If there was any doubt that comic books can have an economic impact, then look no further than auction houses. On February 22, Heritage Auctions put up the original cover art for ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ #121 and it sold for a whopping $268,875!
The 1973 original cover art that was auctioned is a pencil and ink drawing from the iconic issue ‘The Night Gwen Stacy Died’ written by Gary Conway. Measuring 10” x 15”, it features drawings of nine of the most prominent characters at the time in Spidey’s world with him exclaiming ‘Someone close to me is about to die!” The piece was described as being in “very good condition” with artist John Romita Sr.’s signature in the bottom right corner.
In the issue, the Green Goblin kidnaps Gwen Stacy and ultimately hurls her from the top of the Brooklyn Bridge. Spider-Man shoots a web snagging Gwen’s leg and seems to have saved her from a falling death, but the sudden stop snaps her neck, killing her after all. Her death reverberated throughout the series and is rumored to be the inspiration for the ‘Amazing Spider-Man 3’ film.
It’s been said that the ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ #121 was not only a defining moment in Peter Parker’s life but also for the comic book industry as it signified “the end of innocence for comics.” According to the book ‘Marvel Comics: The Untold Story’, Conway originally planned to kill off Aunt May but it was Romita who suggested to kill Peter Parker’s girlfriend instead thus creating one of the most shocking and memorable Spider-Man stories of all time.
The sale of the cover art puts it in the top 5 of the highest publically paid price for an original pencil and ink cover. Last July, the cover art for ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ #328 illustrated by Todd McFarlane sold for $675,250 which beat the previous record of $448,125 held by a splash page from ‘The Dark Knight Returns’ #3 back in 2011. The world record holder, however, goes to the cover art for ‘Tintin in America’ which sold for $1.6 million in June 2012.
You can check out this record making cover art below: