Doug: Wow. Just WOW! If you've been around here for the past week, you know I've discussed my sales of original art and the income said sales netted. You'll also recall that I decided to treat myself to a couple of purchases that ordinarily would fall waaaaaaaayyyy outside my budget. But hey -- when a guy comes into $6000, what's he to do? That's right: scoop up a couple of IDW's Artist Editions, that's what! And I did. Last Saturday I remarked during our conversation about all of the cool John Buscema art with which I've recently parted company that my order from InStock Trades arrived that very afternoon. I was like a kid on Christmas morning! And today I want to tell you and show you (to the best of my ability) what I bought. I'll be using straight photography from my iPhone today, as I did not want to incur a hernia trying to lift these tomes onto a scanner.
Doug: We briefly batted around some ideas about shipping in last weekend's conversation. Let me tell you -- the boys in Memphis who packed my books left no doubt that those babies would get here safe and snug. I've included several photos of the packaging, just because I was so overwhelmed at the care. That photo above to the right is the bottom quarter of the Gil Kane box, and I'd say there was a good 4" of static-free packing peanuts between it and the top of the box. The John Buscema box, resting just below the Kane box, itself sat on an inch of packing peanuts. Soft landings, to be sure!
Gil Kane's Amazing Spider-Man (216 pages) - 12.5" x 17.25" x 1.25" (it is seriously a thick book!)Doug: The art directors at IDW really made each of these books seem top-shelf with the outer color schemes on the covers that carry over into the frontispiece and table of contents pages. I've included a couple of looks below:
John Buscema's Silver Surfer (144 pages) - 12.5" x 17.25" x 7/8" (looks like a 98 lb. weakling next to the Kane volume!)
Doug: Here are the contents of each book:
Gil Kane: Amazing Spider-Man 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 121 (all complete), and pages from 89 (10 pages of Spidey vs. Doc Ock), 92, 103, 104; 96, 101, 131, 149 (covers), John Romita's covers to 121 and 122 are included because of their significance to this compilation, and 122 (pages 1 and 23).
John Buscema: Silver Surfer 5, 6, and 8 (all complete -- issues 5 and 6 were double-sized at 39 pages apiece), and pages from 1 (3 pages, including the transformation sequence from Norrin Radd to the Silver Surfer), 7 (1 page), 9 (3 pages with the Ghost and Mephisto), 12 (1 page), 13 (3 pages), 14 (10 pages with Spider-Man), 15 (5 pages with the FF), and 16 (splash); 1, 2, 2 (unpublished), 9, and 10 (covers).Doug: You may be asking yourself "How did they get all of this original art, and what happened if they couldn't?" In the Gil Kane book there are a few pages that are photocopied from some other source -- it's clearly noted at the bottom of the page that the original art was unavailable so a scan was used. That thought occurred to me as well, just based on the Avengers page I sold a couple of weeks ago. No one would have had that to photograph. So speaking of photographs, that's what these books are chock full of -- high quality photos of the original art, shot in full color. The blue line shoes up, light pencil lines are there, as are margin notes. Residue from tape is present, and White-Out is, too. The first page I want you to look at (and clicking on it will give you a larger view) is this Spidey page. Check out all the White-Out in Gwen's hair, as well as on her nose:
Doug: I've heard some collectors quibble about such blemishes on the art page, but I LOVE IT!! For me, the attraction of the original page was seeing the process of creation -- erased pencil lines, White-Out, blue line pencil, paste-ups when just a panel needed editing, etc. My excitement level went through the roof whenever I received a page I'd purchased and some of those sorts of "issues" were present. It's still a work of art -- I perceived it to be more dynamic when I could get into the minds of those whose hands had crafted it.
Doug: The choice for paper is perfect. It's a reasonably heavy stock, but with a matte finish. You can tell from my photographs, which were shot with only natural light on a mostly cloudy day that there is no glare. It was a perfect choice for really exposing the nuances of the original pages.
Doug: As to choices for content, I can't think of a better package than what made it into the Gil Kane book. That we get to look at two of the best storylines of the early Bronze Age in the Green Goblin drug issues and the six-armed Spidey/intro. of Morbius is just awesome. And that they went that extra mile and included Amazing Spider-Man #121 is a bonus beyond my ability to express gratitude. I paid the MSRP of $125 for the Kane book and I'm not at all going to quibble about it.
Doug: I'd lie if I didn't say the Silver Surfer book would have reached the stratosphere had it included the original art for issues 1 and 4, that fourth installment being among my very favorite comic books. But again, I understand that the major factor in production is accessibility to the art in the first place. So the inclusion of issues 5 and 6 is a fine decision -- I'm not going to scoff at the opportunity to indulge myself with 78 pages of Big John originals. I think the fact that the editors could include the two-page transformation scene from the inaugural issue is some nice icing on this cake.
Doug: So what's next for me? Depending on how my sales continue, I definitely still have my eyes set on the Joe Kubert Tarzan Artist Edition. As of my recent order from InStock Trades, the Tarzan book was still discounted nicely. Also of major interest is the volume that reprints several Marvel covers from the Bronze Age and beyond. Having watched a YouTube review of the book, it's really representative of Marvel's great stable of artists -- Arthur Adams, John Buscema, John Byrne, Gene Colan, Jack Kirby, Frank Miller, George Perez, both Romitas, George Tuska, Mike Zeck, and many more. Take a few minutes to watch that video -- the reviewer does a nice job of showing samples of all of that luscious artwork. NOTE (2/17/15 9:30 PM CST): Well, I had a guy who owed me quite a bit of money pay up -- now I can ship his art out! And I will confess that I gave into the temptations I just discussed. Yep -- the Tarzan and Marvel Covers books will be coming my way very soon.
Doug: Lastly, here's a listing of all of the Artist Editions from IDW. It's a great cross-section of the talent that has brought so much joy to all of us. I know several of our regular readers will see artists on that list whose work you've especially enjoyed. As I've said a few times today, these books aren't for everyone price-wise, but if you have that love of original art as I do, and if resources present themselves such that you can treat yourself, I highly recommend these volumes for your collection/library. I think once you open that outer box, you'll join me in feeling live you've gone to Original Art Heaven.