Don’t miss out on some stunning “Cisco Kid”, “Robot Archie” and Battle Picture Library cover art in this week’s Catawiki International Comic Art Auction

It’s a case of “The Usual Suspects” when it comes to the British comic art on offer in the the latest weekly Catawiki International Comic Art Auction – but if your tastes extend to the best of European comics, then there’s plenty to interest you, and not just in this auction on the site, either.

A smashing page of “Robot Archie and the Giant Scorpion”, drawn by Ted Kearon, first published in Lion, back in 1966, is the first of four items originally published in British comics on offer this week.

Robot Archie and the Giant Scorpion”, drawn by Ted Kearon
Robot Archie and the Giant Scorpion”, drawn by Ted Kearon

Also offered is another fine page from another Lion strip, The Man Who Searched for Fear”, drawn by Bill Lacey, following in the heels of a page from the same strip that sold last week for €270.

“The Man Who Searched For Fear” centres on Hugo Masterman, a man who has no fear and tries dangerous things around the world. Bear Alley Books released the strip in a collection back in 2014, and copies are still available direct from them, or booksellers such as AmazonUK (Affiliate Link)

As mentioned before, British comic art hasn’t in the past always attracted high bids on Catawiki, so on occasion, there are relative bargains to be had. Just beware the import duties on top, the result of Brexit.

The Man Who Searched for Fear”, drawn by Bill Lacey
The Man Who Searched for Fear”, drawn by Bill Lacey

The exception to this apparent blind spot is, as ever, pages from “The Rise and Fall of the Trigan Empire”, from Look and Learn. You can expect the usual fierce bidding on a page from the 1967 story, “Revolution in Zabriz”, drawn by Don Lawrence, particularly as original art from earlier stories rarely comes to market.

Trigan Empire - “Revolution in Zabriz”, drawn by Don Lawrence
Trigan Empire – “Revolution in Zabriz”, drawn by Don Lawrence

There’s another beautiful page by Leslie Otway, too, again from an unfortunately unidentified story from the girls comic, Princess, first published in 1965.

Art by Leslie Otway, for Princess
Trigan Empire – “Revolution in Zabriz”, drawn by Don Lawrence

For European comic art and illustration fans, the auction also features another Marvel Comics cover adaptation for the Spanish market by Eduardo Alpuente, this time featuring Thor – based on the cover of Thor #154 (Volume One), which was the work of Jack Kirby and Vince Colletta.

It was traditional in Spain to use local artists to produce covers and advertisement for their comics instead of using the original ones, because it was easier than changing the lettering before computer times. Some stapled comics were bound in soft covers to produce cheap paperbacks with leftover books once they were old, and resold in Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries.

Two covers by Fernando Fernández – one a World War Two scene, used on the cover of Battle Picture Library No. 294, the other a western book cover, titled “El Chacal de Senora”, are also in this week’s auction, both commissioned by Selecciones Ilustradas in the 1970s for the American and European market. There’s a lovely romance cover artwork by José Gonsález on offer, too.

One gem that certainly hasn’t gone overlooked, with bids already at over €400, is a smashing example of the daily American western newspaper strip, “The Cisco Kid”, drawn by Jose Luis Salinas, written by Rod Reed. The strip ran in American newspapers for 18 years, a short period for a King Features-syndicated comic strip that was published in Europe, too. In the world of comics done for, many series lasted for more than half a century.

“The Cisco Kid”, drawn by Jose Luis Salinas, written by Rod Reed
“The Cisco Kid”, drawn by Jose Luis Salinas, written by Rod Reed

José Luis Salinas (1908 – 1985) was an incredible artist, whose credits include well-known classic adventure novels in collaboration with the writer José de España, and the strip, Hernán el Corsario, considered Argentina’s first great comic series, its look much influenced by Hal Foster’s Prince Valiant.

  • “The Cisco Kid”, drawn by Jose Luis Salinas, written by Rod Reed
  • “The Cisco Kid”, drawn by Jose Luis Salinas, written by Rod Reed
  • “The Cisco Kid”, drawn by Jose Luis Salinas, written by Rod Reed

“What is astounding is Salinas’ ability to simultaneously create a filigree work and bring an explosive energy into the drawing,” notes Zoran Djukanovic of Salinas’ work on the strip in an article for The Comics Journal. “Even the big masters of drawing can often only do one of these two things. Not many artists have the power to be elegant and wild at the same time.”

Back in 2011, Classic Comics Press began reprinting the entire run of the The Cisco Kid over eight volumes, each book reprinting over two years of dailies. The first is available here – and the sixth volume is currently in production.

Also on offer this week, in a “Comic Book Curiosities Auction”, closing tomorrow, are some smashing Asterix figures and more, including stunning prints featuring the art of the late Jean-Claude Mézières, and a stunning “Arzak” poster by Moebius.

It’s always worth having a bit of a dig around this auction site beyond, possibly, your usual searches… I don’t even dare start trawling the current US Comics & Original Comic Art auction, ending next Thursday!

Check out items offered by Catawiki in their International Comic Art category – ends at 7.00pm Thursday 17th February 2022

The collection, The Man Who Searched for Fear, is still available from Bear Alley Books

The Comics Journal: The Astonishing Visual Narration of “The Cisco Kid” – Beyond the Boundaries of Story – article by Zoran Djukanovic

Lambiek: José Luis Salinas

Potential Additional International Auction Costs

This advice box was last updated on Friday 6th May 2022

The UK’s departure from the European Union means there may be additional import duties on sales.

Prior to Brexit, the effective rate of UK tax on imports of art was 5%, which is lower than most other European countries. An owner could previously import an artwork to the UK from outside the EU and was then free to transport it to other EU countries, where the import tax rates may be higher, without incurring any further import-related tax charges. If the owner then wished to bring the artwork back to the UK, there would also have been no further tax charge.

The Guardian previously reported that online orders up to £135 are now supposed to have the UK’s prevailing VAT rate added at the point of sale by the EU retailer, which has to have registered with HM Revenue & Customs.

While buying from European sellers carries the sting of larger costs, the auction house Catawiki does now endeavour to provide an estimate of those in its lot descriptions.

Unfortunately, many smaller EU-based retailers have decided that the paperwork of collecting UK VAT is not worth the hassle and as a result will no longer supply UK consumers. It has also meant that some British sellers will no longer export to Europe.

This apolitical guide outlines what you should be aware of when buying or selling art internationally but is a work in progress

Don’t forget Catawiki runs several regular auctions, including a dedicated US Comics auction, too – check out all the current lots on offer here

The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Explorer (previously known as Star Trek Magazine) and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of "Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies" for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.



Categories: Art and Illustration, Auctions, British Comics, Comic Art, Comics, downthetubes Comics News, downthetubes News, Events, Other Worlds

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

%d bloggers like this: