Posted in: Comics | Tagged: , ,

Frank Miller Sues Over Ownership Of Dark Knight & Robin Original Art

Comic book creator and publisher Frank Miller is suing Jennifer Bush-Kraft, the widow of former DC editor and magazine publisher David Anthony Kraft and his estate over the original artwork to the Comics Interview Magazine #2 from 1983 and #31 published in 1986. The cover artwork was to promote The Dark Knight Returns, and Ronin, both being published by DC Comics at the time.

Frank MIlelr Sues Over Ownership Of Dark Knight & Robin Original Art

Frank Miller's lawsuit claims states that "In each instance, Miller and Kraft agreed – consistent with the custom and usage in the trade at the time – that (a) Kraft could retain the Works for a period of time, (b) each of the Works could not be used for any purpose other than as cover art for the respective issues of Comics Interview referred to above and (c) both of the Works would remain Miller's property and would be returned to him after the use as cover art was completed and, in all events, upon demand" and stated "The DKR Work is of particular value because it is one of the earliest (although not the first) work of cover art depicting (a) Batman in the distinctive "Dark Knight Returns" style and (b) Carrie Kelley." Also that "Beginning in the 1980s and at times thereafter, Miller, directly or indirectly, and Miller's publisher asked Kraft to return the Works and other pieces of art that Miller had loaned to him for use as covers for issues of Comics Interview. Kraft returned one such artwork — a piece created by Miller and delivered to Kraft for use as cover art for an issue of Comics Interview featuring an interview with Miller about his Sin City comic series, which is not at issue here. Kraft did not, however, return either of the Works, leading Miller and his publisher (which reported the results of its requests to Miller) to believe that they had been lost." Miller learnt of the artwork after learning Jennifer Bush-Kraft was looking to sell the pieces at auction, and the current pages at issue are being held by the auction house, who are waiting on the verdict.

Frank MIlelr Sues Over Ownership Of Dark Knight & Robin Original Art

George Gene Gustines of the New York Times reports that Jennifer Bush-Kraft, disagreed with Miller's assertions, stating "My husband kept all his correspondence. When I say all of it, I don't know if you can comprehend the level of meticulousness. He bound all of this correspondence by year, by name and in alphabetical order by company." She states that she found no such return requests from Miller, and that she believed that Miller had gifted the art to Kraft. "If it was not given, David would have given it back…  He wouldn't have ruined the relationship with someone he would potentially work with in the future" or with DC Comics, and it was common practice for Kraft to keep those types of pieces. "I can't afford to go to court, and I can't afford not to go to court, I'm just one person. I'm not Frank Miller. I don't have a company."

The Dark Knight original artwork sales of late have broken many records, with the first issue cover recently selling for $2.4 million. Frank Miller recently launched his own publishing company, Frank Miller Presents. We will follow this court case with interest.

Enjoyed this? Please share on social media!

Stay up-to-date and support the site by following Bleeding Cool on Google News today!

Rich JohnstonAbout Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
Comments will load 20 seconds after page. Click here to load them now.