AN ICONIC image of Superman is being auctioned by a comic book legend.
Jerry Robinson – DC Comic artist and creator of The Joker – is selling the original artwork for the cover of Superman 14 that he saved from destruction in 1942.
Showing the hero standing in front of a Stars and Stripes shield with an eagle on his arm, the cover made the superhero an American icon.
And 68 years after it was drawn it is being sold for the first time and is expected to fetch at least £300,000.
Jerry Robinson, 88, was working at DC Comics when the cover was created by fellow artist Fred Ray and he was determined to save it.
In the 1940s, the original art was usually destroyed by the engravers as soon as the comic had been printed but Robinson managed to keep hold of a number of drawings during his time with the company.
Also up for sale is the original artwork for the 1942 Detective Comics 69 cover which features Batman and a huge image of the Joker, drawn by Robinson.
Vincent Zurzolo, of ComicConnect.com – the site hosting the auction – said: “To be able to offer at auction what may be the best Joker cover, drawn by the creator of the Joker, is certainly a tremendous honour.”
Experts predict that up to 15,000 collectors will bid on the two items during the three week auction as the popularity for comic book art increases.
Steven Fishler, owner of the auction site, said that they couldn’t predict how much the art would go for, but a conservative estimate for the Superman artwork would be more than $500,000 (£312,597).
Earlier this year the record was set for comic book auctions when the first appearance of Superman in 1938 sold for $1 million (£625,193) and the first appearance of Batman in 1939 fetched $1.075 million (£672,029).
Mr Fishler said: “Thank goodness for Jerry Robinson.
“He was one of the few pros of the era with the foresight to save these artifacts.
“It’s exciting to see the flood of new, aggressive collectors pouring into the market day in and day out.
“To a great extent, people are only beginning to appreciate the history and importance of American comic book art.”
Robinson is highly regarded in the industry, having been a member of the original team behind Batman and helping to create his sidekick Robin.
The art went on sale at 5pm yesterday (Weds) on www.comicconnect.com
REPORT: Cara Sulieman