items that will be made available through benefit auctions on Alanguilan’s eBay page. Go and bid, then check out Alanguilan’s blog for photos of the live relief auction he helped conduct this weekend at Manila’s Komikon 2009, plus more info on what else you can do to help.

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