Hi, kiddies! In this installment we're going to take a gander at some original art! For the ignorant among you (merely on the subject, not in general to be sure!!), original art is just that -- the paper (or "board", as it is sometimes known) on which the penciller and then the inker and the letterer did their craft. This now-work-of-art would then have been used to create a plate that would have color separations assigned and that would eventually become a press plate from which a given comic book would be printed. For more information on this topic, you can check out Grailpages: Original Comic Book Art and the Collectors from the fine folks at TwoMorrows. Now out-of-print, Jerry Weist had written a book back in 1992 titled Original Comic Art: Identification and Price Guide. You can learn more about it here, and perhaps even pick up a used copy for yourself.
Aside from original comic art pages, many collectors like sketches and/or pencil and ink drawings. These are readily available on such online auction sites as eBay; in fact, most of the artifacts I am showing in this post were purchased from sellers in that community.
NOTE: My scanner is not large enough to accommodate an 11x17 sheet of paper -- the standard size of a comic art board. Hence, a few of the pages will be only partially displayed. Also, a couple of my nicer (IE: more valuable) pages have been framed and matted -- I will only show the published pages, as there was no way to adequately show off those pieces.
So -- here ya go -- some "stuff" from my collection!
First up is page 3 from Avengers #76 (1970) with pencils by John Buscema and inks by Tom Palmer. As I mentioned above, the scan only shows you a portion of the page. What is not visible is a heavy black marker line on the upper left side, outside margin -- it does not interfere with the art at all. At this point I'll say that many art collectors like a nice, clean page. While the black line isn't all that attractive, it doesn't take away from the actual page. I also don't mind white-out or visible blue-line pencils. To me, this shows the creative process and lets me use my imagination as to what the creators may have been thinking whilst creating the page. Anyway, this is a nice action page, albeit just among the Avengers in the mansion.
Next up are the two pages that are actually framed in my comic room. Fantastic Four #139, page 25 is by John Buscema and Joe Sinnott -- this one was purchased from Mitch Itkowitz at Graphic Collectibles, who I have dealt with on a few occasions, although not recently; I always felt like Mitch did me right! By the way, Bashful Benjy looks good in black and white! The second page was an eBay purchase and is page 10 from Avengers #34 with pencils and inks by Don Heck. I just love the large panel with Goliath, and although the page is chock full of word balloons (imagine that!), it's still a nice presentation. And there's a little blue line and some white-out!
On several occasions I had the wonderful opportunity to chat with Jeffrey Moy and WC Carani at the Chicago Comicon (as it was then known). They were the artistic team on Legionnaires and drew those cute little figures -- they were kind enough to give me an 11x17 lithograph of the Legion characters each time we visited. I have two pages from them (I had a third, but sold it to make some money so that I could buy other things), and have included one of my favorite panels -- this is from Legionnaires #61, page 5 and was from a storyline that featured Superboy -- post-Crisis, so it was a treat as there was no Superboy at that time! If you put your face right on the monitor, you might see on the left margin that both guys signed the page to me.
I have a nice collection of pencil roughs for comic pages, mostly by John Buscema. If you haven't figured it out yet, he's my main man! I just love his work, whether on super-heroes or Conan. To your left is a sketch that is a rough for the cover of a European convention program. Even on my copy the top is cut off -- if you've ever seen the finished product, Conan is holding an umbrella and is sitting on a rock while rain pours on him. I had always assumed he had some type of Asian sword over his head, until I saw the entire artwork.
I really like the next exhibit, which I bought from an eBay dealer. Scott Shaw! is a comics artist, and I thought it was cool when I learned that he is also the advertising artist for Post Cereals Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles -- featuring the Flintstones. This is a really fun piece, showcasing Fred and Barney as Batman and Robin. I haven't framed this, but intend to at some point.
The last piece is pretty special, as it's a caricature of me drawn by a former student of mine. Mike Babinski is finally, after years and years of trying, published. He's been inking over Don Kramer's pencils on the DC 6-issue mini-series JSA vs. Kobra. This is a sketch Mike did for a school project back in 1992, my third year of teaching and his freshman year of high school!!
Tune back in next time for more Stuff!