A recent auction sees Mike Zeck’s original art from Secret Wars #8, depicting the origin of Spider-Man’s black suit, selling for $3.3 million.
Original art by Mike Zeck from Spider-Man in Secret Wars #8 just sold for a record sum.
Heritage Auctions recently sold several original comic book artworks by Zeck, including the origin story of Spider-Man’s black suit. While page 24 of the issue, which shows the symbiote outgrowing Spider-Man’s hand, sold for $288,000, the suit’s first full appearance on page 25 sold for over $3.3 million. of dollars. Heritage Auctions’ press release for the sale confirmed that this is the highest price ever for a comic book artwork, which makes Spidey’s special issue even more significant.
In 1984, Mattel produced a line of Marvel action figures under the “Secret Wars” brand. As part of the toy promotion deal, Marvel launched Secret Wars, a 12-issue comic book event featuring the line’s characters in prominent roles and distinct character-matching costumes. With this scenario in mind, then-editor Jim Shooter concocted the plan for Spidey’s black suit, based on an idea submitted by a fan years earlier.
The costume was introduced without explanation in amazing spider man #252, months before Secret Wars has begun. This appearance sparked additional interest in both Secret Wars and the toy line, as fans searched for answers behind the costume’s origins. Secret Wars #8 finally explained how Spider-Man acquired the suit in Zeck’s now-iconic art. Years later, when the publisher decided to put Spider-Man back in his original outfit, writer David Michelinie and artist Todd McFarlane developed Secret Wars‘ storyline and transformed the abandoned black suit into Venom in amazing spider man #300. However, due to the unique circumstances in which Venom was born, Secret Wars #8 is still considered the symbiote’s origin story.
Heritage Auctions has also sold original artwork by John Byrne, Dave Cockrum, Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby, each selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars. These high prices highlight the ever-increasing interest in comic book collectibles as superheroes continue to dominate pop culture. Recently, ComicConnect facilitated the sale of The Incredible Hulk #1, the characters’ first issue, for $490,000, the highest sum ever received for the book. ComicConnect COO Vincent Zurzulo believes the trend shows no signs of slowing, saying, “Vintage comic book values continue to rise across the board.”
Going forward, Marvel is looking to continue building on Spider-Man’s historic legacy with a new amazing spider man series, launching in April. Written by Zeb Wells and drawn by legendary artist John Romita Jr., the revived title coincides with Spider-Man’s 60th anniversary and returns Peter Parker to his original red and blue costume. However, Marvel’s promotion for the title suggests Peter won’t have many friends by his side when he returns. A recently released teaser shows Spider-Man in a smoky crater, captioned with the text “WHAT DID PETER DO?”
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