Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Renoir, Norman Rockwell, Thomas Kincaid… Alex Ross. I’m not speaking in hyperbole when I lump Ross in with these other master artists. Each had works and styles distinctly memorable and significant. If Renoir was a master of color, Kincaid a master of light, Rockwell a master of Americana, Ross certainly qualifies as a master of the painted superhero. And it’s no exaggeration when I say that the painted covers of Alex Ross would be right at home in a museum of fine art!
Ross gained critical acclaim for his painted covers and interiors for the mini-series Marvels. The splash from Marvels #3 Page 30 sold for $17,925 through Heritage Auctions in 2018.
Ross Painted Covers for Overstreet and Wizard
Before we dive into some of the comics graced by the brush of Alex Ross, let’s consider some other high-end covers. Cool covers are standard for both the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guides and Wizard the Comic Magazines. Ross contributed to each of those publications multiple times. Not surprisingly, collectors shelled out thousands for those Alex Ross covers.
Ross Overstreet’s credits include two covers in 1997: Golden Age Flash and Green Lantern. He followed that in 1999 when he painted Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes and the Avengers. In 2002, Spider-Man posed for Alex Ross’ Overstreet cover. Available sales data is old, hailing from 2007. The Superboy cover recreates Adventure Comics #247. It sold highest in 2007 for roughly $26K. Green Lantern and Flash paintings sold for a few thousand less than $20K the same year. In a surprise, each sold a couple years later for a significant discount. I would chalk that up to timing rather than disinterest in Ross art.
Marvel heroes dominate the comic and art collector market. True to form, Alex Ross painted Marvel heroes, Marvel villains, and DC heroes for three of Wizard’s magazines. As a DC guy, it hurts to say that the DC heroes and Marvel villains pulled in about the same final bid. On the other hand, the Marvel heroes featured in issue #42 finished to the tune of $68,713. The other paintings sold in 2013 as well. DC heroes fetched a little more than half of the Marvel heroes, while Marvel villains sold for a little less than half.
More Ross Art for Less (That’s not a discount store, is it?)
Even though I titled this article, Alex Ross Painted Covers, I want to consider some paintings with prices that might make the home museum experience possible. DC Universe carried a Doom Patrol streaming series. Interior art from Justice 7 featuring the Doom Patrol sold for $4,320 last November. In some ways, art that tells a mini-story such as this may provide significant appeal. It’s certainly a conversation starter!
Ross hasn’t been afraid to contribute to projects outside the big two publishers. One example is Project Superpowers for Dynamite. Though amazing and reasonably priced, I caution that this art with layouts by Ross and finished paints by Doug Klauba is unlikely to ever fetch spectacular prices. It sold for $1,680 and that might be high unless “Pyroman” or Doug Klauba gain huge notoriety.
Finally, an interior that’s a little pricy, but has big star power. Two-page splashes from Batman: War on Crime would jump off of any wall. Unless it’s painted black and white camo! Two separate pieces sold in November 2019 for $13,200 each. These are classic similar to Marvels or Kingdom Come. It’s really remarkable that Ross has been able to devote the time necessary to paint these types of stories.
Alex Ross Comic Covers
I want to wrap it up by mentioning some comics with Ross covers that I think are cool. If you’ve seen these for sale somewhere, please point them out! First up is Archie. Yes, there was a time when even the most amazing artists were required to draw Archie according to the house style. Times have changed as anyone who watches Riverdale can testify. Here’s the Ross variant cover for Life with Archie #37.
What about two super-heroines from my youth. Before Wonder Woman #84 there was Wonder Woman ’77 and The Bionic Woman! Those were the days. And Ross truly captured Lynda Carter and Lindsay Wagner.
Finally, be sure to check out Ryan Kirksey’s blogs on the timeless covers of Alex Ross.