Monday, March 14, 2011

Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns original art sketch

Frank Miller's "The Dark Knight Returns" original artwork doesn't come on the market very often, if ever. I think the last public transaction for a page from that book was more than $35,000.00. So when this sketch hit eBay, it was difficult to figure out true value. While on one hand it is clearly era accurate and from Frank Miller, this sketch wasn't published and wasn't as detailed as his inked pieces. But it sure is a BIG 11by17 large piece of art, and features Batman and Robin from the mini series.

Regardless, this selling for a tad North of $10k seems like a good price for whoever was lucky enough to win the auction.

From the auction:

Important ... there is a bend ( maybe an inch or less) in the lower left hand corner (non live art area) ... and there is also a stain on the upper left hand border ( also non live art area) of what appears to be possibly rubber cement or another yellowish type substance... there is a bit of pencil smudging in places and on the back of the paper! see pics above please.. i do not want to mislead anyone of the condition... And only serious bidders please! thank you
Frank Miller original artwork ...drawn on dc cover stock paper (measuring 12 x17 inches) in 1990 as a special 75th birthday gift to former DC comics editor Julius "julie" Schwartz.... this is a fully penciled and inked illustration of Batman and Robin from Millers Dark Knight 4 issue comic series. It also has a signed inscription from miller on it to Julius. I had asked Julius to sign the artwork in the border area (non live area of the art work) ... and after much debate he agreed to sign the artwork ... my argument was a simple one... this type of museum quality piece has a great deal of historical significance to it and thus it would make perfect sense that Julius should sign it. After all it was the mans 75th birthday ( that's significant enough in it's own right.. a milestone indeed), but to be honored in such a way because he was so beloved by the artistic community , both comics and sci-fi! Julius was a no nonsense kind of a guy... he was the first one to tell you " to always be on time with the work " ... yet he was also the first guy to tell a dirty joke! He was a character all right... he will never be replaced! I miss the days of having dinner and hearing the best stories about the hay day of DC ... about Carmine Infantino...about the greats... the ins and outs of the business. Even after Julius retired from DC he was always welcomed back in the offices... in fact everyone was always excited to see him... this goes way back to the 666 address or the devil building as everyone called it ( dc has moved twice since ) .. and frankly without people like Julie ... the heart and soul of the industry no longer feels the same. Comics aren't comics these days... Thats why pieces of this magnitude are so vital to the legacy of comics ! Frankly i know i didn't even have to mention all this... most will look at this artwork... and the true connoisseurs of this medium will immediately recognize just how amazing this piece is. For one it was a period in Miller's life when he was about to do Sin City... his style ...his technique would soon blossom into what we old timers see as the Steranko-Eisener- Wood style. Yet Miller made it his own..that's what true masters of the medium often do, they transform, they morph... they emerge as front runners of evolution. This art is still inspired by Millers 1980's look yet it is a hint of what's to come on Sin City. Julie was still editor when Miller was doing Ronin--- his ode to Moebius and slew of other artists ... than he decided to simplify his look... once again... and so Dark Knight was born... This artwork is simply gorgeous . This is a holy grail piece in any collection... if it was published it would command way over $150,000 easily! But this is a different type of treasure. It was a gift made to a friend... and the work shows... it is a labor of love... it is a master piece ( just look at the detail in the work, wow.. that my friends takes skill, effort and lots of time). Like i said i didn't have to say any of this... but the old sales man in me just can't help himself. Just imagine trying to find something of this quality ...guess what average dark knight page sells for $40,000.... try finding a splash or a cover ... over $100, 000 easily each one...maybe more ( what am i saying a cover would fetch more like $200,000)! and you can't even find them, no one wants to part with them! now try to get a sketch... good luck since miller hardly ever even does a doodle these days and if he does... it's just that a doodle... And lets play devil's advocate and say that somehow you convince Miller to draw you a piece... ( lets say you are a millionaire and it's for a good cause... and for the sake of argument he agrees... trouble is... miller no longer draws in this manner. This is a bygone era stylistically ... so unless you have a time machine you can no longer ask miller to draw in the same iconic style as his days of the Dark Knight! Simply put the odds of getting something classical like this are well... 1 in a million. Imagine being able to say to someone "oh yeah i own a dark knight miller piece circa 1990" than watch the jawdrop... now picture having this piece in your home... i mean it humor me .... close your eyes than pick out a wall in your home and picture this artwork hanging up in a beautiful lustrous thick jet black ( pure ebony) frame, with professional archival matting ( trust me don't cheap out .. a good framing job is worth it..around $500 to $600, after all this is an investment in art , in history, and for the real collector... the love of comics). What more can i say... i mean i can go on and on and never shut up... but it's late and i am tired and i have other auctions to put up... segway into... please check out my other auctions.. i have a drew struzan ...sent from drew to me personally ...we actually traded artwork! And from the master Jose Luis Garcia Lopez a beautiful illustration done for me... the images were used for DC Products.. lunch boxes.. etc... and there is a JC leyendecker painting and an Andrew Loomis painting! What can i say my life's collection... well its time to pass it to others... no no don't get me wrong this old war horse is not dropping dead anytime soon... i am just looking to acquire bigger and better things ( of course beauty is all in the eye of the beholder) Good day my dear readers! god bless..happy bidding! Cheers

1 comment:

Tony Marine said...

This side of the comic art market really baffles me. I would not pay $500 for this piece. It has nothing to do with the original series and looks like it was drawn in 10 minutes with a sharpie. One could argue the significance of The Dark Knight Returns. One could argue the significance of the comic book medium altogether. Either way, you'd have a hard time convincing someone of the significance of this particular piece of art.