Next week in Beverly Hills, several million dollars will be spent buying the pen-and-ink artwork behind the comics we love. Including some classic Batman art, and some Jack Kirby inks. Check out a gallery of the artwork that's for sale — with suggested bids totaling around $2 million.
Comic book art has firmly entrenched itself in the world of fine art, with a page from Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns selling for half a million dollars earlier this year — and Leonardo DiCaprio and Steven Spielberg were rumored to have been bidders.
Heritage Auctions' highlights for the three day event (which will be will be streamed live on the 15th through 17th). And bits for art from the collection of Jerry Robinson, the classic Batman artist who created the Joker and Penguin, have already surpassed the $200,000 mark, with a week to go.
Let's take a look at some of the higher end pieces, along with some of the modern, less expensive pieces of art offered, including tidbits on each piece's historic significance and details as to why collectors these pieces of pencil and ink on paper so highly. Links are included if you decide to jump in on the bidding - I promise, not all of them are going to sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
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Top image: a painting by Brian Bolland (The Killing Joke, 2000 AD) for a 1998 Vertigo one shot, Winter's Edge. It features almost every Vertigo character from Sandman to King Mob to John Constantine. Bolland works exclusively with a digital tablet now, making his pen and ink (let alone painted) art a thing of the past. Bidding on this cover is already up to $4,000 with a week to go before the live auction starts.
Detective Comics #67 - 1st Appearance of the Penguin Cover Original Art by Jerry Robinson(DC, 1942)
Batman and Robin track an ostrich-riding Penguin in this wild and strange cover that marks the first appearance of the Penguin. Bidding on this piece of art has already surpassed $200,000.
Journey Into Mystery #88 - "The Vengeance of Loki" - Splash Page by Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers (Marvel, 1963)
Two of the early Marvel art gods join together to illustrate the eternal battle between two brothers in Loki's second appearance, and Thor's sixth. Bidding on this piece of Silver Age history is already up to $18,000.
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns #4 Page 31 by Frank Miller and Klaus Janson (DC, 1986)
Batman takes up a horse after a devastating EMP attack in this finale to one of the greatest comic stories ever told. Bidding on this piece is already up to $12,000.
X-Men #137 page 44 Original Art by John Byrne and Terry Austin (Marvel, 1980)
A classic page from the death of Phoenix issue. Interestingly, you can see Jim Shooter's editorially mandated changes written on the page. Bidding is at $14,000 for this page from ever classic and controversial issue.
Daredevil #185 Cover Original Art by Frank Miller and Klaus Janson (Marvel, 1982)
Frank Miller's 1980s art might be the most sought after of all modern comic art, with this cover being one of the last he did from his historic run on Daredevil. The cover art is at $18,000 with previous Miller covers from his Daredevil run passing the $50,000 mark.
Quimby the Mouse Page Original Art by Chris Ware (c. 1990)
Chris Ware original art is extremely rare, with this piece from his early Quimby the Mouse strip being one of only a handful to go on public sale in the past decade.
Adventure Comics #73 Cover Original Art by Jack Kirby and Joe Simon (DC, 1942)
Adventure Comics #73 is the first cover Joe Simon and Jack Kirby ever did for DC. As of this writing, the bid for this piece of art has already surpassed $100,000.
Uncanny X-Men #156 Splash Page by Dave Cockrum and Bob Wiacek (Marvel, 1982)
Dave Cockrum overshadowed by John Byrne in terms of early "new" X-Men artists, however, it was Cockrum that drew Giant Size X-Men #1 and X-Men #94-106, with Cockrum returning to the book after Byrne's departure. This splash page from Cockrum's second tenure is a great example of his abilities.
Amazing Spider-Man #169 Cover by John Romita Sr. and Frank Giacoia (Marvel, 1977)
A dramatic Parker vs. Jameson cover, along with a nod to the original clone saga, as Jameson holds the pictures showing how Peter disposed of the Clone's body. Bidding for this cover has already surpassed $10,000.
Strange Tales #158 Doctor Strange Cover Original Art by Marie Severin (Marvel, 1967)
One of the few female artists in the Marvel Bullpen during the 1960s and 1970s, Marie Severin makes Doctor Strange look amazing in one of his few Silver Age cover appearances.
Superman: 20th Century Painting by Alex Ross (1998)
The original art for the cover of Superman #1 never really existed, as it was pulled from a previously published splash page from Action Comics #10. Alex Ross was commissioned to use create this painting in the feeling of cover of Superman #1, with the painting used to create a series of lithographs and giclee prints. Bidding on this painting has already hit the $9k mark.
Ghost Rider #23 Cover Original Art by Jack Kirby & John Romita Sr. (Marvel, 1977)
Two of the best (and most prolific) artists of the Silver and Bronze Age join forces on this distinctively Bronze Age cover, with Jack Kirby on pencils and Romita Sr. on inks. This cover is also one of the last pieces of art Jack Kirby did for Marvel Comics.
Batman & Dracula: Red Rain Promotional Illustration Original Art by Kelley Jones (DC, 1991)
One of the best Elseworlds tales, the Red Rain series saw Batman do battle with one of the greatest characters in literature, Dracula. Kelley Jones' art set the perfect tone for the tale.
Uncanny X-Men #276 Splash Page by Jim Lee and Scott Williams (Marvel, 1991)
Jim Lee and Scott Williams pair up for an X-Men splash at the height of their popularity, featuring two characters that define the 90s X-Men, Gambit and Jubilee.
Spider-Man #3 Original Art by Todd McFarlane (Marvel, 1990)
Spidey is tracked down by the Lizard, in the third issue of the McFarlane penciled and scripted Spider-Man spin-off.
Return of the Jedi Adaptation Original Art by Al Williamson (Marvel)
On this page, Luke meets Yoda on Dagobah to finish his final bit of Jedi training. This page features art from one of Lucas' personal favorites, Al Williamson, one of the mainstays of EC Comics in the 1950s. Lucas is thought to have bought all of the pages Williamson created for the Star Wars series, making this quite the rare gem.
Batman #617 Page 20 by Jim Lee and Scott Williams (DC, 2003)
Who is Hush? Jim Lee's return to penciling a comics run saw the return of Jason Todd and some amazing artwork, with inks by Scott Williams (currently teamed with Lee on Justice League of America) perfecting the art.
Swamp Thing #34 page 22 Original Art by Steve Bissette and John Totleben (DC, 1985)
One of the great scenes produced during the Alan Moore Swamp Thing run, wherein Abby asks Swamp Thing, "Does this mean we're going out?" Bissette and Totleben were one of the great penciler/inker duos of the 1980s.
The Sport of Tycoons Painting Original Art by Carl Barks (1974)
Who doesn't want to dive through a money bin? Carl Barks vibrant paintings are particularly treasured, with this painting starting with a minimum bid of $125,000.
Cerebus the Aardvark #1 page 10 Original Art by Dave Sim (Aardvark-Vanaheim, 1978)
Cerebus is still in "Conan" mode in his first appearance, a title that would go on to be written and drawn by Dave Sim for 300 issues.
Amazing Spider-Man #352 Cover Original Art by Mark Bagley and Randy Emberlin (Marvel, 1991)
One of Mark Bagley's earliest Spider-Man covers - arguably the artist that defined Spider-Man for the last two decades due to his 100 issue plus tenure on Ultimate Spider-Man.
Teen Titans #28 Aqualad vs. Robin Cover by Nick Cardy (DC, 1970)
Arguably the best Silver Age Teen Titans cover, Agualad attacks Robin in the midst of a teenage quarrel. Bidding on this cover has already surpassed $10,000. Nick Cardy is not extremely well known in modern comic art circles, but his classic silver age work is treasured by collectors.
The New Teen Titans #1 page 8 Original Art by George Perez and Romeo Tanghal (DC, 1980)
The first issue of a classic series which brought a new generation of Teen Titans into the limelight and revitalized DC Comics.
S Batman: Holy Terror Original Cover Art (DC, 1991)
In this, the first story to be published under DC's Elseworlds imprint, the Reverend Bruce Wayne of Gotham becomes Batman to take down a corrupt government.
Wonder Woman #91 page 5 by Mike Deodato Jr. (DC, 1994)
Early Deodato Wonder Woman – has any artist made the series look so good? From the "The Contest" storyline, wherein Artemis challenges Wonder Woman for the throne, a storyline that brought Wonder Woman back to the forefront of the DC Trinity and contributed several members to her supporting cast.
Batman: Dark Victory #9 page 4 by Tim Sale (DC, 2000)
One of the great Batman mini-series in recent history, this page from Dark Victory shows the vulnerability of a young Bruce Wayne with crisp lines by Tim Sale.
Punisher #9 Cover Art by Tim Bradstreet (Marvel, 2002)
Bradstreet's style defines gritty, with this Punisher cover defining the character as well.
Action Comics #46 Superman Cover Original Art by Fred Ray (DC, 1942)
One of the earliest Superman covers known (as most of the original art was disposed of or lost over the past 70 years), bidding on this cover has already surpassed $100,000.
S Vault of Horror #27 "Strictly From Hunger" Cover Original Art by Johnny Craig (EC, 1952)
A classic EC horror cover — and one of the reasons the Comics Code Authority was put into place.