Monday, August 11, 2014

Show and Tell: Original Comic Art Treasures

Face Front Marvelites -- here's the original splash page to The Incredible Hulk #5 (Marvel, January 1963). The margins outside the image area are normally much wider, and often contain penciled story and/or production notes. Unlike the printed copies of the comic books, these "trimmed" borders do not normally lower the value of the art significantly -- since art is one-of-a-kind.

With the buyer's premium (19.5% of the hammer price) added to the auction result, this splash by Jack "King" Kirby and "Darlin'" Dick Ayers realized a respectable  $59, 750 in a 2014 Comic Art auction.

The Hulk's first series lasted only six issues, and he was originally colored grey. The Green-Skinned Goliath appears as a co-star in the two drawings that set public auction records -- Hulk smash all records.

This is Frank Frazetta's original oil painting (done on masonite) for Warren Publishing's Vampirella #5 (May, 1970). Although he was paid modest sums for his cover images and other illustrations -- unlike many comic book artists, Frazetta insisted on keeping his original art -- and later sold them to rabid collectors for millions of dollars.

As you can see, the hues are much more vivid than in the printed version below, which seems much cooler in overall tonality. This was probably due to the way it was photographed -- although Frazetta would often repaint his images after they saw print -- much to the dismay of fans. This piece realized $286,800. Warren Publishing probably paid him only a couple of hundred dollars to create it. 

Since Warren Publishing produced magazines and not traditional four-color comics, they didn't have to answer to the self-censoring Comics Code Authority -- and they could produce sexier and more violent images.

This historic cover art by Fred Guardineer for Action Comics #15 (DC, August 1939) was only the sixth cover scene starring the Man of Tomorrow, and it's said to be the earliest one known to exist. It also realized $286,800.

A copy of this issue of the printed comic book ranges from $500- $11,000 -- or perhaps even more -- depending on its grade or condition.

Behold -- the original splash page art to an eerie story from Batman #9 (DC, 1942). The art is credited to the dream-team of Bob Kane, Jerry Robinson, and George Roussos.  All three of these "kid cartoonists" were each in their twenties at the time, and already an industry success story.

A bargain at $50,787.50. If only I had one to sell...

I thought I looked boss in this selfie, wearing my Carmine Infantino and Joe Kubert-designed Flash tee-shirt even as I held a superb Scarlet Speedster page. Unfortunately, the next day my manager (who was wearing a Hawaiian shirt at the time) sent me an chiding email reminding about adhering to our corporate dress code: Attention all cube-bound writers (well, really, just Don) -- remember, there is to be no fun in the Comics Department. It seems a bit pathetic when a 63-year old man has to tell a 58-year old man how to dress -- so what else is new?

Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella's The Flash #112 (DC, 1960) page 8 hails from only the seventh Silver Age The Flash issue. The DC icon was totally reinvented for Showcase #4 (DC, October 1956), which is often cited as spearheading the so-called Silver Age of Comic Books (c. 1956-1970), Frank Abignale Jr., the main real-life character in Steven Spielberg's 2002 film, Catch Me If You Can, used the Silver Age Flash's secret identity of Barry Allen as one of his many aliases. This super-streamlined panel page realized an affordable $2,270.50 in 2013.

No comments:

Post a Comment