Frazetta's "Escape on Venus" Leads Heritage Auctions' Comics & Comic Art Auction

Frazetta venus.jpgDallas, TX - Frenetic bidding drove the final price for Frank Frazetta’s Escape on Venus Painting Original Art (1972) to $660,000 to claim top-lot honors in Heritage Auctions' Comics & Comic Art Auction Aug. 2-4 in Dallas, Texas, which brought in a total of $6,670,739.

The price realized by Escape on Venus was the third-highest ever through Heritage Auctions for a Frazetta painting. Death Dealer 6 Painting Original Art (1990) brought a record $1,792,500 in May 2018, and Frank Frazetta At The Earth's Core Paperback Cover Painting Original Art (1974), sold for $1,075,500 in August 2016.

Used as the cover image for the 1974 re-issue of the Edgar Rice Burroughs novel of the same name, Escape on Venus was created in 1972 and released as a print later in the decade.

“The result for this painting continues a trend of Frazetta paintings that have enjoyed enormous success in our auctions,” Heritage Auctions Senior Vice President Ed Jaster said. “Frank Frazetta was known for painting strong, sensuous women in fantastic environments. Escape on Venus is a prime example of his ability to paint in a way that directs the focus of those viewing his paintings to a specific place. In this painting, the trees and plants around the borders of the painting are done in subtle, muted tones, sending the focus back to the tiger and the woman in the center of the image.”

The Incredible Hulk #1 (Marvel, 1962) CGC VF/NM 9.0 Off-white to white pages also drew bids from nearly 30 collectors, before ultimately selling for $264,000. Ranked second on Overstreet’s list of the Top 50 Silver Age Comics, this issue is the only one in which the Hulk appears grey, and carries a grade higher than all but two copies ever offered by Heritage Auctions.

The cover of Gene Colan and Bill Everett Iron Man and Sub-Mariner #1 Cover Original Art (Marvel, 1968) proclaims it to be a “Special Once-In-A-Lifetime” issue, and the $240,000 - a figure nearly 2-1/2 times the pre-auction estimate - showed evidence that the statement was more than mere hyperbolic hype designed to sell the issue. The title characters teamed up in this issue after each had paired up with others: Namor the Sub-Mariner with the Hulk in Tales to Astonish, and Iron Man with Captain America in Tales of Suspense.

John Romita Sr. Amazing Spider-Man #55 Cover Doctor Octopus Original Art (Marvel, 1967) was another extremely popular lot, drawing bids from 18 collectors before realizing $105,000. This stunning cover shows an extreme close-up image of supervillain Doctor Octopus, who is engaged in a battle with Spider-Man, who can be seen in the reflection of Doc Ock’s glasses over a banner trumpeting “DOC OCK WINS!”

Jack Kirby and Chic Stone Tales of Suspense #60 Splash Page 1 Captain America Original Art (Marvel, 1964) was among the most coveted items in the auction, inspiring bids from 31 collectors before closing at $96,000, nearly double the pre-auction estimate. Just the second solo Captain America story since the 1950s, the issue features an extraordinary image of Captain America beneath a starburst balloon announcing “THE ARMY OF ASSASSINS STRIKES!” The issue is written by Stan Lee, with art by Jack Kirby, and is inked by Chic Stone and lettered by Art Simek.

The 1958 cult-classic film The Blob! was inspired by scenes like the one on the cover of Wally Wood Weird Science #22 Cover Original Art (EC, 1953), which yielded $90,000. Promising “Incredible Science-Fiction Stories,” the original art by Wally Wood features Wood’s “Old English” font signature in the lower left corner. The image, measuring 13-1/2 by 19-1/2 inches, is done in ink over graphite on EC Bristol board.

Other top lots included, but were not limited to:

·         Jack Kirby and Paul Reinman X-Men #1 Story Page 5 Original Art (Marvel, 1963): $72,000

·         Detective Comics #35 Larson Pedigree (DC, 1940) CGC Conserved NM- 9.2 White pages: $66,000

·         Bernie Wrightson Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's Frankenstein Unused Illustration Original Art (c. 1975): $60,000

·         Barry Smith Conan the Barbarian #5 Cover Original Art (Marvel, 1971): $60,000

The auction also featured a collection of 23 Star Wars action figures, which sold for a total of $201,180. The collection included, but was not limited to:

·         Bib Fortuna (Red Cape) Loose Action Figure /TW Prototype (Kenner, 1983) Condition: AFA 85 NM+: $31,200

·         Luke Skywalker 12 Back-C w/Yellow Hair Action Figure (Kenner, 1978) AFA 95 MT: $28,800

·         Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi First Shot Prototype Action Figure with Yellow Saber (Kenner, 1977) AFA 70 EX+: $20,400

·         Princess Leia Organa 12 Back-B Action Figure (Kenner, 1978) AFA 95 MT: $19,200

·         Luke Skywalker w/Telescoping Lightsaber 12 Back-C Action Figure (Kenner, 1978) AFA 85 NM+: $15,600

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