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Showing posts from July, 2008

Original Art Stories: The Ruined Breyfogle

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I first brought attention to this ugly creature last year when it surfaced on eBay and it's come back to haunt us all again. It's almost an annual event really. I'll run through it again just so that people all know what this abortion really is. Rather than rant all over again I'll just copy what I wrote back in May 2007. I first became aware of this art destruction early in 2007 when I came across one of Norm Breyfogle’s cards on eBay. The card was promoted as being drawn and coloured by Norm, something that made me think. I posted a message on Norm’s forum asking about the veracity of the piece as I was under the impression that all of his trading card was simply line art – black and white. At the time Norm responded, “I didn't color that, I think it's a really stupid idea to hand color an original that the original artist didn't intend to be colored, and it looks like a crummy coloring job, anyway.

“If it is the original, whoever colored it might've r…

Original Art Stories: The Lost Falcon

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The pages you're seeing here are all that remain from an aborted Falcon mini-series that Jim Owsley (years before he changed his name and became Christopher Priest) and Brian Postman were assisigned to produce in 1982. According to Brian note these are all the pages that he drew for the series. It was after he brought these pages in that he was offered Spider-Woman by Mark Gruenwald - and it's not that hard to work out why, I'm sure he'd have been offered work on the splash page alone, it's that good. Sadly the series wasn't produced with Postman on art duties, the script would be shelved for a further two years before Marvel dusted it off and handed it over to Paul Smith. According to Priest's web-site, "When the pencils came back, everybody in the office fell over themselves gawking at Smith's pencils, but nobody read the story. So Smith got discovered but Priest didn't." The series did well enough for Marvel to commission Priest to prod…

Original Art Stories: Avengers #1; Real Or Recreation, Part VI

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Here it is, in the flesh, so to speak, the Avengers #1 splash pictured at the recent San Diego Comic Book Convention (which the other Daniel Best was present at, but not me). I was pointed towards this image the following comments that accompany it via the John Byrne forum. The comments, in part, read, "For those wondering, yes, the Avengers page looks incredibly clean in person (possibly professionally cleaned, but I did not bother to ask as I'd never be buying something like that) and it does have the Marvel copyright stamp on the back of it. I think more of this truly historic, vintage artwork is going to keep coming on the market as more and more of it gets traded openly, rather than private deals between collectors who don't want anyone to know what they have. At least we get to see more artwork that way." Interesting.

The more I think and look at this auction the more I wonder about it. The page appears to be the real deal, enough collectors and experts have put…

The Restoration Game

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The Restoration Game

By Steven Bove

It’s hard to say exactly when the idea of restoring comic art pages became a necessity. Perhaps its origins can be traced to ‘The Trick’ as Daniel Best once wrote of. In any case we live in a time when the demand for the classic material of both DC and Marvel must be met. I still maintain that the idea of restoration should be considered as a last resort. The classic Marvel stories, for instance, have been reprinted many times and with each reprint new film was created so there was always a secondary source to go to. An example of this was Marvel Masterworks vol. 10 – The Amazing Spider-Man where Marvel Tales film was used to substitute SP #28, it even said so on the final page of the story!

While at DC Comics I was one of a select few who handled restoration of art. 75% of the time I would find film to insure that customers of collected editions would get the original artists work and not a restoration by myself or anyone else.

The Crimson Avenger woul…

Happy Birthday Stephism!

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Our very own Stephism is growing up, turning an amazingly ancient 25 years old as of yesterday. I'm sure she had a good time, after all she left her birthday card behind at our place and this photo was taken before she got drunk and passed out. Ya should have seen her afterwards! Poor ole Chadwick had to carry her home.

But seriously, Steph, we love ya babe, you're one of our favourites and as I told you last night, you ain't anywhere near old yet. Give it time. Perhaps next year? Oh, and you did leave the card behind you absent minded thing you!

Original Art Stories: Avengers #1; Real Or Recreation, Part V

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When all was said and done the auction was ended before it's time. The sellers of the Avengers #1 splash page decided, for their own reasons, to end the auction before it was due to end. It might be nothing more than they were sick of being asked if it was real and decided to accept an offer made to them to sell it away from eBay. That happens all the time (I've lost track of how many times I've listed something to have someone ask me to end the auction with a modest offer attached - I always refuse) and although it's against eBay rules, there's really nothing in place to stop the practice. If the sellers decide to speak and tell people what happened then we'll know, otherwise we'll wait and see who pops up as the new owner. One thing is for sure, the controversy won't die easily.

So is it a recreation or the real deal? There's more than enough compelling arguments for both. If it is real then it's been heavily restored, which, to me anyway, redu…

Original Art Stories: Avengers #1; Real Or Recreation, Part IV

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Just when you thought it was finished...it's not. Nowhere near it. If you're a reader from a certain forum best that you vanish now, you won't like any of this. Guess what? Another page from Avengers #1 has surfaced on eBay and amazingly enough the scans look nothing like the splash page being sold on the same site. What are the differences?

Charles Yoakum recently posted a comment on this very blog about the splash page. Part of what he said was, "I will say that I've not seen art of that vintage that has not a) yellowed as a part of the natural aging process or b)got a lot of notations or grease pencil markings on the border. It seems that Jack would use a large black grease pencil to mark the page numbers and book titles i.e. "Avengers #1") on the margins. It is pretty much the same on the twice up FF page from issue #20 that I have, as on the page that Jack merely laid out for Don Heck on Avengers #11 that I have as well." Now this end page has t…

Original Art Stories: Marvel Masterworks Non-Original Artists, Part II: Chris Fama

Way back when I discussed the practice of Marvel using largely uncredited artists for recreation work for their Marvel Masterworks line. You can read it here. Since then my article has turned into a saga, worthy of at least a two part epic as inked by Vinnie Colletta, or a made for TV movie starring Sonny Tufts.

At the time a lot of the names mentioned were new to me, and I suspect they were new to a lot of others as well. In some circles the practice of having art totally recreated was common knowledge, yet I came across more than one person who had no idea, including quite a few people who should have known but never did. In all of the fighting over buns that's gone on since (it's starting to denigrate into tongue poking, finger pointing, he said/she said type stuff now) a few names have surfaced, one of which is a guy called Chris Fama.

Chris does a fair bit of work for Marvel and has offered to share what he does so that I, and hopefully a few others, can begin to understand…

Original Art Stories: Avengers #1; Real Or Recreation, Part III

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Well hasn't this turned into one big war of 'spot the bastard'? There's been a lot said about this page over the past few days, not all of it true but one thing my posts have done is make people ask the question - is it fake or real? Currently it's sitting on eBay with a price just under USD$50,000 and I'm sure that the people selling it have mixed feelings about what I'm writing.

So, is it fake or real? Here's my points on the whole thing, again, clarified so there's no mistakes. I'm not sure if it's real or not. The scans, to me, are inconclusive, but then there's quite a few others are who convinced that it's the real deal, they're bidding, so they can decide. I'm not spending the equivalent of a deposit on a house to find out that what I'm buying might, or might not be, dubious. What I do know is that Michael Kelleher, in no uncertain terms, has stated that he has never drawn this page for Marvel. This is backe…

A Tale Of Two Daniels

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I can't remember who said it to me, but not too long ago I was asked, "What are the odds that there'd be two of you and that you'd both in the same room?" Clearly those odds are damn good. The guy on the left in this photo is none other than Daniel Best, author. The guy on the right is none other than Daniel Best, author. That's right, that's me on the right, and one the left is the Brisbane based comic book author and all round damn nice guy, Daniel Best.

For a fair while now people have been praising me on my Escapist work. It kind of threw me for a while because, well, I've never written any Escapist stories. Then I kept being asked about my forthcoming projects with Eddie Campbell. After a while I just smiled sweetly and thanked people for their kind words and quickly changed the subject. Eventually I realised that there must be another Daniel Best who wrote those stories because I knew it wasn't me. Out of the blue Daniel emailed me and we …

Original Art Stories: Avengers #1; Real Or Recreation, Part II

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The posts about the recent Avengers #1 splash page and recreations overall in regards to the Marvel Masterworks line has created a storm in the tea-cup indeed. Gerry Turnbull has informed me that I'm being attacked over at the Masterworks forums, not that I'd know as I don't visit there, nor know where it is. I might though, just to see what's being said. All I've done is ask the question and share some thoughts, but hey, anyone is welcome to post a comment - there's only a few I've not let through and those were personal attacks on other people. With the view of what art has been recreated for the Masterwork volumes my point remains - Marvel should state what pages have been recreated in each volume. Simple transparency is all I'm asking for, and I know I'm not alone there. With the Avengers #1 splash page on eBay, well thoughts are mixed. For all I know it probably is real, certainly the bidding (last time I looked it'd gone past $45,000USD) …

Original Art Stories: Avengers #1; Real Or Recreation?

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The above splash page is currently on eBay at the moment. Long time comic book fans would recognise it as being the splash page to the first issue of The Avengers, as drawn by Jack Kirby and inked by Dick Ayers. However I have doubts as to the veracity of the art and here's why.

A few days ago I posted a story about how Marvel have a stable of artists who they keep very quiet who's sole job is to redraw classic Marvel art for inclusion in their Marvel Masterworks line. Since that time the art representatives in question, Hyaena Gallery, have removed virtually all the listings of what art their artist, Michael Kelleher, has redrawn for Marvel. Oddly enough one of the excuses provided by Marvel for this recreation work was the lack of original art out there, but John Byrne has confirmed that he owns at least one page that Marvel had redrawn and would have happily have scanned it or made it available for inclusion in the relevant volume. There's other collectors out there who&…

Holidays

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In case you're wondering where I've been for the past few days this might help. This shot, taken yesterday, is of me and the other half sunning ourselves and enjoying the below sunset at downtown beach side Noosa in Queensland. Now the natives here might argue that it's a tad chilly, but when you consider that Adelaide is currently wet and freezing, even temperatures in the low 20s is warm for us. So fret now, normal service will be resumed eventually (like sometime mid next week), until then we're just gonna chill out (so to speak) and enjoy the sun and decent weather, along with the good company that family brings.

Now ain't that a postcard? Brilliant! Taken with my own little trusty Samsung digital camera. Now we're off to raid a few more shops and just drive about the state as we feel fit. Why? Because we can.

The Inkwell Awards: Revised Results

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Voting for the first annual Inkwell Awards officially ended on the 31st of May and the results are now posted on the official web-site.

The Inkwell Award committee announces with deep regret that founder, Tim Townsend, due to personal reasons has decided to step down from his position and return his awards. Tim has made this decision due to a series of unfounded and malicious personal attacks upon his character and integrity and time constraints which prevent him from giving his fullest attention for the awards for 2009. It is with sadness that the committee have accepted this decision and we wish Tim all the best for the future and hope that he will return to the Inkwell Awards that he helped found in the future. Tim's input and knowledge have been invaluable and his presence will be both missed and not easily replaced. At this point in time the committee have no plans on searching for a suitable candidate for the vacant spot on the committee.

Due to Tim Townsend returning his awar…

The Inkwell Awards: THE RESULTS

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THE VOTES ARE IN!

Voting for the first annual Inkwell Awards officially ended on the 31st of May and the results are now posted on the official web-site.

Voting was fierce and an incredible 5,000 votes in total were cast across all the different categories, however clear winners have emerged. Without any further ado, here are the results:

FAVORITE INKER (RETRO)
TERRY AUSTIN (winner-tie)
JOE SINNOTT (winner-tie)
Tom Palmer (runner-up)
FAVORITE INKER (MODERN)
TIM TOWNSEND (winner)
Danny Miki (runner-up)
FAVORITE FINISHER/EMBELLISHER (RETRO)
TOM PALMER (winner)
Joe Sinnott (runner-up)
FAVORITE FINISHER/EMBELLISHER (MODERN)
KEVIN NOWLAN (winner)
Norm Rapmond (runner-up)
MOST-ADAPTABLE INKER
TIM TOWNSEND (winner)
Danny Miki (runner-up)
MOST PROLIFIC INKER
DANNY MIKI (winner)
Joe Sinnott (runner-up)
PROPS AWARD
DANNY MIKI (winner)
Mark Irwin (runner-up)
THE CALL OF DUTY AWARD
BOB ALMOND (winner)
Tim Townsend (runner-up)
MVP AWARD
DANNY MIKI (winner)
Tim Townsend (runner-up)
THE JOE SINNOTT AWARD
JOE SINNOTT (winner)
Al Wil…

Original Art Stories: Ric Estrada

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If you read DC comics at any point during the past, ooooh say fifty or sixty years, then you know both the name and art of Ric Estrada. A native of Havana, Ric broke into the comic book world in 1948 and remained there since he retired (or was retired - take your pick) in the 1980s. In the 1940s and 1950s Ric worked for a lot of the smaller comics in the 1940s and 1950s - Hillman, Ziff-Davis, St John, Better, Feature, E.C. - and managed to forge a reputation as being a versatile artist. Be it anything from romance to war, Ric was there and ready to draw, and he did a lot of his work operating out of a studio with his contemporaries, Dan Barry, whom he assisted with Flash Gordon, Sy Barry, George Roussos, Don Perlin, Alex Toth, Frank Frazetta and Lee Ames.

He became one of Bob Kanigher's war artists in the 1950s, along with the likes of Joe Kubert, Ross Andru and Russ Heath, and it was at DC that he made his real mark. At DC he worked on a variety of titles, again, from war to roman…

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