Ultimate Jam Illustration – Never to be Surpassed

by Patrick Bain

GreatestJamEver-300x98 Ultimate Jam Illustration - Never to be SurpassedIf you could put together a Rock Festival featuring all your favorites past or present, living or dead, who would you include?  Similar question for a movie premiere marathon?  How about a convention panel featuring stars from your favorite shows, living or dead?  Who MUST be included for your ultimate JAM?  That question peppered the mind of Bob Chapman and Graphitti Designs.  For a deluxe hard cover edition of History of the DC Universe, Graphitti Designs envisioned original art to spice up their new edition.  They conceived the ultimate DC jam illustration.  And perhaps, they created the greatest jam ever, never to be surpassed!

History of the DC Universe

History-of-the-DC-Universe-1-by-Marv-Wolfman-and-George-Perez-192x300 Ultimate Jam Illustration - Never to be Surpassed

History-of-the-DC-Universe-Deluxe-Hardback-198x300 Ultimate Jam Illustration - Never to be Surpassed
The History of the DC Universe pleases the eye aesthetically and provokes thought, but may not make anyone’s top ten story lists.  Marv Wolfman and George Perez’s well-thought and rendered mini-series served its purpose as a follow up to Crisis on Infinite Earths.  However, considering the content, art, and “history”, it probably makes a great coffee table book.  And that’s basically what Graphitti Designs put together in the deluxe hardback.  It contained additional content in the form of essays and new art.  Most important to this article, it included a gatefold poster utilizing the jam illustration above.

A high grade copy of History of the DC Universe 1 can be had for about $130.  Signed lower grades sets are available in the $200 range.  The hardback is not as readily available.  Bill Sienkiewicz beautifully painted the hardback cover.

Name the Legends in this Ultimate Jam Illustration

I love a good crossover.  Team-up books fill my shelves. Jam illustrations exemplify crossover, team-up, and another word–cooperation!  In fact, jams are the Sesame Street of modern art.  It takes a little cooperation.  In this particular case, Joe Kubert created the initial design and layout that all 50-plus artists used to properly position and size their characters.  Dave Stevens provided the rough pencil drafts of that layout for the artists to follow.  Then, while nonsensical in this world of Zoom meetings and digital file transfers, the physical art was passed from artist to artist to complete the masterpiece.  Where does cooperation come in?  Just stop and think what would have happened if one artist thought his character was too small and decided he needed just a little more of the canvas?

Who participated in this legendary undertaking?  Jack Kirby and Bob Kane are a couple household names.  Other legends like Walt Simonson, Joe Staton, Gil Kane, and Jim Aparo played their parts.  Famed British artists Dave Gibbons and Brian Bolland each left their mark as well.  Instead of me listing each artist, the link is below, go feast your eyes.

I described this art with the word “ultimate”.  Please share your opinion, but I believe I aptly described this work because of the unique combination of artists from multiple eras.  Also, sadly , many are no longer around to contribute to an EVEN more ultimate piece of art.

Other Jam Illustrations Worthy of Mention

Watchmen-Jam-300x237 Ultimate Jam Illustration - Never to be Surpassed

While I believe the History of the DC Universe co-op art will break records, many professionals have joined together to create other pieces for a variety of reasons.  Occasionally, artists cooperate on a jam that is used for worthy endeavors such as supporting Hero Initiative.  Fans also architect amazing composite sketches by having multiple, favorite artists draw convention sketches on a single “canvas”.  Besides great art, the novelty of several artists creating one masterwork is like an all-star team of your favorite athletes.

The Watchmen jam features art by Jim Lee, Carlos D’Anda, Eddi Nunez, Michael Lopez, J.J. Kirby, Oliver Nome, and Livio Ramondelli.  It sold for $2,032 in 2012 and enjoys a unique mood created by the background and overall composition.

How High Will It Go?

Jam-Illustration-from-1979-to-1988-300x182 Ultimate Jam Illustration - Never to be SurpassedMike Grell, John Byrne, Paul Smith and a host of other recognizable names contributed to a crossover jam with DC, Marvel, and Charlton heroes.  The art fetched $2,271 in 2015. 

Just like that imaginary Rock Festival you may be planning, you can expect a ticket scalping frenzy.  After all, who wouldn’t want to be there for your musical nirvana?  In the same way, who wouldn’t want to own the ultimate jam collaboration by over fifty artists, some legends no longer with us.  And sadly, this illustration can never be recreated!

Cartoonists-Jam-300x126 Ultimate Jam Illustration - Never to be SurpassedLast May a spectacular piece of co-op work sold for $25,200.  This one’s better!  So, let’s hear your guesstimates.  How high will this ultimate jam illustration go?  And of course, if you want to bid on this historical art, Heritage Auctions will gladly accept your financial information: History of the DC Universe Jam.  If like me, this rarefied air is beyond your each, join me in playing an original art Price Is Right game!

Even cartoonists like a good jam with their Sunday morning toast.  Notable artists Will Eisner, Johnny Hart, Mort Walker, and Jeff Keane are just a few of the celebrated cartoonists that contributed to this artwork that sold in 2017 for $3,107.

FOOTER_Comic3-scaled Ultimate Jam Illustration - Never to be Surpassed

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