The best copy of the first Marvel Comics issue could bring $1 million or more as the top lot in Heritage’s Comics & Comic Art Auction on November 21-24, 2019, in Dallas, Texas.
Marvel Comics #1 Windy City pedigree CGC 9.4 is the highest graded known copy of what is widely considered the ultimate of all Marvel comics. Only two other copies have earned a grade as high as 9.0. Only one other 9.4 exists in CGC’s census for all of the top six most valuable Golden Age issues – combined.
“It is nearly impossible to describe the significance of this issue carrying such a high grade,” Heritage Senior Vice President Ed Jaster said. “This is an 80-year-old copy of the issue that launched Marvel Comics, and it is in pristine condition. Most collectors never get the chance to see a comic book like this, much less an opportunity to own one.”
The Windy City pedigree collection is well known among high-end Golden Age collectors. Introduced to the market by Chicago dealer Gary Colabuono, the collection was compiled by a Uniontown, PA mailman who purchased every first issue he could of both comic books and magazines, starting in the 1940s.
The Neal Adams Batman #251 original cover is an iconic image from one of the most memorable Joker covers. The issue introduced a new version of the villain that became the standard for the character. It marked a return of the Joker after a four-year absence from Batman comics and presented a “more lethal than laughable Joker,” according to longtime DC publisher Paul Levitz. This was the only Joker cover by Adams during his first stint at DC.
One of the Red Skull’s most popular covers is on the Jack Kirby and Syd Shores Captain America #103 original cover. The dramatic original art of Red Skull’s maniacal facial expression was toned down on the printed cover by slightly changing his eyes and mouth. The cover was created in twice-up scale, and signed in the lower right by Kirby.
Beloved American science fiction and fantasy artist Frank Frazetta’s “Gollum” original painting is a moody masterpiece portraying the corrupted Hobbit once known as Smeagol. From the Glenn Danzig Collection and the only painting Frazetta ever made from J.R.R. Tolkien’s book epic, this image is signed and dated in the lower left by the artist. Frazetta’s work has been extremely successful at Heritage, including his Egyptian Queen that sold for a world record $5.4 million, Death Dealer 6 that sold for $1.8 million, and the At The Earth’s Core paperback art that went for $1.1 million.
The Jack Kirby and Chic Stone Fantastic Four Annual #2 splash page 1 has a dramatic image that opened to the tale of “The Fantastic Origin of Doctor Doom!” This page from the Glenn Danzig Collection, created in twice-up scale, includes a message from the editors, who declare “We confidently predict that you will call this one of the greatest, most memorable ‘origin’ stories of all time!”
Another highlight of the auction is a trove of 314 sealed video games from the Carolina Collection, which is nothing if not spectacular, according to Heritage. The Carolina Collection was curated by Dain Anderson, the founder of the largest Nintendo collecting forum, Nintendo Age. It contains some of the most notable rarities on the NES as well as some of the highest-graded sealed examples of games that Heritage Auctions has offered in its auctions.
Mega Man (“Dr. Wright” first release) Carolina collection WATA 9.4A+ is undoubtedly the coveted centerpiece of this meticulously curated video game collection. It marks the first appearance of Mega Man, and is the first game in the series. This copy is from the first production run of the title, and is rumored to currently be the highest graded sealed copy of this variant known. On this example, the archvillain named on the back of the box is “Dr. Wright,” which was quickly changed to “Dr. Wily” on subsequently released copies. Collectors have estimated that it is likely that the sealed population of this variant is in the single digits.
Other top lots in the auction include Superman #1 CGC 2.0, Whiz Comics #2 (#1) CGC 6.0, Sensation Comics #1 CGC 8.5, Amazing Fantasy #15 CGC 7.5, Batman #1 CGC 4.0, Fantastic Four #1 CGC 8.5, and Captain America Comics #1 CGC 6.0.