At the end of March, Heritage Auction Galleries invited some of us to walk across Oak Lawn to take a long, hard look at a never-before-offered original Frank Miller splash page from 1986's The Dark Knight Returns, among The Greatest Batman Stories Ever told and, along with Watchmen, the comic that made the funny papers safe for grown-ups. At the time, Barry Sandoval, director of operations for Heritage's Comics operations, guesstimated that the piece would sell for $100,000 -- "easily" -- which, right there, would have been the most ever paid for a piece of original artwork from a comic book.
So. Late last night, Heritage public relations director Noah Fleisher emailed: "Thought you might like to see this. The Dark Knight art sold for $448,125 today. It is the most ever paid for a piece of American comic art. Amazing!" He sends a link to Bleeding Cool, which tracks such things and says the previous record was for this Spider-Man art -- which sold in December for a paltry $88,500. Even the wife, the art history major, was impressed: When I showed her the final bid -- out of 15 Internet and phone bidders -- she said, "For a living artist? And a comic book?!"