Saturday, December 10, 2011
Jerry Robinson, the pioneering comic book artist credited with creating Batman’s archnemesis, the Joker, and later a crusading hero for cartoonists in his own right who helped restore “Superman’s” creators’ rights in a single bound, died in his sleep Wednesday night. He was 89.
“Everyone who loves comics owes Jerry a debt of gratitude for the rich legacy that he leaves behind,” Jim Lee, DC Entertainment co-publisher and popular “Batman” artist, said in a statement.
Discovered by “Batman” creator Bob Kane as a 17-year-old journalism student enrolled at Columbia University, Robinson entered comics in 1939 as an inker and letterer on the fledgling comic. Though Kane claimed he and writer Bill Finger came up with the idea for the Joker — embodied by Heath Ledger in the 2008 film, “The Dark Knight” — most comic historians credit Robinson for the iconic villain.
“The heroes are rather dull — they have to be heroes,” Robinson told this reporter for a 2008 Wizard Magazine profile. “The exciting ones are the villains.”
Robinson, however, ditched super heroes in the 1950s and launched a weekly cartoon, “Flubs and Fluffs.” The strip poked fun at real-life students’ errors that became a Sunday staple for years in the New York Daily News. Expanding his horizons further, he launched a political satire strip called “Still Life” in the early ‘70s.
The New Jersey-born artist’s greatest contributions to cartooning, however, came off the drawing board.
Broke and locked in a legal battle with DC Comics over the rights for their creation at a time in the early ‘70s when $3 million for the rights a Superman feature film. Launching a high-profile publicity campaign on behalf of his peers, Robinson helped negotiate a financial settlement that restored the creators name on every Superman comic.
“He fought to bring respectability to the artists and writers who created the comics and who had long been ignored by society,” says comic historian and movie producer Michael Uslan, who considers Robinson a friend and mentor.
Another Robinson plot worthy of the Joker helped out another beleaguered cartoonist in a more literal life-and-death situation. Francisco Laurenzo Pons was languishing in a Uruguayan jail for six years, enduring beatings and electric shocks, having been imprisoned by the ruling military junta for a working at a liberal magazine, when Robinson heard of his plight in 1984. So Robinson helped create a bogus award with the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists and named Pons a winner. The media circus drew attention to Pons, and Uruguay felt compelled to release him.
“I don’t have any doubt that pressure from the [Robinson and the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists] had a bearing on making my freedom possible,” Pons told the News by email in 2008.
Robinson, who settled down in New York since his Columbia days, is survived by a wife, Gro, a sons, Jens, and a daughter, Kristen, as well as two grandchildren.
Action Comics #4
Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Rags Morales, Rick Bryant, Sean Parsons, and Brad Anderson
‘Hearts of Steel’ backup story by Sholly Fisch, Brad Walker, and Jay David Ramos
The short of it:
Thanks to Lex Luthor aliens are attacking Metropolis by way of taking over all kinds of tech and turning into machines versus people. And all they want is Superman, and they don’t have to look for long! People don’t know how to react as the Man of Steel strives to save the city from evil aliens that came looking for him, as they want the save, but they also think that if he were to go down they’d be left alone, and the military still wants to arrest him despite…during an invasion, really? John Corben, he who is all but named Metallo, stalks Lois and Jimmy under the influence of The Collector (he who is all but named Brainiac), but thankfully John Henry Iron shows up in some almost 90?s looking body armor to unleash Steel on him! But when all is said and done…Not- Brainiac goes ahead and earns the right to be referred to at Not-Brainiac instead of “The Collector”!
What I liked:
- The characters, really, there’s so much I can say here, and so much I will say here, but the Grant Morrison effect is being felt on this book in that every character feels dynamic, and even familiar faces are getting tweaks to make them even more interesting.
- Lex Luthor is incredible. I love the fact that Morrison has established everyone’s favorite megalomaniac as someone whose own arrogance is their undoing. He struck a deal with an alien, and now it’s invading the Earth because he thought he had the better deal. It’s all his fault, and all he cares about is that his safety is guaranteed. It’s young Lex, and it works. He hasn’t quite developed into the fearless would be savior of the world.
- The machines adapting new parts to themselves was pretty cool, the visual of one putting a tank on its head and firing it is just awesome.
- STEEL! Yes, his armor looks very nineties, but just the idea of John Henry Irons being Superman’s original ally is awesome enough for me. I love the character, and I always love to see him get a higher profile.
- Lots of action in this issue, Morrison does a great job not letting the pacing slide.
What I didn’t like:
- Maybe my memory is failing me and I’m forgetting something, but white shirted Superman spent the entire issue making me wonder if there was a coloring error or if he just got a new shirt.
- The bad guy is so blatantly Brainiac and they’re doing everything they can to not call him that. Last issue had the three dot matrix from the animated series, it’s all about preservation of artifacts, it calls itself the Collector of Worlds, oh, and it BOTTLES CITIES! Just call him Brainiac already!
- Metallo is a jobber already. Lame.
- Who the hell is Sholly Fisch?
For someone she doesn’t like, Lois Lane could write John Corben’s biography.
The bad guy has obviously been Brainiac since last issue, which may not seem like a long time, but it makes the “everything but coming out with it” in this issue painful. However, the inclusion of Steel completely balances it for me. There’s a lot of great action and some nice character moments in this issue, and it really does feel like Superman’s coming out party. His journey for urban legend to greatest hero Metropolis has ever known. He’s still the hero of the people that Morrison had begun to paint him as, but now it’s just getting…bigger. It feels organic, he doesn’t just show up one day in a full costume and save everyone, he builds to it. I’m really excited to see what Grant does after the book moves back to the present.
The backup story wasn’t bad, but I have no idea who wrote it, and some of the dialog was…painful. The armor for Steel version 1.0 works for me, and I actually like it more than had they led off with a classic look. Though he does look a bit like Conduit. John winning a fight with his brain is pretty cool, and it’s how it should be done. Out think his opponent before smashing them with a sledgehammer. I just don’t see why they went with another writer for this unless there’s potential of spinning the character out under their control.
A Superman comic book recently sold in an online auction for more than $2.16-million.
The first issue of Action Comics, in which Superman was introduced to the world in 1938, sold for the record-breaking amount. The comic is believed to be 1 of about 100 still in existence. Of those, this is the one in the best-known condition (9.0 on a 10 scale).
The issue was once owned by actor Nicolas Cage, but it was stolen from his home several years ago and only recently recovered in a warehouse sale.
The record-breaking price tag beats the runner-up by more than half a million dollars. Another copy of Action Comics #1 (in a slightly lesser condition) sold last year for $1.5-million.
It’s the holy grail among comic fans, and only a select few can afford one, but the first issue of Action Comics, featuring the debut of Superman, just went up at auction, and sold for a record $2.1 million. ??
You may have heard it was Nicholas Cage’s copy, and that the comic was stolen from his house in 2000, and was finally recovered this April.
As the Hollywood Reporter notes, it was found in a storage locker, and as we’ve seen on recent reality shows, people buy abandoned storage lockers like this that can hold all kinds of goodies. ??
Apparently this guy hit the motherlode, because the comic was graded at 9.0. As the Reporter confirms, there are about 100 copies of the first Action Comics still around, but only five that weigh in at this level of quality.
Cage’s copy was first sold at Sotheby’s in 1992 for $82,500, and Cage got it in 1997 for $150,000. As you may recall, Cage is a huge Superman freak, and was going to play the man of steel in Superman Lives when Tim Burton was going to direct it in 1996.
In addition to the Superman comic getting robbed from his house, Detective Comics #27, which features the debut of Batman, also got ripped off. Unfortunately, it was never recovered.
Like a ’59 Les Paul, which can set you back $3-5,000,000 if you’ve absolutely gotta have one, the first Superman in pristine condition is indeed a geek holy relic that most of us can only dream of owning, although the Reporter also mentions if you want a “fair” condition copy of the first Action Comics, you can get one for $300.
Last year, the previous record holder for most paid for a comic was for Detective Comics #27, which according to Comic Book Resources sold at auction for $1.7 million.
Nicolas Cage’s nearly-pristine copy of Action Comics No. 1 featuring the first appearance of Superman sold for a record $2,161,000 in an online auction that ended Wednesday.
It is the first comic to sell for more than $2 million at auction.
The previous record was $1.5 million for a less well-preserved copy of Action Comics No. 1 sold in March 2010.
Cage’s comic was stolen from his home in 2000 and only recovered in April when an unidentified man bought the contents of an abandoned Southern California storage locker.
Few comics have as interesting or complicated a back story as Cage’s copy of Action Comics No. 1. Certified Guaranty Company, the leading grader of the quality of collectible comics, recently assigned this copy a grade of 9.0, making it the highest publicly-graded copy of Superman’s first appearance.
Approximately 100 copies of Action Comics No. 1 remain in existence.
Experts believe only about five others, all in private hands, are of near-equal quality to Cage’s copy and only one — the legendary “Edgar Church Collection” copy, which has never been publicly viewed — might exceed it.
Cage’s Action Comics No. 1 first created a stir when an obscure collector brought it to public attention by consigning it to auction at Sotheby’s in 1992. The sudden appearance of a previously unknown high-grade copy of such an important comic is a rare occurrence. Sotheby’s sold it for a then-record $82,500. Cage bought it in 1997 for about $150,000.
On January 21, 2000, Cage reported the comic stolen to the Los Angeles Police, along with high-grade copies of Batman’s first appearance in Detective Comics No. 27 and Marvel Mystery No. 71. According to an account Comicconnect CEO Stephen Fishler posted on a collector’s website, Cage had the books displayed in security frames mounted to the wall.
The exact moment of the theft is unknown but the comics had possibly been missing for a week when Cage discovered the frames were empty. The Marvel Mystery resurfaced a few months later but the other two comics remained lost.
In April 2011, Cage’s copy of Action Comics No. 1 was recovered in a San Fernando Valley storage locker. The man who found the comic had bought the contents of an abandoned locker.
Cage’s publicist released a statement from the actor at the time calling the recovery of the comic “divine providence” and expressing hope “that the heirloom will be returned to my family.” Cage had received an insurance payment for the comic but at the time expressed interest in reaching a settlement to regain ownership of the book. The missing Detective Comics No. 27 has never been found.
Fishler would not confirm this is the Action Comics stolen from Cage but the provenance of the comic — from its sale in the early 1990s to its theft in 2000 — matches the history of the Cage comic. Comicconnect is selling it for the current owner, which is still believed to be Cage. Earlier, several websites devoted to comics speculated that this is the copy of Action Comics from Cage’s collection. Representatives for Cage did not respond to a request from The Hollywood Reporter for comment.
Despite the record price for Cage’s copy other Superman memorabilia fetched more modest prices. For those interested in owning a piece of history, single pages from Action Comics No. 1 in fair condition could be had for about $300 and one of Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel’s “favorite shirts” sold for just $51.
The cover of the fabled Cage Action Comics No. 1 is below.
London: A rare copy of the first issue of “Action Comics”, in which Superman made his first appearance, has sold for a record $2.16 million.
The issue was auctioned online at www.comicconnect.com. However, neither the name of the buyer nor the seller was disclosed, the Daily Telegraph reported.
The issue was published in 1938 and cost just 10 cents.
The previous record was set in March 2010 at $1.5 million, which was followed by the sale of another copy for $1 million.
About 100 copies of “Action Comics No.1” are believed to be in existence.
Los Angeles, CA, United States (AHN) – It cost just 10 cents when it debuted in 1938. In 2011, it fetched a record $2.16 million.
Action Comics #1, the first Superman comic book, set a record Wednesday when it was sold for $2.16 million, the most ever for a single comic book.
The 9.0, or “very fine/near mint,” graded issue was auctioned in online bidding that commenced Nov. 11 at www.comicconnect.com.
The condition level was set by Certified Guaranty Co, a professional comic book evaluation firm.
The starting bid was just $1, but there was a reserve price of $900,000. The seller was the cash-strapped actor Nicholas Cage.
The sale marks the first time a comic book has broken the $2 million price barrier. Wednesday’s sale broke the March 2010 record set when Action Comic No. #1, graded 8.5, was sold for $1.5 million.
About 100 copies of Action Comics No. #1 are believed to be in existence, and only a handful of those are in good condition.
The comic, featuring a picture of the “Man of Steel” lifting a car above his head as people around him flee, had been valued at just over $1 million.
The copy of Action Comics No. #1 was stolen from a collector in 2000, but resurfaced after an entrepreneur bought the contents of a storage unit near Los Angeles.
The high grade condition of the comic book is what makes this one so special–and pricey.
Filed under National News ·
(CNN) — Someone out there just leapt all comic book purchase price records in a single bound.
A near-pristine copy of Action Comics #1 — better known as the first appearance of Superman — sold at an online auction Wednesday night for a staggering $2.16 million.
The seller? None other than cash-strapped actor Nicolas Cage, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Cage turned a super-sized profit, the Reporter noted. He bought the 1938 Man of Steel original 14 years ago for roughly $150,000.
The buyer has remained anonymous. But “he’s an extremely passionate collector, and he treasures owning the best of the best,” said Vincent Zurzolo, chief operating officer of New York-based ComicConnect.com, which conducted the auction. “In particular, he loves Superman.”
When the comic book first went on the auction block November 12, the top bid was around $900,000, Zurzolo noted. The price rose to more than $1.5 million Monday and smashed the $2 million mark five minutes before the close of bidding.
The previous comic book sale price record? Roughly $1.5 million for another copy of Action Comics #1 in March of 2010.
“I’ve been involved in the comic book business for over 25 years,” Zurzolo told CNN. Superman remains an “icon that represents the best of this great country.”
Cage’s copy of the all-American classic comes with a colorful back story. It was reported stolen in January 2000, according to the Reporter, and remained lost for more than 11 years before showing up last April in an abandoned storage locker in California’s San Fernando Valley.
If you’re hoping to get your own original 1938 copy, don’t hold your breath. There are only about 100 copies still believed to be in existence, according to ComicConnect.
About 100 copies of Detective Comics #27 — better known as the first appearance of Batman — are also still believed to be out there. The Caped Crusader made his inaugural appearance in 1939.
An original Depression-era Batman won’t come cheap, however. One copy sold last year for a little over $1 million.
The good news: if you’re willing to settle for a more modern incarnation of the two crime fighters, you can probably afford it. “All New Batman: The Brave and the Bold” went on sale last month for $2.99.
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THE MAN OF STEEL has just secured the Record Deal.
The first superhero to launch the comic-book industry is now comics’ first $2-million man.
A rare 1938 comic book that features Superman’s historic debut sold at auction Wednesday night for $2.16-million, the auction/consignment site ComicConnect tells Comic Riffs.
The near-mint-condition copy of Action Comics No.-1 easily beat the record of about $1.5-million set in 2010 by the same issue, according to ComicConnect and sister partnership Metropolis Collectibles, which also conducted last year’s record sale.
“The buyer was extremely excited about the prospect of bidding on this,” ComicConnect/Metropolis COO Vincent Zurzolo tells Comic Riffs minutes after the bidding closed at 7:25 p.m. ET. “I think he had an adrenalin rush for the last two hours.
“As soon as he won it, he gave me a call and thanked me. …,” Zurzolo continues. “He’s very excited to have it. This is a guy who loves owning the best of the best.”
Zurzolo says he is not at liberty to disclose the identity of the buyer, but he could acknowledge that “this is a customer we have a relationship with.”
The record-setting book is graded to be in “9.0” condition — the best copy of Action Comics No.-1 Zurzolo says he’s ever seen.
Reported stolen in 2000, the book was recovered early this year in a storage locker near Los Angeles. It was “raw” and not protected, found in a stack of magazines, says Zurzolo, noting how surprised he was that it weathered the lost decade so well.
“We thought it was going to be creased, but it was beautiful,” he tells Comic Riffs. “It is so close to perfect. This book has got freshness and bounce … it’s simply stunning.” There are estimated to be about 100 extant copies of the issue, few in good condition.
In 2010, there was a spasm of big-spending on Action Comics No.-1and Detective Comics No.-27 (Batman’s debut), with the ping-ponging record escalating to more than $1.5-million.
When Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster debuted Superman in the summer of ‘38, the cover cost was 10 cents.
Metropolis Collectibles says the current “9.0” issue has twice before been the most valuable comic book: It set records when it sold in 1992 (for $86,000) and again in 1997 ($150,000).
At the time the “9.0” book went missing, it reportedly was owned by actor Nicolas Cage; the Oscar-winning actor is a Super-fan who once was cast to play the Last Son of Krypton himself. (The actor — whose stage name reportedly was inspired by comic character Luke Cage — in 2005 gave his newborn son the same birth name as that of Superman: Kal-El.)
ComicConnect said it could not disclose the previous owner, but Zurzolo says that his New York-based company was involved with authorities and the owner in the recovery of the record-setting book.
“There are not many times when you get to be the hero,” Zurzolo tells Comic Riffs, “but this one time, we were.”
[A MILLION-DOLLAR-PLUS ‘SUPERMAN’?
Rare comic expected to fetch record price Wednesday]
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