The earliest known cover art to feature Superman has provided the highlight of Heritage Auctions' February 20-22 Comics & Comic Art Signature Auction in New York.
The cover, created by Fred Guardineer, was designed for Action Comics #15 (1939) and sees Superman coming to the aid of a US submarine in trouble. It sold for $286,800 to lead the sale.
With Superman the archetype of all superheroes, the Action Comics series in which he made his first appearances is a favourite among top-level collectors. It is also believed the cover art is the earliest extant to feature Superman, making it a must-have for those looking for a strong investment piece.
The comic book from which the cover art originates is itself ranked #67 in the Overstreet Top 100 Golden Age Comics list, with a value of $30,000 in NM 9.2.
The second highest bids of the sale were seen by Amazing Fantasy #1, the first appearance of Spider-Man, which made $191,200 in VF/NM 9.0 condition.
More cover art included Jack "The King" Kirby and Frank Giacoia's work for Talkes of Suspense #84, a fantastic Silver Age piece that sees the reintroduction of Golden Age hero Captain America alongside Iron-Man, with an appearance from the "most daringly different supervillain of the year", the Super-Adaptoid.
The piece sold for $167,300; Jack Kirby original art is among the most coveted for any collector.
An unusual appearance in the top-sellers was a three-page Robert Crumb story for Zap Comix entitled Ducks Yas-Yas, which made $101,575. Crumb's artwork, which kickstarted the Underground Comix movement and was hailed by the 1960s counterculture, rarely appears at auction.Paul Fraser Collectibles has some wonderful comic and illustration art for sale.