Got $500,000? That's what it'll take to buy this Dark Knight comic cover

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Jul 8, 2013, 9:44 AM EDT

Now that's what we call a Batman triumphant. 

The Dark Knight Returns is one of those comics that fans of funny books often point to as proof that their love of panel-to-panel art is more than a matter of childlike nostalgia. What Alan Moore did for superheroes in general with Watchmen, Frank Miller did first for Batman beginning in February of 1986.

We aren't surprised that the original pencil and inks for the cover of issue #2 are going to fetch a pretty penny. But 50 million pretty pennies? That's a lot of coin. Literally.

But that's the price Dallas Heritage Auction expects the cover will fetch. We can't deny the possibility, since #3 in the series bowed at $450,000 at an auction in 2011.

Says vice president of Dallas Heritage, Todd Hignite, "Miller's revolutionary Dark Knight radically altered the direction of comics with its prestige mini-series 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."

This is one time where the salesman's hype matches the product. The cover to issue two, The Dark Knight Triumphant, drawn by famed comic author Frank Miller, is one of the most iconic images in Batman's near 75-year history. Portraying an aged Batman at the edge of his own mortality, these pencils and inks not only form a hero who won't quit, they reveal Batman at perhaps his most deadly.

There have been many challengers to the throne, but this cover unquestionably defined Batman for a generation. Famed geek of the people Kevin Smith even went so far as to call The Dark Knight Returns "the Catcher in the Rye of comic books."

So if you've got half a million dollars hidden somewhere and happen to love Batman, let's face it -- this is about as good as it gets.

(via The LA Times)