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Comic book creator Rob Liefeld is auctioning up a piece of Deadpool history. Starting Thursday, Liefeld and Heritage Auctions are offering two drawings that have been locked away in Liefeld’s personal collection for more than 30 years.
They are sketches for pages 14 and 15 of New Mutants No. 98, the 1990 issue that introduced Deadpool to the world, and they represent the first drawings of the character ever. The only earlier art featuring Deadpool were character sheets Liefeld created as he worked out the anti-hero’s final look to get approval from Marvel. The sketches represent how Liefeld still creates comics; he draws mini versions of an issue before expanding the pages to 11 inches by 17 inches and inking them.
Liefeld has watched over the years as the market for comic book art has become hotter than ever. Yet he has been disappointed that noteworthy artwork he created hasn’t surfaced in such auctions, not even after Deadpool became even more popular thanks to the 2016 film starring Ryan Reynolds and the 2018 sequel. A third installment, co-starring Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, is set for 2024.
“They call them black hole collections,” Liefeld tells The Hollywood Reporter, referring to private collections whose owners who acquire art, with it never to be seen again. “My covers don’t come up for auction.”
Liefeld says no one knows where some of his signature work is. He hopes the auction will bring other art featuring the Merc with the Mouth out of the woodwork.
“Between X-Force and New Mutants, that incredible, some would say peak, period for me, I did 26 covers. Not a single of them has come up for auction,” notes Liefeld, whose work on X-Force No. 1 featuring Deadpool sold 5 million copies.
During the age of covid, original art and comic books have been going for record rates. Liefeld hopes by offering up this art, it could both raise the value of the hundreds of pieces of art he owns, and encourage owners of those “black hole collections” to consider opening the vaults.
“Sitting on everything doesn’t help the value and the legacy of the art,” he says of opening his own vault. “Eventually you have to release it.”
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