Thursday, July 17, 2008

Avengers Original Art: Truth or Consequences part II

Continuing the Avengers #1 splash saga -

Here are scans of the Essential Marvel Avengers, Avengers #1, which does not have the job code, in the lower left corner.

And, interestingly, the splash for Avengers #2, which does have the job code.

I'll answer a few of the thoughts that Danny Boy has posted. One, that I've changed my mind in one way from looking at the scan of the Avengers #1 splash, and that I like seeing the page number marked in the lower right hand corner. That adds points to me on the legitimate side. Also, that there appear, from other comments, to be repeated sightings of the original in collections prior to this apprearance on ebay. It lends a lot of credence to the page being either a) legit albeit restored and cleaned or b) a recreation but not one of recent vintage.

Personally, the fact that the page might have been restored or deacidified or some such is rather beside the point. Yes, I prefer the art with the warts and all; I love Kirby's margin notes to death, they're fascinating. However, the original art is preferable to anything, and given that the artwork is almost half a century old, you take it the way that you can get it, period. If I had that kind of money, I would be bidding on it too. Should you find a lost DaVinci, you take it the way you find it and feel lucky at that. Same thing with this. Its not the holy grail, finding pages from FF#1, but its close up there.

Here is the other part of this: the job code could easily have been stripped off at the printing stage by someone working with the negative. Happens all the time with those printing methods. And here is the kicker: the job code makes sense. The job code on the Avengers scan is X-337, the job code for issue #2 is #X-435, issue #3: X-525. As I read the old job codes, the first number is the month, the second and third are the place in the schedule. So not only does it fall into the monthly position, but all three issues fall into the same relative place on the schedule. (issue #4, BTW, does not have a job code.) Only someone who had an understanding of the codes could have produced the piece.

Does this make it legit? Not entirely, but it certainly elevates it. Since the auction has been ended prematurely, I'm willing to bet that the owner was offered an insane price for it, and simply sold it to a private collector. I have the feeling that we'll never see that page again for the next 20 years.

Peace out. Looking forward to San Diego.

1 comment:

Danny said...

Interesting stuff Charles, as always. I'm with you on this one, although I tend to think that if it has been cleaned up and margin notes erased then it's almost criminal really. It'd certainly make the art worth less in my eyes, but then that's just me. Still, I think between the two of us we can safely wrap this up and move onto the next subject.

Marvel sanctioned recreations...