Back-Issue Roundup: Original Art of Wolverine’s First Appearance Nets $657,000

The original art for Wolverine’s first appearance, drawn by Herb Trimpe and Jack Able, sold at Heritage Auctions for $657,250 to an anonymous collector. Trimpe gave the page to then-teenager as a souvenir back in 1983 and it had been unseen since that time until it reappeared for this auction.

It’s happened again! With a new X-men film opening in theaters everywhere this weekend, prices on X-Men back issues have gone completely and utterly insane. As several new characters join the X-Men’s movie roster, comic fans have been devouring (not literally) key issues, such as:

• Uncanny X-Men #317, the first appearance of Blink (selling for upwards of $85 in CGC 9.8);
• Uncanny X-Men #282, the first appearance of Bishop (selling for upwards of $65 in CGC 9.8);
• New Mutants #87, the first appearance of Cable (selling for well over $200 in CGC 9.8).

Before the announcement of their big screen debuts, Blink and Bishop’s first-appearance comics were selling for less than $10, although Cable’s first appearance has been hot for a while. But these are just the appetizer: the big story is the old Canuknuckle-head himself, Wolverine, who once again steals the spotlight.

Last Friday the original art page of Wolverine’s first appearance from The Incredible Hulk #180 (Marvel, 1974) sold at Heritage Auctions for $657,250 to an anonymous collector. The sale ties this page for the highest price paid for a single piece of American comic art. The other being Todd McFarlane’s cover art for Amazing Spider-Man #328, which sold for the same, exact amount in 2012.

Herb Trimpe and Jack Able drew the final page of Incredible Hulk #181, which features Wolvie interrupting a fight between the Hulk and the Wendigo. The page was given to fan as a gift in 1983 and only surfaced again with this auction. The seller is donating a portion of the sale to the Hero Initiative—which seeks to offer a financial safety net for comic creators who may need emergency medical aid, financial support for essentials of life, and an avenue back into paying work—in honor of Trimpe’s generosity.

The Incredible Hulk #180 (Marvel, 1974).

The colored final page from The Incredible Hulk #180, showing Wolverine in all his cranky beauty.

Wolverine’s first full appearance was in Incredible Hulk #181 (Marvel, 1974) and is one of the most sought-after comics of the Silver-Age. The feisty mutant joined the X-Men in 1975 in the pages of Giant-Size X-Men #1 and would go on to become one of the most iconic and recognized X-Men.


Matt Baum is WorthPoint’s comic book Worthologist. If you have any questions about these books or anything else in the comic book world feel free to contact Matt or post your question below in the comments section below. If you need more comic-nerd in your life, you can follow Matt on Twitter, where he’s always screaming about something nerd-related. Thanks to all Matt’s new followers and keep the comments coming!

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