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A long-hidden trove of Jack Kirby art has been unearthed for auction

The Ruby-Spears Jack Kirby Art Collection
Ruby-Spears illustration by Jack Kirby and Gil Kane (Image credit: Ruby-Spears Productions)

Jack Kirby was and forever will be the "King" of comic books for his creations and co-creations at Marvel like Captain America, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, the Incredible Hulk, and the Eternals, as well as his work at DC creating the publisher's Fourth World/New Gods

But comic books weren't the only medium Kirby left his indelible mark on, and now a collection of what's being called "a long-hidden trove of artwork" unseen since the 1980s is being revealed for the first time before the art is offered to the public for auction. 

The Ruby-Spears Jack Kirby Art Collection originated over eight years in the '80s when Kirby was an employed by animation company and Saturday morning cartoon staple Ruby-Spears Productions, often working with Gil Kane. 

Hundreds of drawings include Kirby's illustrations of characters by Ruby-Spears co-founder Joe Ruby.

Among the collection are drawings of heroes, villains, and teams including the Warriors of Illusion, the Mighty Misfits, Roxie's Raiders, Future Force, the Dragonspies, the Gargoids, and Power Planet, along with drawings of vehicles, beasts, and supporting characters. 

Here is a sample of three illustrations, which Newsarama readers get to see first:

Image 1 of 3

The Ruby-Spears Jack Kirby Art Collection

(Image credit: Ruby-Spears Productions)
Image 2 of 3

The Ruby-Spears Jack Kirby Art Collection

(Image credit: Ruby-Spears Productions)
Image 3 of 3

The Ruby-Spears Jack Kirby Art Collection

(Image credit: Ruby-Spears Productions)

And if right now you're saying to yourself, "Hold on a sec, I don't remember any of those characters during Thundarr the Barbarian, Turbo Teen, or The Centurions?" there's no reason you should. According to SellMyComicBooks.com who unearthed the collection, none of them made it into the lineup of Saturday morning cartoons, but they all bear "the power and playfulness of Jack Kirby's artistic sensibilities."

An initial group of illustrations is already at auction at comiclink.com, with more to be offered soon. The pieces range from a variety of media, including in raw pencil form, while others were rendered in ink and color by Ruby-Spears staff artists. 

Ruby-Spears illustration by Jack Kirby and Gil Kane (Image credit: Ruby-Spears Productions)

In addition to being new to the collecting world, the images are also unusually large at 19 x 29 inches, nearly double the dimensions of a standard page of original comic book artwork.

"Jack Kirby's artwork has always been recognized for its visceral impact," says Ashley Cotter-Cairns, the president of SellMyComicBooks.com in the announcement. "The sheer size of these pages increases their power exponentially, making them of special interest to collectors."

Now it's time to switch gears and look at Jack Kirby's best comic book creations.

I'm not just the Newsarama founder and editor-in-chief, I'm also a reader. And that reference is just a little bit older than the beginning of my Newsarama journey. I founded what would become the comic book news site in 1996, and except for a brief sojourn at Marvel Comics as its marketing and communications manager in 2003, I've been writing about new comic book titles, creative changes, and occasionally offering my perspective on important industry events and developments for the 25 years since. Despite many changes to Newsarama, my passion for the medium of comic books and the characters makes the last quarter-century (it's crazy to see that in writing) time spent doing what I love most.