Frank Frazetta's 'Dark Kingdom' sells for $6 million to rule the record books at Heritage Auctions
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Frank Frazetta's 'Dark Kingdom' sells for $6 million to rule the record books at Heritage Auctions
Frank Frazetta Dark Kingdom Painting Original Art (1976).

DALLAS, TX.- Frank Frazetta's 1976 painting Dark Kingdom sold Thursday at Heritage Auctions for $6 million, breaking the record for original comic book or fantasy art set in 2019 by Frank Frazetta.

Among the late artist's most potent and popular works, Dark Kingdom was first used as the cover of Karl Edward Wagner's 1976 novel Dark Crusade, one in a series of tales about the immortal pre-medieval warrior Kane. But it's far better known for its second appearance: as the album cover for Molly Hatchet's 1979 Flirtin' With Disaster, the Jacksonville, Florida, boogie rockers' second record.

"It's extraordinarily rare whenever an artwork universally considered the best in any genre becomes available on the open market," says Heritage Auctions Executive Vice President Todd Hignite. "We're excited — and proud — that today's record-setting result reflects that status for this immediately recognizable image, which is burned into the consciousness of several generations of Frazetta fans."

Dark Kingdom depicts a brawny warrior wearing a winged helmet and wielding a blood-dripping ax as he steps over the skeletons of the fallen. It ranks among Frazetta's most reproduced works, from prints to posters to T-shirts to coffee mugs. But there is just one original, offered for the first time in Heritage's June 22-25 Comics & Comic Art Signature ® Auction, which kicked off Thursday with a first session that realized $11,079,240.

Dark Kingdom dethrones Frazetta's 1969 painting Egyptian Queen, which was used as the cover of Eerie magazine No. 23 that year. Heritage sold the work in 2019 for $5.4 million. One year earlier, his 1990 painting Death Dealer 6, featuring Frazetta's iconic armor-adorned warrior in a horned helmet, sold at Heritage for $1.7 million. Several other Frazetta works have also crossed the million-dollar mark at Heritage, including 1970's A Princess of Mars, which realized $1.2 million.

Frazetta was the Norman Rockwell of the swords-and-sorcery set, a man who could make the brutal look sexy and the sexy look dangerous. His posters have long been tacked up in the rooms of rockers who'd never read a single John Carter or Conan novel or thumbed through an issue of Eerie or Vampirella.

The Comics & Comic Art Signature ® Auction continues here through June 25.

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