Frank Frazetta Masterpiece Tomorrow Midnight Headlines The Jerry Weist Collection At Heritage Auctions

Frank Frazetta’s masterpiece of science fiction art, Tomorrow Midnight, 1966 – famously featured on the front of Ballantine’s 1966 book collection of EC’s evocative and important adaptations of Ray Bradbury’s classic short stories – is the centerpiece of The Jerry Weist Collection of Science Fiction & Fantasy Art and Books, presented Monday, Sept. 12 at Heritage Auctions Beverly Hills. It is estimated at $40,000+.

“This superb cover scene not only perfectly captures the haunting poetry of Bradbury’s vision,” said Todd Hignite, Consignment Director for Illustration and Comic Art at Heritage, “it’s easily one of the finest Frazetta masterpieces we’ve ever offered – a stunning peak period painting by the greatest fantasy artist of all time.”

Jerry Weist, who passed away on Jan. 7 of this year, was a pioneering collector, publisher, historian and scholar. The science-fiction and fantasy themed artwork, rare first-edition books, movie posters, fanzines, pulp magazines, comic books and a great many rare personal items that Weist lovingly collected over more than 40 years with a keen eye, deep passion and dedication, represents one of the most important offerings of its kind ever at public auction.

“Jerry was an incredible collector, one of the very best” said Hignite, “and many of us were fortunate enough to call him our friend. He sought out only the finest examples, all based on personal resonance, his encyclopedic knowledge and his boundless enthusiasm for the history of popular culture. He acquired the books that collectors dream about, a huge percentage of which have one-of-a-kind inscriptions, drawings, and signatures.”

Nearly every selection in the Weist Collection would be a potential highlight unto itself in most any auction, but such is the depth of the total grouping together that a few choice selections off the top of the auction amply demonstrate how multi-layered Weist’s unmatched eye was.

One of the nicest Frank R. Paul science-fiction paintings ever to come to auction, Science Wonder Stories, pulp cover, September 1929, is expected to bring $15,000+ when it comes across the block. This painting contains all the hallmark elements of Paul’s groundbreaking work – expansive narrative, incredible detail and vibrant color – so revolutionary in the first part of the 20th century.

A rare, published J. Allen St. John Edgar Rice Burroughs book cover panting, The Cave Girl, 1925, is already creating collector buzz and is estimated to bring $20,000+. This evocative painting is the dust jacket art for the hardcover first edition of The Cave Girl by Edgar Rice Burroughs. All connoisseurs of adventure and fantasy know the work of J. Allen St. John, considered the ultimate Tarzan artist and this masterpiece is a very rare find indeed from one of the field’s most enduring names.

Another original sci-fi art masterpiece that collectors will find nearly irresistible is John Schoenherr’s original 1965 artwork for the cover of the first paperback edition of Dune by Frank Herbert, which is expected to bring $10,000+. Dune is one of the most influential and beloved science fiction sagas of the 20th century, and almost no image, out of the countless thousands the story has inspired, has ever as fully captured the awe-inspiring immensity and desolation of the desert planet that is the story’s centerpiece.

Incredibly rare editions of the greatest science fiction works were a particular passion of Weist’s. The only thing that could match the rarity of his acquisitions was the condition, commonly supreme across all his volumes, as illustrated by a trio of books that highlight the printed offerings: a rare asbestos binding edition of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, signed by Bradbury (estimate: $6,000+), a signed first edition of Thuvia, Maid of Mars, by Edgar Rice Burroughs (estimate: $3,000+) and a signed first edition of Time Out of Joint by Philip K. Dick, personally inscribed by Dick to Weist (estimate: $1,000+).

Two more early first appearances that also deserve special mention as important highlights of the auction are the very first appearance of Tarzan of the Apes in All-Story, October 1912, which is expected to bring $8,000+, and the historic 1932-33 first appearance of the Superman prototype, by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, in Science Fiction, The Advance Guard of Future Civilization, a complete set of five issues from five years before the first official appearance of The Man of Steel. It is estimated at $5,000+.

“We are extremely honored to be entrusted with such an amazing collection,” said Jim Halperin, Co-Chairman of Heritage. “This is a hugely important event for us, not only because of the quality and importance of offerings contained, but also as an opportunity to pay tribute to a great and beloved figure in the field, and, I might add, a wonderful friend.”

Image: Frank Frazetta, Tomorrow Midnight, 1966. Estimate: $40,000+. Photo: Heritage Auctions.

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