Frank Frazetta and Frank Miller set records with original artwork sales

June 08, 2010 | 10:39 p.m.

Let’s be Frank — there are few investments better than comic-book or fantasy original artwork, especially if the signature on the bottom is Frazetta or Miller.

That was proved with two recent sales: Frank Frazetta’s original 1955 artwork for Weird Science-Fantasy No. 29 been sold in a private treaty sale for $380,000 — a price that is reportedly the largest ever paid for a single page of American comic-book artwork — and Frank Miller’s 1982 cover image for Daredevil No. 188 sold for $101,575 on May 21, a somewhat startling number for a piece from the 1980s — it’s the most ever paid for a single-page piece from that decade, by some estimations. 

Frazetta cover

At the center of both sales was Heritage Auction Galleries of Dallas. The Miller cover sold at the auction house’s Signature Comics & Comic Art sale (which dropped the gavel on $3.5 million in sales). The Frazetta piece was bought outright by Jim Halperin, the co-founder of Heritage, and a collector devoted to the gruesome and grand legacy of EC, the comics company that gave the world Tales from the Crypt and showcased the talents of artists such as Wally Wood, Jack Davis and Al Williamson.

“Knowing I’m a huge Frazetta fan, and a rabid EC collector, Stephen Ferzoco and Rob Pistella, the agents for the family, approached me as soon as they asked them to sell this piece,” Halperin said in a written statement. “I was thrilled to pay their asking price, which, although it set a new record by a wide margin, actually seemed quite fair for the ultimate EC cover … Frazetta did a total of 42 comic-book covers, many of which are no longer thought to exist as original art, though WSF No. 29 is by far his most famous.”

Dardevil 188

There’s an interesting back story to that Frazetta cover: It was drawn in 1954 and conceived as a Buck Rogers cover for Famous Funnies, but Eastern Color Printing didn’t use it. Instead, the company picked it up in 1955 and, after a few alterations, it finally hit the stands. The final result was called “the most outstanding cover ever put on a comic book,” by Russ Cochran, the noted EC historian and archivist.

According to Heritage, the previous record for a single piece of American comic-book art was the $200,000 paid for Wood’s cover to Weird Science No. 16, another EC classic, which Heritage sold via private treaty in April 2008. With the surging state of the market over the last few decades, I doubt the new record will last too long. I also wonder if there may have been some unpublicized artwork with a signature image by Jack Kirby or Neal Adams – or perhaps a key artifact from some Golden Age artist’s drawing table — that has quietly sold for a six-digit total that comes close or even exceeds these Heritage numbers.

– Geoff Boucher

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Comments


12 Responses to Frank Frazetta and Frank Miller set records with original artwork sales

  1. Heat Death says:

    $380k is probably the most ever paid for a non-painted Frazetta example, but $101k is definitely not the most paid for a piece of 80's comic art. The 100k mark was broken quite some time ago.
    Uncertain about the Weird Science #16 as it doesn't show up in their online archives, but I remember Heritage selling the cover to Batman #11 for around $195k a few years ago. I had the pleasure of actually holding that one in my hands.

  2. Christian says:

    I'm not surprised by the Frazetta price tag at all, but the Miller piece really didn't warrant that much money. He's done far better pieces in his career. If this Daredevil cover is his first piece of cover art I can see a high dollar being paid for it, but not over 100K.

  3. Horace Austin says:

    Heat Death,
    What is the most paid at public sale for a piece of original comic art from the 1980's? Which comic book is it?

  4. Ray says:

    Where would someone sell a Frazetta original oil painting?

  5. Dan Petitpas says:

    That would be Heritage Auctions at HA.com

  6. [...] sold for $1 million and a higher graded version was sold for $1.5 million through ComicConnect.com. Earlier this year, an original 1955 Frank Frazetta piece for Weird Science Fantasy #29 was sold for $380,000 and the [...]

  7. ArchonPrime says:

    great work.

  8. gregorio says:

    Hi im gregorio i got two 2007 comics.number #2#3.those are signed.but duno who did it.please contact me

  9. JOHN FULCE says:

    Funny, I;ve got comic art and original paintings and all dealers want to pay is 'peanut'. Does anyone know real collectors? I don't want to try to go through auction houses and wait up to a year to get paid for my stuff? Here's a list if anyone is interested. I've got an emergency that needs taken care of, so I'll make a great deal. FRANK MILLER ORIGINAL PAINTING FROM MOVIE DEAL…
    FRANK MILLER PAINTING… COMMISSIONED FOR MOVIE (SIGNED) …FRAMED & MATTED… @ $15,000.00

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