A spectacular page of original art from Fantastic Four #55 drawn by Jack Kirby, inked by Joe Sinnott and featuring the Silver Surfer sold at Heritage Auctions earlier today for $155,350. The 1966 page is from one of the peak periods of the Silver Age, just a few months after the Silver Surfer first appeared in Fantastic Four #48. As Heritage notes: “The immortal classic “When Strikes the Surfer” hails from the highest summit of the legendary Stan Lee-Jack Kirby collaboration, with superb Silver Age inks by the greatest “King” Kirby brush-man ever — the incomparable Joe Sinnott.”
The hammer price represents an extremely strong result that surpassed the expectations of most experts — particularly considering it is not a full page splash — and it is one of the highest prices ever paid for an interior page of American comic book art. The record in this area is currently held by the Dark Knight #3 splash page by Frank Miller and Klaus Janson sale for $448,125 by Heritage from one year ago. It is also one of the strongest results for Silver Age Marvel art in a public sale (though it must be noted that the record books in this area are clouded by closely-held private transactions), with the sale of the cover Amazing Spider-Man #49 by John Romita being one of the high water marks there .
As a big Kirby OA fan myself, congrats to the new owner — a beautiful page from one of his best moments at Marvel.
Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott Fantastic Four #55 Spectacular Silver Surfer Half-Splash Page 3 Original Art (Marvel, 1966). Be ready to bid, Marvelites. For this Marvel masterwork from the immortal classic “When Strikes the Surfer” hails from the highest summit of the legendary Stan Lee-Jack Kirby collaboration, with superb Silver Age inks by the greatest “King” Kirby brush-man ever — the incomparable Joe Sinnott. Here is the Marvel Age of Comics at its zenith, with Lee’s humanist dialogue, Kirby’s majestic, awe-inspiring (and art form-altering) pencils, and Sinnott’s perfectly balanced, and super-streamlined dynamism. Peak era Kirby pages showcasing the Surfer, one of Marvel’s most popular and definitive characters from the psychedelic sixties, always command a premium and this awesome example truly has it all. In fact, Stan “the Man” thinks so highly of the iconic half-page splash in the lower panel, that a blown-up version hung prominently in his office can be spotted in his recent cameo in the HBO series Entourage (see online image).
If Jack Kirby identified with Ben Grimm/the Thing in body, perhaps both his spirit and Stan Lee’s soul were claimed by the Silver Surfer, as the two would never collaborate on a character more messianic, conveying such a sublime sense of grandeur and awe of the limitless cosmic vistas in the boundless universe. Here, depicted in full glory, in only his fourth appearance, the Surfer had become a fallen angel, reluctantly accepting his fate as a “stranger in a strange land,” ready for the ultimate journey. Kirby believed, and it shows with every line. Artistic perfection combines with the Surfer’s alienated take on humanity’s foibles to create a true, self-contained work of art — and who could top Stan Lee’s dialogue in that last panel?
As a note of provenance, our consignor informs us that he was fortunate enough to purchase the page in the early 1980s from a Comics Buyers Guide ad, and later got an excited Lee to sign the lower margin at a 1983 comic convention (“Excelsior” indeed). The page has not been seen in the market, or displayed since its original purchase — until now. This beautiful, breathtaking piece with a large-size image area of 12.5″ x 18.5″, remains in Excellent condition.
In our studied opinion, with all the possible “desirability points” aligning perfectly, this jaw-dropping find could very well be the definitive image of the Lee/Kirby Silver Surfer, possibly the single best Kirby FF page we’ve ever offered, and arguably one of the finest Silver Age Marvel pages to be had — in short, it’s a “holy grail” for the advanced comic art collector.
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