Auctions | November 11, 2019

Elite Marvel Comics #1 Leads Heritage Auctions’ Comics & Comic Art Auction

Marvel Comics #1 Windy City pedigree (Timely, 1939) CGC NM 9.4 Off-white pages. Estimate: $1,000,000+

Dallas, TX – The best copy of the first Marvel Comics issue could bring $1 million or more as the top lot in Heritage Auctions’ Comics & Comic Art Auction Nov. 21-24 in Dallas, Texas.

Marvel Comics #1 Windy City pedigree (Timely, 1939) CGC NM 9.4 Off-white pages. (estimate: $1,000,000+), from the Windy City pedigree, is by far the highest-graded known copy of what is widely considered the ultimate of all Marvel comics, of which only two other copies have earned a grade as high as 9.0. As a matter of perspective, consider that only one other 9.4 exists in CGC’s census for all of the top six most valuable Golden Age issues … combined.

“It is nearly impossible to describe the significance of this issue carrying such a high grade,” Heritage Auctions Senior Vice President Ed Jaster said. “This is an 80-year-old copy of the issue that launched Marvel Comics, and it is in pristine condition. Most collectors never get the chance to see a comic book like this, much less an opportunity to own one.”

The Windy City pedigree collection is known well among high-end Golden Age collectors. Introduced to the market by Chicago dealer Gary Colabuono, the collection was compiled by a Uniontown, Pennsylvania mailman who purchased every first issue he could of both comic books and magazines, starting in the 1940s.

Robert Crumb Your Hytone Comix (nn) “Stoned Agin!” Inside Back Cover Original Art (Apex Novelties, 1971) (estimate: $250,000+) comes from the height of popularity of the artist who is revered for his contribution to the underground comics movement in the 1960s. This image is instantly recognizable, even by many who don’t know Crumb’s work. This legendary image, which has been reproduced countless times, as a blacklight poster, on pinback buttons, postcards, t-shirts, etc., is considered the ultimate must-have item for serious Crumb collectors.

The consignor moved to California in 1970 and met Crumb through mutual friends. The consignor got the image from Crumb, and has held on to it ever since in his own collection. The artwork is accompanied by the cardboard portfolio in which Crumb originally delivered the artwork, which has a handwritten “to do” list, which might have been written by Hytone publisher Don Donahue. Crumb signed the artwork in the lower right of the final panel.

Neal Adams Batman #251 Cover The Joker Original Art (DC, 1973) (estimate: $300,000+) is a spectacular image from one of the most memorable Joker covers of all time. The issue debuted a new version of the villain that became the standard for the character. The issue marked a return of the Joker after a four-year hiatus from Batman comics and presented a “more lethal than laughable Joker,” according to longtime DC publisher Paul Levitz. This was the only Joker cover by Adams during his first stint at DC.

Jack Kirby and Syd Shores Captain America #103 Cover Red Skull Original Art (Marvel, 1968) (estimate: $200,000+) is one of the Red Skull’s most iconic cover images, and one of the finest twice-up Silver Age Marvel covers of all time. So dramatic is the image in this original art that the Red Skull’s maniacal facial expression was toned down on the printed cover by slightly changing his eyes and mouth. Created by Jack Kirby, the co-creator of both the Red Skull and Captain America, the image also features Sharon Carter, a.k.a. “Agent 13.” The cover was created in twice-up scale, and signed in the lower right by Kirby.

Iconic American science fiction and fantasy artist Frank Frazetta’s “Gollum” Painting Original Art (1973) (estimate: $200,000+) is a moody masterpiece portraying the corrupted Hobbit once known as Smeagol. Frazetta’s work has been enormously popular among collectors – Heritage Auctions sold his Egyptian Queen in May 2019 for a world-record $5.4 million, Death Dealer 6 in May 2018 for almost $1.8 million and the original art for the paperback cover of At The Earth’s Core in August 2016 for nearly $1.1 million – and this painting’s connection to a beloved series of classic books only adds to the allure. From the Glenn Danzig Collection and the only painting Frazetta ever made from J.R.R. Tolkien’s book (and later film) epic, this image is signed and dated in the lower left by the artist.

Jack Kirby and Chic Stone Fantastic Four Annual #2 Splash Page 1 Doctor Doom Original Art (Marvel, 1964) (estimate: $150,000+) is as dramatic as any full-page vintage early 1960s splash panels of major characters, and served as the powerful opening to the tale of “The Fantastic Origin of Doctor Doom!” The Monarch of Latveria, Doctor Doom is Marvel’s most popular villain. He is humanized in this story, which was created by the team of Stan Lee (script) and Jack Kirby (illustration). This page from the Glenn Danzig Collection, created in twice-up scale, includes a message from the editors, who declare “We confidently predict that you will call this one of the greatest, most memorable ‘origin’ stories of all time!”

Another highlight of the auction is a trove of 314 sealed video games from the Carolina Collection, which is nothing if not spectacular. The Carolina Collection was curated by Dain Anderson, the founder of the largest Nintendo collecting forum, NintendoAge. It contains some of the most notable rarities on the NES as well as some of the highest-graded sealed examples of games that Heritage Auctions has offered in its auctions.

Mega Man ["Dr. Wright" First Release] - Carolina Collection Wata 9.4 A+ Sealed NES Capcom 1987 USA (estimate: $100,000+) is undoubtedly the coveted centerpiece of this meticulously curated video game collection. It marks the first appearance of Mega Man, and is the first game in the series. This copy is from the first production run of the title, and is rumored to currently be the highest graded sealed copy of this variant known. On this example, the archvillain named on the back of the box is “Dr. Wright,” which was quickly changed to “Dr. Wily” on subsequently released copies. Collectors have estimated that it is likely that the sealed population of this variant is in the single digits.

Was “Dr. Wright” – a name that was changed on later examples to “Dr. Wily.” This game is the first in the series, and features the first appearance of the Mega Man character.

Other top lots in the auction include, but are not limited to:
    •    Superman #1 (DC, 1939) CGC GD 2.0 Cream to off-white pages: $175,000+
    •    Whiz Comics #2 (#1) (Fawcett Publications, 1940) CGC FN 6.0 Off-white to white pages: $175,000+
    •    Sensation Comics #1 (DC, 1942) CGC VF+ 8.5 Off-white to white pages: $160,000+
    •    Amazing Fantasy #15 (Marvel, 1962) CGC VF- 7.5 Off-white pages: $150,000+
    •    Batman #1 (DC, 1940) CGC VG 4.0 Off-white to white pages: $140,000+
    •    Fantastic Four #1 (Marvel, 1961) CGC VF+ 8.5 White pages: $130,000+
    •    Captain America Comics #1 (Timely, 1941) CGC FN 6.0 Off-white pages: $125,000+