Midway through the two-day charity auction to name one of the main characters in Mark Millar and Frank Quitely’s Jupiter’s Children, the high bid is already $2,550 (the starting bid on Wednesday was $100). Proceeds again will go to the St. Bartholomew’s Primary School Pantomime Fund to help send students to Christmas shows.
Millar previously auctioned the rights to name characters in Kick-Ass (Dave Lizewski), Nemesis (Matt Anderson and Blake Morrow), Supercrooks (Chris Matts) and The Secret Service (James Arnold), with proceeds going to such projects in his native Scotland as a playground for children with special needs and a specially equipped mini-bus. Last year’s Secret Service auction also helped to raised funds to send children from his elementary school to the annual pantomimes.
“It’s something I’d like to do every year and expand into other schemes in the community with a few other ideas I have,” Millar told The Hollywood Reporter. “Some of the kids had never been to the city before and when I went back to my old school to hand out prizes last summer they all told me how much they enjoyed it.”
Announced in January, Jupiter’s Children centers on the offspring of superheroes who have essentially squandered their inheritance, failing to live of to the example set by their parents, who gained their powers in the 1920s after discovering a mysterious island. The 12-issue series is expected to debut in April from Image Comics.
By way of comparison, last year’s winning bid to name the villain in The Secret Service was $5,100; the Nemesis auction in 2010 brought in $8,500. You can bid on eBay until Friday at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.
Charles Schulz’s Peanuts captured the hearts and minds of millions during its long run, and continues in various cartoons, comic spin-offs and other products. But as it turns out the beloved cartoonist also used his Peanuts characters to win the heart of at least one woman during a brief courtship.
The renowned Sotheby’s is hosting an auction of a series of very personal letters that Schulz sent in 1970 and 1971 to a photographer he met named Tracey Claudius during the waning years of his first marriage. Although never intended for public display, these communications from Schulz reveal an endearingly romantic side of the usually reserved cartoonist. Sold by the family of Claudius to pay medical bills, the 56 pages of letters include 22 original drawings of Peanuts characters. The auction house expects them to bring in at least $250,000.
The Associated Press notes that in two letters, Schulz told Claudius he must stop calling her because the long-distance charges had been discovered by his wife: “Soon after, he created a strip in which Charlie Brown berated Snoopy for his obnoxious behavior when he’s not allowed to go out ‘to see that girl beagle.’ In subsequent panels, Charlie warns Snoopy ‘you’d better start behaving yourself’ and when Snoopy picks up the telephone, Charlie Brown yells ‘And stop making those long-distance phone calls.’
Comics strips | An original 1986 Sunday installment of Calvin and Hobbes, drawn and hand-colored by Bill Watterson, has sold at auction for $203,150. The piece had been owned by Adam@Home and Red and Rover cartoonist Brian Basset, who exchanged original comics with Watterson in 1986. [The Daily Cartoonist]
Best of the year | The Top Ten lists are coming thick and fast now. Michael Cavna counts down his favorites of the year, which include Chris Ware’s Building Stories, Raina Telgemeier’s Drama, and Matt Dembicki’s Washington, D.C.-focused anthology, District Comics. [The Washington Post]
Best of the year | … and George Gene Gustines weighs in with his list. [The New York Times]
Even as The Walking Dead #104 arrived in stores Wednesday, a mint copy of the first issue of the acclaimed horror series sold for $10,000 on eBay.
Characterized by the seller as “the holy grail of comic books,” the slabbed copy is graded 9.9 out of 10 by the Certified Guarantee Company, “the highest grade of this book in an extremely low print run.”
While many would argue whether the October 2003 first issue of The Walking Dead trumps, say, Action Comics #1 or Detective Comics #27 as “the holy grail of comic books,” it did have a pretty low print run: Image Comics Publisher Eric Stephenson revealed this year at the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo that initial orders for the comic by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore “totaled a mere 7,300 copies.”
“The Walking Dead came in dead last out of the half dozen new titles we launched that month,” he told the crowd at the Diamond Retailers Summit. It was beaten by Cursed #1, Battle of the Planets: Manga #1, Sword of Dracula #1, Something Wicked #1, and Realm of the Claw #1. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I was actually working at Image back then and aside from the Dracula book and the Battle of the Planets book, I don’t even the vaguest recollection of what those other books were about. And I don’t say that because they were necessarily bad, but because they’re not around anymore.”
Creators | Following last week’s news that Stan Lee has canceled his sold-out Thursday engagement at a Toledo library event due to “a very serious circumstance,” Wizard World has announced the 89-year-old writer won’t be appearing as scheduled at this weekend’s Ohio Comic Con in Columbus. Responding to a blog post titled, “Is Stan Lee OK?” the administrator of the Stan Lee’s Comikaze Facebook page wrote, “It sucks Stan had to cancel [the Toledo event], but you know the man doesn’t just do conventions. he puts in a hard days work creating. Its really sad that the Toledo Blade had to go spread nonsense. If you want to be up to date on stan then follow us, cuz he kinda owns our company. Its sad that a some blogs are scaring fans. not really nice.” [The Beat]
Creators | Artist Molly Crabapple, who was arrested Sept. 17 in New York City during a protests marking the one-year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, writes about the experience and her involvement with the movement. [CNN.com]
Comics | Auction prices for comics and original comics art have soared over the past few years, ever since a copy of Action Comics #1 broke the $1-million mark in 2010. Barry Sandoval of Heritage Auctions (admittedly, not a disinterested party) and Michael Zapcic of the comics shop Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash discuss why that happened—and why prices are likely to stay high. [Underwire]
Creators | Brian Michael Bendis looks back on his eight-year run on Marvel’s Avengers franchise. [Marvel.com]
Legal | Human Rights Watch reports on the lawsuit filed by Malaysian cartoonist Zunar after he was arrested and his books seized by authorities. The court ruled that while the arrest, on grounds of sedition and publishing without a license, was lawful, the government’s continued possession of his materials was not. Zunar was never formally charged — a judge threw the arrest out after authorities could not point to any actual seditious material in his book, Cartoon-O-Rama — and therefore, the court ruled, the government had no right to continue to hold the books and must return them and pay him damages to boot. [Human Rights Watch, via The Daily Cartoonist]
Legal | Rich Johnston reports that copies of Howard Chaykin’s super-erotic Black Kiss 2 have been held at the border by U.K. customs. Diamond Comic Distributors is in talks with customs officials and hopes to get the books into the country next week. [Bleeding Cool]
All C’s Collectibles in Aurora, Colo. is putting together a fundraiser to benefit the victims of the July 20 shootings during the midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises. The event, called Aurora Rise, is tentatively scheduled for late August.
According to Jason Tabrys at Nerd Bastards, the event will include a silent auction and creator appearances. Both Dark Horse Comics and Image Comics have already donated items, while creators Steve Niles and Tim Daniel are attending.
“It’s very important to note that All C’s is the only comic book store in the city,” Dark Horse’s Aub Driver told Tabrys. “This tragedy has rocked their community at large, as well as the rest of the nation. Some of their customers were present at the theater when tragedy struck, even one of their own employees. Showing your full support for the comic book shop and the comic arts medium is incredibly crucial during this dark time.”
The shop has set up a Facebook page where they’re providing updates on the event, as well as other information on how to help out. Companies, creators or others who want to help out can contact the shop through their email address, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Auctions | Todd McFarlane’s original cover art for The Amazing Spider-Man #328 sold at auction Thursday for $657,250, shattering the record for a single piece of American comics art set last year by a splash page from The Dark Knight Returns #3 ($448,125). However, the price falls well short of the $1.6 million shell out last month for the original cover art for Tintin in America. A 9.8 graded copy of X-Men #1 was also sold by Heritage Auctions for $492,937.50, more than twice the previous record for that comic. [ICv2]
Publishing | Lily Rothman takes a look at iVerse’s newly announced comics-only crowdfunding platform Comics Accelerator, which will allow immediate delivery of digital rewards in a more sophisticated format than an e-mailed PDF and cap its share of the take at $2,500. As Laura Morley of Womanthology points out, it can go both ways: Being on Kickstarter, a trusted platform with wide visibility, helped boost the project, but on the other hand, “Any site that’s able to take advantage of the fact that comics online already work as a big community, as a place where people talk to their friends and promote things they’re interested in, is likely to do well.” [Time]
Creators | Following the appearance of the Infinity Gauntlet in Thor and the cameo by Thanos in The Avengers, Marvel appears poised to expand the cosmic elements of its cinematic universe with The Guardians of the Galaxy. While some fans eagerly await a movie announcement next week at Comic-Con International, Thanos creator Jim Starlin (who had to buy his own tickets to Thor and The Avengers) may be laying the groundwork for a legal challenge: Heidi MacDonald points out that Starlin has posted an early drawing of the Mad Titan on his Facebook page, writing, “This is probably one of the first concept drawings of Thanos I ever did, long before I started working at Marvel. Jack Kirby’s Metron is clearly the more dominant influence in this character’s look. Not Darkseid. Both D and T started off much smaller than they eventually became. This was one of the drawings I had in my portfolio when I was hired by Marvel. It was later inked by Rich Buckler.” [The Beat]
Comics | Tim Marchman, author of that much-discussed Wall Street Journal article, is at it again, this time interviewing Watchmen editor Len Wein about his work on Before Watchmen, and including the interventions of DC Comics Publicity Manager Pamela Mullin as part of the story. Between the embargo on the comic and Mullin doing her job, it sounds like the most interesting parts of the interview never made it into the final product. [The Daily Beast]
Things From Another World has posted original sketches of Marvel and independent and creator-owned characters that have been collected for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund‘s annual charity auction at Comic-Book International. You’ll find drawings by the likes of Charlie Adlard, Gabriel Ba, Jeffrey Brown, Tyler Crook, Francesco Francavilla, Roger Langridge, Steve Lieber and Erika Moen, Philip Tan and others.
The auction will be held Saturday, July 14 at 8 p.m. in room Sapphire AB at the Hilton Bayfront, with all proceeds going to the CBLDF. The event has raised more than $70,000 for the organization in the past three years. Check out some of the art below; visit the TFAW website to see more.
According to The Washington Post, the oil painting of Cul de Sac character Petey Otterloop fetched the highest bid of the more than 100 works donated for Team Cul de Sac, created to honor cartoonist Richard Thompson following his recent Parkinson’s disease diagnosis. All of the proceeds from the auction benefit the Michael J. Fox Foundation to support Parkinson’s research.
Nearly $50,000 was raised by the online sale, which included original art by the likes of Sergio Aragones, Danielle Corsetto, Evan Dorkin, Cathy Guiswite, Lynn Johnston, Karl Kesel, Roger Langridge, Patrick McDonnell, Stephan Pastis, Lincoln Peirce, Don Rosa, R. Sikoryak and Mort Walker. The artwork is also collected in the book Team Cul de Sac: Cartoonists Draw the Line at Parkinson’s, which arrived in stores Tuesday. A portion of the proceeds from book sales also benefit the Michael J. Fox Foundation.
Watterson explained his approach to Thompson’s character last year to the Post: “I thought it might be funny to paint Petey ‘seriously,’ as if this were the actual boy Richard hired as a model for his character. At first I intended to do the picture in a dark, Rembrandt-like way to accentuate the ‘high art’ of painting vs the ‘low art’ of comics — the joke being that the comic strip is intelligent and the painting is idiotic — but the picture went through quite a few permutations as it developed.”
Rare original artwork for the cover of 1932′s Tintin in America sold at auction Saturday for a record $1.6 million, BBC News reports. The same Indian ink-and-gouache piece sold in 2008 for $943,000.
Purchased by an anonymous private collector in Paris, the piece is one of only five original Tintincovers known to exist. Just two of those are held privately. The buyer was represented by a friend identified only as Didier, who said, ” “If he’d have been able to get it for less I think he would have been happy. The aim was not to beat a record; the aim was to obtain the work, before anything else. … You don’t come here to beat the world record, to spend money, that doesn’t make any sense.”
By contrast, the record for American comic art was set in May 2011 by a Frank Miller splash page from The Dark Knight Returns #3, which sold for $448,125.
Saturday’s auction was part of a larger sale of rare Tintin memorabilia that included early sketches, as well as a copy of Explorers on the Moon signed by astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins.
Legal | Don MacPherson, who covers the courts for his daily newspaper, updates the case of Josue Rivera, aka comic artist Justiniano, who pleaded not guilty in May 2011 to charges of possessing more than 100 photographs and videos containing child pornography. Rivera was arrested in Connecticut following a July 2010 incident in which police say he mistakenly gave a funeral home director a thumb drive containing 33 files classified as child pornography instead of the one containing photos of a deceased relative. Police later seized Rivera’s computer and found 153 files of suspected child pornography. A judge has denied a motion to suppress the thumb drive, which Rivera’s attorney had argued was obtained by police through an illegal, warrantless search. However, the judge ruled the search valid, as the material on the drive was brought to the attention of the police by a third party, the funeral home. MacPherson’s summary of court documents provides more details on the case. [Eye on Comics]
With the Team Cul de Sac benefit art book set for release on June 5, Heritage has begun auctioning off original art from the project to, like the book, raise funds for the Michael J. Fox Foundation. Like Fox, Cul de Sac creator Richard Thompson was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.
Up for auction are pieces by Karl Kesel (above), Sergio Aragones, Bill Watterson, Gary Trudeau, Pat Oliphant, Evan Dorkin, Bill Amend, Roger Langridge, David Malki, Mort Walker and many more. The auctions started on Monday and will run for two weeks.