A piece of original art by legendary comics artist Bernie Wrightson sold for $1.2 million at auction, eclipsing its expected million-dollar price tag. Profiles in History, whose auction hosted the piece, described it as "Wrightson's original wraparound cover art for the 1983 Marvel illustrated edition of Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, widely considered to be the finest illustrated book of the 20th Century. Artist Bernie Wrightson turned his hand to illustrating the classic horror novel as a labor of love, and working over the course of a decade, produced some of the most staggeringly intricate and evocative work of his career."
The Wrightson piece was just one of a number of high-profile pieces of comics art ni the auction. Besides notable single pages from legendary artists like Steve Ditko and Wally Wood, the event also included some complete stories and complete comic book issues.
Per a release, John Byrne's original artwork for Fantastic Four #256, the complete 22-page story of "The Annihilation Gambit," sold for $90,000. Steve Ditko's original artwork for The Amazing Spider-Man #37 Page 8, sold for $90,000. Jack Kirby and Vince Colletta's original artwork for The Mighty Thor #139, the complete 16-page story of "To Die Like a God," sold for $90,000. Barry Windsor-Smith's original monumental painting "Artemis & Apollo," sold for $72,000. Jack Kirby and John Verpoorten's original artwork for The Eternals #2, the complete 17-page story of "The Celestials," sold for $69,000. Robert Crumb's original artwork for American Splendor #4, the complete 7-page story of "The Young Crumb Story," sold for $66,000. Harvey Kurtzman's original artwork for Frontline Combat #3, the complete 6-page story of "Prisoner of War!" sold for $66,000. Wally Wood's original artwork for Two Fisted Tales #35, the complete 7-page story of "New Orleans," sold for $51,000. Steve Ditko's original artwork for The Amazing Spider-Man #6 Page 21, sold for $33,000.
Ahead of the auction, Profiles in History said that the record for a piece of original art by Wrightson was $156,000 -- an amount paid by The Shawshank Redemption and The Walking Dead director Frank Darabont for an interior plate from Wrightson and Marvel's Frankenstein. Original projections were for the wraparound cover to sell for between $750,000 and $1 million.
Wrightson, a renowned horror artist best known for the co-creation of Swamp Thing at DC, passed away in 2017.