Todd McFarlane's Spider-Man #328 cover art set a new world record last night (July 26) in the highly anticipated Heritage Auctions Vintage Comics & Comic Art Signature Auction in Beverly Hills.
The fantastic piece - in which Spidey demonstrates his strength against the Hulk - now stands as the most valuable piece of American comic art ever sold at auction, after realising an impressive $657,250.
"This is an earth-trembling cover illustration and an equally magnificent price," commented Heritage Auctions' vice president Todd Hignite. "McFarlane's art brims with the raw energy that sky-rocketed McFarlane to the top of the industry and, now, the top of the auction world."
The current world record for a piece of original comic book cover art stands with Hergé's Tintin in America which sold for $1.6m in June this year at a French auction.
In 1990, at the height of his popularity, Todd McFarlane had just come off a run on the Amazing Spider-Man series, in which he gave the hero an exciting new look. The announcement that McFarlane would be both providing the artwork for, and writing the latest instalment, known simply as Spider-Man, was understandably met with much excitement from comic book collectors.
When McFarlane's first issue from the new series hit the shelves it instantly became the single best-selling comic book of all time, with the initial run totalling 2.3m copies. The original artwork from this issue was expected to highlight the first day of sales at Heritage, but trailed behind #328 at $358,500.
Both pieces of cover art originate from the Shamus Modern Masterworks Collection, which was compiled by Long Island comic shop owner Martin Shamus. Also featuring was the renowned Doug Schmell collection of Marvel Silver Age comics, which saw its X-Men #1 Pacific Coast pedigree - graded NM/MT 9.8 - sell for $492,250 as the highest-graded example in existence.
The monumental sale will close on July 28 and looks on track to realise its $9m target - at which point it will become the highest-selling comic book auction ever held. Paul Fraser Collectibles will be bringing you the results in the coming days, so be sure to check back with us regularly.
See our stunning range of investment-grade comic and illustration art here.