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Superman artist shocked to find his art at auction

Al PlastinoFormer Superman artist Al Plastino was startled to learn his original artwork for “Superman’s Mission for President Kennedy” is up for auction — and not in the John F. Kennedy Memorial Library, as he had been led to believe.

According to the New York Post, Plastino was at New York Comic Con when he learned another exhibitor had the artwork, and that Heritage Auctions was scheduled to sell it (with a starting bid of $20,000 per page) on Nov. 22, the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination. Plastino, who is 91 and has prostate cancer, posted a plea for help on his Facebook page, and the comics community quickly responded with offers of legal help.

Plastino drew the story “Superman’s Mission for President Kennedy” in 1963 to promote Kennedy’s physical fitness program, as part of a collaboration between DC and the Kennedy administration. The issue was scheduled to go on sale in late November, but editors quickly pulled it and substituted other material when Kennedy was assassinated. Shortly afterward, President Lyndon Johnson’s staff asked DC to go ahead and run the story, which they did, adding a special commemorative page showing Superman saluting a ghostly image of Kennedy.

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Frank Miller’s ‘Dark Knight Returns’ #2 cover sells for $478,000

Frank Miller's original cover for "Batman: The Dark Knight Rises" #2Frank Miller’s original cover for Batman: The Dark Knight Returns #2 sold at auction last week for $478,000, The Associated Press reports. Initial expectations had placed the price at more than $500,000.

Although Heritage Auctions has sold other original art from the landmark 1986 DC Comics miniseries — a page from Issue 3, featuring Batman and Robin in mid-air, fetched a record $448,125 in 2011 — this was the first cover to ever appear at auction. It’s also the only one from the four-issue series to be rendered completely in pen and ink by Miller.

A near-mint copy of 1940′s Batman #1, featuring the first appearance of Catwoman and The Joker, went for $567,625 at the same auction. A similar copy sold for $850,000 in 2012.

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

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Cover for ‘The Dark Knight Returns’ #2 goes up for auction

Frank Miller's original cover for "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns" #2

Frank Miller’s original cover for “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns” #2

Frank Miller’s cover for Batman: The Dark Knight Returns #2 is expected to sell at auction next month for more than $500,000, The Associated Press reports.

While Heritage Auctions has sold other original art from the landmark 1986 DC Comics miniseries — a page from Issue 3, featuring Batman and Robin in mid-air, fetched a record $448,125 in 2011 — this is the first cover to ever appear at auction. It’s also the only one from the four-issue series to be rendered completely in pen and ink by Miller, “with no significant painted elements or overlays.” Heritage characterizes it as “artistically the best of the four.”

“For fans of modern comics, this drawing is where everything really begins,” Heritage Vice President Todd Hignite tells The AP.“This moment defines Miller’s Dark Knight, and the modern day perception of Batman, like no other drawing.”

The auction also includes a 9.2 graded copy of 1940’s Batman #1, which marks the first appearance of Catwoman and The Joker. A similar copy sold for $850,000 in 2012.

The record price paid at auction for a comic is held by a near-mint copy of Action Comics #1, which fetched $2.16 million in 2011. Online bidding is expected to begin July 12, with the auction held Aug. 1-3 in Dallas.

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Quote of the Day | Dave Gibbons on ‘Watchmen’ covers auction

watchmen1

“>sob<”

Dave Gibbons, responding with humor to the news that his original cover art for Watchmen #1 fetched $155,350 at auction on Friday, many times what he originally sold it for. (As the artist recently noted, the covers were included in an agreement for the original pages to all 12 issues of the landmark series.) “I thought I had a great deal. At the time,” he added in response to a tweet.

The original covers for the first three issues brought a total of $216,892.50 at the New York City auction. The covers for Watchmen #4-12 are expected to be put up for sale later this year.

Rare comics and original art fetch $4.4 million at auction

John Higgins' color guide for the cover of "Watchmen" #1

John Higgins’ color guide for the cover of “Watchmen” #1

Vintage comics and original comic art brought in $4.4 million over the weekend during a Heritage auction in New York City, Artinfo reports. Among the bigger sales were a CGC-graded 6.5 copy of Detective Comics #27, for $567,625, and John Romita Sr.’s original cover for The Amazing Spider-Man #121, which fetched $286,800.

As we noted on Friday, Dave Gibbons’ original cover art for Watchmen #1 sold for $155,350, with the first three covers going for a combined $216,892.50. John Higgins’ color guide for the first cover was bought for $7,767.50. The remaining covers for the 12-issue landmark series are expected to go up for auction later this year.

Wired.com delves into the history of the 12 covers, which were purchased at a Sotheby’s auction in 1993 by former Wizard Publisher Gareb Shamus for what’s been reported to be in the neighborhood of $26,000. The article doesn’t repeat that figure, but it does say what was paid was “a bargain price” (for instance, Higgins’ color guide for the cover of Watchmen #1 was picked up for $50, which was then five to 10 times the usual price).

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Dave Gibbons’ ‘Watchmen’ #1-3 covers sell for nearly $217,000

Dave Gibbons' original cover art for "Watchmen" #1

Dave Gibbons’ original cover art for “Watchmen” #1

Dave Gibbons’ original cover art for Watchmen #1-3 sold today at auction for a combined $216,892.50. The first cover, featuring the iconic blood-splattered smiley face, was responsible for the lion’s share of that total, bringing in $155,350 alone. They were joined by John Higgins’ color guide for the cover of Watchmen #1, which went for $7,767.50.

Part of the $1.4 million Shamus Modern Masterworks, accumulated in the 1980s and ’90s by retailer Martin Shamus, father of Wizard magazine founder Gareb Shamus, the Watchmen covers were included in Heritage’s Heritage’s Vintage Comics & Comic Art Signature Auction, held today and Saturday in New York City. Consigned last year to Heritage, the collection already has produced one remarkable sale: Todd McFarlane’s original cover art for The Amazing Spider-Man #328 fetched $657,250 in July, breaking the record for a single piece of American comics art set in 2011 by a splash page from The Dark Knight Returns #3 ($448,125).

Heritage’s Vintage Comics & Comic Art Signature Auction also includes John Romita Sr.’s original cover art for The Amazing Spider-Man #121, an original Calvin and Hobbes strip by Bill Watterson, and 10 pages from Dave Sim’s Cerebus: High Society.

Gibbons’ covers for Watchmen #4-12 reportedly will be put up for sale later this year.

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John Romita Sr. Spider-Man cover hits $268K in online bidding

asm121John Romita Sr.’s original cover art for the landmark Amazing Spider-Man #121 has reached $268, 875 in online bidding ahead of a live auction scheduled for today in New York City.

The piece is being offered as part of Heritage’s Vintage Comics & Comic Art Signature Auction, which includes Dave Gibbons’ iconic Watchmen covers, an original Calvin and Hobbes strip by Bill Watterson, and 10 pages from Dave Sim’s Cerebus: High Society.

The Amazing Spider-Man #121, “The Night Gwen Stacy Died,” was a defining moment not only for Peter Parker but for the comics industry; as Heritage Auctions notes in its description, some point to the story as the end point for the Silver Age. (This was the end of innocence for comics,” Arnold Blumberg wrote in Comic Book Marketplace. “It remains one of the most potent stories ever published.”)

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Dave Sim puts 10 pages of Cerebus: High Society up for auction

cerebus4-cropped

The same comics art auction this week that features Dave Gibbons’ original Watchmen covers will include 10 pages from Dave Sim’s Cerebus: High Society, sold by the cartoonist himself.

Asked by A Moment of Cerebus whether the sale was part of the “Doomsday Scenario” he outlined last summer in Glamourpuss #26, Sim explained, “Well, in a sense, when you’re 57 years old in the comic-book field, everything is a Doomsday Scenario. I set this in motion by calling Lon and finding out if Heritage was interested, which they were. Very. So, that was very gratifying. But you have to start early. It’s a long process of negotiation and I knew that would be the case. I set that in motion and then John and I did the Kickstarter campaign which didn’t require AS early a start. It was successful but I guessed the money wouldn’t last much past the end of the year with all the overhead and that was what happened. Lon and I weren’t ready for the November auction which is what we originally planned. There was still some negotiating to do. But we were ready for the February auction. Lead time. Everything is lead time.”

Bidding continues online through Thursday, with the sale scheduled for Friday in New York City as part of Heritage Auctions’ Vintage Comics & Comic Art Signature Auction.

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Rare original Calvin and Hobbes strip goes up for auction

Three months after an original 1986 Sunday installment of Calvin and Hobbes, drawn and hand-colored by Bill Watterson, sold for $203,150, another original strip is going on the auction block.

Like the previous piece, this daily strip was part of a 1986 swap between Watterson and Adam@Home and Red and Rover cartoonist Brian Bassett. However, The Daily Cartoonist notes that while Bassett sold the other original to help with the expenses of a divorce and upcoming marriage, this one is being offered by his ex-wife Linda through Heritage Auctions (both are signed by Watterson to Brian and Linda).

The strip, part of Heritage’s Feb. 21-23 Vintage Comics & Comic Art Signature Auction in New York City, has already garnered a top online/telephone bid of $15,000. The company cautions, “We know you’ve heard us say this before, but consider this a rare opportunity that may not be repeated for a long time to come. We have no more Watterson Calvin originals ‘waiting in the wings’ to trot out next time around.”

See the full strip below.

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Dave Gibbons’ iconic Watchmen cover art heads to auction

Dave Gibbons' original cover art for "Watchmen" #1

The iconic blood-splattered smiley face cover for Watchmen #1 is among a handful of original artwork from the seminal 1986 miniseries by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons up for sale next month as part of a Heritage Auctions signature auction in New York City.

Described by the auction house as “historic” and a “DC masterwork,” the 10-inch by 15-inch image is joined by Gibbons’ covers for Watchmen #2 and #3, John Higgins’ color guide for the cover of Issue 1, a page from Issue 7, and a page and color guide from Issue 8.

The pieces are part of the $1.4 million Shamus Modern Masterworks, accumulated in the 1980s and ’90s by retailer Martin Shamus, father of Wizard magazine founder Gareb Shamus. Consigned last year to Heritage, the collection already has produced one remarkable sale: Todd McFarlane’s original cover art for The Amazing Spider-Man #328 fetched $657,250 in July, shattering the record for a single piece of American comics art set in 2011 by a splash page from The Dark Knight Returns #3 ($448,125).

Online bidding for the Watchmen art begins Feb. 2. The auction will be held Feb. 21-22 at the Ukrainian Institute of America at The Fletcher-Sinclair Mansion in New York City.

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Team Cul de Sac artwork up for auction to benefit Parkinson’s research

by Karl Kesel

With the Team Cul de Sac benefit art book set for release on June 5, Heritage has begun auctioning off original art from the project to, like the book, raise funds for the Michael J. Fox Foundation. Like Fox, Cul de Sac creator Richard Thompson was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.

Up for auction are pieces by Karl Kesel (above), Sergio Aragones, Bill Watterson, Gary Trudeau, Pat Oliphant, Evan Dorkin, Bill Amend, Roger Langridge, David Malki, Mort Walker and many more. The auctions started on Monday and will run for two weeks.

Jack Kirby/Joe Sinnott Fantastic Four page fetches record $155,350

A panel from "Fantastic Four" #55, by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott

A page of Silver Surfer original art by Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott from 1966’s Fantastic Four #55 sold last week for $155,350 in an auction of vintage comics and comic art that included the very first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sketch. According to Heritage Auctions, that price for the Page 3 half-splash marks the most ever paid for a panel page of comic art.

Held in Dallas, the auction brought in a total of nearly $5.5 million, including $113,525 for a restored copy of Detective Comics #27, featuring the first appearance of Batman, $107,500 for a near-mint copy of The Amazing Spider-Man #1, and $101,575 for Detective Comics #29, the second-ever Batman cover.

Other items included a good copy of Pep Comics #22, featuring the first appearance of Archie ($35,850), and Archie Comics #2 ($31,070).

Titled “When Strikes the Silver Surfer,” Fantastic Four #55 was the fourth appearance of the Herald of Galactus. The page, which you can see in full below, was signed by Stan Lee during a 1983 convention appearance.

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First Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sketch sells for $71,700

The very first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles drawing, thrown together as a joke in November 1983 by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, was bought Friday by an anonymous bidder for $71,700 at Heritage Auctions in Dallas. An undisclosed percentage of the proceeds will be donated to The Hero Initiative.

“What an incredibly exciting week this has been! The Turtles have been blessed with the best fans on the planet, so I chose this event to make available personal historical TMNT items for those really hardcore supporters – but WHOA – what a response!” Eastman, who consigned  the sketch to the auction house, wrote in a statement. “My many, many, thanks to all the fans that have given me the best job in the world, and for their love for a great, goofy, bunch of green guys that just wanted to be normal teenagers – Mutant Ninja ones anyway!”

That 1983 drawing led the following year to the publication of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1, a black-and-white parody from Eastman and Laird’s Mirage Studios, that, with the help of licensing agent Mark Freedman, grew into a multimedia empire of comics, animated television series, feature films, video games and merchandise. Laird completed a buyout of Eastman’s interests in TMNT in 2008, and then sold the property to Viacom the following year for $60 million.

“For 30 years the Turtles have been a worldwide phenomenon, entertaining hundreds of millions of children and that influence shows no sign of slowing with the upcoming TV and film projects featuring the team,” Barry Sandoval of Heritage Auctions said of the sketch. “This is a piece of pop culture that will only increase in value and influence over the coming decades.”

Golden Age comics collection sells for a whopping $3.5 million

Detective Comics #27

The bulk of the comic collection amassed by a young Billy Wright in the late 1930s and early 1940s sold at auction Wednesday for a staggering $3.5 million, The Associated Press reports, far surpassing initial estimates.

Wright’s childhood purchases — 345 comics, all kept in good condition — boasted 44 of The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide’s list of Top 100 comics from the Golden Age, including Action Comics #1, Detective Comics #27 and Captain America Comics #2. Wright passed away in 1994 at age 66, leaving the comics forgotten until his great nephew Michael Rorrer discovered them neatly stacked in a basement closet last February while cleaning house his great aunt’s Martinsville, Virginia, home following her death.

“The scope of this collection is, from a historian’s perspective, dizzying,” J.C. Vaughn, associate publisher of Overstreet, told The AP.

The “jaw-dropping” collection had been expected to fetch about $2 million. However, the 227 comics sold Wednesday brought in a whopping $3,466,264, including $523,000 for the CGC-Certified 6.5 copy of Detective Comics #27 and $299,000 for a 3.0 copy of the first appearance of Superman. The remaining, lesser comics will be sold online Friday and Saturday by Heritage Auctions; they’re expected to bring in about $100,000.

Comic collection uncovered in closet expected to sell for $2 million

A collection of 345 Golden Age comic books discovered last year in a Virginia basement is expected to sell for more than $2 million today at auction in New York City.

According to The Associated Press, 31-year-old Michael Rorrer found the neatly stacked comics in a closet last February while he was cleaning out his great aunt’s home following her death. It turns out that his great uncle Billy Wright, who died in 1994 at age 66, had (unknown to most of the family) held onto his boyhood comics dating back to 1938.

Described as “jaw-dropping” by Lon Allen of Heritage Auctions, the collection boasts 44 of The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide’s list of Top 100 comics from the Golden Age, including Action Comics #1, Detective Comics #27 and Captain America Comics #2. The CGC-Certified 6.5 copy of Batman’s first appearance is expected to fetch about $475,000, while the 3.0 copy of Superman’s debut could bring as much as $325,000.


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