Skip to comments.Frazetta Cover Smashes Record For Any Page of American Comic Book Art ($380,000)
Posted on 06/10/2010 8:27:14 AM PDT by a fool in paradise
Frank Frazetta's original 1955 artwork for Weird Science-Fantasy #29, considered by many comic art fans to be the finest comic book cover of all time, has been sold in a private treaty sale for $380,000 almost certainly the most ever paid for a single piece of original American comic book art to Heritage Co-Chairman and Co-Founder Jim Halperin, a collector known to own one of the finest comic book and original comic art collections in the world. It was an outright purchase for immediate payment, with no trade-ins involved.
"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," said Halperin. "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."
This amazing cover is also the first major piece of Frazetta art to come up for sale since his death on May 10 of this year. His original art, already valued at a premium, is almost certain to continue drawing record prices when truly iconic pieces like this one are released for private sale and public auction.
Weird Science-Fantasy #29 (EC 1955) Is Frazetta's only solo cover for EC, though he also inked the Al Williamson-penciled Weird Fantasy #21 cover, which is also among the dozens of original EC covers by Wally Wood, Johnny Craig, Graham Ingels, Al Feldstein, Jack Davis and other comic art legends in Halperin's personal collection.
"Frazetta did a total of 42 comic book covers, many of which are no longer thought to exist as original art," said Halperin, "though WSF #29 is by far his most famous."
Originally conceived as a Buck Rogers cover for Famous Funnies, and drawn in 1954, this cover was never published by Eastern Color. Instead it was later used by Bill Gaines' EC Comics in 1955 in a slightly altered form helmet replaced by blond hair, and one of the attackers was given more hair. It is almost universally regarded as the most iconic Atomic Age (late 1940s through mid-to-late 1950s) comic cover, and was called "the most outstanding cover ever put on a comic book," by acknowledged EC authority Russ Cochran.
The previous record for a single piece of American comic book art is believed to be the Wally Wood cover to EC's Weird Science #16, which Heritage sold via private treaty in April 2008 for $200,000. Some might argue that the cover to MAD #30, which Heritage sold for $203,150 the following November, broke the Weird Science #16 record. That, however, was two pieces front and back covers and it was really a painted Magazine cover, which is not technically comic book art.
"I want to thank Stephen Ferzoco and Rob Pistella for offering me first shot, and also Heritage comic art experts Ed Jaster and Todd Hignite for advising me on the transaction," added Halperin. "I have no plans to resell it anytime soon."
Hopefully Frank turning out some Great art especial now that he can get REAL Valkyries to pose for him!
I’m kind of saddened by this sale. Frank had turned his deep woods home in Pennsylvania into a museum that was seasonally open.
The family sold this work off which means it is in private hands. Few museums are willing to showcase this as “art”. They’d rather have the crayon scribblings, paint drippings, and paste up collage of post-WWII “modern artists”.
The American Illustrator movement was considered “trash” because it was “commercial” art.
While it is in proud hands today, what is the public’s chances of ever seeing it in person outside of a possible exhibition at Ohio State University or a once in 20 years “look at comics!” museum exhibit?
With the populatity of comic books, collecting and making them into movies you would think that the industry and it’s fans would take steps to make sure this art is showcased as it should. Hey Stan the Man could bankroll the whole thing I bet or at least lay the foundation of such.
Stan’s probably still angry over the artists getting back their drawings in the 1980s (Jack Kirby and others sued Marvel to get back the originals that had never been returned, much of the art had “walked off” over the years).
Some of the writers were upset that the artists got to resell artwork while they could make no more money off of past work (except perhaps reprint payments).
Frazetta, Woody and Norman Mingo. Somewhere, Bill Gaines is smiling.
I remember back to around 1992 when an EC cover would cost a couple of thousand dollars. The boat has sailed. And those who do have them are probably unlikely to part with one.
Gaines paid for quality artists. And he held onto the artwork for decades. By the 1950s and 1960s, EC stories were already being reprinted (first the Mad Comic Book stories in paperbacks, then Tales From The Crypt etc in paperback form).
By the 1970s, Russ Cochran started reprinting individual issues of EC Comics and by the late 70s or early 80s he was reprinting the complete works in hardcover slipcased editions.
They never have gone “out of print” (some series yes, but there is generally some work available).
And I think that the artists got money as the artwork was released to the market in the 1980s/1990s. I don’t think that the artists were outright given their artwork though (including Mad Magazine artists).
This top selling Frank Frazetta drawing meant something to Frank. He bought it back from Bill Gaines at the time in the 1950s (I don’t know how much he received for its publication).
What a terrific artist. There was a documentary not long ago called “Painting with Fire,” about Frazetta. He and Jack Kirby were in a league of their own.
At least it has a good home now.
The second - I cut off the three naked chicks on the right so folks could appreciate the amazing detail.
I am glad he has passed, he was getting bitter from the hack comic book artists who were ripping him off blind, not even waiting for him to die. God bless you Mr. Frazzetta for the art and inspiration to real artists.
Most people probably know him from the Molly Hatchet album covers.
People used to just tear the Frazetta covers off of the pulpy paperbacks he did covers for,pocket the artwork, and then put the book back on the rack.
I did that with Play .. . oops.
That’s the cover for the Ace paperback Conan series #1. It depicts events that take place in the story “Rogues in the House”. In my opinion, it’s the best Conan depiction ever.
Rogues in the House...Yes. I have a copy of the Marvel version by Barry Smith.
Well, Frazetta did do the Playboy strip ‘little annie fanny’ for a while...
Barry Windsor Smith was no slouch as a Conan artist either! If you ever get the chance you should treat yourself to the actual story from Robert E. Howard.
That’s not a bad idea. Thanks.