The first Wolverine comic book is sold for nearly $660,000


The page, drawn by Herb Trimpe, is signed at the bottom.Credit Heritage auctions

Original comic book page art that featured Wolverine, one of Marvel Comics’ most popular heroes, sold Friday for $657,250 at Heritage Auctions. The superhero is introduced in the final moments of issue no. 180 of 1974’s “The Incredible Hulk”, which finds the Green Goliath wreaking havoc in Canada. Wolverine is called in to stop the Hulk’s rampage. As he makes his appearance in the final panel, he proclaims, “If you really want to tangle with someone – why not take your chances against – the Wolverine!” (His first full appearance would be in the following issue of “The Incredible Hulk.”)

Wolverine would join the X-Men in 1975, beginning his rise to extreme popularity. Hugh Jackman has portrayed the character several times in various X-Men films. And Marvel is promoting a four-part “Death of Wolverine” storyline that will debut in September. Marvel did well with these “death” stories. Characters inevitably return, but their time away from the spotlight often leads to interesting stories.

The Wolverine page was drawn by Herb Trimpe, who gave it to a fan – as a gift – in 1983. (That was often the fate of original comic book art in the early days of the industry: it was used to mop up the ink, being given away or completely destroyed.)

The owner, who wishes to remain anonymous, had met the artist at his home and had several comic books signed. At the end of the visit, Mr. Trimpe returned the original art page to the fan. A portion of the proceeds from the sale will benefit the Hero Initiative, a charity that helps comic book creators in need. There have been other recent auctions for comic book art that have done well: A cover of Spider-Man illustrated by Todd McFarlane also sold for $657,250 in 2012, while the cover from issue 2 of “The Dark Knight Returns,” about an older Batman being forced into retirement, sold for $478,000 in 2013. The original art for interior issue #3 of this series sold for $448,125 in 2011.

Daniel K. Denny