The page, which depicts Spider-Man’s first time donning the infamous all-black suit, fetched $3.36 million at auction earlier this week, becoming the “world’s most valuable page of original comic book artwork,” according to Heritage Auctions.
Another page from the same comic was sold for $288,000. Together, the two pages of Spider-Man history sold for $3,648,000, Heritage Auctions said.
“Today’s results prove what we’ve long been saying: Comic book art is as beloved and valuable as anything put on canvas,” said Joe Mannarino, who heads Heritage Auctions’ department of comics and comic art in New York, in a statement.
The auction house didn’t reveal the winning bidder, but whoever it was clearly knew their Spider-Man history. The pages came from the Marvel crossover series “Secret Wars,” in which beloved heroes squared off against classic villains on a planet called Battleworld. In the eighth installment of the limited series, published in 1984, Spidey encounters an alien symbiote — sound familiar? — who gloms onto his traditional red-and-blue suit, which he damaged in battle.
“That glob just — just spread out and became a costume — and dissolved away the tatters of my old one in the process!” Spidey exclaims on the 25th page.
But once our web-slinger dons his new suit, the symbiote drastically alters his personality — per Marvel, he’s no longer a quippy good guy but a “vengeance-fueled vigilante.”
Spider-Man eventually splits from the symbiote after the conclusion of “Secret Wars” — long story, but Mister Fantastic himself has to do some science to get it off Spidey once and for all — and that alien goo finds its way to a more suitable host — Eddie Brock, who goes on to become Venom.
The film version of Spidey found his way to the black suit, too, though the fusion earned decidedly mixed reviews. In “Spider-Man 3,” Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker donned the symbiote suit and got snippy with his beloved Mary Jane, damaging their relationship. It also inflated his ego to the point where he danced in the streets of Manhattan, an uncomfortable but eternal piece of film history.