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Bill Morrison organizing art auctions to help save Metro Entertainment

Paul Smith

Retailer Bob Ficcara, owner of the well-regarded Metro Entertainment in Santa Barbara, California, is in desperate need of help.

In 2011, he suffered a minor stroke while working at the store, and discovered his health insurance wouldn’t cover much of his medical expenses; that was just a year after Ficcara racked up bills from surgery and physical therapy required for an Achilles tendon injury. He was unable to reach a payment-plan agreement with the medical providers, who took him to court to secure liens and levies. A month ago, Ficcara’s bank account was emptied, and at about the same time his wife Jamie was laid off from work. Now, Ficcara stands to lose the comic store he’s owned since 1991.

However, cartoonist Bill Morrison, co-founder of Bongo Comics, hopes to prevent that from happening. He’s moving quickly to organize auctions of original art to raise the $30,000 Ficcara needs to save Metro Entertainment. Unfortunately, time isn’t on Morrison’s, or Ficcara’s, side: The debt is due Jan. 14.

Morrison is already off to a good start, though, receiving original art from the likes of Dave Gibbons, Bruce Timm, Eric Powell, Paul Smith (shown at right), Dean Yeagle (below), Geof Darrow, Tone Rodriguez (below), Evan Dorkin, Jim Woodring, Humberto Ramos and Herb Trimpe (as well as himself, of course). But he’d like to get more original work from major artists. Those interested in contributing should contact Morrison at roswell2@earthlink.net. Update: Neal Adams has contributed a Hal Jordan/Green Lantern piece, which you can see below.

He plans to begin the auctions Sunday on eBay; although Morrison doesn’t have any auctions set up yet, you’ll be able to find them through his user ID juliennefryes. He’ll promote the auctions at Comic Art Fans as well. Cash donations will also be accepted through PayPal (roswell2@earthlink.net), or by check to:

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Mark Millar’s auction to name Jupiter’s Children character hits $2,550

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.

Art for Sandy Relief adds a whole slew of new auctions

Page donated by Ross Campbell

Earlier this week I spoke with Rich Ginter and Jim Viscardi about Art for Sandy Relief, an effort to raise money for the Steven Siller Tunnels to Towers Hurricane Relief effort. Rich and Jim, as well as a whole lot of generous artists and fans, have been busy since Sunday, and they’ve kicked off a whole bunch of new art auctions. Here’s a rundown of what you can bid on; you can also browse them on eBay if you’d like:

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Art for Sandy Relief: Bid on cool art to help hurricane victims

Art for Sandy Relief

Hurricane Sandy left a wake of devastation across the East Coast last week, and following the superstorm’s destruction come efforts to help those who were affected by it. One of the great things about the comic industry is that there are always people who work in it willing to do what they can to help people out, and this time is no different.

Art for Sandy Relief is an effort by Rich Ginter and Jim Viscardi. Viscardi currently works at Marvel in New York, while Rich left Marvel earlier this year to take a job as a digital designer in Disney’s publishing department in Glendale, Calif. He made the move to California just two months before the hurricane hit his former home.

Both gentleman were kind enough to answer some questions about the initiative. Before getting into it, though, their first art auctions went live today, and you can head over to eBay to bid on them now. Rich also shares some other ways that you can help out below, either via direct donation, by donating art or just by spreading the word.

Here are the auctions that are currently up:

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This weekend, it’s Women of Wonder Day in Portland and San Antonio (and on eBay)

Wonder Girl by Ryan Kelly

For seven years Andy Mangels and a host of supporters have put on Women of Wonder Day to benefit domestic violence prevention and intervention charity programs. This year’s events take place tomorrow in Portland, Ore. and San Antonio, Texas, but even if you aren’t close enough to attend one of them, you can still get in on the fun and help out via a series of eBay auctions.

First off, on eBay, you’ll find artwork by Ryan Kelly (above), George Perez, Tom Yeates, Pete Woods and many more, along with autographed scripts by Brian Michael Bendis and several DVD collections. The two stores hosting events–Excalibur Comics in Portland and Heroes and Fantasies in San Antonio–have their own auctions going on, as well as in-store signings, giveaways and costumed visitors.

Check out the press release below, or visit the event’s website for more information.

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Kevin Eastman auctions off his studio to benefit the Hero Initiative

If buying an entire comic shop on eBay is out of your price range, this might be more your speed: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles co-creator Kevin Eastman is auctioning off his art studio, with some of the proceeds going to benefit the Hero Initiative.

Technically it’s not his whole studio, as that’s attached to his house, but it is all of the contents contained therein. That includes his drawing table and chair, 600 DVDs, original art, action figures, rare T-shirts and a whole bunch more. Check out the video up top to see him give a tour of the studio. Eastman will also make an appearance at Meltdown Comics in Los Angeles on Jan. 4 to count down the end of the auction.

Right now the bidding is at just over $4,000, with eight days still to go.

L.A.’s Golden Apple Comics for sale on eBay

Golden Apple Comics

The owners of Golden Apple Comics have decided to exit the comics retail business and have put the Los Angeles-based comic shop up on eBay for $679,000.

According to the listing, owner Sharon Liebowitz is nearing retirement and wishes to divest herself for personal reasons. Her son, Ryan, general manager of the store, “is excited about the prospects of continuing his career that he put on hold in 2005 to run the family business.”

The sale includes the company logo and website, their customer database, various physical assets like computers and furniture, and more than $300,000 in existing inventory and collectibles. As a bonus, the shop is located right across the street from the world-famous (and awesome) Pink’s Hot Dog Stand, and the new owner will have great upstairs neighbors.

Check out the listing for more information. The details on what’s for sale are in an image, and if it won’t load for you on eBay, you can find it here.

Comics A.M. | Comic sales climb 19 percent; IDW promotes Goldstein

Justice League #3

Sales | The comic book market was up more than 19 percent in November when compared with the same period last year, with comics up 23 percent and graphic novels up 12 percent. So far this year the comics and graphics novel market is up 1.87 percent versus the first 11 months of 2010. If December cooperates, this could be the first up year for the market since 2008.

DC Comics was once again the top company in terms of market share. The company took six of the top 10 spots on Diamond’s Top 100 Comics list, with Justice League #3, Batman #3, Action Comics #3, Green Lantern #3 and Marvel’s Point One #1 making up the top five comics of the month. Batman: Noel took the No. 1 spot on the Top 100 Graphic Novels list. [The Comichron]

Publishing | IDW Publishing has promoted Chief Operating Officer Greg Goldstein to president, with a focus on new markets and acquisitions. He joined the company in 2008 from Upper Deck. [ICv2.com]

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Comics A.M. | The case against, and for, sales estimates

X-23 #20

Sales charts | Responding to an iFanboy article that speculates on what titles Marvel might cancel next, Men of War and Viking writer Ivan Brandon makes the case against sales charts and the subsequent analysis of them each month: “There’s an ongoing debate, for a bunch of years now. There are numbers that circulate every month, inaccurate numbers, people track them, people use that flawed ‘data’ to comment on what they see as the progress or decline on the list. A lot of comics professionals are against this, for a lot of reasons. In my case, for my books, the books I personally share copyright on … my reason is, and no offense to anyone out there: My income is none of your business. Just as your income is none of mine.”

Tom Spurgeon offers a counterpoint: “Sales information seems to me an obvious positive, not because it reveals the bank accounts of creators, but because what sells and to what extent is basic information about a marketplace, and the shape and potency of a marketplace seems to me a primary item of interest for anyone covering that marketplace. It’s foundational to our understanding of how things work and why. Certainly this information is already manipulated to brazen effect by companies with something to put over on customers; I have to imagine this would become worse under a system of no information at all being released.” [Ivan Brandon, The Comics Reporter]

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This weekend, it’s Women of Wonder Day

Women of Wonder Day

Returning this year “with a new name and an expanded mission,” the event formerly known as Wonder Woman Day is now Women of Wonder Day. This year the event will expand to a third location on Oct. 30 as a part of its mission to raise money for domestic violence programs.

The three events will occur at the following shops, where you can bid on art, meet creators and more:

  • Excalibur Books in Portland, Ore. with special guests Joelle Jones, Kelly Sue DeConnick and more.
  • Comic Fusion in Flemington, N.J. with Jamal Igle, J.K. Woodward and more.
  • Heroes and Fantasies in San Antonio, Texas with Benn Dunn and more.

In addition, there’s an online component, and you can bid on artwork and other items on eBay — including the chance to appear in a Brian Michael Bendis comic book.

You can find the complete press release after the jump.

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SDCC Wishlist | Ultra-limited Fables print puts the spotlight on Bufkin

Bufkin the Hero

If you read Bill Willingham and Mark Buckingham’s work on Fables, you know the real star of the show isn’t Bigby or Boy Blue or even Flycatcher — it’s the little winged monkey Bufkin. Buckingham captures his majesty in the above print, which has a very small print run for a very small hero.

Only 25 were created, and five of them will be given away to the winners of the Hero Initiative‘s “Meet Willingham and Bucky on the yacht” auctions. Five fans will get to chat with the duo about Fables, get the print and ask one question that the creators will answer with “no hokum, no equivocation, no bush-beating and no balderdash.”

Another five will be given away at the Fables panel at the San Diego Comic-Con to the folks who ask the five best questions. How the remaining 15 will be distributed has yet to be determined, according to the Hero Initiative’s Jim McLauchlin.

Breitweisers recruit comic artists to help out a family in need

Artist Mitch Breitweiser and his wife, colorist Bettie Breitweiser, are raising money for Brittany Delarosa and her three kids, who recently lost their husband and father. The duo reached out to several comic creators to donate original artwork to be auctioned off or sold. Currently up for bid is the above piece by Chris Samnee, and they’re also selling pieces by Peter Krause, Andrea Furtrelle and (coming soon) Phil Hester.

Go here to check out all the artwork.

Hero Initiative auctions off Josh Medors original art

Alter Ego #105

Earlier this year Michael mentioned the limited edition print that the Hero Initiative was selling to help raise money for artist Josh Medors, who has a rare form of spinal cancer. Now that original art, which is also the cover to Alter Ego #105 and is a re-creation of the cover to Amazing Spider-Man #33, is being auctioned off on eBay. Go check it out and place a bid for a good cause.

Comico production artwork up for auction

Grendel cover proof

Late last year a huge batch of production art, proofs and other items from defunct comics publisher Comico was listed on eBay. Comico co-founder Gerry Giovinco, now with CO2 Comics, questioned whether the seller, Coyote Surplus, had the right to sell it.

“It always was Comico policy to return all art to the creators. If there is art that was not returned, we are in total agreement that it should be returned to the rightful owners of the work. If you are a creator that believes your work could be among this lot, we would suggest you fight to get it back,” he said on the CO2 blog in December.

So whatever happened to the big batch of Comico production art? In a post titled “Finder Keepers,” Giovinco offers an update on the art and other items — they’ve been purchased by Collector Haven in Arizona. Photos of many of the items can be seen at comicoart.com.

According to a post on the site, Collector Haven bought more than 2,500 pounds of production artwork:

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Support Japan by buying artwork from Periscope Studios

Akira by Dustin Weaver

The artists associated with Periscope Studios regularly post some pretty awesome artwork on their sketch blog, to the point where you kinda have to wonder how they could make it even more awesome. Which they have.

Last week Dylan Meconis, Colleen Coover, Dustin Weaver and several more of their artists created pieces that they’re auctioning off on eBay to benefit Peace Winds Japan, an organization providing emergency relief efforts in the earthquake and tsunami-ravaged country.

“I had pretty much told myself that I wouldn’t be participating in many more Periscope sketch challenges for a while because I need to be focused on work,” Weaver wrote on his LiveJournal. “But when the idea of doing a Japan week was suggested I was immediately on board. There are probably a lot of artists who feel this way, but for me this is a chance to give a little back to a country that has given me so much. Many of my greatest artistic inspirations are Japanese.” Weaver’s piece, above, should look familiar to fans of Akira.

You can find all the pieces up for auction on the studio’s eBay page.

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