Catching up with some of the latest auction news from Heritage Auction Gallery...
The magazine-sized debut of the sultry vampiress from Drakulon was largely unremarked upon when it first appeared back in 1969, seemingly being just another adult-themed horror character from Warren, albeit one whose debut featured a cover painting from the great Frank Frazetta. Vampirella proved a long-lasting character, however, and--despite decades of garnering only relatively mild collector interest--caught fire in the 1990s with the reimagining by Harris Comics. Since then, she's become a regular star of several publisher's efforts, and her first appearance back in the magazine continues to shoot to new heights, with recent auction sales pushing the $0.50 magazine to over twice its previous value, at $1500.
Carl Barks is traditionally known as "The "Good Duck Artist" -- beautifully rendering Donald, Scrooge, and the rest of the Disney duck gang in a luminous style which has long been prized by collectors. Recent auction results continue to confirm his popularity, pushing "Barks Duck" issues #94, 95, and #130 to new heights -- tripling the former guides for the first two comics, and pushing the July, 1951 issue #130 from $140 to $225.
DC's 1950s and 1960s war comics were overall very solid from both a storytelling and artistic point of view, featuring the talents of stalwarts like Russ Heath, Irv Novick, Ross Andru, and Bill Finger, and the great Joe Kubert. Our Fighting Forces, however, typically got less attention than titles like Star Spangled War Stories, lacking a breakaway star like Sgt. Rock (at least until the late-series introduction of The Losers). From an auction standpoint, OFF seems to be finding its audience at last, with strong showings along many of the earlier issues essentially tripling last year's prices. Noted in particular here is issue #46, which jumped from $95 to $275.
C.C. Beck's super-hero fave "Shazam!" was originally known as Captain Marvel, but was forced to change names when Marvel Comics gained rights to the trademark after one of the more celebrated sets of legal struggles in comic history. Reborn as Shazam! (both a battle cry and the initials of the seven legendary characters whose power he was invoking to transform from kid Billy Batson into the mighty Captain... err... Shazam! guy). Although the character has its fans, it largely underperformed in recent auctions, with even high grade slabbed copies selling for essentially the same price as unslabbed NM copies (when typically you'd expect a significant "CGC Premium"). The guide price fell slightly to $106, largely supported by similar unslabbed sales, sold through traditional, non-auction channels.
Edited by Peter R. Bickford