I recently read David Mack's Kabuki series. He has impressive knowledge of Japan for a non-native. Plus some anime references that probably slipped by his university degree advisors, when he submitted Kabuki as his thesis. Anyway, I got a sketch by him of the title character.
Great artist but I've also noticed swipes from Japanese model photobooks.
That wouldn't surprise me. I bet Sienkiewicz has put a red cap on a fashion model or two in his day.
As I've dived into the world of Original Comic Book art, I've uncovered some of the frustrating ways that people manipulate the system for financial gain, perverting both the artistic and investment aspects:
1) Non-published art (sketches or even finished pin-ups and full recreations, rather than published pages or covers) are very difficult to disprove as forgeries. A photo of the artist holding the art probably helps, but even then, a copy could have been lightboxed later. One collector recounted paying numerous artists to participate in a composite "jam" piece, then discovering a dealer at a later show selling prints of his piece, evidently surreptitiously scanned and printed by one of the last people through whose hands it passed.
2) Auction shenanigans. Texas law (and perhaps other states) specifically allows dealers to bid on the pieces that they are auctioning! There was a stink a few years ago in which a dealer put comic book art up for auction without a reserve, didn't like how low the bids were, and had his friends bid on the pieces, which were returned to him and put back on his web site at the same price as pre-auction. It can also be used to make pieces appear to have sold for a higher price than before, driving up the perceived value of all similar pieces in the process. For this one guy who got caught, it seems likely that the same thing is happening on many other pieces. Internet shill bids are a wire fraud felony, but neither law nor auction house rules prevent it from happening at live-in-person auctions. What other industry sees sellers competing against their own customers?
3) Stolen art. Some of the most valuable Silver and early Bronze Age pieces were stolen and sold to dealers decades ago, before art was returned to the artists. It's changed hands multiple times since then. It would be nice for the artists and their estates to somehow benefit, but how?
One of the comics in my older cousin's stash was Superboy #187 (1972), the conclusion of a socially conscious two-parter in which poorly kept prisoners riot, and Superboy exchanges himself for hostages, giving the prisoners a piece of Kryptonite to keep him in line. In this issue, Superboy is forced to experience the poor food and hygiene of prison life. But the head prisoner goes too far and seems intent on killing Superboy, so his underlings mutiny to free the Boy of Steel. Superboy advocates for the prisoners, and a job training program is instituted so that they become happy, productive members of society upon their release.
Here's the page I got:
As you can see above, the pencils are by Bob Brown and the inks by DC stalwart Murphy Anderson. The words are printed directly on the page, not pasted on later as Marvel often did.
The story doesn't stand up to much scrutiny. Where did the prisoners get that enormous lead coffin? What winch was used to lift it to the wall of the prison as depicted? It makes for a dramatic scene, though. Here's the final printed version.
Today I met June Brigman, and on the spot she did a Power Pack sketch of two of my sons. Nice lady! Her husband Roy Richardson was sitting beside her, inking their latest project, which is something about space cats.
I also picked up a Brigman/Richardson splash page from the 2011 "Spider Island" tie-in of the Herc comic book. #8 page 11, to be precise. Hercules is turned into a semi-spider and rampages against various heroes, including Storm and Emma Frost.
I got a lovely recent Kaluta page. It's from The Unwritten #31.5 (yes, half issue in continuity, but not in size) from 2012. I wasn't familiar with this series, but it contains three historical vignettes on the topic of censorship, by three different artists. This vignette is set in Iron Age China, with a military troop visiting a monastery to burn books that violate the regime's idea of truth. Sounds a lot like modern China, actually. Maybe that is the point.
As you can see, Kaluta's work remains terrific. Its nuance is diminished by coloring.
Last Edit: Mar 13, 2020 12:26:13 GMT -5 by rberman
One of the first comic books I owned myself was a mid-teens issue of ROM, so it's fun to own this page now from issue #32:
ROM spent half his time fighting aliens and the other half enmeshed in a love triangle. This page captures the essence of the latter. ROM wants to be a man again and hold Brandy. Brandy wants to soothe ROM's tortured Heathcliff soul. Brandy's boyfriend Steve can't believe how brazenly the two of them flirt right in his face. Ouch! That's gotta sting. What a soap opera.
Meanwhile, Torpedo recovers on the couch. Blue line pencil in the margin instructs that the head bandage be added to Torpedo to make it clear he's convalescing from a previous battle, not just lounging about with his family.
Purple was an odd choice for Brandy's claw-like hand in the foreground. The monochrome also obscures the fingernails so lovingly included by Buscema and Sinnott.
Today's piece is by none other than Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez!
It's from the one-shot Batman '66: The Lost Episode, adapted in 2015 by Len Wein from an original story by Harlan Ellison. That's quite a pedigree! Once again, I prefer the original black and white piece.
Grant Morrison's Final Crisis (2008) was a controversial series, but I got one of my favorite pages from it, depicting various heroes answering the call to duty. Supergirl's apartment is full of sketches and a sewing machine hearkening back to her many early Bronze costume changes. Green Arrow is his insufferable 1970s self. It's been pointed out that Black Canary should be pulling her boots on from the cuff, not the heel. Maybe she's just adjusting?
J.G. Jones did both pencils and inks above. The final version is below. Notice that the intended pictures on Kara's wall have been instead made into mirrors. Anybody know what that tentacled Lovecraft thing is that she's painting?
Phil Jiminez was a huge X-Men fan from childhood, so he was pleased to follow John Cassaday and Simone Bianchi on Astonishing X-Men in 2010. Here's page 13 of issue #35, in which the X-Men are facing off against new foe Kaga, a bitter, scarred, crippled mutant.
And the final page. Armor's arms were drawn kinda skinny throughout this run. Get that girl a burger!