Market Report – March 2018 ComicLink Featured Auction

Greetings comic art fans, today we’ll be going through results from ComicLink’s Featured Auction on 9 March 2018! This was a mixed-bag event, containing several 3-figure to circa-$2k items which finished at the lower end of expected FMV, with some dipping into bargain territory. Above them was a solidly-performing middle class, then the high flyers rounded things off. There’s a ton of pieces for discussion, so to keep it tidy, I’ll be grouping the artwork in this article according to common themes. Alright let’s get down to business!

Batman

Batman Adventures #28 (1995), cover by Mike Parobeck & Rick Burchett – $9,766

According to CLink, this is the earliest Harley Quinn cover ever to appear at auction, and is only her fourth comic book appearance. If you view this as just a Parobeck BA cover, then yes $9.8k appears to be a pretty hefty penny. But once Ms Quinzel’s rampant popularity, and the historical significance of this piece are taken into account, I think that price is well justified!

Batman #532 (1996), cover by Kelley Jones & John Beatty – $7,700

The last publicly sold Jones Batman cover was the #496 one for $21.5k in November 2017. Why did this #532 cover go for only one-third the price? Three possibilities come to mind: 1) the far smaller Batman image (plus absence of Joker and Robin); 2) inks by Beatty rather than Jones (though I don’t think that’s a negative); and 3) it’s from later in the run (rather than part of the back-breaking “Knightfall” storyline). Whatever the case, $7.7k for a Jones/Beatty Bats cover seems a fine deal to me!

Batman: The Long Halloween #8 (1997), pages 9 & 10 DPS by Tim Sale – $9,099

Wow that’s a powerful picture! I’m not normally a Bat-buyer, but was tempted by this great double-page splash. Prime Long Halloween artwork doesn’t often become available, so bidders understandably go batty when it does. That said, $9.1k for this DPS is fair value, and well-bought considering its growth potential.

Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again #1 (2001), page 20 by Frank Miller – $5,100

I don’t ever recall seeing a publicly sold DKSA page, so judging FMV is slightly tricky. Given the astronomical Dark Knight Returns prices, and the fact this is a splashy piece with Supes and Carrie Kelly (but no Bats), $5.1k seems about right.

Batman #618 (2003), cover by Jim Lee & Scott Williams – $53,500

Jumpin’ jeepers! Nearly $54k for one of Jim’s “Hush” covers – not even an appealing one at that (Robin’s skeleton is very off-putting) – is a historically high sum. Consider this: a mere two years ago, this (superior to my eyes) Batman #617 cover sold for a comparatively measly $36k in February 2016. If Lee “Hush” values continue on this path, we might see 6-figure covers in the not too distant future!

Dark Knight III: The Master Race #1 (2016), page 1 by Andy Kubert & Klaus Janson – $3,400

DK3 OA ploughs along unabated, continually racking up impressive sales. I’ve previously discussed this phenomenon, so $3.4k for the Dark Knight’s empty cowl isn’t a particular surprise.

X-Men

X-Men #32 (1967), page 17 by Werner Roth & John Tartaglione – $4,390

In light of September 2017’s $3.7k sale of an X-Men-less #32 Juggy page, $4.4k for this one is actually pretty reasonable. I didn’t go after it because Cain Marko looks rather undernourished in that first panel (in particular, he appears to have skipped leg day at the gym)!

Uncanny X-Men #201 (1986), page 2 by Rick Leonardi & Whilce Portacio – $3,100

A friend of mine snagged this page from the semi-key UXM #201, for an eminently reasonable price. Given that it features multiple X-Men in costume, “BAMF” and the 1st Appearance of (baby) Cable – with an eye towards Deadpool 2 – spending $3.1k is likely to prove a canny move.

Uncanny X-Men #274 (1991), page 19 by Jim Lee & Scott Williams – $14,595

As previously noted, Lee X-Men OA – especially premier pages like this one – don’t often come to auction. $15k is the minimum I expected it to fetch, what with that exhilarating full team half-splash and “claws-out” Wolvie. The buyer picked up a decent deal, and would have had to pay significantly more if the characters were in their regular costumes!

X-Force #9 (1992), page 3 by Rob Liefeld & Dan Panosian – $5,000

Rob’s early artwork is on fire, as further evidenced here. This Domino half-page splash sold for $1.9k in August 2014, translating into a 260% price leap in 3.5 years. Two factors are driving current Liefeld-lunacy: Deadpool/New Mutants/X-Force movie hype and the rampaging ’90s Effect.

X-Men #23 (1993), cover by Andy Kubert & Mark Pennington – $10,250

’90s Kubert OA also continues to impress, hauling in over $10k for the above cover. It’s probably one of the weakest X-Men covers in Andy’s run, containing a lone, heavily obscured X-Man. I wonder what a stronger example would fetch?

Cable #23 (1995), page 22 by Ian Churchill & Scott Hanna – $966

Cable #31 (1996), page 1 by Ian Churchill & Scott Hanna – $1,499

Looks like my championing of Ian’s art has had an effect, as values are definitely skyrocketing. For an idea of how much Churchill OA has appreciated recently, consider that the $1.5k Cable #31 title-page splash sold for just $265 in June 2014 on ComicConnect! Also impressive is the nearly $1k that slightly awkward #23 end-page splash brought in.

Marvel Heroes

Black Panther #12 (1978), cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Rubinstein – $19,226

This was an astute purchase, and the buyer can probably look forward to a respectable return when they resell it. Given that good pages from earlier in Kirby’s Black Panther run go for over $4k, and a $36k February 2016 sale of the (admittedly superior) #7 cover, $19k for this #12 cover is rather reasonable. And none of that even takes into account the resounding success of T’Challa’s recent movie, which established him as an international media star, with multiple sequels sure to follow!

Fantastic Four #349 (1991), page 16 by Arthur Adams & Al Milgrom – $3,966

Adams remains a beloved fan favourite three decades after he entered the industry, and one of Art’s most fondly-remembered works is his short FF stint featuring the stand-in team. OA from this run is naturally scarce, with strong pages rarely popping up for sale. This piece definitely qualifies as a good one – Adams hardly ever drew Spidey, yet here you get six great shots of him from all angles! $4k is a spot-on price, considering comparable recent sales and the desirability of this page.

Spider-Man #12 (1991), page 15 by Todd McFarlane – $22,250

Not much to say here; McSpidey artwork continues swinging upwards, as evidenced by the robust $22.3k sticker of this panel page with only one (albeit sizable) shot of our hero.

Marvel Tales #255 (1991), cover by Sam Kieth – $9,155

One of the steals of the auction, in my eyes. Peak-Kieth Marvel superhero OA seldom surfaces – most of it’s tightly held in private collections – let alone a piece of this quality and magnitude (it’s a cover and Sam’s first Spidey illustration). Pre-auction, I estimated a circa-$15k final hammer, and now regret not making a serious run at it!

Captain America #27 (2000), page 8 by Andy Kubert & Dan Green – $1,300

As discussed above, Andy’s artwork is flying high, and his late-’90s/early-’00s stuff is no exception. $1.3k is a strong, yet justifiable sum for this evocative two-thirds splash.

Beauty and the Beast

Fathom #3 (2005), variant cover by Michael Turner – $6,730

Back in March 2017, I noted that this cover went for a song at $2.7k. Well, it just resurfaced on CLink almost exactly a year later, and rocketed up 250% in price!

Marvel Two-In-One Annual #2 (1977), page 37 by Jim Starlin & Joe Rubinstein – $20,000

In case you all didn’t get enough of a cosmic fix last week, we’ll end today’s article with a look at some prime-Starlin art. Although this page isn’t a particular favourite of mine (Thanos getting beaten up?!), that titanic twenty-thousand dollar tag reinforces Marvel Cosmic’s continued ascent – especially pieces featuring Marvel’s main malefactor!

Until next time, happy collecting!

 

Here’s Part 1 & Part 2 of the guide to collecting original comic art; and my CAF gallery.

Original Art Aficionado archive

 

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