A famed and long-considered missing early Mel Ramos painting depicting Batman at his baleful best, A Sinister Figure Lurks in the Dark, 1962, could fetch more than $100,000 when offered at Heritage Auctions on Nov. 14, 2015. The oil painting has all this time been in the collection of Bill Steinfelt, who received it in 1962 after trading Ramos, then an unknown young painter, a pile of comic books. Or, as Steinfelt refers to them, “a bunch of old books.”
“He had all of these comic books drawn up quite well,” said Steinfelt. “When I went to leave later that month he wanted a bunch of my comic books. I didn’t want to sell my collection, but I said ‘I’ll take one of your drawings and you can have these comic books.’ He had a bunch of them, but I thought this was the best one.”
Steinfelt chose wisely, setting his eye on A Sinister Figure Lurks in the Shadows, a heady and dynamic rendering of Batman that he has had with him for more than half a century. That pile of comic books, which Steinfelt describes as “a bunch of old books,” is now potentially worth $100,000 or more.