Um, wow. This page of Frank Miller/Klaus Janson art from Batman: The Dark Knight #3 just sold at auction for a record-breaking $448,125.
The page was sold through Heritage Auctions to a private bidder. From the auctions description:
This splash page is to our minds the single most memorable image from the entire book and the greatest image from the decade ever to come to market — as well as one of the handful of most desirable pieces of original comic art from any era to come to market. A perfect stand-alone image of Batman and Robin (Carrie Kelley, the first female, full-time Robin) soaring high above Gotham City, an icon symbolizing the entire storyline — this one has everything going for it.
As demonstrated by the fact that we’ve only offered two Dark Knight panel pages previously — and the fact that no splash page, much less a such an undeniably classic image, has never been offered at auction — artwork from the famed series is much scarcer than anything else from the period. This gem has been locked away in a single collection since being purchased upon the series’ original publication and is the definition of “fresh to market.” And unlike many pages from the series, where differences between the original art and the published version are evident (as a result of Miller making changes on pasteovers), no changes were made to this artwork for publication, and the original contains no paste-ups or stats — it’s pure art, just the way it appeared in print.
The art comes from page ten of the story, “Hunt the Dark Knight” in the now-famous arc and according to the website had fifteen bidders vying for the chance to own it. The Hollywood Reporter says, two other pages, page 2 from issue #4 and page 2 from issue #3 sold for $41.8K and $13.1K respectively. Previously, page #8 from Amazing Spider-Man #50 with art by John Romita Sr. sold for $88,500. This sale shatters that record.
While a staggering number (I wonder how Miller feels about it), I’m not surprised a piece of original art went for this much, I’m just surprised it hadn’t happened sooner. After all, classic issues themselves now sell for $1 million plus easy.
Do you think $448,125 for a page of art from this issue/artist is justified or outrageous? What piece of comic art have you always had your eye on? If you had unlimited funds, what could you see yourself paying for it?