"Rowdy" Roddy Piper Reported Dead at 61
Though his initial days as an illustrator of sci-fi and counter culture comic books and strips were mostly behind him as the 1980s approached, William Stout continued to leave a mark on American cartooning via his many movie posters. Proliferating during the heyday of VHS, the artist’s work on features like Ralph Bakshi’s Wizards and Monty Python’s Life of Brian are burned into the brains of a generation of junk culture aficionados.
Now fans of Stout or the first big wave of American punk rock can own an iconic piece of his art in the form of the original illustration for the 1979 cult classic Rock N Roll High School. Produced by Roger Corman, the teenage send-up gave the Ramones some of their widest exposure ever and launched a best-selling soundtrack album.
Heritage Auctions has the poster art live on eBay through this weekend. With a starting bid of $2,400, it’s likely that the winner will have to pay out more than the Ramones ever made off the door at CBGB’s. But it might be worth it if you care about history.
Auctions | A restored copy of Detective Comics #27, which marks the first appearance of Batman, is expected to bring in more than $100,000 in a Feb. 20 sale held by Heritage Auctions. According to the company, this would be only the second restored copy of that issue reach that milestone (several restored copies of Action Comics #1 have broken $100,000). A CGC-graded 4.5 copy of Batman #1 is expected to fetch more than $65,000 in the same auction. [Antique Trader]
Passings | Cartoonist Joseph Farris, whose work appeared in The New Yorker and other publications for almost 60 years, died last week at his home in Bethel, Connecticut. He was 90. Farris served in the Army during World War II, and he later wrote a memoir, A Soldier’s Sketchbook, that included drawings he did while on the front lines in France and Germany. He recently completed another memoir, Elm Street, about growing up in Danbury, Connecticut. Farris once described his work as “subtly political,” adding that his goal was to make the reader laugh, then stop and think “Wait a minute. What did he say?” [The News-Times]
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.
Conventions | The San Diego Tourism Authority is asking hotels in the Comic-Con International room block to freeze their rates at the 2016 level for the following two years, as part of its bid to keep the convention in the city. Already, 30 of the 50 participating hotels have agreed to do so. Meanwhile, Mayor Kevin Faulconer will attend the next Comic-Con board meeting to make an appeal to organizers to remain in the city; Tourism Authority CEO Joe Terzi said Anaheim has made a bid for Comic-Con, but the city’s convention bureau wouldn’t comment.
A plan to expand the San Diego Convention Center collapsed after the hotel-tax funding scheme was ruled unconstitutional, but Anaheim is preparing to break ground on its own 200,000-square-foot expansion. However, Comic-Con spokesman David Glanzer said, “Some people had mistakenly implied that an expanded convention center would be the thing that solidified our decision to stay or go, but there are a number of factors to be addressed: hotel room rates, available space within hotels and outside the center, things that could mitigate the issue of having outgrown the convention center. An expansion would be great for the city and us, but if it doesn’t happen we’ve been able to make do without it, and if we can mitigate the concerns we do have we’ll be able to stay here.” [U-T San Diego]
Although George Barris’ Lincoln Futura concept car achieved iconic status on the 1966 Batman television series, it wasn’t the first Batmobile. That honor apparently goes to a customized 1956 Oldsmobile 88 built in a barn in New Hampshire and later sanctioned by DC Comics. And now it’s up for sale.
According to Heritage Auctions, 23-year-old Forrest Robinson began conceiving the car in 1960 — simply to drive around himself – and then enlisted his friend Len Perham to help build it. Their Batmobile, originally painted “space-age silver,” was completed in 1963, two years before Barris began work on the car for the TV show.
It’s easy to imagine that news of Action Comics #1 selling for $3.2 million sent some people scurrying to the attic or basement for a copy they swore they saw somewhere, only for them to return empty-handed. However, a few may have unearthed what they thought was the Holy Grail of comics, only to later learn it was fool’s gold: a dreaded reprint.
The scenario has apparently occurs often enough to lead Heritage Auctions to produce a video explaining to (undoubtedly heartbroken) collectors how they can tell the difference between the genuine first edition and DC Comics’ 1974 Famous First Edition oversize reprint.
Todd McFarlane’s original cover art for The Amazing Spider-Man #300 is expected to sell for more than $250,000 when it goes up for auction later this month.
The 1988 issue not only marked the 25th anniversary of the Marvel comics series but also the first full appearance of Venom, the popular villain created when Spider-Man’s black symbiote suit merged with Eddie Brock. The cover is signed by McFarlane three times on the front, and includes a handwritten note on the back from the artist (presumably to series editor Jim Salicrup).
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).
The three original comic strips from Bill Watterson’s surprise guest stint last month on Pearls Before Swine will be displayed this week at Comic-Con International before they’re sold at auction Aug. 8, with proceeds benefiting The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.
The collaboration, which came at the suggestion of the Calvin and Hobbes creator, marked Watterson’s return to the comics page after a 19-year absence. Pastis teased readers that the week’s storyline would “contain a mind-blowing surprise,” but didn’t reveal what it was. Nevertheless, some fans quickly uncovered clues that some of the strips were ghost-drawn by Watterson.
The original art for the very first appearance of Wolverine sold for $657,250 on Friday — tying the highest price ever for a single piece of American comic art.
The final page of Incredible Hulk #180, as drawn by Herb Trimpe and Jack Abel, featured a final panel that saw Wolverine crashing a fight between the Hulk and the villainous Wendigo. The page sold to an anonymous collector through Heritage Auctions in Dallas.
The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has teamed with Heritage Auctions to auction original art to benefit the nonprofit organization. Although Charlie Adlard’s contribution has already been snatched up, the rest of the inaugural lot — original art by Jim Lee and Paul Pope, and a letterpress broadsheet signed by Neil Gaiman — are up for bid through Saturday.
“CBLDF’s important work on behalf of the comics industry makes them an important organization to support,” Lon Allen, Heritage’s managing director for comics and comics art, said in a statement. “We’re proud to join the artists who donated these pieces by contributing our services to help the Fund reach our bidder community. We hope to make a meaningful impact on their work protecting comics!”
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.
Long believed lost, the original page from 1974’s The Incredible Hulk #180 featuring the first appearance of Wolverine will be auctioned in May to benefit The Hero Initiative.
The Associated Press reports that Heritage Auctions was contacted by the owner, who said he has had the page since 1983, when it was given to him by artist Herb Trimpe. The auction house describes it as “one of the most significant pieces of original comic art to ever appear on the market.”
Humanoids 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.
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.