Frank Frazetta’s 1969 fantasy painting entitled Egyptian Queen sold for $5.4 million on Thursday May 16th at a public auction of vintage comic books and comic art held by Heritage Auctions in Chicago, Illinois, setting a new record for any piece of comic-related art.
The Egyptian Queen originally appeared as the cover for Eerie #23 (1969) and the artist subsequently reprinted the painting as a poster and print (and it has been hanging on comic shop walls and dorm rooms ever since). The painting’s price beat Frazetta’s previous record holder, the $1.79 million dollar painting, Death Dealer 6, 1990, which was sold by Heritage in May of 2018.
One aspect that separates the original painting from the Eerie cover, and other reproductions, is the face of the queen, which is different in the cover and poster. Frazetta was interviewed in The Comics Journal #174 (February 1995), and said, “I’ll never forget, The Egyptian Queen. I got that whole painting done, in about a day and a half, and I looked at it. It was done as far as I was concerned. Then I looked at her face, and I didn’t like it […] so I finally just settled for any face, and brought it in, and they printed it that way, and then I forgot about it. So, a couple of months later I get it back; now I was fresh again. And I just looked at it and ‘Pow!’ I whacked in the face you see in all the prints.”
According to DowntheTubes.net, “The painting has been in the possession of Frazetta’s family ever since it was created 50 years ago, and Thursday was the first time it was made available for private ownership in Heritage Auctions’ Comics & Comic Art Auction.”
Heritage Auctions Vice President Todd Hignite was naturally ecstatic about the sale, saying that “This result elevates Frank Frazetta’s art into the stratosphere of visual narrative art on a par with the likes of Norman Rockwell, Maxfield Parrish and other luminaries.”