Monday, March 24, 2014

Third Original Art Acquisition of the Year! A Tony Harris Starman gem!

TONY HARRIS 1994 Starman pin-up / later DC house ad

I was really excited to see this piece in the Comic Link auction a month or two ago. I saw that a "Starman 0 pinup" was previewed but there was no picture. However, I had a definite idea what piece it was that was likely coming up for sale. First off, I have Starman 0 and there are no pinups in it. But I had seen the term used before more than once in association with a specific piece. And that piece was for sale once in a while. I was intrigued that the piece I had in mind was going to come to auction without reserve.

But I was wrong. When a picture was finally posted sometime around the day of the auction it was the piece above. My piece, now. I had seen the image before but was did not know where it was from. I did not want to draw attention to it publicly so my research was limited to going through my Starman comics. I went through a few of the earliest issues and...nothing. I went through the first Starman Omnibus, which has a lot of extras and prelims (a few of which I own!), and found...nothing like the above piece.

So I just sniped the hell out of it and bought it. It was really as simple as that; I bid a few hundred more than what it cost to buy in the end, and that was good as I waited to really snipe it at the bitter end and there was no time for another attempt.

My thought was that it was probably the rejected first cover for issue 0. Tony Harris did painted covers for all the issues of Starman, at least all the ones he did on his main run.But I have also seen that his earliest attempts were just pen and ink. hence my guess that this was a rejected and early version of Starman 0, with whom it also shares some subject matter.

So after I bought it I was able to ask publicly. Turns out I was wrong again. Actually at first I was contacted by the person who consigned it to ComicLink, and he bought it in 1994 from Tony at Heroes Con and thought it to be a Starman 0 pinup. But I was quickly shown a house ad from a DC comic book published in 1996 in which this art is used as a house ad for the James Robinson / Tony Harris Starman comic. tony also chimed in a said as much.

But that does not really make sense. It has a 1994 date on it, which I think is one of the main factors why  Clink attributed it to Starman 0, which was mid-94. So for now I have to go with the house ad attribution, although I think it is far more than that. It has the angular look for Jack that Tony had very early on and the '94 date is unmistakable. Why would he make art for a DC house ad when the comic started coming out of a 5th week stunt - remember "Zero Hour"? Well, wonders never cease I guess.

ps  I should have my fourth 2014 piece, another Tony Harris original, in hand any day now.Perhaps even today. I also plan on acquiring one piece at the comic art con next Sunday. One is definite, other(s) are possible but unlikely.

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