The original artwork of legendary comic book superhero Wolverine's first appearance has been consigned to Heritage Auctions' May 15-17 Comics Signature Auction in Dallas.
An early announcement, Heritage Auctions is hoping to attract the attention of the very top-level of collector with this lot, described as "one of the most significant pieces of original comic art to ever appear on the market."
A similar title was given to the earliest known Superman original art, which sold for $287,000 at Heritage Auctions' February 20-22 Comics & Comic Art Signature Auction.
An estimate has not yet been set, but the piece is being offered without reserve. Similar Bronze Age (1970-1985) art has realised impressive prices at Heritage in the past; the original artwork for the cover of Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns #2 made $478,000 in 2013.
Wolverine's first appearance came not in his own dedicated title, but in The Incredible Hulk #180 from 1974 as part of the landmark story, "And the Wind Howled Wendigo".
In the tale, Hulk heads to Canada in search of peace but is drawn into a cave where he meets Wolverine, a dangerous mutant sent to destroy the Hulk by the Canadian government.
Offered at auction is the final page of the issue, drawn by Herb Trimpe and inked by Jack Abel. Trimpe gifted it to a teenager in 1983, and it is inscribed "Ben - Best Wishes Herb Trimpe."
The consignor is not a serious collector and therefore the piece was thought to have been lost by the collecting community for some years.
Inspired by Trimpe's generosity, the anonymous owner has decided to donate the proceeds of the sale to the comic industry's own charity, Hero Initiative, with Marvels' editor-in-chief commenting: "Wolverine was never a do-gooder... but this time he's going to do some good in spite of himself. Take that, Logan!"
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