High eBay Comics Item for the Week Ending 2010.5.22 (Simon & Kirby Captain America Page

Captain America #6 Original Art! Simon & Kirby 1941

Sold For: $20,601.00 Seller: jscomics ( 38486 )


Okay, let's try this again!. Those of you who collect or deal in high end Original Comic Art will recognize this auction. That's a lot of ebayers, based on the 6,000+ page views this auction received last time it ran. For the few who managed to miss that listing, do an Advanced Search for ebay item number 140394301664. It closed on April 4, 2010. The winning bid was $38,050.00. This seemed like a relative bargain, given that many predicted it would end up between $50,000 and $100,000, based on the fact that almost no key Timely pages have been sold in the last 20 years, and those that did sell went for mostly astronomical prices. However, the winning bidder informed us he would not be able to complete the purchase at his winning bid price. This item generated an unprecedented level of Message Board comments in the 10 days it ran, running up to 20 entire pages of comments on one site. Among the opinions expressed, including by some recognized experts, was that this page, while undeniably a Timely Original page, may have had little or no contribution by Jack Kirby. Not everyone expressed this opinion, but it appears to have caused a number of bidders to bid more cautiously than would be the case if the item had been declared 100% Jack Kirby art by all the experts. The winning bidder apparently didn't become aware of all these comments until after the auction had closed. It was after reading the comments that he informed us that due to the uncertainty over exactly who drew and inked this page, he would not be able to complete the purchase.

That brings us to this relisting. This page is offered this time with NO RESERVE PRICE! Whatever it sells for this time, IT WILL BE SOLD! We make no guarantee other than it is the ORIGINAL ART to TIMELY CAPTAIN AMERICA #6, MEET THE FANG, PAGE 8. We will leave it to you to determine the artist(s). Virtually every published work listing the works of Jack Kirby credits him with EVERY page of Captain America #s 1 through 10. This includes The Jack Kirby Treasury Volume 1 (edited by Greg Theakston), The Marvel Masterworks Resource Page and many others. An email to Harry Mendryk at the Jack Kirby Museum produced the following comment concerning this page – "…I have been too busy to make a careful study of the art but I did come to some conclusions. The page without Cap looks like Kirby pencils. [This last sentence refers to a second page from Captain America #6 we listed that did NOT feature Cap or Bucky.] The Cap page [meaning the one in this auction] is more difficult but I AM CERTAIN THAT BUCKY IN THE UPPER RIGHT CORNER WAS DRAWN BY KIRBY. Inking is a much more difficult issue. Joe Simon was running the Timely bullpen and he employed a number of artists to help with the inking. Covers and splashes were likely to have significant contributions from either Jack or Joe or both but story art was likely to get little direct inking from either; generally nothing more than touchups." For those of you not familiar with Harry Mendryk or the Jack Kirby Museum, by all means do a search for them. There is a wealth of material available.

So at least one expert, whose experience and depth of knowledge are second to none, confirms that at least ONE panel from this page was definitely drawn by Kirby. But do your own research, form your own conclusions, and bid accordingly. Insured shipping is free in the United States.

For those few who managed to miss the last listing of this page, the original auction description is included below. We include it again here as it lists some interesting details on the provenance, condition, size and other details of the page.

This auction is for nothing less than the most significant piece of Jack Kirby Original Art to reach the market in at least 20 years. From the pages of Captain America #6, Timely Comics, 1941, this very recently discovered lost Kirby Original is Page 8, the penultimate page from "Meet The Fang – Arch Fiend of the Orient". To call the action on this page spectacular would be understating it. Cap and Bucky are both nearly beheaded. But they recover and turn the tables, in action that can't be contained by the panels, with arms and legs spilling into 2 panels, almost 3. This story was reprinted in the easy to find Fantasy Masterpieces #6. We will include a free copy of that issue as a bonus. In searching through auction archives to find something to compare this to, we came up empty. We didn't find a single Kirby Timely page. The only thing we saw of a similar magnitude was a Bill Everett Sub-Mariner page from Marvel Comics #1, 1939 which sold for over $86,000 5 years ago. All the significant reports we saw of Kirby Originals were from the Silver Age: a splash page from Tales to Astonish #27 sold for $65,000 in 2002. An interior page from X-men #1 went for $54,000 in 2008. Even Fantastic Four pages from the late 60's sold for big prices – a page from FF 63 sold for $23,000, and a page from FF 55 sold for$39,000. We normally list auctions with no Reserve Price, but for this very special item we have set a very reasonable, modest Reserve. This Reserve Price will NOT be revealed, the auction will NOT be ended early, and it will NOT be sold off ebay. If the Reserve Price is not met, it is likely we will relist this page at some future date with No Reserve. But don't wait, get it now.

Just a few words on where this piece came from. In 1941, a young man worked at Lewis Artists' Materials, a store in Manhattan about 3 blocks from the Timely Studios. Part of his job was to make regular deliveries of illustration boards and other Art supplies to the Timely Studios. He did this at least once a week, possibly more often. The people at Timely got to know him and apparently liked him. At some point they asked him if he would like to have 2 pages of Captain America Original art. He gladly accepted, but didn't think it a big deal. 69 years later, his grandson was helping him clean out his home in upstate New York. He had long since forgotten that he had the 2 Kirby pages, and when the grandson found them, he gave them to the grandson as a gift. Neither realized exactly what they were or who the artist was. That brings us to this auction. The back of the other Kirby page that's up for auction now, ending 5 minutes before this page, shows the Lewis Artists' Materials store logo on the back of the illustration board. The back of both boards also shows the Timely Comics, inc. stamp.

We couldn't find a definitive answer on who inked this page. The possibilities are Syd Shores, Al Avison, Al Gabriele, or Kirby himself. We saw reports which said that Kirby's normal procedure was to give the pencilled pages to one of those 3, then apply finishing touches or make corrections himself.

Below are a large number of scans and photographs, of various sizes. There are probably more than necessary, but we thought we'd show them all anyway. Take your time. Overall, this page is in excellent condition – only minor blunting at the corners but no creases and no marks to the image area other than those made by Kirby or the Timely production staff. The color is excellent, only very minor soiling near the edges. Check the scans below. The board measures a huge 15" X 20", the image area measures 13 1/2" X 18 1/2".

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