Collectors searching for the value of vintage Spider-Man comic books may be shocked to learn original cover art featuring the Marvel superhero can sell for $150,000-250,000. One such piece – John Romita Sr.’s original cover art to Amazing Spider-Man #100 – may even set an auction record this month with the possibility of selling for over $300,000 on Feb. 23.
“John Romita, Sr., had done the covers and interiors of Spider-Man #39-95, and he changed the character from a kind of nerdy high school kid to a more self-confident college student,” said Heritage Auctions Senior Vice President Ed Jaster, one of the hobby’s foremost experts on original comic book art. “It’s part of the reason why Spider-Man was able to capture more of an older market.”
In other words: We can thank Romita for making Spider-Man a household name.
Original drawings from 1970s Spider-Man comics, especially Romita’s original cover art, spark heated bidding wars at auction. However, it is the most iconic covers that draw serious collectors. These collectors go head-to-head and spend six figures to own the artist’s only existing pop culture masterpieces.
For instance, 15 bidders zeroed in on Romita’s original cover art for Amazing Spider-Man #121 featuring the storyline “The Night Gwen Stacy Died.” Comic book expert Arnold Blumberg called the story the “end of innocence for comics” and “one of the most potent stories ever published.” Offered with no reserve, bidders did not stop until the auction price reached $286,800, a record paid for a piece of Romita’s Spider-Man art ever offered at Heritage. To give some perspective, Romita’s splash page from Spider-Man #50 set a world record when it sold for $88,500 seven years ago.
That’s why collectors are so excited about the cover to Amazing Spider-Man #100. “This artwork was done during the peak period of John Romita, Sr.’s artwork, at a time when Spider-Man’s popularity was extremely high,” Jaster said.
In 1971, the 100th issue of Amazing Spider-Man was due for publication and both Stan Lee and Romita, Sr., knew the issue’s cover needed to be a masterpiece. Romita produced the pencil drawings and the two brought in artist Frank Giacoia to assist. The result is one of the greatest Spider-Man covers of all time. The artwork features more than two dozen characters, some of whom (such as Kingpin, Doctor Octopus, Scorpion and the Beetle) were villains who tormented and battled Spider-Man. Others include supporting characters from Peter Parker’s daily life, like girlfriends Mary Jane Watson and Gwen Stacy, his Aunt May and even Parker’s cranky boss at the Daily Bugle, J. Jonah Jameson. In Marvel Comics’ popular “floating heads” style, characters surround a full-body image of Spider-Man.
Offered at no reserve, 21 bidders have already pounced to push the art to more than $150,000 – two full weeks before the live auction.
Will the “100th Anniversary Issue” art break the world auction record? Only time (and a deep wallet) will tell.
Top Auction Prices Paid For John Romita, Sr., Original Spider-Man Cover Art
Written by: Eric Bradley