The original John Byrne and Terry Austin double splash page art from X-Men #137 (Marvel, 1980), “The Fate of the Phoenix!”, arguably the most famous image from the greatest and most popular X-Men story of them all, is expected to bring $150,000+ when it comes to auction on Aug. 27, 2015, as the centerpiece of Heritage Auctions’ Aug. 27-29, 2015 Comics and Comic Art Signature® Auction.
“Fans never expected the cover blurb of ‘Phoenix Must Die!’ to be accurate, but that’s where this comic arc shockingly ended,” said Todd Hignite, Vice President of Heritage Auctions. “This two page spread featuring Cyclops, Jean Grey (aka Marvel Girl/Phoenix), the Beast, Angel, Nightcrawler, Wolverine, Storm, Colossus, Professor X, Lilandra, and Gladiator is one of the most memorable splash pages of all time.”
Chris Claremont (writer), John Byrne (co-plotter/penciler) and Terry Austin (inker) turned in some career-altering signature work on this title, and much of it culminated in this story, elements of which even made it into the movie “X2: X-Men United.” In short, this is one of the greatest full-team images of the X-Men ever, directly from the heart of one of the most acclaimed runs in comic book history.
Hardcore comic book collectors will thrill to the inclusion in the auction of an incredibly rare copy of Suspense Comics #3, Pennsylvania pedigree (Continental Magazines, 1944) CBCS 9.0 (estimate $100,000+) in the auction, one of the most-sought after, and most difficult to obtain comic books in history.
“This is the copy pictured in Gerber’s Photo-Journal,” said Barry Sandoval, Managing Director of Comic Auctions Operations at Heritage, “a book that has been the subject of much speculation over the years. The classic controversial bondage cover by Alex Schomburg is what all the fuss is about, that and the scarcity of the issue. Whoever gets this book will have some serious bragging rights.”
This copy is the highest grade yet assigned to a copy of Suspense Comics #3 by either of the top third-party grading services (CGC or CBCS). It is also of note is that there is no Mile High copy of this issue, and almost all of the other famous pedigree runs are missing it as well. The chances of a nicer copy ever surfacing is unlikely. This book is one of Overstreet’s Top 100 Golden Age Comics, and will most likely not be moving from that list any time soon.
Original Alex Raymond Flash Gordon art has been incredibly popular of late and Heritage has responded with an absolute gem in its Aug. 2015 auction in the form of the original Sunday comic strip art dated 1-27-35 (King Features Syndication, 1935). In the strip, Prince Barin steps in just in time to save Dale from a deadly fate, a spectacular example from the third storyline, “Tournaments of Mongo,” one of the most desirable periods of Raymond’s run. This is by far some of the most impressive newspaper comic strip original art Heritage experts have seen to date, which says a lot considering how many great pieces have come through since the beginning of its Comics and Comic Art division in 2001. It is estimated at $100,000+.
Comic collectors will all also take note of the CGC-graded 6.5 copy of All-American Comics #16 (DC, 1940) in the auction, the debut issue of the original Green Lantern, Alan Scott, currently ranked as the fourth most valuable comic of all time. According to Overstreet, the only comics more valuable than this one are the “big three” of Action Comics #1, Detective Comics #27 and Superman #1, with this book even recently surpassing Marvel Comics #1 on the list. It is interesting to note that GL’s major vulnerability was not the color yellow, but rather anything made of wood – so a good ol’ #2 pencil should strike fear into the hearts of all Green Lanterns, everywhere. It is estimated at $60,000+.
As a special wrinkle in this auction, Heritage will join IDW Publishing, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. and the Je Kubert School to celebrate the legacy of the late, great Kubert by auctioning off 22 original illustrations by 23 artists, each hand drawn on special blank covers on Joe Kubert’s Tarzan of the Apes Artist’s Edition. All proceeds from the sale of these very special books will go directly to The Joe Kubert Scholarship Fund.
“All of us at Heritage Auctions have a deep and abiding respect for Joe Kubert and his legacy as both a pioneering artist and a teacher,” said Hignite. “It means a lot to us to be a part of this project and to do something that benefits Joe’s school and nurtures the next generation of comic book artists.
Further highlights of the auction include, but are certainly not limited to:
Dave Stevens, Rocketeer: The Official Movie Adaptation #1 Cover Original Art (Disney, 1991): The best Stevens piece Heritage has offered to date. Estimate: $40,000+.
Superman #1 Verified Signature, Signed By Siegel, Shuster and others (DC, 1939), CBCS Conserved 1.8: This is now the third most valuable comic book issue, and the book has seen its Overstreet value triple, or in high grades, even quadruple. Estimate: $25,000+.
Charles Schulz Peanuts Daily Comic Strip Original Art dated 7-7-69 (United Feature Syndicate, 1969): Schroeder at his piano, Lucy reclining on it… this is a classic Peanuts image, so what better original strip to personalize to Schulz’s good friend, singer/songwriter Rod McKuen? “To Rod, who has given all of us much happiness – Sparky”. Schulz even added a McKuen lyric to the first panel when he signed it. From the Estate of Rod McKuen. Estimate: $20,000+.
Our Army at War #83 (DC, 1959) CGC 8.0: After several prototypical appearances, this issue has the first “true” Sgt. Rock appearance by Joe Kubert, making it one of the true keys of all the DC “Big Five” War titles. Estimate: $15,000+.
Punch Comics #12 (Chesler, 1945) CGC 7.5: One of the most intense skull covers ever produced during the Golden Age of comics. This is the highest-graded copy that Heritage experts have ever seen, with only one other copy topping it on CGC’s current census. Estimate: $12,500+.
Joe Shuster – Superman War Bond Auction Illustration Original Art (1944): An enormous full body drawing with a personalized message and signature. The real kicker is that it was produced live on stage in 1944 at a well-documented War Bond Auction. The winner, 6 year old Charles Pezzolla, was photographed for the Long Island Star-Journal as Joe Shuster presented him with the finished piece. Estimate: $10,000+.
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