How To Buy A Piece Of Comic Art

Finding the Right Comic Book Art for You

Young man reading comic in comic book store
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Introduction to Comic Book Art

A comic book collector can have a lot of different comic based things in their collection besides comics, but the pinnacle of any collection is to have an original piece of comic book art. Buying comic art is a huge step, and with some help, you can come away with a real gem to show off to friends and family, as well as having an investment for the future. Here are some simple steps that will make the daunting task of purchasing comic book art much simpler.

Set Your Budget

It is important to think about how much you are willing to spend.
If you don’t, you can get into a situation, as in an auction, where the excitement of winning the item overpowers your spending sense. Setting a firm budget for yourself will help you not to overpay for items you can’t afford or aren’t worth it.

Setting a budget is also important since this will help narrow down what you are able to buy. Art such as a sketch or art done for a card won’t usually cost much. In some instances it can be as little as twenty dollars. On the other hand, a cover of a classic comic book from a legendary artist like Jack Kirby can easily go for thousands of dollars. Set your budget and stick to it.

Understanding Comic Book Art

  • Sketch/Card Art
    This is the least inexpensive kind of art that is out there. You can often get artists to do a sketch for you at a convention or appearance. You can also buy the art that is done for trading cards. This will be smaller and in the instance of sketches, the art quality won’t be as polished as it would be for an actual comic. But getting a nice sketch from your favorite artist of your favorite character is still a very prized piece.
  • Page/Panel Art
    Page art or "Panel" art is an actual page of a comic book. A more mundane scene of the character will be much less than an action scene or just with the character in costume. These can be a great way to get into comic book art as they can easily have your favorite hero on the page, but at a fraction of the cost of the cover page.
  • Splash Page
    A splash page is a page in the comic book where the character takes up the entire page. They can be one or two pages and are usually reserved for very action orientated scenes. These pages are much more sought after than the regular page art and are therefore much more expensive.
  • Cover Page
    This is the cover of the comic book. Cover pages can demand the best price since they are usually very dramatic, have the main character, and take up the whole area. Cover pages are the most expensive comic art, but are also the most prized since the cover is the public face of the comic book and is something that many people will recognize.

    Knowing the Price Breaks

    There are many factors that will determine the price of a piece of original comic art. The kind of art is the first factor (see Step 3 - Understand Comic Book Art). The popularity of the character is another. Wolverine will sell for a much higher price than Wonder Man.

    The artist is another huge factor in how much a piece of art will be. As mentioned before, a piece of art from Jack Kirby, such as a panel page from Fantastic Four #10, with just some images of Dr. Doom on it, sold for over $6000. A great scene from Captain America #4, by John Cassaday, will set you back only $350. So just know that the more famous the artist is, the more money it will cost.

    The last major factor in calculating price jumps is the age of the art. Some of the reason why Jack Kirby’s art is so valuable is that he passed away in 1994. We will never get any more beautiful art from him. The older the comic art is, in general, the more it will cost. Just keep that in mind.

  • Finding Comic Book Art

    There are many quality establishments that deal in comic book art. Doing a search on the subject in Google will bring back many sites to choose from. One good resource is the list of sites at the beginning of the Comic Book Art page on this site.

    Some artists also offer their art for sale at their personal websites. In any event, to be safe, see if they offer certificates of authenticity.

    Another suggestion is to check them out with the Better Business Bureau. You can even ask around at your local comic shop to see if they know someone. But a great classic piece of advice is always, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

    Protecting your Purchase

    Once you have purchased the art, the most important thing to do is to protect it. You can squirrel it away in a vault someplace, but that’s not necessarily the point in owning art, isn’t it? You want to display it, but take these precautions:
    • Avoid direct sunlight
    • Have it professionally framed with acid free matting or purchase an art protection alternative
    • Keep it in a cool and dry place
    • Make sure that it is securely attached to the wall
    • For art that is very expensive, consider an alarm system or insurance


    As you can see, buying a piece of original comic book art is no quick task. There are many items to consider to ensure that your artwork is preserved and protected. But it is just like buying any piece of original art. The more you research and the more you know, the better off you will be.

    Just remember these things:

    • Make a budget – Don’t overspend or you may regret it later.
    • Know the art – Find that art that you like the best.
    • Remember the price jumps – You may need to settle for a piece that is in your reach and work your way up.
    • Find the art – Research, question, and wait. Make a wise and informed decision.
    • Protect your treasure – Keep it safe and protected from the elements and theft.

    Following these guides will make your purchase one that you can enjoy and be proud of. There is little better for a collector to have something that is from the original creator, especially if it is of your favorite comic book character. Give me a Jack Kirby or Steve Ditko over Picasso any day…well…maybe.