Frank Miller ‘Dark Knight Returns’ Page Now Most Valuable Piece of US Comics Art Ever Sold
We’ve seen some pretty big sums of money dropped in the last year or so on rare Golden Age comics like Action Comics #1, the first appearance of Superman, and Detective Comics #27, the first appearance of Batman, both of which sold for over a million dollars each. Impressive and record-breaking sums to be sure, but not that surprising for two of the most sought after comics in history.
Today, however, Heritage Auctions announced that it just sold original art from the third issue of Frank Miller’s modern classic The Dark Knight Returns for $448,125. That’s different from the other mega-purchases in two important ways: It was a single page of original art rather than a published comic, and rather than being published in the Golden Age era of the late 1930s, this was from a comic that came out in 1986. The nearly $450,000 sale is well above the $100,000 estimate that Heritage had initially projected, and makes the splash page “the single most valuable piece of American comic art to ever sell,” according to the Heritage Auctions press release.
The image is the single most memorable image from the entire comic book series and the greatest image from the decade of the 1980s ever to come to market, as well as now standing as one of, if not the most desirable pieces of original comic art from any era to come to market. It is a perfect stand-alone image of Batman and Robin (Carrie Kelley, the first female, full-time Robin) soaring high above Gotham City, emblematic of the entire storyline.
“I’ve always loved that drawing,” commented Miller, when asked before the auction what his thoughts on its imminent sale were. “Danced around my studio like a fool when I drew it. I hope it finds a good home.”
The previous record price for a piece of original American comic book art was set last year when the cover of EC comics Weird Fantasy #29, by legendary artist Frank Frazetta, sold at Heritage via a private treaty sale for $380,000.
“Heritage auctioned Frank Miller’s original art work for the cover of Daredevil #188 for $101,575 last year,” said [Ed] Jaster [VP of Heritage Auctions], “so we knew there were serious buyer’s out there, especially for Miller’s top work. Now we know for sure what collectors are willing to pay. This piece is far away the current king. Nothing else has even come close.”
Heritage Auctions Director of Operations Barry Sandoval told reporters from The Dallas Observer that the piece had belonged to an unnamed European collector who had originally purchased it not long after the release of the comic in 1986. No details were released about the lucky man or woman who owns it now, except that they have way more money than you.
(via Boing Boing)
(Click to enlarge)