Friday, August 04, 2006

Jack Kirby: Art of the Gods

Back from the San Diego convention, my 16th in 17 years, and was able to scratch a few of the art itches that I've had. Most importantly, I was able to finally get a twice up Kirby FF page for my collection, which is really the crown jewel that I've been looking for since my Dave McKean painting was destroyed by the New York Summer 10 years ago.

After so many years of collecting comic books, I realized that I didn't really get a serious thrill over holding the original issue of Amazing Fantasy #15 in my hands, not the way that some people do. Clearly, comic collecting started to lose some of its luster with that little epiphany. Fortunately, or unfortunately if you're my wallet, I had replaced it with something else: collecting the original art.

Even before I was working in the comic industry professionally, I had started to buy art from dealers and the artists that would show up at the conventions, becuase it was clear that the originals had value on two different fronts: first - that they were a one of a kind piece that no one else would have, thus beating even the rarest comics and, secondly, there was a vitality to the original brush strokes that no amount of reproduction could capture. I started out buying the pieces that I remembered from my favorite books, and was able to capture a fair number of Jim Starlin Captain Marvel pieces, as well as two Gulacy Master of Kung Fu pieces among others.

Over the years, however, the Kirby piece eluded me. They were always too pricey for me and over the years, it was clear, especially since Jack died, that they were going to become rarer and rarer. Even after the FF movie tanked, the demand would continue.

Lets do some math about Kirby FF artwork: Not counting covers, we are looking at 103 issues of around 22 pages, plus 5 annuals of varying page counts (not counting reprints) = 2,394 pages tops. Less than that of twice up artwork. Now, we know that a decent percentage has been lost over the years, perhaps up to 50%. We're now down to 1200 pages potentially out there as a round number. At this year's San Diego convention, by my own count, there were a total of 10 pages from the FF.

That's not a lot to choose from.

However, I now have mine, a page from FF #20, the first Molecule Man issue, with a terrific fight between the Molecule Man and The Thing, so I can stop worrying.

More on art acquisitions later....

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