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Debut of ‘Wolverine’ artwork ties world record, selling for $657,250

Original artwork of the first appearance of 'Wolverine' on the final page of The Incredible Hulk #180, circa 1974, rose to $657,250, setting and tying world records, during a May 16 auction offered by Heritage Auction.

DALLAS – The original artwork featuring the first-ever appearance of Wolverine, by artists Herb Trimpe and Jack Abel, on the final page of The Incredible Hulk #180 (1974), arguably the most important debut of a comic book character in the last 40 years, tied a record for any page of American comic art and set a world record price for any page of interior comic art, by far, when it brought $657,250 (including 19.5 percent buyer’s premium) on May 16, 2014, at Heritage Auctions in Dallas.


Wolverine original artwork.

It was sold to East Coast collector Thomas Fish, a sports card dealer.

“We knew when this artwork surfaced that is was, without doubt, one of the most significant pieces of original comic art ever drawn,” said Todd Hignite, vice president of Heritage Auctions. “It has now brought a final price realized commensurate with that status.”

The final price realized by the piece ties the world record price also set by Heritage in July 2012 for Todd McFarlane’s original 1990 cover art for The Amazing Spider-Man #328.

Another world record price was set in the auction for the highest price ever realized at auction for a piece of original comic strip art when Alex Raymond’s Flash Gordon Sunday Comic Strip Original Art, dated Aug. 28. 1938 (King Features Syndicate, 1938), a piece used to create a USPS 1995 comic strip classics stamp, obliterated its $50,000-plus pre-auction estimate to realize $215,100.

The top comic book offering in the auction came in the form of an exceedingly rare copy of Wonder Comics #1 (Fox, 1939) CGC NM 9.4, the first hero to ride Superman’s coattails, which realized $68,713 was Wonder Man who made his debut in this very issue. Publisher Victor Fox was immediately slapped with a lawsuit by DC (national Periodical) for infringement on their character Superman, causing Fox to withdraw his creation from future issues.


Further highlights include Winsor McCay’s Little Nemo in Slumberland Sunday Comic Strip Original Art dated 1906 (New York Herald, 1906), which brought $89,625, a price record for the artist; Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers’ Incredible Hulk #5 Tyrannus “Beauty and the Beast” Splash Page 1 Original Art (Marvel, 1962), finishing at $71,700; and the original art to a Bill Watterson Calvin and Hobbes comic strip, this one dated May 9, 1987 (Universal Press Syndicate, 1987), which more than doubled its $20,000 estimate, ultimately bringing $47,800.

For more information about upcoming auctions, consigning items or general inquiries about Heritage Auctions, visit, call 800-872-6467 or email