PHILADELPHIA (AP) — It is the comic book cover that captured the grim visage of an older, wiser — and meaner — Batman.
Now, the 1986 pen and ink creation — drawn by writer/artist Frank Miller — that is the cover to "The Dark Knight Returns" No. 2 will be sold next month in Dallas by Heritage Auctions.
It's the first cover from DC Comics' 1986 four-issue "Dark Knight" miniseries to be sold and is expected to go for more than $500,000.
Miller's story "radically altered the direction of comics," said Todd Hignite, Heritage's vice president.
"For fans of modern comics, this drawing is where everything really begins," he said. "This moment defines Miller's Dark Knight, and the modern day perception of Batman, like no other drawing."
The only cover Hignite says might come close is the next in the series — with Batman and Robin — that was auctioned two years ago for nearly $450,000.
"It represents not only one of the most memorable images from the 1980s, but from Batman's entire illustrious history," Hignite said. "Miller's revolutionary Dark Knight radically altered the direction of comics with its prestige miniseries format, combined with the fact that it was one of the first modern mainstream features to put a gritty noir patina on the squeaky-clean Silver Age hero mythos previously exemplified by DC."