Heritage Auctions is selling the original art of Page #1, Issue #1 of WATCHMEN. You know, the “Call me Ishmael” of comics. “Dog carcass in alley this morning, tire tread on burst stomach. This city is afraid of me. I have seen its true face.”
The page is being sold by English designer, musician, DJ and TV host Stephen “Krusher” Joule, known for his work on albums by Iron Maiden, Ozzy Osbourne, Black Sabbath, Motley Crue, AC/DC, Deep Purple, Robert Plant and Motorhead, and a long stint as Art Director at Kerrang! Magazine. He purchased it from a comics shop for about $180 — it is expected to sell for more than $15,000.
“Sometime in late 1987 I was walking off an absolutely horrendous hangover on my way to work at Kerrang!, which meant that I was stumbling, mumbling and tumbling through Covent Garden,” said Joule. “As I was passing the shop where I had originally bought my Watchmen comics, I saw a poster proclaiming ‘ORIGINAL WATCHMEN ARTWORK FOR SALE.’ My hangover cure was immediate. This was the moment that I’d been waiting for all my life.”
Striding up to the door like a man on a mission, Joule asked “Where’s the Watchmen pages?”
The owner pointed to a person at the back of the shop who was picking up a portfolio.
“That man down there is looking at them,” Joule recalls being told. “I was like a greyhound out of a trap, followed closely by the owner, who was asking me ‘Is there any particular page you’re interested in?’ No sooner than the words were out of his mouth, and the man with the portfolio had just finished unzipping it, did I see a vision of beauty, the Holy Grail, Page #1, issue #1. I pointed to it and said, ‘Yes! That one!”
“Watchmen pages have proven very scarce on the open market,” said Todd Hignite, Consignment Director for Heritage, “and do not change hands very often. In fact, this is the first one Heritage has ever offered – so we couldn’t be more excited that it’s the page that kicks off the entire Alan Moore/Dave Gibbons saga. Many people who’ve never read any other comic books have read Watchmen, and given that mass appeal, we expect very strong demand for this lot.”
In fact, Joule began to realize the importance of this very page many years ago when he attended an Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons signing, where he brought this page to get the signatures of the Watchmen creators.
“When I asked (Gibbons) to sign this page he was more than willing,” said Joule, “but when he saw that it was Page #1, Issue #1, he said, ‘Bloody hell, I told the wife not to sell that one!’ Sadly for him, it was a little too late.”
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.