Original Art Stories: Miller v Varley: Stolen Art Allegations

The most recent court case involving comic book creators landed on Monday, 18 November 2019, and it's a doozy! I have to admit that when I saw the name 'Frank Miller' pop up in my feed, I instantly thought that Miller had finally grown a pair and was suing Marvel for ownership of Elektra. Alas, that's not to be. Instead he's suing his ex-wife, the colourist Lynn Varley, alleging that she stole several of his roughs and consigning them to well known art dealer Mitch Itkowitz.

Watch this one, it has the potential to get very, very interesting indeed, and not just because of the fight between Miller and Varley, no, this has the potential to expose how some (not all) art dealers openly deal in art that they know or even suspect is stolen, or has dubious title. The under the table deals, the quick sale, the secrecy - fingers crossed that it all comes out in the open with this case. It certainly has the potential.

Until then, feast your eyes upon Miller v Varley! As always…

Supanova Adelaide, 2 November 2019

Observations on Supanova Adelaide.

Recently the organisers of Supanova posted on Facebook about the Adelaide event and how falling attendance levels have forced them to rethink their long term commitment to the city of Adelaide and placing the onus on the future of the show squarely on the public. As usual, I went yesterday and, frankly, I was a bit taken aback. Here's what I've noted, for whatever value it's worth.

1] The whole show was poorly laid out, a first for me. It seemed to arranged at random and looked smaller than usual. That might have something to do with...

2] The lack of comic book dealers. I counted two (might have been three?) dealers selling comic books. Bear in mind this event is billed as being a ComicCon and Gaming show, so the very nature of the name says Comic Books will be there. They weren't. None of the Adelaide comic shops, or book shops were in attendance. I know full well there's a story there, but I'll let those people leave a com…

5AD Official Top 40! October 14, 1961

Fifty eight years ago, in Adelaide, you would have been listening to these songs. And you'd have been enjoying them. The charts, in 1961, were dominated by American acts, not a sign of what was to come in two sort years time.
More charts to follow.

The World vs Todd McFarlane: Book Extract - Todd Runs Neil Around


The meeting in Phoenix didn’t go as well as planned, with neither side seemingly capable of being able to see the other’s point of view.
Neil Gaimanwas quite clear as to what he saw happen at the meeting.
“Todd kept saying ‘but you can trust me and I will send you, I will send you bigger checks than you will get if you have a contract.’ And I said ‘Todd, call me silly, but I would much rather have a written contract and $500 in royalties than $1,500 that is going to turn up on a whim and could end the moment that you decide it's not convenient.’
“He said that he thought that was crazy and I said that that was how, you know, just assume that was how I was billed. And we then wound up – then everything ended very badly in terms of Todd had to wrap up rather quickly. Larry Marder had come out for that meeting because they just learned that Marc Silvestri had left the Image partnership that day, so they had to sort of get on the phone and try to sort that out.
“The w…

Superman Obscurity - Superwoman by Rea Irvin!

I doubt that many have ever heard of the Superwoman newspaper strip, as drawn by Rea Irvin. Don't worry if it's news to you, it ran once and was then binned after DC threatened legal action. Although it would be years before DC Comics published a comic under the name of Superwoman, they had taken steps to protect that trademark in late 1941. The Superwoman trademark was formally registered on May 5, 1942, with the usual fake ashcan. When it came to Irvin's strip, it was an open and shut case - stop publishing or face the consequences. And in 1943 those consequences would have been very expensive indeed. What is fascinating is that the shutdown came within hours of the strip being published.
For once, DC had the law on their side, as the trademark was solid and sealed. As would have been typical in such cases, the original art would have either been destroyed and noted as such, or handed over to DC Comics, who would have destroyed it themselves.

Superwoman ran in the Oakland …

The Original (Non) Superman - Mayo Kaan

Do you remember Mayo Kaan? I'm betting that you don't. And you probably shouldn't, unless you were part of his family.
In 1973 Mayo appeared in newspaper claiming to have been the original model for Superman. He claimed to have met Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel and was invited to pose for artist Joe Shuster who then drew Superman using Mayo's amazing physique.

People debated Kaan's claims for years to come. There were those who said it was likely, it could have happened, and those who said that it didn't, that Joe drew on his own, without using any models. Certainly his sister, Jean, who saw him draw, testified decades later that Joe never used Kaan as a model. Not to mention the thought of Jerry Siegel, who nobody has ever described as being a physically active man, was playing handball at a health club in 1936. Jerry was home, busily writing, and trying to sell his creation, that being Superman.
But people still debated, as people do, and lot of those people …

Jack Quayle and The Savage Club

Another amazing, and recent, Australian art find and one that is now firmly in the collection.

An original Jack Quayle sketch on a letter, dated 26 June 1940, that he sent to The Savage Club in Adelaide accepting an invite to attend a luncheon.

 I don't think the Adelaide branch of the Savage Club exists anymore, if it does then I don't know where it is. I suspect that this was hanging on it's walls until it closed - the age of the frame it was in dates back to the 1950s - after which time someone merely took it home. There it remained until they passed on and it found its way into an auction. As soon as I saw it, I knew what it was and made sure it came home here, where it will be looked after until such a time when I send it on further in its journey.

I wonder what other artistic treasures lurk out there from such clubs that are now extinct? And what does happen to the artefacts that live on the walls of clubs and organisations which get removed after a period of time?

Previous Posts!

Show more