The original art for the final page of Incredible Hulk #180, which features the first published appearance of Wolverine, has just sold at Heritage Auctions for $657,250.
This 1974 Marvel comics page was drawn by Herb Trimpe, inked by Jack Abel, and scripted by Len Wein. Of historical interest, Wolverine's pose in that final introductory panel is based closely on John Romita's original design sketch for the character.
Today's result ties the highest price ever publicly paid for a piece of original art from an American comic book, matching the hammer price of the 2012 sale of the cover of Amazing Spider-Man #328 by Todd McFarlane.
The page is considered one of the most important pieces of Bronze Age (the period that runs from around 1970 to the mid-1980s) American comic book art to surface publicly. By way of general comparison, Bleeding Cool told you about the sale of the 1973 cover of Amazing Spider-Man #121 ("The Night Gwen Stacy Died") in February 2013 for $286,800.
As Heritage notes, a large portion of the proceeds of this sale are being donated by the consignor to the Hero Initiative:
In 1983, as a teenager, our consignor was given this artwork by Herb Trimpe — and it has remained in his possession ever since. Since he has not been an active collector, it was never known with certainty if this page even existed — until now.
Inspired by Trimpe's generosity over thirty years ago, we're very pleased to note that the majority of the after-tax proceeds from the sale of the artwork is being donated by our anonymous consignor — including a large portion to the Hero Initiative.