Friday, December 28, 2007

My first experience with original art

And I recount this with the gravity usually reserved for telling a story of how one had sex the first time, except that this time was better.

Mid 1970's and I'm a kid living down in the Diamond Bar area outside of LA, occasionally to some slightly distant shops outside of the little area that I'm living in. Typically via the understanding other parent, since mine could care less, then and now, about comics. However, I had friends whose parents would actually take part in the collecting part of it, and would be willing to drive to shops where other bit and pieces could be found: the missing book, the upgrade on the vintage Neal Adams work, etc.

So we're outside of the town, I forget exactly where, and I have amassed $20, which was a lot for a 12 year old back then. Where it came from, I don't know, perhaps it was birthday money. I certainly didn't have a job back then. There were no comic shops in Diamond Bar back then, perhaps still aren't now. I've not been back in 20 years. What they did have were the trusty 7-11 with the understanding owner, and a couple grocery stores that still had spinner racks in them, so going to an actual comic shop was a huge treat. Kid in a candy store and all that.

So I'm filling the in the last couple of Master of Kung Fu's that I need to have a complete run, and the shop owner says, "I have an original from MOKF, would you like to see it?" "Really," I ask, as though somehow the idea of an actual original hadn't occured to me. "Yeah, its from Gulacy." I was, of course, already infatuated with Paul's art already, and since he had never been at a convention that I had been, the idea that one of his originals was in the area wouldn't have dawned on me.

So he pulls out a portfolio and in there is a page from MOKF #42, inked by Tom Sutton, using the patented confusing-in-a-non-novel-way flash forward effect that Doug Moench was never to use again. And I was blown away to find myself looking at the non-repo blue on the page, and looseness of Tom's inks at full size. It was quite an education for the 10 minutes that I spend looking at it.

Oddly enough, I didn't catch the original art bug then, probably because I knew that price, even at 1970's rates, was well out of my reach then, lacking parental involvement. But I started to have the idea of what it should look like. And the differences that exist between printed art and the originals. I don't think that I've looked at printed art the same way since.

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