Original comic sets new record auction price

Art by R. Crumb, illustrated by Heritage Auctions (HA.com)

An original cover by underground comic artist Robert Crumb sold for $ 717,000, a new record-breaking price for an American comic work of art, at the Heritage comic book and comic book auction that took place. finished yesterday. Two more Crumb Pages sold for nearly $ 200,000 each, and the works of legendary superhero artists Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko were also the subject of a six-figure auction.

The record-breaking work is the cover of a collection of works by Crumb Fritz the cat comics collected by Ballantine in October 1969, at the height of the underground comic book movement that emerged from the counterculture and the San Francisco scene. The cover is an iconic depiction of one of Crumb’s most famous creations, the sex-crazed feline Lothario Fritz cuddling his girlfriend Charlene. The 11 x 12.5 inch ink on the Bristol board illustration of Felix Denis’ estate changed hands for nearly $ 800,000 after commission to an undisclosed buyer bidding over the phone.

This is the highest price recorded to date for any original American comic book piece, exceeding the $ 657,250 made for the last page of Amazing Hulk # 180 by Herb Trimpe and Jack Abel, who featured the first appearance of the character Wolverine, in May 2014. The world record is over $ 3.5 million for the original cover pages of Tintin by the Belgian designer Hergé.

Two other works by Crumb, a page from XYZ Comics with another image of Crumb (“Keep On Truckin ‘”) and a full 4 page story “The Confessions of R. Crumb” by People’s comics (1972), each sold for $ 191,200.

The rise in prices of original Crumb artwork stems from the 73-year-old cartoonist’s growing reputation as one of the greats of graphic illustration, not only in the modern era but in art history. western. Critic Robert Hughes compared Crumb to the 16th-century Flemish master Bruegel, and Crumb’s work was recently exhibited alongside Rembrandt, Goya, Picasso, Hogarth and Durer in a monumental retrospective of prints and drawings.

Other notable results from the Heritage auction included a story page from Amazing Spider-Man # 23 (1965) by lone artist Steve Ditko, Spider-Man co-creator, whose best originals are rarely offered for sale. It sold for $ 104,562.50, according to Heritage. The cover of Thor # 136 (1967), a bold and distinctive image of Jack Kirby with inks by Vince Coletta cost $ 101,575. Kirby (1917–1994), who was finally officially recognized for his role in creating most of Marvel’s pantheon of superheroes in collaboration with writer-editor Stan Lee, is recognized with celebrations and exhibitions this year to mark its centenary.

Daniel K. Denny