Market Report – February 2018 Heritage Signature Auction (Part 2)
Hi all, following on from last week’s report, I’ll be continuing in a slightly different vein today. In anticipation of April’s Avengers: Infinity War, and also as an excuse for me to expound on my main collecting passion, I present to you the “OA Aficionado Marvel Cosmic Special”! All pieces discussed below will be cosmic-related items sold in HA’s Signature Auction on 23-24 February 2018.
Values of Marvel Cosmic OA have been on an astronomical ascent for the past 3 years or so; though I’m not sure why there was a two-year lag between Thanos’ May 2012 Avengers post-credit scene and the start of serious OA price escalation. As some background, when I started looking for Marvel Cosmic artwork in 2011, it was virtually impossible to find Ron Lim Silver Surfer or Infinity Gauntlet/War/Crusade, George Perez Infinity Gauntlet, and post-1970’s Jim Starlin cosmic OA at auction or for private sale, because (I assume) prices and demand were too low. Look how things have changed though!
After Jack “King” Kirby and Stan “The Man” Lee created the Marvel Cosmic universe in the mid-1960’s, other notable creators took up the reins and expanded the cosmic canon through the decades. Two of the earliest were “Gentleman” Gene Colan and “Dashing” Don Heck. The above two pieces illustrate the general value differential between Colan and Heck OA – Gene is considered by many collectors to be somewhat of an auteur, whilst Don has been conferred journeyman artist status. Although, it could be argued that the difference in these prices is simply due to Colan’s page featuring more shots of popular heroes Mar-Vell and Namor, versus the anonymous baddie in Heck’s piece.
’70s SS art is among “Big” John Buscema’s most coveted works, traditionally ranking as some of his most highly valued OA. $12k seems strong for a page with just three Surfer panels (and no major villains), but the fact that they’re shots of Norrin in flight and wielding the Power Cosmic probably bumped up its price.
Warlock vol.1 OA continues to represent good value, in light of Adam’s bright future in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The 45-year old Kane/Sutton art is another attractive point, as are the action panels and close-ups of Warlock’s Infinity Gem (calling them “Infinity Stones” really diminishes their stature).
As explained in HA’s item description, FOOM was a Marvel Comics pro-zine (a fanzine published by professionals). Considering that this cover features peak-Starlin art from the middle of his seminal ’70s cosmic run, featuring the three trademark cosmic heroes, sub-$17k is a relative bargain – it would have easily cost 3-4x more as a canon comic cover. I particularly dig Jim’s dazzling celestial background and use of Zipatone!
For some strange reason, this page was offered in the 25th February HA Sunday Auction instead of the just-completed Signature event. Anyway, following November 2017’s $13.3k ComicLink sale of AA #7 page 43, the above page 28 ended right where I expected it to. Sure, its Thanos images are far smaller (and fewer) than page 43’s, but that stellar Mar-Vell/Warlock half-page splash makes up for it!
Here’s an interesting piece: a Mignola Marvel Cosmic cover, produced three years before Hellboy debuted. Given that mid-’80s Mignola Marvel covers start at around $5k, $6.3k for this 1990 one is a solid sum, especially as it features slightly obscure characters (Quasar, the Stranger and Watchers). As intimated, the combination of artist and characters is unique, perhaps prompting the growing legion of cosmic fans and Mike’s existing following to pony up!
This “Infinity Gauntlet” crossover issue took place between IG #3 and #4, with cover and interiors by journeyman Chris Marrinan. Good non-Thanos interior pages from IG-epilogue Doctor Strange #36, by the equally workmanlike Dan Lawlis, sell for $300. In view of that, $3.8k appears about right for this #33 cover, aided in part by the “Thanos Tax”.
Extraordinary. Nine months ago, superior Ron Lim Infinity Gauntlet Thanos panel pages were selling in the $3k range. Now, Lim’s Gauntlet-less Thanos IG prices are where George Perez’s Gauntleted-Thanos ones used to be! Looks like my prediction of 5-figure IG panel pages has come true. If the Mad Titan proves a success in Avengers: Infinity War, will prices leap again?
Modern Starlin Marvel Cosmic OA continues to do well on HA. This full-page splash starring a triumphant Thanos, with the Infinity Gauntlet and Cosmic Cube at back, has just about all the elements a fan could want! The $7.2k price tag is in line with sales of other Starlin art of this vintage, and if anything, seems a bit of a deal given the values of his ’70s cosmic work!
Coipel is one of comics’ modern stars, and his OA has commanded copious coin for a while now. The above prices are representative of what collectors are willing to pay for Olivier’s art, and I can see why they love it – that double-page spread of Surfer facing down All-Father Odin, then getting clocked by Mjolnir, are superb!
I’m not sure whether Jim still does these commissions, but around two years ago, 11”x14” Thanos headshots were going for about $200 a pop. This smaller 9”x12” example now costs over $500, which goes to show how all-encompassing the current Marvel Cosmic fervour is.
Until next time, happy collecting!