Frank Frazetta ‘Escape on Venus’ painting sells for $660K

Frank Frazetta’s ‘Escape on Venus’ painting was used as the cover for the 1974 reissue of the Edgar Rice Burroughs novel of the same name. Heritage Auctions image

DALLAS – Frenetic bidding drove the final price for Frank Frazetta’s Escape on Venus painting original art to $660,000 to claim top-lot honors in Heritage Auctions’ Comics & Comic Art Auction Aug. 2-4, which brought in a total of $6,670,739.

The price realized by Escape on Venus (1972) was the third-highest ever through Heritage Auctions for a Frazetta painting. Death Dealer 6 painting original art (1990) brought a record $1,792,500 in May, and Frank Frazetta At The Earth’s Core paperback cover painting original art (1974), sold for $1,075,500 in August 2016.

Used as the cover image for the 1974 reissue of the Edgar Rice Burroughs novel of the same name, Escape on Venus was created in 1972 and released as a print later in the decade.

“The result for this painting continues a trend of Frazetta paintings that have enjoyed enormous success in our auctions,” Heritage Auctions Senior Vice President Ed Jaster said. “Frank Frazetta was known for painting strong, sensuous women in fantastic environments. Escape on Venus is a prime example of his ability to paint in a way that directs the focus of those viewing his paintings to a specific place. In this painting, the trees and plants around the borders of the painting are done in subtle, muted tones, sending the focus back to the tiger and the woman in the center of the image.”

The Incredible Hulk #1 (Marvel, 1962) CGC VF/NM 9.0 sold for $264,000. Ranked second on Overstreet’s list of the Top 50 Silver Age Comics, this issue is the only one in which the Hulk appears gray, and carries a grade higher than all but two copies ever offered by Heritage Auctions.

This copy of ‘The Incredible Hulk #1’ (Marvel, 1962) sold for $264,000. Heritage Auctions image

The cover of Gene Colan and Bill Everett’s Iron Man and Sub-Mariner #1 cover original art (Marvel, 1968) proclaims it to be a “Special Once-In-A-Lifetime” issue, and the $240,000 – a figure nearly 2½  times the preauction estimate – showed evidence that the statement was more than mere hyperbolic hype designed to sell the issue. The title characters teamed up in this issue after each had paired up with others: Namor the Sub-Mariner with the Hulk in Tales to Astonish, and Iron Man with Captain America in Tales of Suspense.

John Romita Sr.’s Amazing Spider-Man #55 cover Doctor Octopus original art (Marvel, 1967) was another popular lot, drawing bids from 18 collectors before realizing $105,000. This stunning cover shows an extreme close-up image of supervillain Doctor Octopus, who is engaged in a battle with Spider-Man, who can be seen in the reflection of Doc Ock’s glasses over a banner trumpeting “DOC OCK WINS!”

Jack Kirby and Chic Stone’s Tales of Suspense #60 splash page 1 Captain America original art (Marvel, 1964) was among the most coveted items in the auction, inspiring bids from 31 collectors before closing at $96,000, nearly double the estimate. Just the second solo Captain America story since the 1950s, the issue features an extraordinary image of Captain America beneath a starburst balloon announcing, “THE ARMY OF ASSASSINS STRIKES!” The issue was written by Stan Lee, with art by Jack Kirby.