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1986 Dark Knight graphic novel cover art could fetch $500k

July 8, 2013
Remember how popular that ripped "punk" look was in the 1980s? Click the image to enlarge it.

Remember how popular that ripped “punk” look was in the 80s? Click the image to enlarge it.

Dark Knight Returns number 2 cover

The actual cover, coloured by Lynn Varley. Click image to enlarge.

The original cover art for the 1986 “comic” Dark Knight Returns #2 is up for auction, and could reportedly command upwards of $500,000 US. The black and white illustration by writer/artist Frank Miller, depicts Miller’s conception of an older Batman of a near future who has come out of retirement to try and stem the chaos of crime which has engulfed Gotham City.

The four issue Dark Knight Returns mini series was one of the first high production value comics, or “graphic novels,” aimed at the new speciality comic book stores. It was Frank Miller’s second one for DC Comics, following the success of his Ronin mini series. Miller had come to DC from Marvel, where he’d done a remarkable turn as the writer and artist of the Daredevil title, infusing the comic with a film-noir sensibility — adding popular new characters like Elektra, and revitalizing old ones like the Kingpin.

The Dark Knight Returns was a commercial and critical success. Together with another DC mini series, The Watchmen (1986-1987), it signalled the advent, in North America, of comic books for adults — of the awfully-named graphic novel. For the Batman franchise, it meant a vital new source of creative energy, which has fueled all the Batman films, from Tim Buton’s 1989 film through Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. None of these films actually use any plot elements from Miller’s mini series, but it still informs all of them. The Superman franchise has nothing like it, and they can stop making “reboot” films any time now — please.

DC Comics animation has done an animated version of the Dark Knight Returns.

From → Art, Comics

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