Up for Sale: Pop Culture Mementos

Up for Sale: Pop Culture Mementos


If you’d like some comic book art, TV artifacts, or a little something from the movies, this may be your month as an array of pop culture memorabilia is coming to auction. The collectibles include original comics pages drawn by Steve Ditko and Will Eisner; television items like the frightening warrior doll from “Trilogy of Terror” and a jacket worn by the Fonz on “Happy Days”; and film props that include a motorcycle ridden by Tom Cruise in “Mission Impossible 2” and boxing trunks, stained with theatrical blood, worn by Sylvester Stallone in “Rocky III.”

These are part of three sales organized by Profiles in History, an auction house in Calabasas, Calif. The comic art is part of a sale called “The Property of a Distinguished Collector,” which is up for bids on Thursday, Dec. 12. The TV memorabilia and film collectibles are in “The Azarian Collection,” to be sold on Dec. 17; and “Hollywood: A Collector’s Random,” will be auctioned Dec. 17-19.

There are a vast number of items available and some six-figure closing-price estimates that are not for the faint of heart. These nine lots fall into three price groups: affordable, aspirational and astronomical.

This set of four promotional photographs offer a glimpse into the early days of “Star Trek.” Captain Kirk (William Shatner) is comforted by Shahna (Angelique Pettyjohn) in a scene from “Gamesters of Triskelion,” while Marta (Yvonne Craig) puts on a seductive dance in “Whom Gods Destroy.” The set also includes portraits of Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) and Sulu (George Takei). Estimate: $200-$300.

Moviegoers were introduced to a cinematic Marvel universe with “Iron Man” in 2008. But comic book fans were treated to action-movie-like spectacle in The Ultimates, a 2002 comic book series that reintroduced the Avengers to a modern audience. The comic was also the first to depict Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury. The Ultimates were led by Captain America, who in this four-page set drawn by Bryan Hitch and Paul Neary, is shown in a 1944 battle against Nazis on a moving train. Estimate: $300-$500.

The reviews were not kind to 1997’s “Batman and Robin,” which Janet Maslin described in The Times as “a wild, campy costume party of a movie,” but it did give us the first live-action film portrayal of Batgirl as played by Alicia Silverstone. She wears her own version of the cape and cowl to help the dynamic duo bring down Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy. Her arsenal included a motorcycle and her own batarang. Estimate: $1,000-$1,500.

The green and malleable Gumby made his television debut in 1955 and has maintained a fairly regular stop-motion presence in the public’s consciousness. His original TV series ran for two seasons and he and Pokey, his horse sidekick, returned as a musical duo in a 1988 series and were featured in a 1995 film. These figures were made by Art Clokey, Gumby’s creator, and are poseable. Estimate: $2,000-$3,000.

The X-Men leapt from comics to films in 2000 with “X-Men,” the start of a movie franchise. The first installment eschewed the skintight and brightly colored comic-book costumes for black leather, which the film comments on. “You actually go outside in these things?” asks a fidgety Wolverine (Hugh Jackman). “What would you prefer? Yellow spandex?” quips Cyclops (James Marsden), whose deadly optic blasts can only be contained by his visor. Estimate: $5,000-$7,000.

In November 2020, The Eternals, a group of immortals, will become part of the Marvel film universe. The godlike beings were created by Jack Kirby and premiered in 1976. These 17 complete pages are from Issue No. 2. They include a double-page spread and several full-page images, all individually autographed, that highlight the boldness of Kirby’s art and his larger-than-life characters. Estimate: $40,000-$60,000.

There is an embarrassment of delights up for sale from the campy “Batman” series, which ran from 1966 to 1968. There are his-and-his batarangs (Batman’s, beginning at $20,000; Robin’s at $18,000), hers-and-hers Catwoman suits (worn by Lee Meriwether and Eartha Kitt, both starting at $6,000) and the Shakespeare’s bust (starting at $40,000) that concealed a switch to open a secret panel that led to the batcave. At the top of the market are these caped crusader costumes worn by Adam West and Burt Ward. Estimate: $150,000-$200,000.

And the Oscar goes to … the highest bidder for this Academy Award, which the screenwriter Robert Riskin earned for “It Happened One Night.” The Times review by Mordaunt Hall said the film was “a good piece of fiction, which, with all its feverish stunts, is blessed with bright dialogue and a good quota of relatively restrained scenes.” The statute is 12 inches tall. Estimate: $150,000-$250,000.

The artist Bernie Wrightson, who died in 2017, was known for his detailed depictions of horror. He was, with the writer Len Wein, the co-creator of Swamp Thing, a bog monster brought to tragic life in a chemical explosion. One of his best-regarded works is his 1983 comic book adaptation of Mary Shelley’s classic, “Frankenstein.” This spread shows the monster confronting his maker in a laboratory so overstuffed with beakers, skulls and other paraphernalia, that it is easy to miss the skeletal woman who has been abandoned on the table. Estimate: $750,000-$1 million.



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