Sunday, December 30, 2012

Surprise acquisition - Tim Truman concert poster art

In the original comic art hobby there are a few seasonal sales you can come to count on. With most dealers it is a kind of waiting game, a gamble with the risk - reward being that the art could be purchased at any time at full price but if it gets to the seasonal sale it will be reduced to a very attractive price and you will get it then. Or you could be like dealer Roger Clark. Roger is always a little different, you see, because I find he always has fair prices. That is just odd, innit? And his year end sale is different as well. He took last year off for some reason but for the five or so years before that I had come to count on Roger Clark's New year's Eve sale. With Roger's sale the art did not sit in his for sale stock all year and then get discounted but rather contained NEW art, mostly form Roger's collection apparently and other stuff acquired over the year for the sale. I got a Tony Harris Flight of Bones page every year for three or four years there by staying home New Year's Eve and waiting for the art and prices to be posted. Roger cannot unearth those any more, but this year he had a Starman cover painting he knew I would be interested in. But this post is not about that cover, perhaps we will discuss that in the future.

This post is about this piece.

Tim Truman Ratdog/Hot Tuna/Planet Drum poster art
Although it will not be paid off for some time, this piece will be in my hands eventually. It is the poster art for a Planet Drum / Hot Tuna / Ratdog concert held on New Year's Eve 1999, the Millennium's Eve! How cool is that? I met Tim Truman twice in the last few years and actually bought this poster from him because it was so cool . And now I own the original. Thanks to Roger for working with me on this. If you ever come over my house expect to see this one on the wall.

What did I tell you? I would have to be Blessed to have 2013 be half the year that 2012 was? Well, consider me blessed. And thank you to Bonnie for tolerating this. I be Blessed indeed!

Last thought's on my acquisitions as the year ends

2012 saw me acquire my 100th page of Starman art. That is quite an obsession. I sold off a bunch of Tony Harris art this year as well as I reconsidered my collecting foci. I have made a few new mission statements in my comic art collection and one of these was to pass on most of the other Harris art and focus on Starman and Dr. Strange Flight of Bones. So I sold a few covers, all my Ex Machina pages (and I had quite a few there at one time), Liberty Files/Unholy 3 stuff (some of his best work I think) and kept saying yes when offered Starman pages. No FoB came my way this year as far as I recall. I already showed my Starman 3 cover in an earlier post; below are some of the Starman pages I was able to get this past year.

Gee, that page above is page 1 from issue 0. That would make it the first page of the comic ever published! SCORE!

I always enjoy the Tony Harris pages where he has a circle panel. He used to do it all the time. last year I got a few pages featuring The Shade that have the largest circle panel of Tony's I have ever seen. Look at that page above. I like the art deco elements around the circle panel, and the looseness of the last panel in the ink and in the lack of hard panel borders.

A great page from issue 1 featuring one of The Shade's shadow monsters.  I am always glad to acquire pages like this that really form and establish the character in the reader's mind; right here we find out that the Shade is a badass and is not to be underestimated or trifled with.

A nice Jack page above, always welcome of course, and below it almost looks like a page from Ex Machina, eh?

Below is another nice character and content page from early in the run. Clarence O'Dare and the mayor discuss Jack Knight and how the city should approach a costumed vigilante.

These next two pages were a bit of a departure for me. I have been thinking of eliminating, or at least stop buying, non-Tony Harris pages from my Starman collection. But when I was considering a commission from Richard Pace I realized he had these 2 pages for sale on his CAF as well. So I got a cool Dr. Strange from Richard and these two/too cool pages featuring the Bodines, a great husband and wife villain team, and the Will Payton Starman.

Then, of course, I had to get this page from a bit later in the issue as well.

The big one though, other than the cover to issue 3 which is spectacular!, is the piece below. Tony Harris created two companion portraits, of Jack Knight/Starman and Richard Swift/The Shade. Mike White owns The Shade, but I was lucky enough to buy the Jack Knight one this year. These are two of the finest Starman related ink pieces Tony Harris ever created and I am proud to own this one.

Jack Knight Starman card art by creator Tony Harris
I can only pray and hope that 2013 is one-half as kind to me. Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

I am up early as I have a sore throat and wanted to take a shower and loosen it up. It is 6:30 and the kids have been awake in their rooms for over 30 minutes. I am going to go upstairs and awaken the Kraken, then loose the Titans on their booty. So right now is the calm before the storm. It should be fun, my girls love their presents! I really do enjoy being their father.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Some more thoughts nearing year's end

I was really quite surprised when writing my earlier post about my art acquisitions this year. I have accumulated quite a bit of quality art in the past year. As I said in that post, I sold quite a bit of art this year to fund all this new stuff - so I do not know why I am so surprised. But I decided I need to break it up into a few posts to really review it properly. Here is the second in a series of three! So important it needs three posts, eh? Not so much as that I get bored easily and need three attempts to get it all in there.

Paul Smith - Baron Mordo

The piece above and its' companion below have long been among art that I have seen for sale on CAF and coveted for years. Well, not too long ago the previous owner posted a few things for sale and I asked if he still owned these pieces. Clea was long gone and himself was too expensive right now, but The Baron and Dormammu were available. I paid my money and the deal was done. Thank you to the wrangler for letting these go.

Paul Smith - The Dread Dormammu

The piece below was a long time coming. I had been trying to get a commission from Matt Smith, aka Matthew Dow Smith, when he decided he would try this new kickstarter thing. He suggested that if I pledged to his kickstarter drive I would get my commission. Long story short I pledged an amount he reported to find very generous and we decided on Doctor Strange and Hellboy versus Cthulhu monster 11X17. I was very happy but the commission never materialized. (The kickstarter project was funded but has still not yet materialized.) I forget how long passed, but Matt was scheduled to be about 2 hours away signing with a bunch of legends like Walt and Weezy Simonson and Dan Green, among others. I always wanted to meet Dan Green, and relayed to Matt that I would be at the store when the signing would occur. I got to talk to Walt and Weezie, and enjoyed meeting Dan Green for the first time as well. Even if he did inform me that, although extremely similar, the interior page I owned from Into Shamballa was NOT the same image used as the cover for the soft cover edition. And then sure enough Matt Smith said he had my art. And he handed me something that made me so happy.

Matt Smith depicts Hell for Hellboy and Doctor Strange
Somewhere along the way I also inquired about a commission from Azpiri.It didn't happen, but he must have liked the idea because immediately afterwards the painting below popped up on his rep's web site. It is tiny but I had to have it.

Azpiri does Clea
I mentioned Andy MacDonald last time when I displayed the awesome Mephisto Drinks The Defenders piece he did for me. Another theme I was lucky to have him contribute to this year was my penchant for having modern artists re-create the cover to Silver Surfer 4, originally drawn by the late great John Buscema. Big John had big shoes that many artists struggle to fill, and I thought it would be great to see how people react to the particular challenges that SS4 presents. There are two full figures on the vertical page and the art suggests the sheer power about to be unleashed when these two great beings clash in a way very few artists could achieve. I got a few of these and two are presented below. Andy MacDonald went full out as you can see. He never fails to disappoint and I was very happy when I got this.

homage to Big John Buscema - SS4 cover homage by Andy MacDonald
I was also fortunate to have Tom Raney homage this cover this year as well. Tom has been offering commissions through his deviant art account on a fairly regular basis and when you get stuff like this as a result you tend to become a repeat customer. I am really moving away from smaller commissions to larger commissions and larger published pieces, but as long as Tom takes a list I will try to get on it. He is working through a list right now as a matter of fact and I should have a Jack Knight Starman as a result pretty soon.
homage to Big John Buscema - SS4 cover homage by Tom Raney
One of the other commission themes I have going is to get artists to provide homages to the Michael Golden Dr. Strange portfolio plates. Early in the year JK Woodward tackled this theme and provided me with the wonderful watercolor piece you see below. This is a take on Plate 1 - The Ancient One and is a wonderful addition to my collection. JK should be getting me his take on the Nightmare plate early next year.

JK Woodward watercolor homage to Michael Golden
And once again I must say how blessed I am. I was able to purchase the Barry Windsor-Smith page from issue 236 of Daredevil from Bechara at a comic art con. Now I have two pages from this issue. Some of the issue was inked by Bob Wiacek and Barry inked the rest, so when Bob was at this year's NYCC I brought both pages to him to see if he worked on them. Nope, he didn't work on either he told me. I then brought the pages over and showed them off to Jim Cheung. Jim and I have toalked in the past about my love for BWS and Jim seems to be a fan as well. I showed him the pages and he was kind enough to show his envy. When I recounted Bob's information Jim looked at me kinda funny and said it was pretty obvious Barry inked the pages. And then he showed me why he said it and I felt foolish that in the few moments he had looked at the pages he had seen more than I had seen since owning them. For instance, look at the last panel on the page below. The strokes on Black Widows left leg are "Barry strokes" (as Jim called them). I laughed as soon as he showed me because it is so true. It was a meaningful moment for me, as it reminded me to really look at and appreciate the pages I own.

Daredevil page by Barry Windsor-Smith, pencils and inks
More next week or so. You know I got some Starman this year. Yeah boyee!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Birth of Titanium Man!

Well, I just got back from the dentist and it was the worst news possible. I was going for a crown but during the weekend I knew I had messed up the tooth when eating a Mento. They were an impulse buy, and I even got the wrong flavors, rainbow instead of fruit. Well the first one was like a rock (a rock of yumminess) and when I bit down I felt my tooth, the one recently given a root canal, move. I found out today that I cracked it pretty good. There will be no crown. Doc ripped out half the tooth, filed down the jagged monstrosity left behind, and sent me on my way. I left his office a broken man, but I will show him. I will show them all. They laughed at me, but now they will feel the power of TITANIUM MAN! That's right, I am getting a titanium tooth implant! It will be a six month or so process, but I will leave this meager shell behind and be reborn through the furnace of my pain and disfigurement as something else. Something new. Something different. Something technologically advanced. TITANIUM MAN.

But in the meantime I better find $3000-$4000. So I am putting 100 items in my CAF for sale gallery and will also throw some things up on ebay. Please see the links on the upper right and be involved in the birth of Titanium Man. After all, every newborn needs financial support.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Some thoughts nearing year's end

I have to tell you, I have really had a good year. Many blessings have come my way. I started this entry to talk about my comic art, surprise surprise. But I would be remiss if I did not comment on my wonderful wife and my equally wonderful daughters. They really make each and every day better. We are entering the teen years, and I know it won't always be so easy to get along but it has really been a blast so far.

I coached soccer again this year, and that was fun. We had the year end dinner yesterday, a few weeks later than optimal. Only 6 of the 14 kids attended, but it was good to see those kids again. I look forward to coaching again next year.

Okay, comic art. I had a great year. I sold more art than I ever have in one year before (I think) and I bought a bunch of really nice things. Maybe nothing to compete with last year's BWS Storyteller splash page, but what year could compete with that? I usually place my better pieces in my CAF Lowry, and looking at it now, I think it was a good year. Only one of those five things is on my comic art want list but that is really because I could not have anticipated the others. But they absolutely fall right in my collection wheelhouse. This is the one on my want list, a page from Dracula 44 by Gene Colan and Tom Palmer
Tomb of Dracula 44 page 22 Gene Colan / Tom Palmer

Although not in my Lowry, I also got a page from Dr. Strange 14 this year. This is the issue of Dr. Strange, Master of the Mystic Arts that crossed-over with Tomb of Dracula 44. Gene Colan was pencilling the art for both books at the time, and this issue is again inked by Tom Palmer.

Dr. Strange 14 page 10 Gene Colan / Tom Palmer

I got a whole lot of Gene Colan this year; in addition to those two pages, I got the only page pencilled by gene Colan that Walt Simonson ever inked; a cool page from Dr. Strange 38 inked by Dan Green; and have paid off a little over 50% of a nice splash.

 The Chris Stevens watercolor was a real treat. How I could expect he would start painting and I would get one of the first ones? Look at that piece of art.

Storm of Asgard by Chris Stevens

I got a Mike Mignola cover. It was a bit of an impulse, and I would trade it for the right Starman/Hellboy/Batman piece, but it is a wonderful piece of art. It may not have hellboy, but it has so much more that you want in a Mignola than many Hellboy panel pages. Check that shit out.

Mike Mignola Witchfinder 4 cover

I have a few collecting themes. Well, that may be overstating it but I like to get a few specific things. I now have gotten a second artist to recreate an image I can no longer find, online or in the real world. But Andy MacDonald was nice enough to take on the challenge and make this homage to a John Buscema poster of Mephisto drinking souls from his chalice. Frank Brunner did it once for me as well, and Andy was right there with his execution like the old pro! (Go buy Andy's latest masterpiece, the adaptation of James Patterson's ZOO)

Mephisto Drinks The Defenders by Andy MacDonald.

This year also found me finally getting a commission from Eric Canete. I once bought, and have since sold, a Silver Surfer from Eric's portfolio. But this year Eric joined a few other comic artists and stopped sketching copyrighted characters. There are many reasons for this, and not every artist has the same reason as the next guy. But if it is a reaction to the Gary Friedrich case it is a total over-reaction. But Eric is taking that position and talking to him in the past made it clear he is a genuine man. So when NYCC came around in 2012 I decided to get Eric to do an underwater Valkyrie. He was all over that shit. Check out the insanity he put on paper for me.

Eric Canete underwater valkyrie convention sketch - my idea, his execution

The next piece I have here represents another want list acquisition. This is the fourth page from issue 170 of Dr. Strange that I now possess. This is page 18. I think that may be enough now that the Tomb of Dracula 44 pages and Doc 14 pages are surfacing, but you never know.

Dr. Strange 170 page 18, art by Dan Adkins

And this year was also the year I got my Mike Allred commission, another want list item. I initially wanted to get the Valkyrie, Dr. Strange, Clea and other Defenders playing volleyball on the sand. After thinking about characters and cost ($200 per after the first four characters) I decided to get Doc and his posse: The Ancient One, Clea, Wong, and Rintrah. Simon Miller was a keen facillitator and Mike Allred just killed it for me. I may have stripes added on Clea's suit, and The Ancient One's shirt is supposed to be a Hawaiian shirt and I will have that added soon enough digitally. I also wish there were a few creatures, seagulls and crabs and such, but I did get the cute beachgoer in the background.

One of the best pieces I got this year is this cover by Kevin Nowlan.

Strange Tales 11 cover - Kevin Nowlan
That is a thing of beauty. It may not be his best of that period, but it is a great representation of those covers and is a very strong cover by a master artist. I loved Mr. Jyp so when this cover was made available to me I was glad to see him and Cloak & Dagger, plus Doc as well! The Doc only covers are my favorites, but MAN look at what I done got!

I also was able to score a major coup when I commissioned Rudy Nebres early in the year to do another one of my themes, Dr. Strange vs. Dracula. Rudy and his lovely, and patient, wife have been at quite a few conventions in my area in the last few years and I got to talking with them on quite a few occasions. It turns out they live 10 minutes from me, two towns over. I arranged to pick up the commission at their house and look at what Rudy Nebres presented to me.

I had given Rudy five different heroines to put in the commission and he chose The Scarlet Witch. This is right up their with my Simon Bisley, Paul Smith, and Jae Lee commissions as one of the best I have received from an artist. I loved it so much I sought out the means to make it into a shirt and now wear it proudly. I wear a comic art shirt, or more than one, every weekend and that Nebres commission started that whole trend for me. It is that great a piece of comic art.

Let's see, I also got a Starman cover this year. Issue 3.

Starman 3 cover painting by Tony Harris

What can be said after that. Thanks be to God, I am blessed. be continued.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

new Gene Colan Dr. Strange page

I got a new page in the mail today. Dr. Strange 38 page 22 by Gene Colan and Dan Green. Now I used to own a few Gene Colan pages that I had purchased directly from Gene and Adrienne at a con in NYC, but along the way I sold them. You see, I love Dr. Strange but my personal favorites on art would be Frank Brunner, Paul Smith, and Michael Golden. (Steve Ditko is in a class all his own, so I left him out. Stylistically I am not a fan of Asian Doc, but the Ditkoverse and the page layouts are a thing of beauty. Art in the true sense.).But Gene Colan was a little before my time. But recently I have been looking for pages from a few specific issues and they all have Gene Colan really doing stellar work..

This page is not from one of those issues.

I bought this page when I saw it while looking for those other pages.

Gene Colan / Dan Green Dr. Strange 38 page 22
I bought this page primarily for the good stuff and despite the...well...the rest. I will leave it to you to decide how "good" this page is, and it has its' storytelling flaws. But coloring IS missing, so maybe that helped. I like it for the first and last panels, obviously, and for the inclusion of Clea, who is always fun to see on the page.

I am really happy to have this page in my collection. It scratched an itch, and will tide me over until I finish my time payments on a sweet Colan / Palmer splash. This is a real obvious example of me moving better pieces into my collection at the expense of selling tons of smaller pieces, which I have been doing on ebay on and off for the last 2-3 months. I think it is a good direction to be headed.