This week’s Heritage Auctions International Comic & Animation Art Signature Auction saw Kevin O’Neill‘s powerful Marshall Law cover for Marvel UK’s STRIP #1 anthology sell for $17,500, which has taken some comics fans and collectors aback.
“It’s a pretty astonishing amount,” notes artists and British comics archivist David Roach, author of Masters of British Comic Art. “Kevin has always been a fan favourite, rightly so, but I wonder if his work on the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen has somehow increased interest in all of work?”
Marvel UK’s STRIP, edited by Dan Abnett, ran for just 20 issues (from February – November 1990), but featured work by many terrific British comics creators, including Alan Grant, Ian Gibson, Pat Mills, Kevin O’Neill, the late Si Spencer and John Wagner. Strips include “Marshal Law” by Pat Mills and Kev O’Neill and “The Chronicles of Genghis Grimtoad” by Grant, Wagner and Gibson, which was also published as a collection. Numerous creators also provided one-off creator owned strips.
First published in a six-issue limited series by Marvel’s Epic Comics imprint in 1987, Marshal Law is a satire on the superhero genre created by Pat Mills and Kevin O’Neill, as well as a deconstruction of the superheroes of the Golden Age and Silver Age, and a a spoof of 2000AD’s lawman of the future, Judge Dredd. In addition to reprint in STRIP, the character also appeared in another British anthology, Toxic!, not to be confused with the current TOXIC published by Egmont, and online, too. Numerous collections are available.
Comics fan Carl Gibson noted in online discussion that Marshal Law has been getting a bit more love recently “because it was cited as an inspiration for The Boys, so speculators may be jumping on the character too.
“It’s a beautiful piece though, and although it’s way out of my price range, I think it’s worth every penny.”
While Kevin’s art attracted high bids for British comic art, the price paid pales compared with some other artworks sold. Charles Burns RAW Number 4 “Couverture Originale”, for example, sold for $87,500, and Jamie Hewlett‘s cover for Tank Girl vs. America #4 for $68,500. Art by Tintin creator Hergé also sold for large sums.
The next Heritage Auctions sale running 1st – 4th April features comic art from creators that includes Simon Bisley, a “V for Vendetta” page by David Lloyd, currently attracting bids of $4,400, Glenn Fabry, Gary Frank and Barry Windsor Smith.
With thanks to David Roach for this news
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. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 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.