The latest weekly Catawiki International Comic Art Auction includes some terrific European and British comic art, including an X-Men Spanish collection cover by Edu Alpuente, art by Jordi Bernet, stunning work by Bill Lacey, an original strip by Hugo Pratt, and much more.
Final prices on British comic art in these auctions are often quite low, so it’s always worth keeping your eye on this weekly happening – you may secure a relative “bargain” – but be aware most art ships from Europe, so additional import costs may apply thanks to Brexit.
Here are just a few of the items on offer this week, including art for British comics, or featuring British characters…
First, a Spanish comic collection cover of Marvel’s X-Men by Edu Alpuente, dated 1992, that’s clearly based on Jim Lee’s cover Uncanny X-Men #268, released in 1990, and superhero art fans may recall that work sold for a staggering $300,000 back in 2020.
Edu Alpuente worked as staff artist at several Spanish publishers in the 1990s, before working for Marvel Comics and then running his own talent agency. One of his tasks was to create advertisements, covers or art for their titles.
It was traditional in Spain to use local artists to produce covers for their comics instead of using the original ones, because it was easier than changing the lettering before the introduction of Desktop Publishing. Collections including five unsold stapled comics, bound in cardboard for half the price, were common in the 1980s and 90s in Spain, and many covers were created for these books.
Art by Spanish artist Jordi Bernet is always a hit with, and a gem featuring Torpedo has already seen bids over €260, and rising…
Another World War Two cover artwork by Fernando Fernández is also up for sale, commissioned by Selecciones Ilustradas for the European and American Market in the 1970s.
I love the energy in this original illustration drawn by René Follet, featuring European comic hero Steve Severin riding a dolphin.
What would this auction be, without a page of Robot Archie? Another page from the 1964 story “Archie and the Return of the Molemen”, drawn by Ted Kearon, is up for grabs…
An original page from the 1974 Lion strip, “The Man Who Searched For Fear”, drawn by Bill Lacey, is also up for offer. Incredibly, despite the quality of the work, a past example from this strip sold on Catawiki for just €55, back in 2016!
“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)
This weekly auction also includes another of its staples, a page from “The Rise and Fall of the Trigan Empire” drawn by Don Lawrence, this time a page from the story, “Last Hour for Elektron”, the art as published in Look & Learn book of the Trigan Empire in 1973, not as originally published in Look and Learn in 1966, as noted here by Richard Sheaf.
Art by Leslie Otway from the British girls comic Princess is another Catawiki staple, and this week’s offering is absolutely stunning…
Another rare chance to buy some original art by the legendary Hugo Pratt is also on offer, from La Jeunesse de Corto Maltese, dated 1981.
Fans of Enrique Badia Romero are treated to the opportunitiy to acquire a number of artworks – a raunchy set of Axa illustrations, a sample of the strip itself, published in 1980, and an episode of Modesty Blaise. Spoilt for choice, perhaps?
Finally, for a bit of humour, an Andy Capp original from the Daily Mirror by his creator, Reg Smythe on offer, a strip dated 1960. With shipping to the UK on this listed at €15, perhaps this is helping speed a series of bids!
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.