Even 36 years later, “The Dark Knight Returns” #1 arguably remains the most important comic ever made. While the book didn’t invent the gritty superheroes genre, it did create a template that is still wildly influential. Frank Miller and Lynn Varley‘s visual style helped defined Batman for years. It also helped inspired the look of Tim Burton‘s “Batman,” which would forever change what superheroes looked like on screen. It proved audiences were willing to take these characters seriously. The original cover art for this iconic comic is currently up for auction, and is sitting at $1.8 million (updated from $1.5 million this morning).
The piece sold for $2.4 million.
You can put a bid to own the actual cover art of “The Dark Knight Returns” issue 1. Heritage Auctions is handling the process, and has all the details about the piece. The art itself is not that large. It is only a 12×18 Bristol board that has some light bending and scuff marks. The piece is striking, but what you are really buying is the history.
It really cannot be overstated how just the cover art changed how superheroes were framed for years to come. The influence of the lightning bolt cover would last well into the present day. Zach Snyder all but copied the image wholesale for “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.”
Along with details of the auction, there is also an interview with Frank Miller where he talks about the making of the cover. Miller explains how he took his weakness in drawing realistic figures and turned it into an unforgettable silhouette. You can also see an extended version of the interview below.
Even if you don’t have a couple million burning a hole in your pocket, you should still check out the listing. The auction ends on June 15th, 2022. We’ll let you know what it goes for.