Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Frames of The Faltine - Dr.Strange framed art wall

I thought some time ago that my Dr. Strange wall was finished. I have other dr. Strange pieces framed and displayed throughout the room but I also focused on this wall for Doc. I put the Tony harris magazine cover in the middle with 2 Adkins pages on the left and 2 Colan / Palmer pages on the right.

But then I decided to frame some smaller pieces and decided that they might look nice on the Doc wall, which I had named "The Frames of The Faltine".

Monday, December 15, 2014

Vess piece now framed

I have had the Charles Vess piece framed and it is now hanging in the stairwell on the way down to the room where the rest of my framed art hangs.

I have since been told that the image was published in an issue of Realms of Fantasy. That is funny as my wife is a subscriber but I do not think she saves the issues. The source of that info is being very helpful and is trying to locate the specific issue. What a guy, he doesn't even know me; I just reached out to him online!

Anyway, the house is shaping up tremendously now with about 25 pieces framed and 5 or so more with frames on order. Now my wife says to me that she wants some of her things on the walls! What have I done? Cross-stichery abounds already, and more is apparently onthe way. but that is okay because we got an excellent Toulouse Latrec print framed for the bedroom and I have another framed surprise coming her way at Christmas!

Another facotr in all this is that my comic art collection is in tremendous flux. I have sold or traded over a dozen Tony Harris Starman pages and overall reduced my collection by about 80-100 pieces in the last two months. But I have also purchased some amazing things with some of that money and have also put about $1000 into frames during that time. It is daunting but exciting and I encouraged anyone with hundreds of pieces of comic art to consider trading a bunch of them for fewer but more valuable pieces; that is what I have done and what I intend to continue doing. I traded convention sketches, small commissions, less-than-exciting published pages, and a few things I just could not sell for a dozen really nice pieces from the dealer's collection. Some of these I intend to keep (the Vess is among these) and most I intend to sell for art money or trade again for better things.

If anyone out there wants to do it yourself I am happy to offer my advice about how to maximize your experience, at least with the dealers I am dealing with. I will admit to having a dealer give me a credit commission for anyone that trades with him that was referred by me; so if you go a-trading based on my experience please tell them I sent you! Or feel free to email me first and I can tell you how I priced my items and what mistakes I made! It was/is a blast for me and I encourage others to trade the things they are tired of looking at for some newer and nicer things.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Epic Weekend Post Continued Yet Again - One for the collection and One for The Fifty

So after my first trading session netted me 10 pieces I went home tired, stressed, and just plain wired. When I was in Spain in the 10th grade I learned that the meat from the dead bulls after a bullfight is given away to the poor because adrenaline and other neurotransmitters, along with hormones, render the meat tough. I felt like that bull on the ride home.

So when I went back the next day I spent a good hour or so going through all the art: portfolios and piles and stacks and framed pieces on the walls all over the place. So when the trading commenced I had only three pieces with me. One was a goal all along but I could not locate it the day before, a great Gene Colan page inked by Dan Adkins.

Gene Colan / Dan Adkins Strange Tales 170 p 15

The second piece was the Bill Sienkiewicz / Steve Mitchell splash page from Moon Knight 18 I already posted. But the third piece was a valuable one that I saw the day before and had offered a Starman painted cover for it straight up. (This is the piece I teased in my earlier post as the very excellent special surpise.) That offer was rejected as the dealer stated he was fond of the very excellent special surprise and had rejected offers about 80-90% of his asking price in the past. So I took two pieces of art that I have previously posted for the Starman cover featuring blue Starman Mikaal Tomas instead. The next day I targeted the very excellent special surprise again and just went for it - for the three pieces I offered a half full portfolio of smaller stuff for $1250 value (20-30 pieces with only 3 or so valued at more than $100, many of which had been offered but not traded the day before plus many new small things that I would not have initially thought he would accept but had learned otherwise on day one) and then told him he could go through the 11x17 and we would take it from there.

He sighed, I had kept the very excellent special surprise behind the other two until I started talking.

He put it aside and suggested we do the two other first.

Fine. I took the smaller Itoya and showed him the pieces one by one. When I was done he casually picked it up and tossed it in his pile. Here we go! He picked up my 11x17 and suggested a value needed to make the deal. It was very reasonable, as he had been all along, and I told him to take what he wanted at that level.

Now here we go, time for the very excellent special surprise.

Have you gotten that yet? The very excellent special surprise?


Charles Very Excellent Special Surprise to be exact.

Elric of Melnibone and Stormbringer by Charles Vess

The dealer appeared to have a hard time letting this go, but it never seemed to be in doubt. He went through the 11x17 Itoya and lamented the fact that nothing new and nice was in there. He debated the value of the Starman pages and we danced back and forth. I had learned a few steps in the dance session the day before and it was obvious that I was using the silence better on this day. He went through the Itoya once or twice more and started taking pieces out one by one. Slowly but surely he took out some beauties: a Darryl Banks Michael Golden homage that tore my heart out as it left the portfolio, Andy MacDonald commissions that I could never replace despite the fact that he rightly stated much of this art could be recreated any day now and the Vess was a timeless piece from another era (which is why I went after it and will have it in the main room and not the basement of my home), two JK Woodward pieces with Dr. Strange and The Mindless Ones that I was so proud to conceive and see carried to execution and was even prouder still of JK for that beautiful execution and improving the idea with a second panel on my commission. So many wonderful pieces that were partof my life and my collection. I am choked up again as I write because this is the collection that I enjoyed accumulating over these many years, a collection I often looked at and genuinely thought "I would take this collection over anyone else's" and now I had treated it coldly and dispassionately as bait for more art and absolutely decimated it.

But my mind, and a large part of my heart as well I must admit, was saying otherwise. "Fuck them. Leave them behind. Slash the value of the ones he doesn't like and move them all - you paid for the honor and fun of having them created and owning them these many years and now it is time to take it to another level." When I started seriously sinking money and time into this hobby I was a different person in vastly different life circumstances. Perhaps it is the standard mid-life crisis as I approach the big five oh but I want nice things now. And my tastes and preferences have changed as well.

So I pitched him some more Starman pages, talking head pages mostly. He refused, absolutely refused, to discuss pages with the characters on the phone. But he took a few more and held 8-10 pieces in his hands and said it just did not feel like the value was in his hands. he was probably right, so I threw in some more things. He was still hesitant and at this point I was comfortable with where we were going, so I told him to hit a higher value than previously discussed. We danced a few times throughout the 15-30 minutes it probably took. There was a bystander, a friend of his in the room, who was laughing at the end and saying it was quite the trading session - a heavyweight fight. But eventually I stuffed enough art in his hands and eventually he put his hand out again but empty this time.

We shook hands and the deal was sealed.

The bystander congratulated us both on our acquisitions and said it looked like we both got some good new art. (In fact he was a bit of a help for me that this man was there as he knew some of the artists and characters involved better than the dealer did and the dealer trusted him. he liked a bunch of my stuff a lot as well.) He said it was a good deal in that we bargained hard but were cordial and calm throughout. He was right. I think the fact that we were able to meet a second day shows that neither party felt taken advantage of in the first trade session.

Or it meant that one or both parties felt that they could (continue to?) outmaneuver the other.

I hope to think the first hypothesis is correct. I think it is. I know that I felt we both got a good deal at the end of the weekend. It was like Monopoly, when you trade you both have to feel that the other person did not take advantage of you. You can makes trades in an adversarial situation like Monopoly and both parties can benefit. It was like that.I hope we can continue to trade and benefit each other. In fact I can't wait to get my act together and do it again!

ps  There are still two pieces left tobe revealed from the Epic Art Weekend! Three if you count the one I bought on time payments, but purchased last weekend all the same.

The Fifty
1  Barry Windsor-Smith Storyteller Young Gods page 4 (framed)
2  Tony Harris / Ray Snyder Dr. Strange WIRED Magazine cover  (framed)
3  Barry Windsor-Smith Weapon X page  (framed)
4  Gene Colan / Tom Palmer Tomb of Dracula 44 page 22  (framed)
5  Tony Harris Starman 3 cover  (framed)
6  Barry Windsor-Smith Daredevil 236 page (framed)
7  Tony Harris Starman 53 cover  (framed)
8  David Mazzucchelli Daredevil 233 page 19
9  JHW3 Milestone Forever pinup (framed)
10  Charles Vess - Elric of Melnibone and Stormbringer (framed)
11  Simon Bisley Dr. Strange vs The Mindless Ones (framed)
12  Paul Smith Dr. Strange vs Dr.Doom  (framed)
13  Dave Sim Mars Attacks variant cover
14 Jack Kirby / D. Bruce Berry Captain America 196 page 14 (framed)
15  Gene Colan / Tom Palmer Tomb of Dracula 44 page 1 splash  (framed)
16  Dan Green Dr. Strange: Into Shamballa splash (framed)
17  Tony Harris 1994 Starman pinup  (framed)
18  Bill Sienkiewicz Superman 400 pinup recreation (framed)
19  Ted McKeever Dr. Strange vs Dr.Doom in Hell
20  Dean Ormston Dr. Strange & Eternity
21  Bryan Talbot Dr. Strange commission
22  Dan Adkins Dr Strange 170 page 11  (framed)
23  Dan Adkins Dr. Strange 170 page 10 (framed)
24  Ulises Farinas - Dr. Strange in his Sanctum Sanctorum
25  Rudy Nebres - Dr. Strange, Dracula & The Scarlet Witch
26  Mike Allred - Doctor Strange, Clea, The Ancient One, Wong, and Rintrah...A Day Off
27  Anna Merli Clea
28  Mitchell Bretweiser Dr. Strange watercolor
29  Jae Lee Dr. Strange
30  Darwyn Cooke Wonder Woman  (framed)
31  Walt Simonson Alan Moore as Rorschach (framed)

By the way, I used to win at Monopoly all the time. ;-)

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Epic Weekend Post Continued! Moon Knight Art by Billy da'Sienk!

So besides a Darwyn Cooke Wonder Woman, which is a real favorite of mine, I got some other fancy things this weekend. (No one does Wonder Woman as well as Darwyn Cooke and Darwyn Cooke doesn't do any superhero as well as he draws Wonder Woman. It is like Vinnie used to say about Peach Snapple - there is no Snapple other than peach and there is no peach other than Snapple.) I am having trouble counting the pieces up at any one time and getting to the right number. In other words, I cannot even remember and name everything I got this weekend.

So today I will stick with the Polish stuff.

I have been buying Bill Sienkiewicz art for about 15 years but it is generally convention sketches. I remember quite clearly the moment I realized it was Bill sitting there drawing. I was walking through WW Philly and saw a young woman make a beeline for some guy as he sat down at his table. She had some books with her that were drawn by Bill and I remember getting quite excited thinking that this might be Bill Sienkiewicz sitting over there. I stayed off to the side and watched as he got his act together and then started to draw for the woman. Almost immediately after pen hit paper I knew.


I jumped in line behind her. She was quite a cutie but I don't recall anything more about her other than the fact that she was only charged $10 for the drawing she got (a head sketch). My heart was leaping up my throat and through my mouth as I got out my $10. As she left Bill explained that she and I had some distinct and important differences and that my request for Jimi Hendrix would require either $80 or $100.


I stammered something and asked for the $80 version. He started right in on it and about 30 seconds later I got my wits about me and cancelled the $80 sketch for the $100 sketch instead. I was stupefied but not stupid! For $20 extra bucks I was going to get something extra and that was not a difficult $20 to spend.

Bill went to work. I think he started with the eyes, and if he didn't start there he was there soon enough. He worked at it and worked at it and then as he moved on to the hair he said something I remember quite clearly "you're paying too much money for this" and he ripped the page from the pad!

I remember instantly thinking "I am going to get two Jimi's out of this!"

But Bill being Bill he did the unexpected and turned the page over. He started Jimi again, This time using the eyes from the first version and revising the rest. He would hold it up to the light and look through the paper frequently to make sure he got the eyes right. And the hair was much improved. I may have sold a few Sienkiewicz pieces over the years (The Thing and Demon Bear head sketches come to mind) but I still have this one. Here, check it out:

Jimi Hendrix - Bill Sienkiewicz convention drawing

So while I have been buying Sienkiewicz art over the years, maybe 10 pieces in all, I have not been buying published pieces. Well, I do have a page from Starman 81 by Bill. And I owned but sold a page of Big John Buscema art inked by Bill (Galactus Destroyer or something like that) a few years ago. So when the opportunity to get some Bill Sienkiewicz Moon Knight art arose recently I felt both fortunate and lucky.

Bill Sienkiewicz Moon Knight Special Edition - Crawley & Gena portfolio piece

At first it was purely mercenary. I saw the two pinups and thought they would be excellent currency for my collecting and trading plans. But I realized they were my number one priority pretty quickly. Now after all was said and done two days later I had managed to utilized a large amount of art and get something else that will be on the wall by the end of the year; it isn't a Sienkiewicz. But we will get to that. And it is not the Mignola. (Oops, there I go again.) It is a very excellent special surprise!

But anyway, acquiring the art in this post and the other posts to come did not happen in one day. I have two purchases from this weekend coming in the mail in the future and was involved in negotiations both Saturday and Sunday. So when I went back Sunday I made a beeline for the very excellent special surprise and the page from Moon Knight 18 at top of this post. The pinups are one thing, but the splash page is another beast entirely.

Oh, I keep saying two pinups, don't I?

Bill Sienkiewicz Moon Knight Special Edition Frenchie portfolio piece
Look at Frenchie's shadow. Who does something like that other than Bill Sienkiewicz? No one does it as well, that is for sure!

okay, enough for now. That makes seven pieces from the previous post and these three. Quite a weekend! And I still have more! I'M ONLY TWO-THIRDS DONE! well, one piece is layaway for comic art con but it is ordered!

So stay tuned, because the best is definitely to come.