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Original Art for 1st Flash Gordon Strip to Auction

Well, this oughta bring a buck or two.

The original art for the January 7, 1934 debut of Flash Gordon by Alex Raymond
has come to light and will be offered for auction by Profiles in History.

From Just Collecting news:

The first-ever Flash Gordon comic strip drawn by Alex Raymond in 1933 is heading for auction, having been rediscovered after more than 80 years.

Raymond’s original artwork for Flash Gordon #1 has been described as “the greatest find in comic art history”, and could sell for more than half a million dollars at Profiles in History next month.

I’d think that “more half million dollars” estimate is really lowballing it.

 

More from Just Collecting (the Profiles in History site is inaccessible at this time):

Flash Gordon remains one of the most famous and influential works in science fiction history, and inspired generations of artists and writers including George Lucas (Star Wars) and Gene Rodenberry (Star Trek).

The result was a Flash Gordon, a “Yale graduate and world-renowned polo player” who becomes an intergalactic hero battling the evil emperor Ming the Merciless.

Raymond was one of the finest comic strip illustrators of his era, and his superior artwork (combined with ghostwriter Don Moore’s storylines) meant Flash Gordon quickly outshone his space rival Rogers.

In the first episode of the story, published on January 7, 1934, the Earth is threatened by a “strange new planet” headed on a direct collision course and people across the world await their fate.

 

Details at icollector:

Alex Raymond original Sunday comic strip artwork for Flash Gordon #1 – the origin and first appearance of arguably the greatest and most influential of all American adventure comic strips. (1933, King Features Syndicate, Inc.; published January 7, 1934). Accomplished in pencil and ink on 28.25 x 23 in. illustration board. Signed “”Alexander Raymond”” beside “”No 1″” in the lower left panel.

Expected uniform tanning with slight stains. Minor paper loss and chipping on edges and 2.5- and 1-inch edge separations with tape repair on verso. A sublime example of 87-year-old commercial artwork that presents beautifully. $400,000 – $600,000

The bidding starts at $400,000.00

 

Also going up for auction is the Flash Gordon topper strip Jungle Jim of the same date.

Details (also from icollector):

Alex Raymond original Sunday comic strip artwork for Jungle Jim #1 – the origin and first appearance of the popular jungle adventure. (1933, King Features Syndicate, Inc.; published January 7, 1934). Accomplished in pencil and ink on 28.25 x 13.25 in. illustration board. In the bottom center panel marked “”No 1″” in ink. On left and right margins marked “”No. 1″” and “”#1″” on top in blue pencil.

Expected uniform tanning with two stains present on a single panel (not affecting image of the tiger); tape affixed on verso along perimeter. An extraordinary example of 87-year-old commercial artwork that presents beautifully.

 

It will be offered by Profiles in History in California on March 31 with an estimate of $400,000 – $600,000, but given the historic nature of the strip it could fetch an even higher price.

 

UPDATE

Finally able to get through to the Profiles in History site where they explain the provenance:

Recently, we were contacted by a client whose late husband was a life-long collector, attending comic and science fiction conventions going back to the 1960s.While reviewing the various artifacts her husband had amassed, she mentioned in passing that she had something framed on her wall having to do with the old Flash Gordon comic strips.When she sent detailed images of the piece, we couldn’t believe our eyes…it was the original artwork for the very first issue of Flash Gordon, replete with “No 1” handwritten beside comic legend Alex Raymond’s signature!Here it was, after 87 years of casting an indelible shadow of influence on science fiction and pop culture.

This seminal artwork remains an icon among icons, and we very proudly offer this alongside its original companion piece that launched simultaneously as a “topper” above Flash in the Sunday comics on January 7, 1934: Alex Raymond’s artwork for Jungle Jim #1 – the popular jungle adventure strip!This visionary collector was able to secure the origin and first appearance issues for both characters!

Additionally:

Lastly, two additional Alex Raymond artworks were discovered, both created for the wartime issue of LOOK Magazine published October 20, 1942.The article, entitled, “The Creator of Flash Gordon Envisions the War’s End”, features artwork depicting futuristic warplanes bombing the “Axis octopus”, as well as a vision of peace showing images of Flash Gordon and Dale Arden (with a “cloud city” in the background!) holding the torch of freedom above a war-torn landscape.

 

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