As part of a recent auction for comic books and original artwork at Heritage Auctions, the cover of the first issue of The Dark Knight Returns, penciled by Frank Miller and colored by Lynn Varley, sold for $2.4 million. This is the most expensive Batman-related comic media ever sold to date, beating out the previous record holder of a copy of Batman #1, which sold for $2.22 million in 2021. The highest priced DC Comics original art up until now was Neal Adams’ artwork for the classic cover of Batman #251, which sold for $600,000 in 2019.
“We’re thrilled to see Frank Miller and Lynn Varley’s influential work reach a level often associated with classic American art,” says Heritage Auctions Vice President Todd Hignite. “It deserves that, as this is easily one of the most famous comic-book covers from any era, and it defined the superhero genre from the 1980s to this very moment. I can’t think of a more important piece of comic art to have ever come to auction.”
Other notable Batman art sold at the auction include Jim Lee’s triple-gatefold allies cover for the Hush finale in Batman #619 for $504,000 and Mike Mignola’s cover for Death in the Family Part 3 in Batman #428 for $228,000.
See Frank Miller talk about the inspiration and process of creating the iconic cover in an interview with Heritage Auctions below: