On March 30, I wrote about Heritage Auctions' announcement that they would be auctioning the original art for page 10 from issue #3 of Frank Miller and Klaus Janson's The Dark Knight Returns (1986). They figured it would sell for at least $100,000. Well, the auction was yesterday, and it sold for $448,125, making it "the single most valuable piece of American comic art to ever sell." The buyer is anonymous.
The image is the single most memorable image from the entire comic book series and the greatest image from the decade of the 1980s ever to come to market, as well as now standing as one of, if not the most desirable pieces of original comic art from any era to come to market. It is a perfect stand-alone image of Batman and Robin (Carrie Kelley, the first female, full-time Robin) soaring high above Gotham City, emblematic of the entire storyline.Frank Miller and Klaus Janson Batman: The Dark Knight #3 Batman and Robin Iconic Splash Page 10 Original Art
"I've always loved that drawing," commented Miller, when asked before the auction what his thoughts on its imminent sale were. "Danced around my studio like a fool when I drew it. I hope it finds a good home."
The previous record price for a piece of original American comic book art was set last year when the cover of EC comics Weird Fantasy #29, by legendary artist Frank Frazetta, sold at Heritage via a private treaty sale for $380,000.
Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder. His new book is Maker Dad: Lunch Box Guitars, Antigravity Jars, and 22 Other Incredibly Cool Father-Daughter DIY Projects