Milo Manara art, with story by Hugo Pratt, livens bidding in this week’s Catawiki International Comic Art Auction

A sparsity of British comic art in last week’s Catawiki International Comic Art Auction is more than made up for in this week’s offering, ending Thursday 17th March 2022, with work by Ron Forbes, Bill Lacey, Don Lawrence on offer.

Beyond the British comics work, there’s also some smashing art by Milo Manara up for sale…

Splash page from the story "Captain Condor and the Outlawed Planet" for Lion, published in 1963. Art by Ronald “Reg” Forbes

A splash page from the story “Captain Condor and the Outlawed Planet” for Lion, published in 1963, with art by Ronald “Reg” Forbes.

Born in Dundee, Forbes left school at 14 to join DC Thomson as a junior in the art department. He served in the Fife and Forfar Yeomanry during World War Two, as a tank driver seeing action in Normandy, Belgium, Holland and Germany.

After the war, he worked as a freelance artist for the Amalgamated Press in London, co-creating “Captain Condor” with writer Frank S. Pepper. He then moved back to Dundee to work on various DC Thomson titles, including Bunty and Judy.

In 1967 he retrained as an art teacher, but continued with his painting and cartoons well into his nineties. 

Read our feature – British Comic Heroes – Captain Condor

Robot Archie and the Giant Scorpion (1966) - art by Ted Kearon

There’s another page from the 1966 “Robot Archie” story, “Robot Archie and the Giant Scorpion too, with art by Ted Kearon.

Eagles over the Western Front by Bill Lacey (1964)

An action-packed original work with great dogfights from the Look and Learn strip “Eagles over the Western Front” by Bill Lacey, written by Mike Butterworth.

Bill Lacey was a British artist who served in the RAF during World War Two.
In 1953, he began creating work characterised by fine and precise lines, his best strips regarded as this, and his work on “Mytek the Mighty” and “The Man who searched for Fear”.

(Don’t forget Bear Alley Books collected this strip in one volume in 2020, copies still available here).

The Trigan Empire - The Puppet Emperor (1970) - art by Don Lawrence

A page from The Rise and Fall of the Trigan Empire” story, “The Puppet Emperor, published in Look and Learn in 1970, with art by Don Lawrence, is attracting a lot of early bidding – perhaps because it features the stars of the strip on one page.

Modesty Blaise 8212 by Enric Badia Romero

Artist Enric Badia Romero has also been into his archives again, and is offering an action episode from “Modesty Blaise” (No. 8212).

A tribute to Corto Maltese by Sanjullian

International art on offer includes a page by Enrique Breccia, for the story “Las puertas de la noche, published in 2017; a page from the strip “Mamba“, drawn by José González; a tribute to Corto Maltese by Sanjullian; and a stunning page original page from the album “El Gaucho” by Milo Manara, the story written by none other than Hugo Pratt – which, as you can imagine, is getting plenty of attention!

El Gaucho - written by Hugo Pratt, art by Milo Manara

The story – released in English in 1999 by NBM – tells of an attempt by the English to incite revolt in the population of Buenos Aires against Spanish rule during the Napoleonic Wars (June 1806). The role of Freemasonry in all this appears to be considerable.

The story focuses on the Scottish tambour Tom Browne and the Irish woman Molly Malone, who both ended up on the English fleet. Like some other story characters, they try to escape their fate and regain their freedom. Not all survive…

• Check out items offered by Catawiki in their International Comic Art category – auction closing Thursday 17th March 2022, at 7.00pm

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.



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