Hawkman #4, Zatanna Debut: Artist Murphy Anderson

by Patrick Bain

Hawkman4-204x300 Hawkman #4, Zatanna Debut: Artist Murphy Anderson

Few DC comics grab a spot in the GoCollect hot 100 Silver Age comics list.  Hawkman #4 featuring the debut of Zatanna found its way to position 32 at the end of 2020.  If you are chasing Zatanna keys, you may want to look at Zatanna original art as well.

In “The Girl Who Split In Two”, Zatanna sought the help of the winged warriors, Hawkman and Hawkgirl.  While searching for her father Zatara, a hero in the Golden Age, she inadvertently split herself in two and reduced her magical powers.  Clearly, Zatanna was a magician-in-training at her debut.  But even then she wielded the capability of invoking spells by speaking each word backward.

Murphy Anderson beautifully illustrated the heroics of Hawkman and Hawkgirl to restore Zatanna to her whole self and let her continue the mission to find her father.

When did Zatanna’s Debut in Hawkman #4 become Hot?

Hawkman-4-Page-1-by-Murphy-Anderson-233x300 Hawkman #4, Zatanna Debut: Artist Murphy AndersonIn the 2014-2015 Overstreet Price Guide, Hawkman #1 in 9.2 had a listed value of $1,475.  A few years later in 2017-2018, the listed value showed no change: still $1,475.  Then, a couple years passed to 2019-2020, and the listed value climbed slightly to $1,550.  However, for Zatanna’s first appearance in issue #4, the 2014-2015 listed value came to $425.  Then by 2017-2018, it shot up to $1,800.  In the 2019-2020 listing, it reached $2,500.  Currently, the GoCollect FMV is $3,900 for a graded 9.2 and a whopping $19K for graded 9.8.  Clearly, the debut of Zatanna impacted Hawkman 4 fair market value in a startling way.   Except for one thing, first appearance explosions erupt all over the place these days.  Even for characters that historically achieve only backup story status like Zatanna during the first couple of decades of her timeline.

Art from Zatanna’s First Appearance

Hawkman-4-Page-7-1st-appearance-of-Zatanna-207x300 Hawkman #4, Zatanna Debut: Artist Murphy AndersonLike uncovering an ancient relic hidden away through the centuries, art from the debut of Zatanna in Hawkman# 4 came to market in 2019.  The complete 13-page-story resided in the artist Murphy Anderson’s personal collection.  In 2019, the whole story from Zatanna’s 1964 initial appearance fetched $126,000.  That’s just a little less than $10K per page average.  Sold individually, the title splash page pictured above would certainly fetch the most.  Possibly the second-highest page in an individual sale would be earned by page 7 where Zatanna appears for the first time. Her cryptic words and statuesque appearance perplexed Hawkman.   The fortunate owner of the landmark art posted his acquisition in his ComicArtFans gallery.  It’s hard to display a 13-page complete story, so it’s reasonable to think that in time some of these pages may come to market individually.  Just like comic book first appearances, original art first appearances often sell for a premium.  I expect high demand when these pages sell again.

Beyond Hawkman #4, Zatanna in Comics and Art

Adventure-Comics-413-204x300 Hawkman #4, Zatanna Debut: Artist Murphy AndersonAs mentioned, Zatanna began her comic book career in a guest appearance and backup story roles.  Another famous artist, Gray Morrow, illustrated Zatanna stories backing Supergirl in Adventure Comics circa 1972.  Gray Morrow’s notoriety extends to Horror, Westerns, comic strips, paperback covers, and even Man-Thing.  Morrow’s Zatanna art reached the market recently.

Adventure-Comics-415-Splash-by-Gray-Morrow-197x300 Hawkman #4, Zatanna Debut: Artist Murphy AndersonGray Morrow Adventure Comics #415 Complete 7-Page Story “Kill — Or Be Killed” from 1972.  Sold in Nov, 2020 for $11,400.  Previously sold in 2005 for just under two thousand dollars.  The compounded growth rate (CGR) is 12%.   See my ASM 129 original art blog for an explanation of CGR.

An individual splash page from Adventures Comics #414 sold for $1,320 in 2019.  Gray Morrow also produced the art for that title splash.

Justice-League-of-America-161-204x300 Hawkman #4, Zatanna Debut: Artist Murphy AndersonBesides backup stories, Zatanna enjoyed her own special in 1986 (called Zatanna Special #1).   Her greater notoriety in the eighties occurred when she became a full-fledged member of the JLA in Justice League of America #160.  Though she was more prominent in issue #161.  She also sported a new costume in cover art by Rich Buckler.

Dluohs uoy yub Annataz tra?

Justice-12-Panel-by-Braithwaite-and-Ross-204x300 Hawkman #4, Zatanna Debut: Artist Murphy AndersonDoug Braithwaite and Alex Ross Justice #12 Painted Story Page 12 published in 2007.
Sold For: $3,960.00 on Nov 20, 2020.

So the bottom-line, would it be better to nab some Zatanna keys as comics or art?  Obviously, price plays a factor with Zatanna comics more suitable for most budgets.  But as illustrated, the investment potential of one of a kind art should be considered.  Seventies and eighties Zatanna art sells at reasonable prices even for notable artists like Gray Morrow, Gene Colan, Jim Aparo, Dick Dillin, and Luke McDonnell.  I’ll highlight some art by modern artists like Ryan Sook from newer series next time.

If you don’t think original art is in your budget, review my simple plan for investing in original art.

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octoberland January 13, 2021 - 12:17 pm

Nice backwards header 🙂

Glad / sad you highlighted her. She’s been on my list of art to try and grab inexpensively if it is ever possible. Thus far it has not been.

– Craig Coffman

Patrick Bain January 13, 2021 - 8:14 pm

Don’t worry Craig… not enough people are reading my blog to influence prices 🙂 Anyway, good luck in your hunting!


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