Say It Ain't So, Joe: Heritage Auction Galleries Is Selling Off Comics Icon's Original Artwork

The front page of this morning's New York Times Arts section draws our attention (heh) to the treasure trove of comic-book art sitting directly across the street from Unfair Park HQ: 83-year-old comic-book artist Joe Kubert has decided to sell off his collection of originals via Heritage Auction Galleries, beginning with an auction this weekend.

It's a wide-ranging, belongs-in-a-museum collection that dates back to 1944's illustration of the Seven Soldiers of Victory (among 'em, Green Arrow and Vigilante) and contains iconic war-story art (including the 1963 Sgt. Rock story "Young Soldiers Never Cry") and superhero stuff (this 1990 cover for The Greatest 1950s Stories Ever Told, featuring Superman, Batman, Green Lantern and the exhausted artist himself slumped over a drafting table).

The Oak Lawn-based Heritage, of course, cemented its rep as a pop-culture clearing house by selling off the comic-book collections of Nicolas Cage and Stan Lee; Thomas Jane is a regular customer for original pieces like Kubert's. So why's Kubert selling? "I have no undying love for any of the stuff," he tells The Times, which guesstimates that most of the pieces will sell for upwards of $3,000 to $4,000 -- reasonable. And who's buying? "The people who collect the stuff are so emotionally attached it," says Todd Hignite, Heritage's comics consignment director. This morning, my son begged me to buy him this piece for Hanukkah; I told him to save the front page of The Times's Arts section instead. He was not pleased -- too emotionally attached.

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky