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Heritage Auctions rewrites comic-book record book with $4.45-million session
Fantastic Four #1 (Marvel, 1961) CGC VF/NM 9.0 Off-white to white pages.

DALLAS, TX.- Heritage Auctions kicked off its four-day Comics & Comic Art Signature Auction Thursday afternoon with a first session that smashed records like Hulk on a rampage.

The first 52 lots in the 1,483-lot event realized more than $4.45 million alone, with nearly every single comic book and work of original comic art roaring past pre-auction estimates thanks to rounds of intense bidding. One need look no further than the heated tussling over Simon Bisley's iconic cover to Lobo No. 1 published in 1990. The work featuring the snarling, cigar-chomping bounty hunter from outer space opened the day at $50,000. And by the time the dust settled, the Main Man realized $192,000 — more than six times its estimate.

The first session of the April 1-4 event was topped by a Batman No. 1 graded CGC VG/FN 5.0, which sold for $360,000. That's nearly twice the highest price ever realized for that book in that condition. Only two years ago, the first issue of the Caped Crusader's solo title in 5.0 sold at Heritage for $204,000. But that was before the Dallas-based auction house reset the market in January 2021 when it sold a CGC 9.4 Batman No. 1 for $2.22 million, making that issue the second-highest-selling comic book of all time.

Following the Dark Knight was the Daredevil, with the second page of the very first issue of Marvel Comics' Daredevil realizing $288,000, nearly four times the pre-auction estimate. Little surprise, as this page from the 1964 Marvel masterpiece contains the panel with Bill Everett's introduction of The Man Without Fear. Appropriately, a CGC NM+ 9.6 Daredevil No. 1 likewise set a new record when it sold Thursday for $150,000 — $48,000 more than a same-graded Daredevil debut realized in January's auction.

Indeed, notes Heritage Auctions Vice President Lon Allen, "Every book offered so far has set a new record," with many, many more to follow throughout the week and into the weekend. "To say this has been a thrilling beginning to the auction would be understatement."

That includes an issue of Fantastic Four No. 1 graded CGC VF/NM 9.0 that brought $264,000. And an Amazing Fantasy No. 15 graded CGC VF- 7.5, which realized $156,000, the highest price ever paid for Spider-Man's initial swing in that condition. And a Tales of Suspense No. 39 graded CBCS NM 9.4, featuring Tony Stark's first suit-up as Iron Man, which realized $132,000.

This is a sale filled with landmark titles, none more so than the 1937 Action Comics No. 1 prototype known as an ashcan. On Thursday Heritage offered the very book to ever feature the words "Action Comics" and the iconic logo still used by DC Comics 84 years after this exemplar was made. Befitting such an important piece — one of the few known copies resides in the DC vault — the Action ashcan realized $204,000, the highest price ever paid for one of the early DC prototypes.

Dave Stevens' cover art to 1983's Alien Worlds No. 2 likewise shattered expectations when it sold Thursday for $120,000, three times estimate. Little surprise: This EC Comics nod is one of the earliest covers The Rocketeer's creator produced, and among the few depicting one of his own characters — in this case, Aurora, who initially made her bow in Japan.

And, no surprise, but another original work to reach six figures was Page 22 from 1975's Giant X-Men No. 1, written by the legendary Len Wein and illustrated by Dave Cockrum. Not only was this the comic that redefined the X-Men, but it introduced readers to Kurt Wagner's Nightcrawler, who's introduced on this very page on the run in his native German from townsfolks who consider him merely a monster. This second page from the "Second Genesis" story realized $102,000, twice its estimate.

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