Comics and comic art auction records shattered

"At the Earth's Core" comic art and "Action Comics #1" soared to record-setting sales during Heritage Auctions' recent summer Comics & Comic Art Auction.
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"Action Comics #1"

The lot that kicked off the auction, "Action Comics #1" from 1938, realized an in-house auction record at Heritage Auctions when it sold for $956,000 during the summer Comics & Comic Art Auction. (All photos courtesy Heritage Auctions)

DALLAS – "At The Earth’s Core," a 1974 masterpiece by Frank Frazetta, sold for $1,075,500 recently. This set a world auction record for the hugely popular artist – in Heritage Auctions’ blockbuster $7.4+ million summer Comics & Comic Art Auction in Dallas. Records across the board shattered as bidders stepped up to own rare original cover art and a copy of "Action Comics #1" for $956,000.

“With the sale of At The Earth’s Core, Heritage has achieved a world record auction price for any American comic book artist's work and the first seven-figure price realized for any American comic book artist,” said Barry Sandoval, Director of Operations at Heritage Auctions. “The entire auction was a success from the very first lot.”

Lot one was a very attractive copy of Action Comics #1, 5.5 CGC. This copy far surpassed its $750,000 pre-auction estimate to sell for $956,000. The sale set a house record for the most valuable copy of Action Comics ever sold by Heritage and garnered headlines around the world.

The auction’s selection of original art sparked intense interest. A group of 23 bids pushed Bernie Wrightson’s original cover art for 1972’s Swamp Thing #1 to $191,200. An iconic 1935 Sunday Flash Gordon comic strip original art by Alex Raymond brought $131,450. The artwork, featuring the first appearance of The Witch Queen of Mongo, was executed during the years fans consider the peak of Raymond’s artistic achievement.

Making a rare auction appearance was Calvin & Hobbes art. The original comic strip art from Bill Watterson, dated Jan. 6, 1987, sold for $74,687. Dan Adkins’ 1968 cover art of Strange Tales #164 – depicting the mystical Doctor Strange – tied Heritage Auctions’ Doctor Strange cover art record at $71,700.

Calvin & Hobbes comic strip art

Original comic strip art of "Calvin & Hobbes", circa 1987, by Bill Watterson, sold for $74,687.

Collectors seeking high-grade comics found plenty to choose, such as the Mile High Pedigree copy of Startling Comics #49, 9.6 CGC. The classic cover of a robot kidnapping a damsel in distress vaporized its $50,000 pre-auction estimate to hammer for $101,575. An 8.5 CBCS-graded copy of Amazing Fantasy #15 – the first appearance of Spider-Man – sold for $77,675. Stan Lee, co-creator of Spider-Man also signed the book. An exceptional copy of Batman #11, 9.4 CGC, ended at $65,725.

Additional top auction finishers

• John Buscema’s and Dan Adkins’ Silver Surfer #13 Cover Original Art (Marvel, 1970): Realized:

Doctor Strange cover art

This 1968 cover art of Doctor Strange by Dan Adkins' commanded $71,700.

$68,712.

• Bernie Wrightson’s DC Special Series #2 Swamp Thing Wraparound Cover Original Art (DC, 1977): Realized: $65,725.

• Michael Golden’s Doctor Strange Portfolio Envelope Cover Original Art (SQ Publications/Marvel, 1983): Realized: $62,737.

• A high-grade copy of Captain America Comics #1 (Timely, 1941), 8.5 CBCS Restored: Realized: $47,800.

Heritage Auctions next Comics & Comic Art Auction is Nov. 17-18 in Beverly Hills; with an Oct. 4 consignment deadline. Bidding opens Oct. 28 live and on HA.com.

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