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1968 Topps "Hang-Ups" Original Artworks by Basil Wolverton (8)
Starting Bid - $2,500, Sold For - $21,150
Extraordinary Basil Wolverton original artwork collection: Each of these eight original pen-and-ink drawings (on paper) by renowned artist Basil Wolverton was commissioned by Topps in 1968 for use in a rare test issue of comic posters called Hang-Ups. Ideally, one of the artworks in this group bears striking similarities to Wolverton's most famous creation: Lena Hyena, the world's ugliest woman. 1968 Topps "Hang-Ups," which were posters measuring approximately 10 x 18 inches and printed in color on thin paper stock, featured humorous captions that were complimented by one of Wolverton's outlandish images. It appears that Topps originally intended to produce eighteen Hang-Ups posters, but for some reason only twelve were published. (That assumption is based upon the fact that examples of poster numbers 2, 9, 10, 13, 14, and 18 have never been found). Four of the eight offered artworks were featured in the published set of twelve and it is presumed that the remaining four pieces were among the other six commissioned works (apparently) not used by Topps. All of these artworks were inherited by our consignor over thirty years ago from his father, who had a very significant personal connection to Basil Wolverton. They were given to him as a special keepsake and have remained in his possession since that time. For inventory purposes, we are including the caption of each piece, if known (many of the artworks, both those published and unpublished, feature a handwritten caption along the bottom), as well as the poster numbers for the published works. Published Hang-Ups Artworks: Poster #1 ("You have everything a man wants - a mustache, a beard and sideburns"), Poster #5 ("You're perfect...a perfect idiot!"), Poster #6 ("I need you!...like a hole in the head"), Poster #15 ("I love you because you're different...Yechh, so very different"). Unpublished Hang-Ups Artworks: 1) "I love the way your nose turns up - then down, then up, then down." The character featured on this poster bears similar features to that of Lena Hyena and is one of the many Lena variations used by Wolverton over the years. 2) "Two heads are better than one - but not on the same body." This piece features a handwritten editorial note in pencil that reads "Take out tongue on left." A number of "x" marks appear on the referenced tongue. 3) "Is that your face...or did you block a kick." This illustration obviously gave the editors some trouble with regard to the the prose, as five different captions are written on the front and back: "I like the way you kiss - almost as much as the way you wear your neck," "I like the way you kiss...the back of my head," "Your face is your fortune...if you're flat broke," "I like the way you kiss - as long as you don't kiss me," and I like the way you kiss - the back of your own neck." 4) No caption listed. The illustration pictures a the head of an ugly women with a bulging eye and a small creature in her nostril. Each of the artworks (14.5 x 21 inches) displays moderate handling and surface wear consistent with pieces intended for publication. Three of the artworks display one or more small pieces of tape applied along the border (production-related, of no consequence, mentioned strictly for the sake of accuracy). The artworks are in outstanding Excellent condition overall.
Artist Basil Wolverton (1909-1979) once described himself as a "Producer of Preposterous Pictures of Peculiar People who Prowl this Perplexing Planet." That self-proclaimed title was probably tame given his many bizarre and unconventional works. Wolverton specialized in a unique and instantly recognizable style, and is extremely well known for his illustration of "Lena Hyena," the ugliest woman in the world, which was first introduced to the public in a 1946 "Li'l Abner comic strip (Wolverton's image of Lena was chosen over thousands of others submitted to Al Capp in a national contest). Wolverton went on to write/illustrate a number of Marvel comic books and was also a frequent contributor to Mad magazine. In the 1960s he worked on many popular nonsports card issues, primarily with Topps, including Ugly Stickers, Make Your Own Stickers, Fink buttons (for Fleer), Batty Book covers, and Hang-Ups. Of those issues, Hang-Ups, because they were a test issue, are by far the rarest. For that reason, many of the Wolverton images offered here have never before been seen by collectors, especially the four that were never published. This is a highly significant collection of original Basil Wolverton artworks featuring a number of his most bizarre creations. Total: 8 original artworks. Reserve $2,500. Estimate $8,000+. SOLD FOR $21,150
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