Comic Book Million Dollar Club – The New York Times

Damn original art, Batman! The cover of the first issue of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns has been sold by Heritage Auctions for $2.4 million on Thursday, making it the latest example of a comic book or fantasy art to sell for more than $1 million at auction.

Here’s a look at some of these unique and high-priced collectibles.

The career of illustrator Frank Frazetta, who died in 2010, began in comics before rising to prominence painting covers for fantasy novels, which often featured attractive women and muscular men. These two archetypes are evident in four of his paintings that sold for over a million dollars. Topping the list is his 1969 painting ‘Egyptian Queen’, which was used as the cover of Eerie magazine #23. It was sold by Heritage Auctions for $5.4 million in 2019. The previous year, “Death Dealer 6” (1990), one of a series of his paintings depicting a mysterious warrior wearing a horned helmet, was sold by Heritage for $1.7 million. In 2020, her 1970 painting “A Princess from Mars” was sold online by Heritage for $1.2 million. And Frazetta’s “At the Earth’s Core” (1974), which served as the cover for Edgar Rice Burroughs’ novel of the same name, was sold by Heritage for over $1 million in 2016.

A painting of Tintin, the young reporter created by Belgian cartoonist Georges Remi (better known as Hergé), has been sold by Artcurial in Paris for 3.1 million euros ($3.9 million) l ‘last year. The art shows Tintin and his dog Snowy emerging from a porcelain pot while a dragon hovers dangerously close. It was intended for the cover of the 1936 “Blue Lotus”, but was deemed too expensive to reproduce. Tintin made his debut in 1929, in a youth supplement to the Belgian newspaper Le Vingtième Siècle. Neither Tintin nor its creator escaped controversy. A 2009 article in The Times by Charles McGrath traced Hergé’s trajectory through accusations of anti-communism, anti-Semitism, colonialism, racism, and Nazi collaboration. Even how to say Tintin’s name is debatable. A Times article on the 2011 animated film “The Adventures of Tintin” suggested pronouncing it the French way: “Tanh-tanh”, not as a rhyme of “win-win”.) In 2019, Heritage Auctions sold a Tintin illustration for $1.1. million.

“Well, I’ll be an eight-ball uncle!” says Spider-Man as he dons his sleek new black suit in the final page of 1984’s Marvel Super-Heroes Secret Wars #8, which was drawn by Mike Zeck. There were similar disbelieving reactions in January when the original art was sold online by Heritage Auctions for $3.3 million. This work of art has come a long way. “In the 1980s, these pages could cost an average of $15 a page,” Zeck said in a phone interview. While Secret Wars didn’t reflect his best work – he reminded that the show was late and the art needed to be rushed – it didn’t affect the nostalgia for him. “The 12-year-olds who read Secret Wars, 20 to 30 years later, all have good jobs,” he said, and they seem willing to pay for comic art and copies. . “This is the #1 book I sign.”

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, a four-part story written and drawn by Frank Miller, inked by Klaus Janson and colored by Lynn Varley, was originally published in 1986 and helped usher in a new level of mature storytelling in comic books. . The story depicts an older Bruce Wayne coming out of retirement to protect Gotham City from a new breed of criminals. The cover, by Miller and Varley, shows Batman in silhouette as lightning flashes from the sky. In a recent phone interview, Miller expressed his hopes for the sale of the work. “Hopefully it sells for a lot of money because it will be good for everyone down the road,” he said. “Roy Lichtenstein has made all these billions of dollars basically retracing old romantic comics. It would be nice if the real thing came out and got some recognition. On Thursday it sold out online at the comics and strips sale comic books from Heritage Auctions for $2.4 million.

Artist Bernie Wrightson spent seven years working on his black-and-white adaptation of ‘Frankenstein’, which was released by Marvel in 1983. In this double-page spread, which was sold online by Heritage Auctions for 1.2 million dollars in 2019, the monster confronts its creator. There are so many details in the mad scientist’s countless beakers, books, and other lab paraphernalia that it’s not hard to see why the project took nearly a decade. Wrightson died in 2017 and his wife, Liz Wrightson, said he thought his work on Frankenstein was his magnum opus.

Daniel K. Denny