DescriptionDick Sprang Batman #73 Cover Recreation Original Art (DC/Gotham Graphics, c. 1996). Originally intended as the third limited edition print produced by Gotham Graphics, to follow up their very popular "Secrets of the Batcave" and "Guardians of Gotham City" prints, this piece recreates the cover for Batman #73 that introduced the Joker's own utility belt. Both the original issue's cover and story were illustrated by Dick Sprang and Charles Paris, although the story was credited to Bob Kane. Dick Sprang was often referred to as the "Good Bob Kane" back in the days when few comics artists received credit on the printed page, and all Batman art was credited to Bob Kane. Even without the byline, Sprang's work was easy to spot, and has been popular with collectors for years. Unfortunately, much of his original art from the 1940s to his retirement in 1963 has been lost, making the few surviving pieces highly desirable among collectors.
The Joker's utility belt was a novel idea, but by story's end, he was done with it. Page six of the story gave a diagram of the Joker's Utility Belt, and comic fans love their diagrams of props. The belt would live on as this story was the inspiration for the Joker's first appearance on the TV Batman show in the episodes "The Joker is Wild"/"Batman Is Riled" that first aired on January 26th and 27th in 1966. It was the first time Cesar Romero played the Joker, which became the most enduring and iconic role of his long career.
The original art for the never-produced limited edition print is a fantastic recreation of the issue's cover image, also used on the story splash page. For this piece, Sprang added both the figure of the Joker looming in the background and some weapons to a few of the mechanical Jokers. Both of these additions really make this composition pop! Signed in the lower left of the 13" x 18" image area, this beautiful color piece is created in mixed media over graphite on illustration board. Matted to 18.5" x 24". A truly stunning piece in Excellent condition.
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