Up at Heritage Auctions is, quite frankly, an incredible piece of original artwork celebrating the History of the DC Universe by those who made it. At the time of writing, it has bids of up to $43,000, but it is likely to go higher. The auction ends at 12:00 PM Central Time, Thursday, April 1, 2021.
Created for the History of the DC Universe Hardcover Collection from DC/Graphitti Designs, it portrays 53 characters by 54 different artists from so many time periods and disciplines. Joe Kubert and Jaime Hernandez, Dave Gibbons and Jack Kirby, as well as the likes of Bob Kane and Joe Orlando, Murphy Anderson, Ramona Fradon, Gil Kane, Jim Steranko, and Gene Colan, Michael Kaluta, P. Craig Russell, Jim Starlin, Jim Aparo, and Frank Thorne, Bill Sienkiewicz, Matt Wagner, Howard Chaykin, and Brian Bolland.
This art was initially created for use as part of a deluxe, hardcover-version of the History of the DC Universe published by DC. When Graphitti Designs, headed by Bob Chapman, was given the opportunity to produce a special collected-version of the two books by Marv Wolfman and George Perez, this was created as the crown jewel for the project… a gatefold mural of an eclectic batch of DC characters illustrated by some of the top artists.
This art was then used to produce a large format (15" x 30"), limited-edition (10,000) poster that was only available for sale directly from DC Comics. A slightly revised version, with a redrawn Chop-Chop by Will Eisner, and the addition of Bat-Mite by Dick Sprang, was later used as a wall mural at the New York offices of DC Comics, until they moved out west, to Burbank.
In order to create a final piece that was well-composed and tight, a different approach was taken relative to other "jam" compositions where numerous artist contributions were required. Joe Kubert was brought-in to come-up with a design and layout. Once the layout was decided upon, Dave Stevens was drafted to transfer very rough pencils of the layout to three artboards. Dave Stevens' assignment was to provide each artist with a basic size, position, and layout for the character they were being asked to draw. This allowed for a successful composition that was proportionally-correct and well-balanced.
The three boards were then sent, via FedEx, to the various artists. The only artists who did not draw directly on the board provided were Brian Bolland (Lady Blackhawk) because he was located in the UK, and Dave Gibbons (Rorschach). Gibbons' Rorschach was an after-thought and was included at Dave's request.
The end result was the creation of a historically significant piece by many of the original creators. The initial three pieces have an approximate image area of 10.5" x 15" (with the 2.5" x 9" addition of Rorschach on the far right), professionally matted, and Plexiglas-front framed at 47" x 24.25". The Bolland pieces (Lady Blackhawk and Cryll) are separately matted and framed at 17.25" x 23.25". Also included are the black and white and colour prints, matted and framed at 31.75" x 31.5". With the nature of how the piece was created, the artists used different pens and inks to render their characters, with some of the ink changing colour or fading from time and exposure—some light frame wear.
DC Top Row: Tommy Tomorrow/Jim Mooney; Phantom Stranger/Jim Aparo; Swamp Thing/Stephen Bissette & John Totleben; The Question/Denys Cowan; White Witch/P. Craig Russell; Green Lantern (Alan Scott)/Martin Nodell; Green Lantern (Guy Gardner)/Joe Staton; Enemy Ace/Dave Stevens; Plastic Man/Bill Sienkiewicz; Darkseid/Jack Kirby & Mike Royer; Ragman/Keith Giffen; The Ray/Al Williamson & Brett Blevins; The Spectre/Michael Kaluta; Silverblade/Gene Colan; Robotman/Steve Lightle; Lady Blackhawk/Brian Bolland; Black Condor/Michael T. Gilbert; OMAC/Jim Starlin.
DC Middle Row: Hawkman/Joe Kubert; Martian Manhunter/Arthur Adams; Manhunter/Walt Simonson; Aquaman/Paul Norris; Warlord/Mike Grell; Power Girl/Mary Wilshire; Sgt. Rock/Andy Kubert; Green Lantern (Hal Jordan)/Gil Kane; Captain Marvel/Kurt Schaffenberger; Batman/Bob Kane; Superman/Curt Swan; Wonder Woman/George Pérez; Blackhawk/Howard Chaykin; Arion/Jan Duursema; Flash (Barry Allen)/Carmine Infantino; Zatara/Jim Steranko; Zatanna/Gray Morrow; Deadman/Neal Adams; Adam Strange/Murphy Anderson; Rorschach/Dave Gibbons.
DC Mezzanine row: Chop-Chop/Dave Stevens; Flash (Jay Garrick)/Jaime Hernandez; Judomaster/Frank McLaughlin.
DC Bottom row: Hourman/Gilbert Hernandez; Vigilante/Dan Spiegel; Tomahawk/Frank Thorne; Metamorpho/Ramona Fradon; The Demon/Matt Wagner; Amythest/Ernie Colon; Robin/Bob Kane; Wildcat/Irwin Hasen; Cain/Joe Orlando; Captain Atom/Pat Broderick; Mister Miracle/Steve Rude; Sarge Steel/Dick Giordano.