Sunday, November 30, 2014

Epic Art Weekend, or "How to Turn 48 in Style, Bitches!"

I had an awesome weekend.

Weekend, the end of the week.

That is as important as the weekend itself, because last week was my 2nd Annual Birthday Sale that ended last night at midnight. I sold four awesome pages and a few smaller things.

But I got rid of about 70 items in the sale.

Huh Wha?

Trades my kind sir, trades.

I contacted a local dealer during the early stages of my sale and expressed a desire to trade with him. He was surprisingly willing but frustratingly vague for the most part. As the week went on I added some items to the sale and dropped prices once or twice while simultaneously engaged in ongoing discussion with the dealer setting trade parameters. At one point he expressed concern that I was trying to sell everything before we met for the trade on my birthday. He said he bought art as well as traded for it. I explained that I was indeed trying to sell the art before we met and that he was welcome to buy the art at stated prices at any time.

He elected to wait for the trade.

In the meantime I sold a few more pieces, including one he professed interest in during our talks. That was good, as it showed I had viable items for sale/trade. I also fortified what I had for sale publicly with some awesome items for trade. And when the weekend came I was ready.

Or so I thought.

We met Saturday as planned and after about two hours I was dizzied, battered and bruised. Not from the dealer, who was just doing business in the exact style I had hoped for and anticipated. But it was a business to him, and I was engaged in the wholesale destruction of an art collection that I had built over the course of 25 years.

It was vicious.

I was vicous.

I was ruthless and I was mercenary. A piece got bent and I had to let it go. It was merchandise, not my collection. It was no longer my collection.

I am choked up typing that. Seriously.

Starman pages were flying out of the portfolio left and right. I had accumulated over 100 at one time and here he was taking some, leaving some, and generally wreaking havok on my collection and my psyche. All dealers hate your stuff as they look at it, trade for it, or even pay cash for it but having some pages dismissed casually regardless of content was rough for me. He never read the book, and no dealer has ever had an inventory of more than 3 Harris Starman pages at one time since Scott Eder 20 years ago. mostly because I was buying them. (I mean, I survived. Trust me in that I survived, but we will get to that.) I mean, you may know already and you may not. You may think it is ego on my part, but if you wanted to buy Harris Starman art you had to deal with me at one point or another. You HAD to go through me.

Unless I feel asleep before a late night auction.

That happened, more than once.

But here I was actively trying to give them to the dealer for far less than I would sell them to you. But then again you didn' t have stuff like this for me in return.

Wonder Woman REAR - pencil layout Dave Bullock / inks Darwyn Cooke

And it wasn't just Jack Knight I turned my back on. Steven Strange forgive me! But the all-seeing Eye of Agamotto was there to guide me and show me the way. The dealer was even heard to tell a friend/spectator in his shop that he was getting out ahead of the movie.

Yeah, me too.

I gave him more Dr.Strange than you can imagine. I condensed and then eliminated three Itoyas to do it. Twenty years plus of paid con sketches -masterpieces and quickies both - and commission after commission. He got at least two of my Darryl Banks commissions. After I went out to the car and got the double secret stash - a painted Starman cover and more Doc beauties (the good ones!) - he managed to procure my Valkyrie commission by Kevin Nowlan. Yeah, the big-ass Bruunhilde. I wouldn't be surprised if he keeps that one for a while or even if I see it onhis wall framed in the future.

And that was just the first day.

HEY NOW! JHW3 / Mick Gray Flash Annual 1996 splash with Grateful Dead motif!
When I got home I realized I had left early and made a bad decision or two when I was there. I did not regret anything and was not at all unsatisfied by the trades we had made; I got 10 pieces, one of which he could not locate and was to be mailed later. But I was overwhelmed losing so much art in such a quick manner that I had to end it after 2.5-3 hours and head on home.

I was so pumped but still had a ton of art left to trade. I know I can always trade or sell it at a later date but felt that I had missed out on capitalizing better on the opportunity.

But then I got an email saying the dealer had located the Mignola piece (oops!) and that he had enjoyed the day as well. I decided I would see if he wanted to do it again Sunday.

With the exact same stuff that he had seen earlier Saturday.

He did.

We made arrangements to meet again and I set out to work. A man with a plan. Now that I knew how he worked I prepared thoroughly and even reviewed his website again. Man oh man,how did I miss all that excellent stuff! Plus, I had seen things. Scary things. Wonderful things. Many many different things. All available for my treasures.

JHW3 / Mick Gray Gambit & Bishop 6 cover

When I got there today I asked if I could spend some time looking through his inventory again. I was looking for a BWS unused cover rough from Valiant days gone by and a Pacheco unused Avengers Forever cover with a lone figure of Kang the Conqueror. After really busting my butt I finally asked and eventually learned they were both long gone. But I found something that I was looking for on Saturday and that was a bonus for sure. I really wanted that goofy 1973 Marvel page (unscanned as yet so don't bother looking in this post for it! Look at this instead!)

Tom Raney / Randy Elliott Stormwatch 48 cover
So after locating just three items we got down to it. I showed him my 9x12 portfolio and hit him with my plan: I had the leftover-from-Saturday stuff in the book and had labeled it by name and trade value and wanted him to take it all then and there. It was almost all $25 and $50 sketches with one $125, one $200 and the occasional $75 piece in there as well. Free sketches from big names, good sketches from no-names, and great pieces by mid-level guys as well. I mean the Dustin Weaver was to-die-for. I had the lot, about half the portfolio, valued at a number between $1000-$1500. Then I told him I also had the larger stuff from the prior day: the demeaned and debased Starman pages, some oddities of high quality, and Doctor Strange galore. It was all labeled and valued.

Whilce Portacio Stormatch Team Achilles issue 6 cover

So then he asked what I wanted and I showed him. He groaned. Three pieces, none of which are in this post. Three pieces and one of which I had tried to get the day before. You know,the day on which he had taken the better of my material available to him. This one was beautiful and I thought pretty special. I had not targeted it on the website even though I had seen it but when I saw it in person I loved it so. So slowly but surely he went through the same process of grudgingly accepting my wares.  But I must emphasize that I do not think it was a sales tactic but a genuine uncertainty as to his ability to move the art in a timely fashion. I eventually came though with enough to make it happen, and at the end of the day I got $3150 for just over $4000 of my collection. And not $4000 worth like when you go through your collection and say "this is worth X" and "this is worth y" but slashing a high quantity of that shit to its' core and tossing it at quality. Small level unpublished quality for published quality is what I was after.

Andy Kubert / Dan Green X-Men 52 page 1 Gambit splash
Because you see this is not the end game. This was the opening bloodbath in a war on my collection. My original art collection will be forged in fire and blood until it shines unlike ever before and will emerge magnificent and wonderful. Unfortunately there are casualties and this will end with the population decimated, but far far stronger from the experience.

Mark Silvestri / Dan Green Wolverine 41 page 2
In other words, everything you see in this post is open for offers. Cold hard cash. Trade. Cash/trade. I will be actively shopping some of this to dealers and/or an auction house at the next comic art con in late March so if you don't want to see if get marked up yet again by those dealer guys, buy it from me instead. But you'd better do it soon, because if you think I don't mean business in this The Fifty deal, you can just ask Jack Knight and Steven Strange (if you can find them at their new home in AC). They'll tell you, but it will cost you.

Wait until you see some of the other stuff I got. Oh boyo did I get some sweet sweet art!

Three published Billy da'Sienk Moon Knight, a Mignola as leaked above, a Vess that will blow your socks off, Colan / Adkins and more! ;-)

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