Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice

Search Press Release Archive

Press Release - September 23, 2002

Heritage to Auction Historic Robert Crumb Art, and other Underground Comix Treasures

Dallas, Texas - As part of a $5 million Signature auction, taking place October 10-13 at the Dallas Comicon, Heritage will auction several important pieces of original art and early comics by Robert Crumb, the only comic book artist collected by the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The most significant piece in the auction is the original complete 10-Page Story plus cover art for R. Crumb's Comics and Stories #1, the very first drawn story of Fritz the Cat (Rip-Off Press, dated April, 1964, first published in 1969). Image: It is described as follows:

“We would sprain a simile trying to describe the importance of this lot. Robert Crumb is one of the most significant comic book artists ever and his art is collected by sophisticated art collectors and institutions world-wide. We are offering the original art to the very first story (pencils and inks) that Crumb drew featuring his most famous creation, Fritz the Cat. Crumb used Fritz in countless comic book stories, chronicling the satiric adventures of the randy feline traveling through the social upheaval of the sixties. In 1972, Ralph Bakshi based the first X-rated animated feature, "Fritz the Cat" on Crumb's creation. At first glance this lot looks to be just three nice copies of an early underground, but when you open up the worst-looking comic and examine the pages you realize that it is the complete original art for this seminal masterpiece! Crumb drew this Fritz story back in 1964 just for himself and then later decided to publish it. The story shows Fritz the Cat coming home to his family, after being away for years, and getting frisky with his sister. The spine of this special copy is partially split and there are small stains and fingerprints on the cover. The interior pages are much cleaner with only a few small light stains in the margins. Crumb inked this with a very fine pen giving the art a distinctive scratchy look compared to his later, but earlier-published, work. The art has been authenticated by art historian Alexander Acevedo of New York's Alexander Gallery, and a letter attesting to this authentication is included herein. Given the importance of this piece, it seems almost superfluous to mention that this lot also includes a first and second printing of the comic book, but these are highly collectible in their own right. The first printing is a VF 8.0 only because of a light layer of dust rubbed onto parts of the cover. The second printing is a 9.0 VF/NM due to a light bend in the upper right corner and a couple light spine stresses. Is there any more important work by Crumb than this lot, his earliest known complete comic book art and the first comic book incarnation of Fritz? In 1996 Sotheby's sold a 1968 ten-page Fritz the Cat story for $36,800. Overall size is approximately 5.5"x 8.5". Image size is approximately 4.5" x 7.5".” This very historic group is expected to realize at least $30,000

Another classic in the auction is the Original Cover for Arcade #1 (Print Mint/1975).
Image: Here is the description:

“Uplifting entertainment from an artist synonymous with the Underground art movement, Robert Crumb. This is the original cover art to Arcade, the Comics Revue, which was edited by Art Spiegelman with appearances by Deitch, Green, Griffith, Moscoso, Spiegelman and Spain. A forerunner to the "ground-level" comics movement, this issue represents some of the biggest names in the Underground scene. Crumb's pen and ink tour-de-farce is a rich cavalcade of characters and movement all set before an amusement park. A classic Amazonian Crumb beauty is the central theme that all the insanity revolves around and she is a Crumb archetype with her thick legs and bottom. The Arcade logo is hand-lettered along with an overlay with "No. 1, $1.25" and "Spring 1975" hand-lettered. Art size is approximately 11" x 13". Signed by Crumb.” Estimate: $12,000-up

Additionally, Heritage is offering an archetypical complete original 3-page story from Snatch Comics entitled Backwater Blues (circa 1970). Image: It is described as follows:

"Robert Crumb has a world-wide reputation among modern art collectors. This genius, and we don't use the word lightly, almost always works alone, doing the penciling, inking, and lettering of every page he does. This allows him to produce completely singular work that is the brutal, direct, and uncompromising channeling of his subconscious. Crumb speaks to the dreams, fears, prejudices, and nightmares that lurk in the dark corners of the collective mind. This story, from an unknown issue of Snatch, featuring two of his continuing characters Angelfood McDevilsfood and Mr. Snoid, is a outrageous example of his work. One hundred percent politically incorrect, you find yourself alternately laughing at and appalled by the story, reflecting on it long after you've read it. The art and story work together so seamlessly that, at first, you may not fully appreciate the art. Crumb's big-foot cartoon style with its detailed cross-hatching is extremely pleasing to the eye. If you are looking for that "killer" Crumb piece, this is it. Art is very clean with no white-out or markings. Overall size is approximately 11"x 14". Image size is approximately 8" x 12". Estimate: $12,000-up

Also up for auction is a small selection of original art pages by Crumb and other underground artists, as well as file copies of Zap Comix #0, 1, and 2.

Images and online bidding may be accessed at Heritage’s web site,

Heritage membership

Join Now - It's Free

  1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
  2. Bid online
  3. Free Collector newsletter
  4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
  5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
Consign now
  • Cash Advances
  • More Bidders
  • Trusted Experts
  • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
Only 28 days left to consign to the 2022 January 13 - 14 Comics & Comic Art Signature® Auction !

Learn about consigning with us

Jared, you and Heritage treated me more than just regarded my comic book pages with more than admiration.
Dick and Lindy Ayers
View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source: