The only Calvin and Hobbes comic strip to be offered for sale this century has dramatically exceeded all estimates, breaking the world record for original newspaper comic strip art.
Featuring a wayward young boy and his imaginary tiger sidekick, the original hand painted strip sold for the record breaking sum of $203,150 at Heritage Auctions in Dallas on November 16, to an unknown buyer.
The previous record was owned by a Peanuts original by Charles Schulz, which made $113,500 in 2007 - representing a 78.8% increase.
Calvin and Hobbes creator, Bill Watterson, is known for retaining the original artworks in his own collection, increasing demand for the strips among collectors eager to get hold of rare examples of his work.
"A world record price like this is a testament to just how beloved Calvin and Hobbes was and is," auctioneer Todd Hignite commented after the sale.
The strip depicts Calvin leaping into a heap of autumn leaves, ignoring warnings from his imaginary friend Hobbes. Referring to slugs, Hobbes warns: "Urgh, just imagine one of those slimy muck balls crawling up your leg!"
The cautionary episode then feeds into a scene inspired by B-movie The Blob - a characteristically off-beat allusion from a man who is thought of as a counter-cultural hero by many of his fans.
Completed in 1986, Watterson presented the strip as a gift to fellow cartoonist Brian Basset and it bears the personal, somewhat cryptic inscription: "To Brian & Linda, who know about slugs, with best wishes - Bill Watterson."
The sale demonstrates that the market for comic book items remains strong, particularly when the characters are well known and much loved. A hard back, autographed copy of Snoopy and the Red Baron is available at Paul Fraser Collectibles, as well as many other cartoon collectibles.