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Decades after helping redefine comics with properties such as The Dark Knight Returns and Sin City, Frank Miller has put his stamp on another form of media. The writer-artist has set an NFT record for comic book art, with a Sin City piece selling at auction for $840,000 Thursday.
I Love You, Nancy Callahan is a one-of-one piece animated with sound using original comic book panels that depict the death of Det. Hartigan, the character played by Bruce Willis in the 2005 film adaptation. The auction took place over 24 hours and culminated in a three-way bidding war that saw the price leap from $435,000 to $591,000, and then from $800,000 to the final price of $840,986.16. The auction, held in partnership with OpenSea, was completed with Gala Coin.
“I am so honored to see the fans of mine, of Marv, of Sin City participating in this new world. One thing you never get making comics is the three-dimensionality [of NFTs],” Miller said in a statement. “It is something that you aspire to when you’re drawing, but to really see things form and move like in I Love You, Nancy Callahan, it’s really wonderful.”
The Sin City NFT is now the most expensive piece of Miller art ever sold. However, it is not considered the most valuable piece of Miller art. That distinction belongs to a The Dark Knight Returns cover featuring a lightning bolt that is valued in the $1.3 million to $1.6 million range, though it is not currently for sale. A decade ago, a splash page featuring Batman and Robin from The Dark Knight Returns No. 3 sold for $448,000, which was at the time the most expensive original American comic art ever sold.
Miller created 10 Sin City NFTs for the new auction, with the items revealed Sept. 29. He partnered with Gala Labs and Concept Art House for the sale. One creation, a 3D crystal sculpture of Marv, is still up for grabs, with a total of 1,000 made.
“Gala Labs is delighted to provide a trusted and fortified platform for partners interested in pushing technology and pop culture to the creative horizon and we couldn’t be prouder of the team of people that brought this project to life,” said James Olden, chief strategy officer for Gala Labs.
“It’s been a pleasure to collaborate with Frank Miller,” added Penni Johnson, director of business development for Concept Art House. “It’s inspiring to see how he adapted so quickly to this new digital space and how he worked with the team to bring his vision to NFTs.”
The auction comes seven months after NFTs burst into the comic book consciousness, when former DC artist José Delbo sold $1.85 million worth of NFT art featuring Wonder Woman, prompting both DC and Marvel to warn artists against selling NFTs featuring their IP.
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