Among the star turns and sold at $2.8m (£2.04m) at this January 13-16 sale at Heritage (20% buyer’s premium) was Mike Zeck’s artwork for a single page from Secret Wars No 8, a publication of 1984 that tells the story of how the Web-Slinger came by his now iconic black costume.
For those not familiar with all these comic legends, and I include myself among that number, this was a character, or rather a costume that proved to be alive and have its own agenda, morphing into a villain and anti-hero known as Venom.
What the consignor paid in the late 1980s for this artwork was not revealed, but moments earlier another single-page artwork produced for that same issue of a comic that was initially intended to help sell toys had been bid to $240,000 (£175,180). Whoever it was certainly had a very special day at auction.
More instantly recognisable to those not overly familiar with the super-heroes and heroines of the comic world will be a copy of Action Comics No 1 of 1938 in which Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster introduced the world to Superman – aka Clark Kent – and Lois Lane. Graded CGC 6.0, it made an auction-record $2.65m (£1.93m).
The highest graded copy that Heritage has ever offered, it is one also known as the ‘Rocket Copy’ from the red spaceship stamped on the cover by its then 13-year-old first, and until this sale, only owner.
This exceptional first session of the Heritage event also included a copy of Detective Comics No 27 of 1939, the issue that marked the first appearance of Bob Kane’s creation, Batman.
Graded CGC 4.5, it was billed as a “miraculous survival”, having almost been discarded some decades after its original purchase. It sold at $950,000 (£693,430).
Other high spots included, at $300,000 (£218,980) apiece, a copy of Marvel Comics No 1 of 1939, graded CGC 4.5, which features the Human Torch and tells the story of the Sub-Mariner’s origin, and Dave Cockrum’s black and white artwork for the cover of X-Men No 107 of 1977.
The latter featured the debut of what Heritage termed “obscure space pirates called the Starjammers”.