The Hellboy Library Edition Volume 5 is released today, and owning such great comics in such a beautiful black velvety tome is probably reason enough to get excited. I, however, am beside myself — mainly because Duncan Fegredo informed me yesterday that the magnificent illustration below, the pride of my original art collection, is in the book’s sketchbook section. I’ll admit that this news elicited a Keanu-like “woah!”
With Comic-Con International nearly upon us, Stephen Bissette posts a reminder that 27 years after they were stolen from the offices of DC Comics, pieces of original artwork from Saga of the Swamp Thing by he and John Totleben are still missing.
“This is stolen property,” he writes on his blog. “It is not legally for sale, nor legally the property of anyone else to trade, exhibit, or sell. Please contact me if you know anything about where it is or who has it. If you are knowingly selling, buying, or trading this original art, you are engaged in a criminal act involving stolen original art.”
The pieces include the original painting for the cover of Saga of the Swamp Thing #34 (above), the final page of that issue (below), and pinups by Totleben for issues 32 and 33.
“At this point, it would be the property of our children, some of whom are now adults,” Bissette continues. “They know. And we will be reminding the world of this regularly.”
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.
Flush with the success of his Kickstarter drive for high-end audio/visual digital edition of Cerebus: High Society, cartoonist Dave Sim is busily going about the process of assembling high-resolution images of his original artwork for this impressive collection. Problem is, he doesn’t have most of it.
In a posting on his Kickstarter page, Sim has put out a call for people who own original Cerebus art to send scans to him (see the specifications here). Sim’s intention is to substitute the original, decades-old plates from previous Cerebus printings with these new, high-resolution digital scans for future Cerebus collections both in the standard trade paperback size and the larger books like the audio/visual edition.
“No idea how long it will take to track down and scan all 6,000 pages (there are 3,800 in the Cerebus Archive) or even how many pages still exist,” Sim wrote. “It’s not hard to imagine someone buying an early page for $20 at a convention and later going ‘What was I THINKING?’ and trashing it. Anyway, any and all help with spreading the word via News site, Twitter feed, re-twee, re-re-tweet Pony Express or whatever IS VERY MUCH APPRECIATED.”
So if you or someone you know has original art from Cerebus, now’s the time to step up. Here’s a beautiful page from Cerebus #114:
On my superhero fashion site Project: Rooftop, I’ve been talking up to the nth degree an amazing set of superhero redesigns by Italian artist Denis Medri. This artist has taken Gotham’s resident bad-boy billionaire and recast him as a 1950s greaser to amazing results. While Medri’s work might not be in line with the New 52, it harkens back to the best of DC Comics’ celebrated Elseworlds line of titles reimagining its heroes in different timelines and settings. Medri’s gone on to reinvent much of Batman’s cast in this model, with everything from a Betty Page-esque Catwoman and a poodle skirt-wearing Harley Quinn to a Rat Fink-worthy hot rod Batmobile.
Although the actual chances that DC would somehow accept this as a back-door pitch are slim to none, it does highlight the intriguing passion artists have for classic characters and just how enamored fans can be when their favorite heroes (and villains) are repositioned to alternative lives. While some might say its insular thinking, I think it broadens the core concepts of these timeless characters and shows just how versatile they can be.
Even as Comic Book Resources exclusively premieres Bryan Hitch’s variant cover for The Walking Dead #100, Sean Phillips (Criminal, Fatale) unveils his own painted variant for the milestone issue of the horror series. Better still, the artist has pulled back the curtain on his process, from initial sketch to reference photos to finished work.
The Hitch and Phillips variant covers join those previously released from Frank Quitely, Todd McFarlane, Ryan Ottley and Marc Silvestri, as well as the wraparound cover by series artist Charlie Adlard. The 100th issue, by Robert Kirkman, Adlard and Cliff Rathburn, arrives July 11, just in time for Comic-Con International in San Diego.
Check out Phillips’ full cover below, and visit his blog to get a glimpse of his process.
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.
Warren Ellis spotlights the gorgeous autumnal cover by Rafael Grampá and Dave Stewart for the third issue of The Massive, the upcoming environmental thriller from Brian Wood and Kristian Donaldson, reminding me that I’ve meant to point out just how fantastic their variants for the series are. Seriously even if I weren’t a fan of Wood and Donaldson’s work on Supermarket or intrigued by the concept of The Massive, I’d still pick up the new series just for these covers. (Dark Horse, can we get some posters?)
Grampá, who made a splash in 2008 with Mesmo Delivery, is also working on his own post-apocalyptic saga called Furry Water and the Sons of the Insurrection.
The Massive debuts June 13. In the meantime, check out Grampá and Stewart’s variant covers for the first three issues below.
Avengers Vs. X-Men is an epic battle between two storied properties, but Tony Moore has his own ideas for what would make a monumental face-off: Popeye versus Hellboy.
E.C Segar’s spinach-eating sailor and Mike Mignola’s stone-armed demon are a potent pairing, and Moore’s style blends both the cartoony nature of Popeye — forearms and all — with the pulpy Hellboy. Take a look below.
A page of Silver Surfer original art by Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott from 1966′s Fantastic Four #55 sold last week for $155,350 in an auction of vintage comics and comic art that included the very first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sketch. According to Heritage Auctions, that price for the Page 3 half-splash marks the most ever paid for a panel page of comic art.
Held in Dallas, the auction brought in a total of nearly $5.5 million, including $113,525 for a restored copy of Detective Comics #27, featuring the first appearance of Batman, $107,500 for a near-mint copy of The Amazing Spider-Man #1, and $101,575 for Detective Comics #29, the second-ever Batman cover.
Other items included a good copy of Pep Comics #22, featuring the first appearance of Archie ($35,850), and Archie Comics #2 ($31,070).
Titled “When Strikes the Silver Surfer,” Fantastic Four #55 was the fourth appearance of the Herald of Galactus. The page, which you can see in full below, was signed by Stan Lee during a 1983 convention appearance.
Organizations | Tom Spurgeon reports that The Hero Initiative has now received close to $3,000 so far due to campaigns asking those people who watch Marvel’s The Avengers to donate money to the organization. The Jack Kirby Museum, meanwhile, reports it has received $1,300 from Avengers-related giving. [The Comics Reporter, The Kirby Museum]
Conventions | Chris Butcher, co-founder and director of the Toronto Comics Art Festival, reports that about 18,000 people attended this year’s TCAF-related events: “TCAF 2012 was the most ambitious festival yet, and my most ambitious personal undertaking. With more off-site and lead-up events than ever before, more partnerships than in previous years, an additional day of programming, and more than 20 featured guests, I worried in the weeks leading up to the show that perhaps we’d bit off a bit more than we could chew. Luckily through the talent and support of some wonderful folks we had varying levels of success on every front, and as always, lessons were learned and we think 2013 will be even stronger.” [Comics212]
When Colleen Coover posted her version of a weird tryout page featuring Wolverine and Freddie Mercury, she expressed hope that other artists would follow her example. And they have.
Coover’s been curating a small gallery of Wolverine/Mercury pages, and she would love to add more to it. What I like is how the artists already on display have taken to heart the potential that Coover initially saw in the meme. In that first post, she talked about the questions raised by the nonsensical story: What’s Wolverine looking for? Why does Freddie Mercury appear? “I have decided to explore these mysteries by recreating the original story, ” she wrote, and went on to say, “I invite other artists to do the same, by which exercise we may one day come close to the fictional Truth of the matter.”
The artists she found have done that too, not just recreating the page, but also explicitly answering some of those questions. It’s a fun look at not only varying stylistic takes on a single page of art, but also the way different people tell the same story, usually with hilarious results. For instance: I’m dying to spoil Andrew Meyerhoefe’s page for you, but I’ll resist and let you enjoy it for yourself.
The very first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles drawing, thrown together as a joke in November 1983 by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, was bought Friday by an anonymous bidder for $71,700 at Heritage Auctions in Dallas. An undisclosed percentage of the proceeds will be donated to The Hero Initiative.
“What an incredibly exciting week this has been! The Turtles have been blessed with the best fans on the planet, so I chose this event to make available personal historical TMNT items for those really hardcore supporters – but WHOA – what a response!” Eastman, who consigned the sketch to the auction house, wrote in a statement. “My many, many, thanks to all the fans that have given me the best job in the world, and for their love for a great, goofy, bunch of green guys that just wanted to be normal teenagers – Mutant Ninja ones anyway!”
That 1983 drawing led the following year to the publication of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1, a black-and-white parody from Eastman and Laird’s Mirage Studios, that, with the help of licensing agent Mark Freedman, grew into a multimedia empire of comics, animated television series, feature films, video games and merchandise. Laird completed a buyout of Eastman’s interests in TMNT in 2008, and then sold the property to Viacom the following year for $60 million.
“For 30 years the Turtles have been a worldwide phenomenon, entertaining hundreds of millions of children and that influence shows no sign of slowing with the upcoming TV and film projects featuring the team,” Barry Sandoval of Heritage Auctions said of the sketch. “This is a piece of pop culture that will only increase in value and influence over the coming decades.”
On his blog, J.H. Williams III unveils his stunning cover for August’s Batwoman #12, complete with the promise of an appearance by Wonder Woman, and walks us through his process.
“I felt it important for the image to work from a design idea properly, the logo had to become a part of the art directly, to play up the mirror effect as needed,” he writes, “so I embedded it into the final in a way that there is no other version. You’ll note I digitally did a mirror effect for Batwoman rather than draw that in by hand. I felt it best to handle it that way because of the Bloody Mary part is so bold. I think it would’ve been extremely problematic to have tried drawing Batwoman mixed with Blood Mary and then be able to have multiple effects in the final color. This allowed me to keep the style used for Bloody Mary independent from everything else. So the last digital additions, the use of a background setting, and the pop color of the inset stars and star panel against the surreal quality of the idea, helped to make this cover unique from previous Batwoman covers I’ve done. So that’s good, I’m always wanting the covers to do new things.”
All of Williams’ covers are beautiful, but with the one for Batwoman #12, he definitely raises the bar. Check out the full cover below, and visit Williams’ blog to see more of his process.