Sunday, February 10, 2013

The wonderful roller coaster ride that is original comic art collecting

Since I began collecting original comic art around 1990 I have always had new targets in my sites, new acquisitions I wanted and many yearly conventions to attend where I would spend many many dollars on commissions, usually of Dr. Strange. Yes, over the years there have been obsessions with Grendel, Starman, Asgardian Storm and others but Doc dominates easily. But as my interests have focused and my life has changed I have found myself moving away from the conventions, at least as a source of my art, and am targeting published pages and covers more and more. And the ones I am targeting are more expensive than anything I have ever been targeting before. So I am budgeting next to nothing for convention sketches and planning on spending all spare cash and all money generated from sales of pieces from my collection on some nice nice things.

But this has really left me with a lot more spare time than normal. I used to be able to plan my next 3-4 conventions and go over and over that stuff as the shows approached. It is a fun way to spend the time, emailing artists and checking lists and planning character requests. Useless hobby stuff, just what it is for.This is in addition to the other stuff, reading blogs and a few forums/message boards. I am still resisting the twitter and facebook worlds, although they are becoming better and better resources for locating comic artists and getting art. But now that I know how I want to spend my next year's cash does not leave me with much to do hobby-wise on a daily basis.

Well, thankfully there are some awesome comic art auctions coming up! The Heritage auction in particular is appealing to me, but Comic Link has some groovy stuff as well. If you look a few posts down at my collecting goals for this year you might notice quite a few things that are also for sale in these auctions. Not Starman of course, never Starman. I have no recollection of ever seeing a Starman page for auction at wither Heritage or Comic Link. But look further down at items 5, 7, and 8 and BINGO! Hal Foster panels, a great Frank Miller pin-up, and a BWS cover/pin-up. They sure bear watching. Yesterday I bid on the Miller piece and pushed it to the current mark. That would be more than I ever spent on something before and would require some serious moving of funds to pull off. And that BWS is insane and likely to go waaaaay out of my range. So I am looking at those Fosters and the Winsor McKay political cartoon very closely. There is also so much wonderful stuff there, including 2 items I expect to own 2 weeks from today. Each should go $500 or less, so I won't be doing much heavy lifting unless something surprising happens.

And then Comic Link. Unfortunately I have not paid attention in the past and cannot determine when exactly these aucitons end so it is hard to plan around Heritage. But those Black Kiss covers are astounding. Black Kiss 3 is the money shot of the four, but issue 9 may be my favorite of these. That Steranko is crazy cool, although the sexy sexy never did it for me. Sexy, yes, but nekkid sexy sexy no thanks. Black Kiss and stuff like The Boys or Criminal pushed my limits without crossing them, but I digress. Complete Cerebus! Out of my range but something special I think. Then the great Paolo Rivera Mole Man DD cover; 2 fantastic George Pratt Marvel covers; a Jim Starlin SS/Warlock Resurrection page; the Sienkiewicz cover - that is all stuff I would consider trying to own if not for that Heritage stuff! And tons of other great art outside my interests. Those Dale Keown Hulk pages come from a wonderful story that I remember fondly, but the story required ugly art so I will pass on that. If I am going to complete with those Keown freak fans, and someday I may, it won't be for ugly art! Hulk SMASH! not Hulk emaciated weakling. And a whole Jack Kirby Thor story, WOW! Good scoop Comic Link!

So this week and next I am thankful for Heritage to give me something to focus on now that my ebay auctions are mailed out. Most of them at least. Hmm, maybe I should do some more auctions and shoot for...

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Comic Art Want List - Gene Colan / Tom Palmer acquired!

OH YEAH! I have really been paring down the collection. Paring it down, thinning the herd, separating the wheat from the chaff (well, less fresh wheat because none of it was chaff!) - call it what you will it was ugly and it was vicious at times and unfortunately it was necessary. But truth be told I did it willingly. And I gonna do it again for sure.

Because sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do if you wanna get'ya somma this:

Tomb of Dracula 44 p 1 splash - Gene Colan / Tom Palmer

Now a few things worth mentioning. First is that I had seen the art for the complete ToD 44 a year or two before but it was only for sale as a complete issue at that time. Eventually that changed and I had a shot at pages from ToD 44, but this page was long gone and I was a few hours late on another wonderful page. I did get a nice one, and since that time have also added a page from Dr. Strange 14, the title ToD 44 was having the cross-over with. Then about 6 months ago I saw it on a dealer's site at a premium price. It was most likely around a 50% markup and it is not inconceivable that it was marked-up 100% to the price I paid. But no matter. I saw the page and knew I could not let it go again. I have a few pages that are forming the cornerstone of my Doc collection. I had 4 pages from Dr. Strange 170, the second issue from 1968 and thought those were cornerstones. But when ToD 44 and Doc 14 starting coming up all that changed because I actually remember these pages. So I sold one of those pages from 170 and paid this off early because I love it so and you cannot have it all. I have tried, so trust me on that one.

The second thing that needs mentioning is the reason I (over)paid for this page: the writing. I usually buy art for the art, but this page has such compelling and memorable writing that it really puts the page over the top in my opinion. It has a fantastic Gene Colan and Tom Palmer splash that opens the story brilliantly and Marv Wolfman writes a wonderful story. How can you not be drawn in by that page? It is a wonderful example of the marriage of words and pictures that is comics that I am proud to own.

Now the last thing to mention is the bad stuff. This page did disappoint me briefly. I guess if I had examined it more closely I would not have been so surprised at the crappy condition of the masthead and stats. But c'est la vie! There are also all sorts of things going on here, from zip-a-tone to a stat in the crystal ball. I have no idea how much, if any, of that is original art and have no intention of removing anything to find out. It really does not matter to me but the time will eventually come when it will matter to someone. So sometime after 2030, or when I die if before then, someone will really examine the page and see what's what. Doc is clean, and the rest is a bit this and a bit that but the end result is brilliant and that is all that matters to me now.