A Spider-Man comic book cover has set a new record for Marvel's most valuable cover at an auction in Dallas.
The original cover art for Marvel's 1971 Amazing Spider-Man #100 was sold at by Heritage Auctions in Dallas, Texas for an astounding $400,000. The cover, by artists John Romita Sr and Frank Giacoia, is ink over blue pencil and was originally expected to go for as much as $300,000. The previous record was also set by a Heritage auction in 2013 for a 1973 cover. It sold for $286,800.
The cover, which features portraits of over 25 of Spider-Man's friends and foes, considered one of the more influential in comic book history. Featured on the title's major anniversary issue, Romita and Giacoia collaborated with Spider-Man creator Stan Lee when creating the art. According to Heritage Auctions' Senior Vice President for Fine and Decorative Arts Ed Jaster, the cover was also done at the peak of Romita's artwork, with Romita being one of the most iconic artists to work on the title after the departure of Steve Ditko.
"The cover 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. "John Romita Sr had done the covers and interior 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, which is part of the reason why Spider-Man was able to capture more of an older market."
As for the story in Amazing Spider-Man #100, the villain-adorned cover was a fitting choice. The anniversary issue is full of villains -- including Vulture, The Lizard, Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus and Kingpin -- as Peter Parker struggles to find balance between his normal life and the responsibilities of being Spider-Man. Desperate to leave Spider-Man behind, Peter makes a potion that will strip him of his spider powers, then goes to sleep. After a wild night of dreams and soul-searching, the issue famously ends with Peter waking up because he’s itching severely only to discover he's grown four extra arms in his sleep.