REA Auction Includes EC Cover Art by Wally Wood, Mars Attacks Card Paintings!
WATCHUNG, NEW JERSEY. The catalog for Robert Edward Auctions’ 2013 blockbuster sale will ship on April 20, 2013. While most of the auction is baseball-related, also included is the original cover art for Shock SuspenStories #3 (EC, June/July 1952) by legendary artist Wally Wood (1927-1981).
The lurid pen and ink drawing (res. $2,500; est. $5,000+), which pictures a man caught in a bear trap while a large cougar bears down upon him, wonderfully illustrates the promise of “Jolting Tales of Tension in the EC Tradition” that await readers brave enough to open the comic and read further. Is it any wonder these comics were source of controversy in the early 1950s? This is an early Wood cover art and his second Shock SuspenStories cover, dating from the period in which he first began to garner critical acclaim as one of EC’s most celebrated cover artists.
A selection of original artworks used to produce trading cards is also featured, including 1951 Bowman “Jets, Rockets, Spacemen” (eight different examples; res. $500 each). Any Mars Attacks original artwork is a special prize in the nonsport collecting world. The auction features five extraordinary original paintings by Norm Saunders from this landmark set, the largest number to ever come to auction at a single time. The 1962 Topps “Mars Attacks” set, with its violent subject matter and graphic scenes of men, women, and even pets being mercilessly slaughtered by the Martians, was somewhat controversial at the time. Topps obviously anticipated a negative reaction from parents and teachers, and this is the very reason Topps listed the name of a fictitious company, “Bubbles Inc.,” as the manufacturer of the series on the back of each card. Apparently, the controversy grew so great that Topps felt it had to “tone down” a few of the more gruesome scenes pictured on the cards. The auction includes the painting for card #21 Prize Captive which is one of fourteen original paintings revised by Saunders at the direction of Topps. For this painting, it was decided that a man being attacked by a Martian would be less offensive than a woman, and the figure of the woman was painted over with the figure of a man. Remarkably, this information is verified in published interviews with Norm Saunders’ son, David, who vividly remembers his Dad painting over these artworks for Topps. Also featured is the original Mars Attacks painting to card #45 entitled Fighting Giant Insects. In this horrific scene, the soldiers are in the process of fighting a gigantic spider. One soldier is bleeding to death beneath the spider’s mouth. Another soldier is firing a bazooka missile at the giant spider’s eye. A third soldier is stabbing his bayonet through the spider’s leg. This nightmarish quality of this scene is precisely what made the Mars Attacks set so horrifying to parents! And so appealing to youngsters. Each of the five Mars Attacks artworks is an iconic painting by Norm Saunders and among the most desirable nonsport card artworks in existence (each res. $5,000; est. $10,000+). Also featured in the auction is an extraordinary selection of 1960s nonsport gum card material including unopened wax boxes saved by a former Topps salesman for the past forty years. The final date of bidding in this year’s auction will be Saturday, May 18. Bidding begins April 20 by FAX, phone, or the Internet via the REA website at www.robertedwardauctions.com. Total sales for the event are expected to exceed $5 million.
Copies of the full-color premium catalog are available for free. To review the catalog online, learn more about Robert Edward Auctions, receive a complimentary copy of the catalog or inquire about consignments, visit http://www.robertedwardauctions.com. Robert Edward Auctions is currently assembling their next sale. For further information, contact Robert Edward Auctions, PO Box 7256, Watchung, NJ 07069, or call (908) 226-9900.