Enter the dragon: England has the Angel Of The North (and a giant horse coming soon). Now Wales wants a 200ft sculpture to roar across the border

By Daily Mail Reporter

We’ve heard of keeping up with the Joneses but maybe the Welsh are taking it just a touch too far. Perched on top of a 130ft tower, this ferocious-looking dragon glares out menacingly towards England across the Welsh border. The gigantic sculpture, which would reach higher than Nelson’s Column – which is 169ft, is set to become the tallest public artwork ever built in the UK.

Billed as Wales’ answer to the Angel Of The North or the Statue Of Liberty, it aims to become a focus for national pride. Or, as England already boasts the Angel Of The North and the prospect of a 164ft horse in Kent, dubbed the Angel Of The South, it could be interpreted as a touch of national one-upmanship. You’ve got two? Well, we’ll we’d better have one then.

The dragon itself would be 75ft tall and would have a wingspan of more than 150ft – bigger than a Boeing 737. Called ‘Waking the Dragon’, the sculpture would be cast in bronze and mounted on top of the huge glass and steel tower. Visitors would enter at the base of the tower where there would be interactive displays and an opportunity to learn about Welsh history and culture.

Lifts and a helical staircase would then take visitors to the top of the tower where they would have panoramic views across the borders into England. Next to the tower would be a state-of-the-art cultural centre along with a 100 seat cafe/bar and 125 seat restaurant and a museum.

The £6million project is the brainchild of Simon Wingett, 54, who aims to build the ambitious sculpture without using any taxpayers’ money. Mr Wingett, an art dealer, says he will raise all the money needed to build the dragon tower through commercial sponsorship. He will raise extra revenue by charging people £2,000 for a personal dedication on each of the steps inside the structure.

The development would sit within a landscape of formal and informal pathways planted with oak trees. The area immediately around the building would depict the four branches of ancient Welsh folklore tale, the Mabinogion. Mr Wingett has already started the planning application process for the development near Chirk, North Wales, which he believes could create up to 50 jobs. His aim is to commemorate his father, businessman Frank Wingett, who died from throat cancer in 1988.

Unveiling the plans yesterday – St David’s Day – he said: ‘The whole place will be mythology brought to life. The theme is awakening the dragon in the fight against cancer.’ ‘We want people seeing the dragon, which will be visible for miles around, to get the impression that it has either just landed or is about to take off.’

He added: ‘We have already started the planning process and, if we are successful, the intention is to begin building in August to mark the 150th anniversary of the National Eisteddfod coming to Wrexham. Mr Wingett, of Erbistock, near Wrexham, hopes building work will start in August, and that the tower will be open by September next year.

Aled Roberts, leader of Wrexham Council, said: ‘It will not only celebrate our unique heritage and culture, it will also boost the local economy with the creation of jobs and draw in a huge number of tourists.’

‘The dragon’s location will provide unrivalled views across Wrexham and the surrounding borderlands and I have no doubt we will receive visitors not only from Wales but from the whole of the UK, who will want to see this amazing dragon for themselves.’ The tallest sculpture in the world is the 502ft Spring Temple Buddha in Henan, China.

Action Comics No. 1 sale pushes Superman to new heights

LA Times  – Hero Complex

Superman lifting a car? Not a big deal in today’s comics, but when it’s the Man of Steel lifting a car drawn on a “very fine”-rated 10-cent-issue of Action Comics No. 1, the deal is the biggest in comics history: $1 million.

Stephen Fishler, co-owner of the auction site ComicConnect.com, which mediated the deal, told the Associated Press: “It is still a little stunning to see ‘a comic book’ and ‘$1 million’ in the same sentence.”

The buyer remains anonymous, as often happens in these big money deals. The book doesn’t reach the record heights of Pablo Picasso’s Boy with a Pipe (The Young Apprentice), which sold for $104.1 million at auction in 2004, or a bronze sculpture by Alberto Giacometti that sold for $103.4 million (or $104.3 million,  depending on how you measure it), but comparatively, it’s still a wonder.

How have other high-priced comic books fared at auction, you ask?  Well, that’s what Hero Complex (and Comic Link, where we got some of the figures) is here for. Most of these books fetched high prices not only because of the issues, but the state that they’re in as appraised by the Certified Guaranty Company, or its CGC grade.

Batman comic book beats Superman at auction, sets record

CNNMoney.com – By Annalyn Censky

The Dark Knight may be Superman’s next greatest nemesis, after Lex Luthor.

Just three days after auction site ComicConnect.com claimed to break world records when it sold an original Superman comic for $1 million, Batman stole his thunder.

A rare, high-quality copy of Detective Comics #27, which marked the first appearance of Batman in 1939, sold for $1,075,500 on Thursday. Heritage Auctions of Dallas sold the comic book to an unnamed bidder on behalf of an anonymous collector.

Seven bidders from three countries participated in the combination live and online auction, taking about eight minutes to decide on a final price — an “eternity” in auction time, said Heritage Auctions president Greg Rohan.

On Monday, ComicConnect claimed to sell a rare copy of Action Comics #1 to an anonymous collector for $1 million.

Action Comics #1, which debuted in 1938, marked the first appearance of Superman. A lesser-quality copy set the previous comic book record, racking up $317,000 at auction last year.

Vincent Zurzolo, who co-owns ComicConnect.com with founder Stephen Fishler, said while his Superman sale only held the record for three days, he was very happy to see two comic books selling for more than $1 million.

“Records are meant to be broken,” and this week will forever go down in comic book history, he said.

Both Detective Comics #27 and Action Comics #1 were originally published by National Allied Publications, a company that later became Detective Comics and then DC Comics. DC Comics and CNNMoney.com are Time Warner subsidiaries.

With several comic book films set to release in 2011, Zurzolo said he expects prices to escalate on rare copies featuring popular characters. Green Lantern, The First Avenger: Captain America and Spider-Man 4 are tentatively scheduled to open in theaters next year.

Rohan said he’s seen prices for incredibly rare items, like original comic books, shoot up between 15% and 25% during the recession, while auction prices for more common collectibles have decreased.

Last month, Heritage Auctions sold a 1913 nickel, one of only 5 in the world, for $3.7 million.