York, PA - Just as superheroes have leaped off the pages of comic books to take over the motion picture industry, original comic art has confidently moved into the ranks of “legitimate” art. Hake’s has been instrumental in bringing fine comic art to the auction marketplace and will present yet another outstanding selection in its March 13-14 sale.
“It is not at all uncommon to see original art from comic book pages or covers included in important collections,” said Alex Winter, president of Hake’s Americana. “If an artwork in one of our auctions was created for a cover that illustrates a turning point in a significant storyline or marks the first appearance of a major character, we know there will be bidding competition from traditional art collectors.”
A case in point is Rob Liefeld’s original pen-and-ink art for Page 27 of New Mutants #98, published by Marvel in February 1991. This artboard is from the issue that introduces the wildly popular antihero Deadpool, who went on to star in countless comics, video games, and blockbuster films. Original page art from issue #98 is especially rare because Deadpool appears on only seven pages. A unique artwork held privately since shortly after the issue’s publication, it makes its auction debut with a $20,000-$35,000 estimate.
An original acrylic-on-canvas painting by legendary sci-fi/comic book artist Greg Hildebrandt depicts one of Marvel’s most infamous villains, Thanos, striding over skulls as the cosmos swirls around him. The 27.5 by 39-inch artwork was painted in 2018 for a limited-variant cover for the first issue of Infinity Wars Prime. Artist-signed at lower right and in near-mint condition, it is expected to make $10,000-$20,000.
Another major work offered in the auction is the original art for Page 33 of Sandman Vol. 2, #14 (DC Vertigo, March 1990), penciled by Mike Dringenberg and inked by Malcolm Jones III. Few Sandman pages have appeared for public sale, and this seven-panel page from early in Neil Gaiman’s iconic Sandman series is initialed and dated by Dringenberg. It has never before been offered at auction and is estimated at $5,000-$10,000.
As if that were not enough to send comic art collectors into a tailspin, Hake’s will also offer Frank Quitely’s original cover art for All-Star Superman #6 (DC Comics), from a series that ran from November 2005 through October 2008. The poignant scene depicts Superman standing at the gravestone of his adoptive father, Jonathan Kent, with his canine companion Krypto alongside him. “All Frank Quitely original art is highly sought after and rarely comes to auction, especially a piece of this caliber. Collectors won’t find a better example than this,” said Winter. Estimate: $5,000-$10,000
Premium-quality comic books are a staple in all Hake’s sales, but the March 13-14 selection is especially exciting because it features 200+ CGC-graded examples, including the first 100 issues of The Amazing Spider-Man title published from 1962 through 1971. A litany of memorable villains passes through the pages of those 100 issues, including Mysterio, Green Goblin, Kingpin, Lizard, Shocker, and more.
Four especially desirable CGC-graded Spider-Man issues lead the grouping, starting with Amazing Fantasy #15 (August 1962), which introduces The Amazing Spider-Man (Peter Parker), as well as Aunt May and Uncle Ben. With a Jack Kirby cover and Steve Ditko art to illustrate Stan Lee’s story, this CGC 3.0 (Good/VG) issue should easily reach the $10,000-$20,000 range.
J. Jonah Jameson and The Chameleon make their first appearances in The Amazing Spider-Man #1 (March 1963), with the additional bonuses of the first Fantastic Four crossover and a recounting of the origin of Spider-Man. A key Silver Age Marvel comic CGC-graded 6.0 (Fine), this issue is estimated at $10,000-$20,000. Two other issues to watch are The Amazing Spider-Man #3 (July 1963), CGC 7.5 (VF) with the first appearance of Doctor Octopus, $5,000-$10,000; and The Amazing Spider-Man #2 (May 1963), CGC 6.5 (Fine+) with the first appearance of the Vulture and the Terrible Tinkerer, $2,000-$5,000.
Of the memorabilia that exists from the legendary first “Negro League World Series” of October 1924, perhaps no other item is as cherished as the panoramic photo taken prior to Game 5 and showing both teams with their managers and owners. The picture includes 41 individuals including eight future Baseball Hall of Fame selectees, more than are seen in any other surviving original Negro League Baseball photograph. It is believed that the original photographic prints were distributed directly to participants of the 1924 Series. Hake’s will present one of the extremely rare 7 by 35-inch photographs in its March auction, with a $25,000-$35,000 estimate. Also for baseball fans, there are 150 Cracker Jack collector cards produced in 1914-15, including the rare “Shoeless” Joe Jackson card.
Over 100 Star Wars action figures and other collectibles will be auctioned, including 60+ examples from the peerless Russell Branton collection. Among the highlights are an AFA-graded 75 EX+/NM Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back - Bespin Alliance 3-pack series, $10,000-$20,000; a Sears exclusive AFA-graded 80 NM Star Wars Cantina Adventure Set with the elusive blue Snaggletooth figure, $5,000-$10,000; a life-size (6ft 6in) Don Post Studios Boba Fett figure, $5,000-$10,000; and a Star Wars double-telescoping Luke Skywalker figure on 12 Back-A blister card, AFA-graded 80 NM (archival case), $10,000-$20,000.
Political memorabilia, a category Hake’s first brought to the collector marketplace more than 50 years ago, will be sizzling with highlights, including a 26-star, pre-Civil War Henry Clay, T. Frelinghuysen and Joseph Markle Pennsylvania coattail campaign flag; and an important 1860 parade flag emblazoned “For President, Abram Lincoln - For Vice President, Hannibal Hamlin,” which has been in private hands for more than a half-century. Each is estimated at $20,000-$35,000. Topping the political buttons and pinbacks section are a 1940 Wendell Willkie/FDR “Out At Third” baseball-theme button, $10,000-$20,000; and a similarly estimated Truman lithographed button showing Harry Truman’s face on an 8-ball, a reference to his being behind the 8-ball as he headed into the 1948 presidential race.
Hake’s Auction #226 has opened for bidding by phone, mail or online at hakes.com. The March 13-14 auction introduces the new consecutive two-day format for bidding, as opposed to Hake’s previous method, which included a gap day in between the two sessions. For a free catalog or additional information, call 866-404-9800 (toll-free) or 717-434-1600. Email email@example.com. Online: www.hakes.com
Image: (Left) Amazing Fantasy #15 introducing The Amazing Spider-Man, August 1962, CGC 3.0 Good/VG, est. $10,000-$20,000; (right) The Amazing Spider-Man #1, March 1963, CGC 6.0 Fine, est. $10,000-$20,000. Courtesy of Hake’s Auctions