The original artwork featuring the first ever appearance of Wolverine, by artists Herb Trimpe and Jack Abel, on the final page of The Incredible Hulk #180 (1974), arguably the most important debut of a comic book character in the last 40 years, realized a world record price for any page of American comic art, and a world record price for any page of interior comic art, by far, when it brought $657,250 (including 19.5% Buyer’s Premium) on May 16, 2014, at Heritage Auctions in Dallas.
It was sold to a high-end collector who wished to stay anonymous.
“We knew when this artwork surfaced that is was, without doubt, one of the most significant pieces of original comic art ever drawn,” said Todd Hignite, Vice President of Heritage Auctions. “It has now brought a final price realized commensurate with that status.”
The final price realized by the piece ties the world record price also set by Heritage in July of 2012 for Todd McFarlane’s original 1990 cover art for The Amazing Spider-Man #328.
In 1983, on the afternoon that Trimpe handed over the piece of original art to Heritage’s then-teenaged consignor of the piece — it was given as a souvenir of his visit to the artist one afternoon — neither had any idea that the ink, graphite and blue pencil drawing would turn out to be one of the most influential comic book images ever created.
“The owner of this piece saw, as the years wore one, that Wolverine had become one of the most popular heroes in the world,” said Hignite. “He began to suspect — and rightly so — that he had something not only of great monetary value, but also of broad Pop Culture significance.”
Inspired by Trimpe’s generosity to him more than 30 years ago, the consignor has specified that a portion of the after-tax proceeds from the auction of the artwork be designated for the Hero Initiative, the first-ever federally chartered not-for-profit corporation dedicated strictly to helping comic book creators in financial need.
For more information on the Hero Initiative and how to support the organization visit www.heroinitiative.org.