The International Herald Tribune had a pretty good piece this week on the crazy prices original comic book art is now drawing at auction houses. What's most remarkable is the appreciation on some of this shit, which can include one-offs or individual inside pages.
The cover of Weird Science No. 16, from 1952, for $200,000. An inside black-and-white page from the 1963 X-Men No. 1, by Jack Kirby, for $33,460 (pictured above). Two color paintings by Alex Ross for $45,000 and $50,000.
Batman No. 11, from 1942, at $195,500.
So what's driving the spike in prices?
Alex Ross – he of the slightly blurry but usually beautiful portraiture – says that, "Images of DC and Marvel characters are the best sellers, bar none. It's also what I enjoy to illustrate the most. It's what the buyers of similar backgrounds as myself want. They want the thing they grew up with."
To parse that another way, DC and Marvel have managed to perpetuate their franchises with big-name movies; this also perpetuates continued interest in the back catalog.
Keep in mind, though, that is the original art we're talking about. So if you happen to have that first "X-Men" in your closet, and your managed to keep your mom's paws off that thing, you're probably going to be pretty rich (the unoriginal is still worth a bundle).
But not THAT rich.
– Matthew Shaer