Neville Colvin “Modesty Blaise” art included in this week’s Catawiki International Original Comics Art Auction

Christmas must be coming, because there are over 140 lots in the latest Catawiki International Original Comics Art Auction – with “Modesty Blaise” art by Neville Colvin and “Robin of SherwoodLook-In art by Mike Noble among the British comic lots.

Three “Modesty Blaise” strips, and an original pencil character sketch, all drawn by Neville Colvin are on offer, created for Peter O’Donnell’s Modesty Blaise story, “A Few Flowers for The Colonel”, a story first published in the Evening Standard newspaper between 10th May and 24th September 1982.

Modesty Blaise story, “A Few Flowers for The Colonel” - art by Neville Colvin

The sequence shows Modesty in her Network days, fighting off a gang in Venezuela, and finally being helped by a local taxi driver-Fernando.

The drawing of Fernando relates directly to the final panel in this strip sequence, and also gives a rare insight into the artist’s working technique, as Colvin has also tested his ink pens on this paper. A coloured version of the final panel on strip no. 5434 was used on the front cover of the sixth American reprint collection of Modesty Blaise, published by Ken Pierce, in 1985.

Modesty Blaise story, “A Few Flowers for The Colonel” - art by Neville Colvin

The story forms part of Titan Books collection, Modesty Blaise: The Scarlet Maiden, published back in 2009.

Not one but two “Robot Archie” pages are on offer this week, both drawn by series regular Ted Kearon. The first is a page from the story “The Mystery of the Giant Bats”, first published in Lion, in 1967; the second, a page from the 1968 story, “The Menaced Rajah”.

Robot Archie - “The Mystery of the Giant Bats”, first published in Lion, in 1967. Art by Ted Kearon
Robot Archie - “The Menaced Rajah”, first published in Lion, in 1968. Art by Ted Kearon

Mike Noble fans will no doubt be bidding in force to buy the final pages of the 1986 “Robin of Sherwood” story for Look-In, “The Hypnotic Sorcerer”, comprising two separate boards, published when Michael Praed starred as “The Hooded Man”. These are smashing looking examples of his work on the strip.

“Robin of Sherwood” for Look-In, “The Hypnotic Sorcerer” - art by Mike Noble

Also in the auction is an “Andy Capp” strip by his creator, Reg Smythe, published in the Daily Mirror on 7th February 1992.

Finally, among the many fine artworks by European artists on offer, you may fancy bidding on this item by Albert Weinberg, a design for his “Dan Cooper” strip (also known as Les Aventures de Dan Cooper), about a fictional Canadian military flying ace and rocketship pilot.

Dan Cooper design by Albert Weinberg

British comic fans will immediately notice it’s perhaps a tip of the hat to the work of Ian Kennedy, featured on the cover of Lion, cover dated 9th October 1965. Ian’s influence lives on!

Side by side - art by Albert Weinberg for his strip, “Dan Cooper”, and Ian Kennedy’s  cover and cover art for Lion, cover dated 9th October 1965
Side by side – art by Albert Weinberg for his strip, “Dan Cooper”, and Ian Kennedy’s cover and cover art for Lion, cover dated 9th October 1965

• This week’s Catawiki International Original Comics Art Auction, closing at 7.00pm on Thursday 1st December 2022 – view the full catalogue here

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

• This week’s Catawiki International Original Comics Art Auction, closing at 7.00pm on Thursday 1st December 2022 – view the full catalogue 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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