Marvel Comics’ Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada revealed that a hired contractor who squatted in his Sparta, New Jersey, home also sold countless pieces from his prized art collection.
NorthJersey.com reported that Francesco Bove, 64, allegedly made off with $250,000 in art from Quesada’s home. Quesada, 55, said he hired Bove in January 2014 to repair some water damage but learned in summer 2016 that Bove was staying in his second residence without his consent.
“My friend then arrived and while Mr. Bove was not there at that moment she discovered all the interior cameras covered with towels and sheets as well as a large suitcase and other items that clearly showed the house had been occupied for some time,” he wrote in a Facebook post Monday.
Quesada said he immediately ousted the contractor but was shocked to learn a year later that Bove was selling 24 pieces from his personal collection online. Upon further investigation, it was discovered that the contractor allegedly sold off at least 185 pieces since being thrown out of Quesada’s home.
“I lost pages of my own professional art as well as art I purchased from dear and talented friends. But what stings the most is that Mr. Bove took artwork that I had discovered many years ago stored in my father’s home after he had passed away,” he wrote.
“Drawings and paintings I did in elementary school, high school and college. Practice sample pages I had done before ever seriously thinking I could be in comics.”
In addition to personal and sentimental pieces, Quesada said the contractor took a sizeable collection of Archie comics penned by various artists, including Stan Goldberg, Harry Lucey, Sam Schwartz, and Dan DeCarlo.
Quesada said this is all coming to light now because Bove fled to Italy and was recently arrested entering the country. Now, he says he’s tasked with recovering work that is worth more than money to him.
Sparta police Detective Jeffrey McCarrick said the suspect admitted to selling all the artwork to various New York City dealers. Originally, he claimed that Quesada gave him artwork that suffered water damage, according to NorthJersey.com.
Bove is awaiting extradition from New York on theft and burglary charges. His first court appearance has not been scheduled.
This is an ongoing investigation. Anyone with information about the stolen items is instructed to call the Sparta Police Department at 973-726-4072.
[Featured Image: Katy Winn/Invision/AP; Facebook/Joe Quesada]