Insane Nonsense in the Original Art Market

So this happened…

From Eric Diaz at The Nerdist:

Penciller Mike Zeck’s artwork for page 25 of Marvel’s classic event series Secret Wars’s eighth issue features the [first appearance origin] of Spider-Man’s black suit. This costume, which was really a living alien symbiote, would eventually bond with a certain reporter named Eddie Brock, and become Venom.

From Mark Seifert at Bleeding Cool:

This just might be the most shocking auction result I’ve ever witnessed (and that’s saying something):  The original artwork for story page 25 of Secret Wars #8, the interior page which serves as the origin of Spider-Man’s symbiotic black costume, has just sold for an incredible $3,360,000 at Heritage Auctions.  Spider-Man’s black costume was originally revealed in Amazing Spider-Man #252 (cover-dated May 1984), but with little explanation or backstory.  The events that explained the change happened in Secret Wars #8 (cover-dated Dec 1984).

Now I like Mike Zeck comic art. I followed him since the Rocket’s Blast ComicCollector fanzine and Charlton. Was happy for him when he got the wider exposure (and better pay rates) by moving to Marvel doing Shang Chi, The Punisher, and especially Kraven’s Last Hunt. But there is no way this standard page is worth $3.36 million, it’s not even close to Mike’s best.They don’t even know who inked it (my guess is Mike Esposito).

Again from Mark Seifert/Bleeding Cool:

The page is credited by Heritage as by Mike Zeck “and others”, as inkers John Beatty, Jack Abel, and Mike Esposito all worked on this issue, and it is unclear which among them worked on this page.

A different Bleeding Cool report by Rich Johnston:

Is there any chance it was Mike Zeck who sold it? Sadly not. Mike Zeck tweeted “I’ll dash that hope… Not me. If you see any of my original art at auction, you can be 100% certain I’m not the seller.”

John Beatty: HUGE congrats to @MikeZeck for setting the NEW record for an interior page. From Secret Wars #8.
Winning bid w/premium 3.6M!!! @HeritageAuction I didn’t ink this page but Zeck did do the pencil layouts for the book.

That same auction saw a decent copy of Action Comics #1 go for $3.1 million.

From Heritage Auctions:

Moments later, the Dallas-based auction house sold one of the few surviving copies of Action Comics No. 1 for $3,180,000. That makes this CGC Fine 6.0 copy of Superman’s debut the second-most-expensive comic ever offered by the auction house, behind only the finest-known copy of Spider-Man’s first web-sling through Amazing Fantasy No. 15, which sold for $3.6 million last year to become the world’s most valuable comic book sold at auction.

Details are sparse so naturally social media is rife with theories – from money laundering to cryptocurrency exchanges. Whatever. This is insane when originals by comic art masters like Winsor McCay, Alex Raymond, Bill Watterson, Noel Sickles, you name ’em, are selling for a fraction of this.