Original Art Stories: Bruce Patterson's Old Views


This cover was sold back in November of last year via the usual on-line auction outlets. There's nothing overly special about it, it's a decent enough cover and such items are always in demand with certain collectors. Personally I like my cover art to have logos and the like, but hey, you can't have everything. My only DC cover from the same time period, the cover to a Justice League annual also doesn't sport logos, but that doesn't mean it's not a great little piece of art. Having said that there's something special about this cover that makes it worth it's price. It's not the fact that it's a cover, or that it's Bruce Patterson, an artist I admire as an inker, but the writing in the lower right hand corner.

If you enlarge it you'll find a message to the series editor, Andrew Hefler, from Bruce himself, saying, "Andy...Every time you guys stat this, that, etc. you fuck up the re-sale value of the art! How about making corrections before production!!? Bruce"

Great stuff indeed. I've known for a long while now that some artists create art with the eye on several prizes - the first being publication and the second being the re-sale of said art on the secondary market. That's why you pick up books by some artists where there's full page splashes, battle sequences or 'shocking' reveals. In this case Patterson was so angry about stats being added to the artwork, stats of characters and art I presume, and was losing some of that secondary money that he voiced his complaint to Hefler directly. It's now left the owner of this art with a lovely, and rarely seen, look into the complete creative process that goes into such projects.

Perhaps Bruce should have erased that bit.


Hugo Rosales said…
I think it adds a nice piece of history to the art.
Anonymous said…
If he's so concerned over the resale value of the art, he should do his own private commissions, where he controls what gets put on his artwork. If he's going to work for a comic publisher, he'll need to live with what others need to do to finish the product. Once again, money is the motivating factor. Too bad.
Danny said…
Well of course money is a factor - for virtually any artist money is a factor. That's what they do for a living, that's how they earn money, so I'm not surprised that he's thinking of the resale value of a cover.

Why shouldn't he? Otherwise he gives the art away and watches a dealer make thousands from it while he makes next to nothing. There's a few dealers who are fairly well off these days while the artists are struggling to make a crust.

More power to him I say.
Anonymous said…
He's paid by DC to produce artwork for them. They own it. They can do what they want with it. If they want to "stat" it, color on it, or spit on it, they have the right to do so. He needs to shut up and do his job.
Anonymous said…

The ‘disconnect’ between artists and production was really strange to me while at DC and I remember this cover very well. The late-great Bob LeRose handled the cover (and might have done the colors as well). It was his call to use a stat (done on site) or go with the original, all done by hand with no computer assist. Sometimes the Production department would use a stat to bump up the blacks or reduce art to fit or enlarge to crop. It was LeRose's call in the end. Notes from artists were always considered but the quality of the final product for print was the determining factor. We tried to accommodate any request made of us but time was always tight.


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