Saturday, July 7, 2012

In with the new...Starman by Tony Harris

I really love Starman, the DC series that ran for 80+ issues written by James Robinson with art primarily by the team of Tony Harris and Wade von Grawbadger and then Peter Snejbjerg after Tony's head got big. (Yes I said it, he knows it and admits it now.) There were fill-in issues by the likes of Matt Smith, Mark Buckingham, Steve Yeowell, Russ Heath, Mike Mayhew, Richard Pace and others. I got into Starman when I was living in Muncie Indiana. My wife and I moved there 3 days after getting married, no honeymoon, so I could attend graduate school at Ball State University. I had little to do and there was one comic book store in town. but there was also a used bookstore, and they had comics with price stickers on the cover. I had read The Golden Age somehow, it is not like that type of book was ever on my radar. But read it I did, and I fell in love with it - I was drawn in by the work of Paul Smith, PMS, which was wonderful but that story by James Robinson made me a fan for life. I still read it every 2 or 3 years and it is a wonderful take on the end of what is now referred to as the golden age of comics.

So when I came across Starman issues 0 (Zero Hour!) and 1, and maybe even 2, with a 25 cents orange sticker on the covers I took them from their boxes arranged on the concrete floor under the tables of other comics and books, got off my hands and needs, paid them off, and scraped the sticker off ever so carefully but ever so completely in my car. Only I could tell you it was ever there, and I can see the light residue immediately on those books to this day. I bought a lot of comics there, recently released books with an orange sticker on them, and even bought a few softcover graphic novels for $1, sticker on cover as well. Roy Thomas Conan GNs; Elric by P Craig Russell and Michael Gilbert; Maximortal by Rick Veitch. All worth a buck. So when I got into Starman it was fairly early in the series, although not at the very beginning.

It was also around this time that I got into comic art in a BIG way. I somehow bought a wonderful Jill Thompson page in college or in my Masters program years, and I remember getting the notification in the mail that my bid of $125 had been the highest and that payment was expected post haste. Somehow the money was acquired as was the page. But I know I was in Indiana when I travelled to Detroit for a comic convention because Tony Harris was going to be there. This would be around, oh, 1998. Tony was there next to, and palling around with, Tim Bradstreet. They were there late the first day and I got on their list. It was their list because they had no individual lists, they were going to do pieces together and only 4 characters were available. I do not remember them all but I do recall I went with Abe Sapien. Well nothing was drawn that first day and they were mucho hungover the second day and eventually Tim started his own list when I wasn't around and I got bupkiss from them both. Well that isn't really true, because I got a few Starman pages from Tony. Including this one.

Starman 43 art by Tony Harris / Wade von Grawbadger

I remember my wife buying this page for $40 and giving it to me for my birthday around he same time.

Starman 12 page 9 Tony Harris and Wade von G...again

So with the new purging, taking place now on ebay so check my link in the upper right corner of this blog please, and new philosophy come new acquisitions. I recently made an offer for a swell piece of art, just swell. And after some negotiations we agreed on a price and I have sent out a money order today and I look forward to finding the package on my doorstep, or perhaps the orange slip in the mail. I won't show the piece until it is in my hands. Besides, the groovy Starman pages in this post deserve there own time to shine. The next piece can wait for its' time. It goes in the same portfolio as these pages above, that is for sure.


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