Also Thursday, page 24 from the same Spider-Man comic sold for $288,000, Heritage said.
Those two pages of interior art are prized because they show the emergence of Spidey’s black symbiote suit, which led to the rise of the character Venom.
“Today’s results prove what we’ve long been saying: Comic book art is as beloved and valuable as anything put on canvas,” Joe Mannarino, Heritage’s director of comics and comic art in New York, said in a statement. It’s worth noting that canvasses by the late pop artist Roy Lichtenstein, whose paintings appropriated directly from published comic-book images, have sold at auction for as much as $95 million.
Thursday’s launch of a multiday auction also reflected the fact that for all the commercial success of DC’s Superman and Batman, no character is more popular among consumers at the moment than Marvel’s Spider-Man.
Stan Lee once told The Washington Post that when the character was introduced, he “never realized that Spider-Man would be around” after even a half-century. Today, the Peter Parker superhero, who made his debut 60 years ago in the comic “Amazing Fantasy No. 15” — as co-created by Lee and Steve Ditko (both of whom died in 2018) — is firing on all cylinders.
Last month’s “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” the eighth live-action feature film in the Sony franchise, has grossed more than $1.5 billion worldwide — the biggest release since 2019’s “Avengers: Endgame,” in which Tom Holland’s Spidey also appeared. Last year also saw the release of the sequel “Venom: Let There Be Carnage,” which grossed more than a half-billion dollars worldwide — one of 2021’s top titles.
Thursday also saw a full page from “Amazing Spider-Man No. 37” from 1966 — the issue picturing the named debut of the villainous Green Goblin/Norman Osborn — sell for $336,000, Heritage said.
In the fall of 2021, an issue of Ditko and Lee’s “Amazing Fantasy No. 15,” in near-perfect condition, went for $3.6 million — considered to be the most valuable comic book ever sold at auction. Falling a bit short of that Thursday was “Action Comics No. 1,” which is the ‘30s debut of Superman; the rare book sold for $3.18 million, the auction house said.
Heritage Auctions frequently doesn’t reveal the identity of the buyers and sellers.
Prices for iconic comic art and comic books have risen alongside the 21st-century Hollywood boom in superhero movies. Rare Superman and Batman comic books began selling for millions at auction, and in 2012, a comic-book trove collected during a Virginia boyhood in the ‘30s and early ‘40s was sold at auction for about $3.5 million.
Some of the highest-selling original comic art in recent years are works by such other creators as Frank Frazetta, Robert Crumb, Jack Kirby and Charles Schulz.