Comic book creator Rob Liefeld is auctioning off 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 diagrams on page 14 and 15 The New Mutants No. 98, a 1990 issue that introduced Deadpool to the world and represents the first sketches of the character. The only previous art featuring Deadpool were character sheets where Liefield sketched out the final look of the anti-hero to gain approval from Marvel. The drawings represent how Liefeld still creates comics; He draws mini versions of the issue before enlarging the pages from 11 inches to 17 inches and inking them.
Liefield has watched over the years as the market for comic book art is hotter than ever. Even after the 2016 film starring Ryan Reynolds and the 2018 sequel Deadpool became more popular, he is disappointed that the striking artwork he created has not appeared in such auctions. A third installment co-starring Hugh Jackman as Wolverine is set for 2024.
“They call them black hole collections,” says Liefeld Hollywood Correspondent, citing private collections by owners who acquire art, never to be seen again. “My covers don’t come up for auction.”
Liefield says no one knows where some of his signature works are. He hopes the auction will bring other art, including a woodcut to the Merc with the Mouth.
“Between X-Force And The New Mutants, that incredible, some would say peak, period for me, I did 26 covers. Not one of them went to auction,” says Liefeld, whose work on X-Force No. 1, featuring Deadpool, sold 5 million copies.
In the Covid era, original art and comic books are going for record prices. By offering this art, Liefield hopes, it can increase the value of the hundreds of artifacts he owns and encourage owners of those “black hole collections” to consider opening the vaults.
“Sitting on top of everything doesn’t help the value and legacy of the art,” he says of opening his own vault. “Eventually you have to release it.”