|Stan Lee and Todd McFarlane at the Stan Lee Hollywood Walk Of Fame Star Induction Ceremony, Los Angeles, California. (WENN.COM)
CALGARY - Local comic book legend Todd McFarlane is once again shattering sales records, this time for original artwork he put the finishing touches on more than 20 years ago.
Original cover art inked by the Calgary artist fetched a whopping $657,250 at auction.
Sold in Beverly Hills Thursday, the 1990 original cover art for Marvel Comics’ Amazing Spider-Man #328, which shows Spidey hammering the Hulk in the gut, is now the single most valuable piece of comic art ever sold at auction, Heritage Auctions said.
“This is an earth-trembling cover illustration and an equally magnificent price,” said Todd Hignite, vice-president of Heritage Auctions.
“McFarlane’s art brims with the raw energy that sky-rocketed McFarlane to the top of the industry and, now, the top of the auction world.”
The artwork was part of a collection owned by Martin Shamus, a Long Island comic shop owner, that also included McFarlane’s original art for the cover of Spider-Man #1, which fetched $358,500.
In the early 90s McFarlane was one of seven high-profile artists who left Marvel to form the independent, creator-owned company Image Comics where he created the still-ongoing series Spawn.
Spawn’s debut also put McFarlane into the record books, with the series’ first issue selling 1.7 million copies.
He discovered the world of comic books in high school and by 1984 was pencilling work for Marvel Comics, including a noted run on the Incredible Hulk before taking over the reigns on Amazing Spider-Man as artist and later launching Spider-Man as both writer and artist.
He’s also worked for DC Comics, including the Batman title Detective Comics for the Batman: Year Two storyline and Infinity Inc., and later a mash-up series mixing Spawn into the world of Batman.
In 1994, he also created his own toy company, McFarlane Toys, riding high on the success of Spawn -- a series that has also made the leap into other media, including television and film.
Once it’s finished, the auction may well be the biggest of its kind.
“The auction, overall, is on track to break $9 million and become the single highest-grossing comic and comic art auction in history,” Hignite said.
“We’re thrilled with the results and especially thrilled for Martin Shamus, who had the foresight and good taste to acquire these pieces more than two decades ago.”
-- With files from Damien Wood
On Twitter: @SUNKSchneider