Master Race makes impact at US comic auction

Raising around $11m including premiums, a November 15-17 comics and comic art sale held by Heritage Auctions (20% buyer’s premium) in Dallas included many of the usual super-hero star turns – but this time the big seller was something rather different.

Extracted from Antiques Trade Gazette | Ian McKay

A page from Bernie Krigstein’s 1955 artwork for Master Race, sold at $500,000 (£390,625) by Heritage.

Acquired at $500,000 (£390,625) by the newly created, Belgian-based Philippe Boon Foundation for Narrative Graphic Arts was the original eight-page artwork for Master Race. This was a feature that appeared in Impact #1, a short-lived EC publication of 1955.

Presenting “…the first major representation of the Holocaust in the history of graphic narrative…, Master Race is one of the world masterworks” of that genre, said Daniel Spindler of the Boon Foundation after the sale.

It features a former Nazi death camp commandant who had managed to elude justice until being spotted 10 years later riding the New York Subway. Master Race has also been called the Citizen Kane of comic books and looks at the effects of Nazi concentration camp atrocities on those who survived them.

Bernie Krigstein’s artwork is said to have influenced the comic genre for more than 60 years, while his invention of “…mirroring previous panels and layouts from one page to another became an iconic template for both mainstream and underground cartoonists for many decades to come”.

A short video clip about the lot can be found on the Heritage website.

Among the more familiar comic high flyers in Dallas was a 9.2 rated copy of the 1962, first issue of Marvel’s The Incredible Hulk at a record $280,000 (£218,750).