A lot of money was spent at the recent Heritage comics art auction

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201308050209 A lot of money was spent at the recent Heritage comics art auction

That big Heritage Auction of comics and original art wound up over the weekend, and a lot of money was spent. The cover to Lloyd Llewellyn #3 by Daniel Clowes sold for $47,800, despite some people never having heard of him. That’s probably a record for an indie type artist.

Three Watchmen covers (that didn’t feature any iconic characters, sold for between $28,000 and 38,000 each.

lf 1 A lot of money was spent at the recent Heritage comics art auction

A Todd McFarlane Wizard cover went for $32,265.00. Those two Jack Kirby pieces we alluded to earlier went for $16,730 and $23,900.00.

lf 2 A lot of money was spent at the recent Heritage comics art auction

But this Kirby cover sold for a mere $15,535.

lf 4 A lot of money was spent at the recent Heritage comics art auction

This Peanuts Sunday strip sold for $65,725. And a complete 5-page by Robert Crumb story went for $101,575.00

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The piece de resistance, of course, was Frank Miller’s iconic cover for The Dark Knight #2 sold for $478,000, which is a whopping amount of money. The original piece of art didn’t seem to have been stored all that well, which is kind of alarming.

If all these prices are making you despair, I’d like to point out a price list from the first ever sale of the original art to A Contract With God by Will Eisner.
201308050337 A lot of money was spent at the recent Heritage comics art auction
I was struck at the time how (relatively) affordable the pages were given the importance of the work. Eisner is a bit out of favor now, but I would call a couple grand for a piece of history—with the lettering right on the page—a bargain.

Or you could have bought a Gabrielle Bell original for $100.

A lot of comics art it is still relatively underpriced, because there is, to be honest, so much of it, but there are still a lot of investment possibilities. That’s not to say every page of Archie Digest will ever be worth half a million dollars, but there’s nothing quite like owning original art.

Comments

  1. Nothing quite like original art, and it will probably become scarcer with more artists working digitally.

  2. jacob lyon goddard says:

    Where all of the pages sold inked by the penciller, or do inkers get no credit?

  3. @jacob
    Where all of the pages sold inked by the penciller, or do inkers get no credit?

    Well, that ETERNALS cover was probably inked by Mike Royer (who did the rest of the book), but the other art seen here is accredited with one artist’s hand. A difficult call sometimes as highly productive cartoonist sometimes have studio assistances that never get the nod.

    But generally speaking auction houses like Heritage give detailed art credits within the inventory programs citing inkers and letters on comic art. But, of course, anybody willing to lay-down a couple of hundred grand on an ink drawing has probably done quite a bit of research on their own.

    What I’d like to see is some provence guide on some of these things. The Kirby cover is late enough that Jack of Mike Royer may have made a small amount of money selling it (maybe one-hundreth of its current value) but most of the truly iconic comic work made before the early-70’s was treated like junk by both artists and publishers. Fandom set the pricing.

    Heidi mentions “with lettering right on the page” and that’s a BIG deal now in comic art. As lettering has become largely digitalized and the drawing in a cartoon becomes more of a rarified element original art for comics looks a lot less like what fans encounter in the printed version making it much less of a keepsake. Many artists, thankfully, are starting to move back to having some version of the text right on the original art.

    Because you don’t spend half a million dollars for a line drawing by Frank Miller. Museums spend half a million dollars for line drawings by Picasso. Sometimes much less.

    But people who believe Frank Miller, Jack Kirby, Dan Clowes and Charles Schultz made important and historically significant contributions to our culture, people willing to invest in the work from their hands, know its a comicbook and the words should damn well be attached.

  4. Hardy Gilbert says:

    Man, half a mil for a Clowes cover? Crazy, man, crazy. Y’know, back when “L.L.” was new, Dan used to respond to those of us who wrote him, and I still have postcards with these boss lil’ drawings on them, usually just a girl smoking against a city nitescape or somesuch. Guess I better dig those up. Hear that, baby? The boy’s going to college!!

  5. I think the Clowes cover sold for $47800. It was the Miller cover that went for the half mil. Like with all auctions, the provenance or historical significance of the piece adds to the price. And if a bidding war breaks out, all estimates go out the window…

  6. Hardy Gilbert says:

    Ah, that’s more like it: I saw half-a-hunnert K and added an extra 0. And to think I own a business. No wonder my accountant hates me. Oh, well. You hear that baby? The boy’s going to Cleveland Institute of Electronics!
    Still, good for my boy Dan (even though he probably gets nothing from the sale)! Now if we could just track down some art by the great Stosh Gillespie….

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