Official Press Release
Following the 2011 world-record sale of the original Issue #3, Page #10 splash page art from Frank Miller’s iconic Dark Knight for $448,125, Heritage Auctions is offering two more original pieces of Frank Miller Dark Knight artwork, this time consigned by Miller himself. They will be offered as part of Heritage’s Feb. 22-24 Vintage Comics & Comic Art Signature® Auction.
The first, the Absolute Dark Knight Book Cover Original Art (DC, 2006), is an immensely popular, bone-jarring image that brings together the elements that made Miller's vision of the Batman such a legendary work of industry-changing artistry. It carries a pre-auction estimate of $50,000+.
"It took me years to define, in my own mind, Batman as less a creature of vengeance than of vigor," Miller said of the drawing. "This piece is one of my personal favorites. To me, it sums the man up."
"The savage violence, the unparalleled use of strobe-like high-contrast graphics, the relentless attack of Batman’s campaign, all of these elements are perfectly crystallized in this image," said Todd Hignite, Vice President of Heritage Auctions. "This hauntingly iconic cover image is all Miller pencils and inks and represents one of the most striking pieces of his artwork to become available at auction."
On its publication in 1986, Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns changed the landscape of the graphic novel irrevocably. With its dark vision of Batman's future and its stunning artwork, The Dark Knight Returns set the world on fire. 15 years later, Miller's sequel, The Dark Knight Strikes Again, further redefined the boundaries of the superhero genre.
The second piece from The Collection of Frank Miller is the Frontispiece Splash Page Original Art from Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (10th Anniversary Edition) Batman and Robin (DC, 1997), from an edition of the comic released a decade after its inception. It also carries a pre-auction estimate of $50,000+.
"Like any hero, Batman is complex," said Miller. "Here we see him as a father figure, instructing one of my favorite creations, dear Carrie Kelly."
For the 10th Anniversary Edition of the ground-breaking series, Miller created this perfect stand-alone image of Batman and Robin (Carrie Kelley, the first female, full-time Robin) in action and in their element, cloaked in the darkness of night.
"This piece is a direct reflection and front-on view of Miller's famous original splash page of the Dynamic Duo, which shattered all existing records for a piece of comic Heritage’s May auction last year," said Ed Jaster, Senior Vice President at Heritage Auctions. "Needless to say, we expect great demand in the market for this visionary piece."
The work has been locked away in Frank Miller's own collection since the 10th Anniversary Edition's publication and, unlike many pages from the series – where differences between the original art and the published version are evident, as a result of Miller making changes on paste-overs – no changes were made to this artwork for publication.
"It’s a great honor to work directly with Miller on these gems," said Hignite, "both superb examples of the impact for which he’s famous. You can’t hope for much more definitive examples of Miller’s reinvention of Batman for a new generation."
Miller’s Dark Knight art is among the most important and sought after by collectors, and such singular stand-alone images of his Batman and Robin rarely come surface for sale. While Miller worked with Klaus Janson and Lynn Varley on the artwork for the 1986 series, both of these images are rare examples of 100% Frank Miller pencils and inks on his most popular character.
Frank Miller will be making an appearance at the venue for the auction, The Fletcher-Sinclair Mansion (The Ukrainian Institute of America), on Tuesday, Feb. 21.
Heritage Auctions, headed by Steve Ivy, Jim Halperin and Greg Rohan, is the world’s third largest auction house, with annual sales more than $800 million, and 700,000+ online bidder members. For more information about Heritage Auctions, and to join and gain access to a complete record of prices realized, along with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit HA.com.