Robert Crumb’s controversial original cover for Zap Comix #1 (1968) has sold for $525,800 at Heritage Auctions.
That’s significantly more than its $100,000 estimate.
Robert Crumb's Zap Comix was unleashed on an unsuspecting world in 1968
It’s a sum that confirms the rising demand for Crumb’s work, following the $717,000 sale of his cover for a Fritz the Cat omnibus earlier this year.
By the late 1960s Crumb was a well known figure in the counter-culture scene, and Zap Comix was his first foray into publishing.
Interestingly, despite his status as an iconoclast, Crumb decided against using this cover for the first issue.
He replaced it with a tamer example that features the first appearance of iconic character Mr Natural.
The present lot was one of several pieces in the sale consigned from the collection of guitarist Graham Nash of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.
Nash has long been a collector of comic book art, with a particular eye for the underground artists of the 60s and 70s.
Nash explains: "The Zap #1 cover is, I believe, a very important piece in the arc of Robert's journey as a great artist.
“He has to confront censorship for the first time, and you can see why. This long-lost piece is a wonder to behold."
Other highlights from Nash’s collection included a six page story from Harvey Pekar’s much-loved American Splendour that realised $43,020.
Debuting in 1976, American Splendour was an autobiographical account of Pekar’s life as a hospital clerk in Cleveland that ran from 1976-2008.
Over the years Pekar worked with some of the best artists in the business, including Alan Moore and Joe Sacco.
This 1979 story, on the suitably Pekar-esque subject of spending too much money on jazz records, is drawn by Crumb.
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