Thursday, July 10, 2008

Original Artwork: The New York Times

Wanted to post a scan of an article by the New York Times from June 30th of this year, which is the second article in advance of San Diego, a phoenominal amount of publicity about the con and about comics in general that is in the most respected newspaper in the country. While I would expect articles about the recent success of Iron Man or The Hulk in the movies (is there anyone besides me who simply doesn't want to go see The Hulk? Just no interest.), the recognition of the original art market is very interesting to me.

I've been saying to friends, as well as in my recent post on original art, that I feel slightly collected into a corner. The pieces I want are literally moving further and further out of my grasp with every day, and while I'm incredibly happy to get the recognition over the artwork that I love so much, I hate that it's moved beyond people like me. That hurts. The fact that David Mandel, producer of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" owns the original Kane cover to Giant Size X-men #1, a Miller Daredevil cover and the last 4 pages of the Killing Joke, says two things to me:

1 - the man has excellent taste and I'd love to meet him sometime and

2 - I must be nuts to think that I can play in this art market anymore.

I recently finished a book on big time art frauds over the last century written by a former curator and "fraudbuster" for the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art and I found many of their detection methods as well as the description of the art market fascinating. As recently as two years ago, I spent more money than I had ever spent on a single piece of art, purchasing a twice up Kirby FF page from Heritage Auction. Upon discovering that the Kirby signiture on the art is a fake (while the page is indesputably real), I had a discussion with a representative from the Gallery over the need for provenance for this art. She brushed me off rather nicely, but I tried to make my point enough for it to stick: the art is starting to move into real money, not just a couple hundred bucks here and there, and we need to know what is up with these originals.

This article just illustrates, in very black and white terms, that four pages of the Killing Joke together represents more than $120K. I'd say that the insurance company likes knowing that these originals are in place and properly ID'd.

And, honestly, I have dreams where I see the pages that I could have had back in the day when I bought my first pages (1988 I would guess). Why the hell does it mean so much to me?


RedMaigo said...

I second your opinions about seeing the new Hulk movie.

When the best recommendation for a movie is " doesn't suck?"


I am sorry about what happened to you and that Kirby page.

However, I'm glad I never caught the collector mentality that has afflicted comics over the past couple of decades. I guess I was always old-school about old comics even back when I used to read them.

As long as I could get a copy of one that I wanted (original, reprint or graphic novel) I was happy.

I wanted to read the story and see the artwork anyway I could get it.

After reading The 10 Cent Plague by David Hadju I finally had a revelation of sorts on why comic book memorabilia is what it is today.

My take away was that this market was created due to the witch hunts and purges of comics during the days before the Comics Code.

I had no idea how so much was lost until I read that book. I thought that the disposability of comics as a medium and nostalgia were the biggest reasons why they commanded such high prices later on.

That book made see comic collecting a whole new light.

Todd D. Severin said...

Now, now. Once the first of our many $1 million checks comes in, we'll go on an art buying spree. In the meantime, we'll still have fun scavenging the discout bins, trash cans and stealing from young children

inkdestroyedmybrush said...

or finding new artists to patronize, or trading my own damn artwork for other stuff.

you just never know. flight is booked for SD, i'll be in thursday morning as usual. can't wait to see you guys!