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Press Release - November 11, 2009
Legendary comic artist Joe Kubert opens his vault to Heritage Auctions
Star Spangled War Stories, Tarzan and more from 70-year comics career at public auctions, for the first time, Nov. 20, at Heritage Auctions
DALLAS, TX -- Joe Kubert began drawing comic books in 1938, the year that marked the advent of the "Golden Age" of comic books. He's been steadily employed ever since, across seven full decades and counting. More remarkable than his longevity, however, are his skill and influence. Every modern comic artist acknowledges him, and every collector would love to own a piece of his original art. While original comic art prices have soared in recent years, though, Kubert has kept the vast majority of his art to himself - until now.
Ev erything changes on Nov. 20, when Heritage Auctions presents art from the Joe Kubert Collection as part of its Signature® Comic and Comic Art auction. Covers and panel pages featuring everything from superheroes to gritty war scenes to one of the best-ever interpretations of Tarzan will be offered. (Pictured, below, is Kubert himself discussing one of his drawings with Heritage Auctions Consignment Director Todd Hignite.)
“Anyone who was a kid from the 1940s through the 1980s will recognize Kubert’s distinctive style at a glance,” said Jared Green, Vice President of Business Development at Heritage Auctions. “He drew almost every Sgt. Rock story for decades and the cover to almost every DC war comic. Not only is he a favorite among fans, but when other comic book artists talk about their influences and whom they admire, his name is invariably mentioned.”
Kubert has drawn stories for virtually every major publisher across his 70 years in the field. He is most celebrated, perhaps, for his work at DC from the early 1950s onward on such stand-out characters as Hawkman, Viking Prince, Enemy Ace, Tarzan, and especially -as mentioned above - Sgt. Rock. Examples of all of these can be found at Heritage Auctions, Nov. 20.
Born in Poland in 1926, Kubert got his start in a comic art studio at the tender age of 11. Throughout his career he has been influential not only as an artist, but also as an editor, writer, innovator and educator. He co-produced the first 3-D comic book ever, Three Dimension Comics #1, in the '50s.
"Kubert was always up for new challenges and ready to explore new creative outlets," said Green. "He tried his hand at a syndicated newspaper strip with Tales of the Green Beret and later he created the acclaimed graphic novels Abraham Stone, Fax From Sarajevo, and Jew Gangster."
Among his most powerful works was Yossel: April 19, 1943. While Kubert’s family immigrated to the U.S. on the date indicated by the title, as the Nazis invaded Poland, he produced this book decades later, with a protagonist similar to himself, to explore what might have happened had he found himself trapped as a teenager in the Warsaw ghetto.
In 1976, remembering his own start, Kubert, founded the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art in Dover, NJ. Among its many notable graduates are Kubert’s sons Adam and Andy, both fan-favorite comic artists in their own right.
Highlights from the Joe Kubert Collection include, but are not limited to:
Tarzan #243 Cover Original Art (DC, 1975): When's the last time you've seen an original Tarzan cover offered for sale in the marketplace? Probably not too often, if ever. This is a chance to win a Bronze Age blockbuster. Inspired by his childhood idol, comic strip artist Hal Foster, Kubert remained remarkably true to Foster's dynamic approach to Edgar Rice Burroughs' timeless hero. In Bill Schelly's Joe Kubert biography, Man of Rock, Tarzan is cited as Kubert's favorite character in popular literature, and he considered his assignment of drawing Tarzan the assignment of a lifetime.
Joe Kubert Star Spangled War Stories #156 Unknown Soldier Hitler Mask Cover Original Art (DC, 1971): For many Unknown Soldier fans, this is the ultimate cover scene as the master of disguise takes the most dangerous role he ever played - that of the Fuehrer himself.
Joe Kubert Star Spangled War Stories #159 Unknown Soldier Cover Original Art (DC, 1971): Kubert's bold, expressive use of light, shadow, and texture is showcased to full effect in this gut-wrenching cover scene featuring the Unknown Soldier. With a mention of the Enemy Ace in the copy at the top of the page, this spectacular cover would be the pride and joy of any Kubert or DC war fan's collection.
Joe Kubert The Greatest 1950s Stories Ever Told Book Cover Original Art (DC, 1990): Who can fault Joe Kubert for falling asleep at his drawing board after all the late nights he spent over five decades, slaving over his pages, and hitting his deadlines so comic book fans would get their latest issues on time? As the copy for this anthology reprint book put it, 'With the advent of television and the wrath of Congress, the comic book industry simultaneously faced the two greatest threats to its existence in the 1950s. This pressure served to fuel the creative community as the boundaries of the medium were expanded and some of the most legendary comic book tales of all time were crafted." Superman, Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and the Flash lead the all star cast of this sensational cover as they surround Kubert to thank him for helping them make it through the tough times.
Joe Kubert Star Spangled War Stories #137 War That Time Forgot page 4 Original Art (DC, 1968): Kubert was the ideal artist to illustrate the infamous "War That Time Forgot" series, where U. S. armed forces battle it out with dinosaurs on a mysterious region in the Pacific.
Joe Kubert Our Army at War #193 Sgt. Rock Splash Page 1 Original Art (DC, 1968): Farmer Boy takes center stage in this searing scene from "Blood in the Desert." On a side note, this was the last issue edited by Robert Kanigher. Starting with the very next issue Joe Kubert took over as editor of Our Army at Warand ushered in a new era for the DC war books.
Heritage Auctions, headed by Steve Ivy, Jim Halperin and Greg Rohan, is the world’s third largest auction house, with annual sales more than $700 million, and 475,000+ registered online bidder members. For more information about Heritage Auctions, and to join and gain access to a complete record of prices realized, along with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit www.HA.com.
Want to get the up-to-the-minute updates and breaking news stories about Heritage Auctions? Get them as they happen at: www.Twitter.com/HeritagePress; www.Twitter.com/JimHalperin; Facebook: Heritage Auction Galleries. To view a compete archive of Heritage press releases go to: www.HA.com/PR. To link to this press release on your blog or Website: www.HA.com/PR-1759.
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