DThe original art for the cover of Superman #12 (DC, 1941) by Fred Ray – the earliest piece of art from the comic book series to ever surface – saved from the trash bin more than 70 years ago by legendary Batman artist Jerry Robinson, will make its first ever public auction appearance as the centerpiece of Heritage Auctions’ May 28-30, 2015 Comics Signature® Auction
The cover, one of the most iconic Superman covers of the Golden Age, shows the Man of Steel marching arm and arm with two of America’s brave sailors and soldiers, ready to defend their country against the Axis threat. It was the first depiction of America’s armed servicemen on the cover of this title, though certainly not the last.
Equally as important is the fact that one of the greatest Batman artists of all time, Jerry Robinson – who was also a close friend of Ray’s – asked DC Comics for the art after the issue had published. Robinson passed away in 2011, kept the art for more than 70 years. It has been consigned to auction by his family.
“Not only was Jerry Robinson simply an amazing artist,” said Joe Mannarino, Director of Comics & Comic Art at Heritage New York, “he was also a visionary collector. He was gathering and keeping his own art, and that of his friends in the business, at a time when no one thought anything at all of it.”
At the dawn of the comics business, original comic art was considered useless and usually thrown away once an issue was printed. Time has proven Robinson’s impulse and excellent eye absolutely correct, as the best examples of original comic art routinely bring healthy five and six figure prices and the prime examples of Golden Age DC Comic cover art that still exist are very few in number and mostly sequestered in private collections.
Robinson’s work is also featured in the top comic book lot of the auction, as a copy of Batman #1 (DC, 1940) CGC-Graded VG+ 4.5, the #6 comic book on Overstreet’s Top 100 Golden Age Comics list, is expected to bring $80,000+ when it comes across the block. A nice copy of Captain America Comics #1 (Timely, 1941), CGC-grade FN- 5.5 – famously featuring Cap knocking out Hitler – joins Batman at the top of the comics pile in the auction with an equal estimate of $80,000+.
Alex Raymond’s original Sunday comic strip art for Flash Gordon June 12, 1936 (King Features Syndicate) is a sterling example of the best of Raymond’s iconic work on the classic strip and it should bring more than $50,000. The story, a fantastic, action-packed “Water World of Mongo” Sunday, features Flash, Dale and Zarkov chained by the neck and doing battle with the evil Pluton. Another important and elusive artist, Basil Wolverton, is represented in the auction with the original art for a complete eight-page “Powerhouse Pepper” story, “A Scoot for Loot” (Humorama Publications, c. 1950s), the first time Heritage has ever offered a complete story by Wolverton. It is expected to bring $35,000+.
Further highlights include, but are certainly not limited to:
Hal Foster Prince Valiant Sunday Comic Strip #523 Original Art dated 2-16-47 (King Features Syndicate, 1947): One of the most desirable Prince Valiant strips Heritage Auctions has ever offered. Estimate: $30,000+.
Daredevil Comics #1 Daredevil Battles Hitler (Lev Gleason, 1941) CGC NM 9.4: A stunning copy of one of the most memorable Golden Age covers. Estimate: $30,000+.
John Byrne Incredible Hulk #319 Cover and Complete 22-Page Story Original Art (Marvel, 1986): Bruce Banner marries Betty Ross… under the shadow of the Hulk! This is the entire issue being offered. Estimate: $25,000+.
Superman #14 (DC, 1942) CGC NM- 9.2: A classic Superman cover on an issue tied for highest grade to date. Estimate: $25,000+.
Whiz Comics #2 (#1) (Fawcett Publications, 1940) CGC GD/VG 3.0: The first appearance of Captain Marvel, now called Shazam in the comics, and star of the upcoming movie Shazam! Estimate: $25,000+.
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