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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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Comics A.M. | Hero Initiative, Kirby Museum report Avengers donations

The Avengers #1

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]

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How to spot a fake Bushmiller cartoon

You don’t have to be an art critic to figure out that the drawing on the right is not a real Ernie Bushmiller panel, but Peteykins of Princess Sparkle Pony’s Photo Blog counts the ways that you can tell it’s actually a tracing, which is something I have to admit I never thought much about. It’s not a preliminary sketch, either. It’s just a bad copy done with markers on an index card. Amazingly, someone apparently paid $100 for it on eBay.

But wait! There’s more! Peteykins not only calls out a number of other works offered by this seller, Tony Greco of Gallery on Baum, as obvious fakes, he offers some advice on how not to get scammed:

First: don’t buy a Picasso, Miró, or Dalí on eBay, OK? But most of Greco’s fakes are more modest items: so-called “convention sketches” on small cards by cartoonists and animators. Even genuine examples of these types of drawings are usually minor items, done for fans on the fly over bustling tables crowded by onlookers, not the best circumstances for careful draftsmanship. That’s how Greco gets away with it: he excuses the poor quality of the drawings by “admitting” that they are minor curiosities with, after all, affordable price tags. It’s a pretty good scam!

Your best bet: Buy directly from the artist, which has all sorts of other benefits as well. Of course that won’t work with Bushmiller, because he is dead, but if a seller is offering works by several artists that all look suspiciously similar, I’d give them a pass.

(Via Colleen Doran.)

Stokoe, Graham donate original art proceeds to benefit Gary Friedrich

Ghost Rider by James Stokoe

Orc Stain creator James Stokoe and King City creator Brandon Graham have joined Steve Niles and other creators in supporting Ghost Rider creator Gary Friedrich, who owes Marvel $17,000 after he lost a suit against them.

Stokoe and Graham are donating 100 percent of the sales of a set number of pieces of their original art to the creator.

“In a bid to erase the world’s collective memory that people, not the ethereal blob that is Marvel, are the ones that create characters, Gary has been ordered to forget that he created Ghost Rider. Along with the $17,000 he’s being forced to pay out, Gary is in a bit of a pickle,” Stokoe said on his blog. “All things aside, whether you agree with the legal outcome or not, Mr. Friedrich is one of comic’s valued creators and is in need of some financial help. Brandon Graham and I have decided to have 100% of the proceeds for the next ten pages of our original art (ten Orc Stain and ten King City) go to Steve Niles excellent fundraiser for Gary Friedrich.”

Both Stokoe and Graham sell their art through Robin McConnell, who is tracking the number of pieces sold. Right now one Graham piece and two Stokoe pieces have been sold, leaving you plenty of opportunity to add some awesome artwork to your collection AND help out Friedrich. Head over to McConnell Art to see what’s available.

Saturday Shelf Porn | Order in the court — and on the comic shelves

Welcome once again to our Shelf Porn column, where we help fans share their shelves. Today’s submission comes from Chris Campbell, an attorney from Virginia who shows us his graphic novels, original art and more.

If you’d like to see your collection here, drop me an email at jkparkin@yahoo.com with a brief write-up and some jpgs.

And now let’s hear from Chris …

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Shelf Porn Saturday | A prescription for awesomeness

Hello and welcome to Shelf Porn, where we give fans the opportunity to show us their collections, both big and small. And today we have one that falls into the former category, as Bryan Hodgson a soon-to-be pharmacist who shares his collection of graphic novels, statues, original art and more.

If you’d like to see your collection here, drop me a note at jkparkin@yahoo.com. Let’s make it happen!

And now let’s hear from Bryan …

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Shelf Porn Saturday | A collection mom forgot to throw out

Hello and welcome to Shelf Porn, where fans show us their collections. Today’s submission comes from Victor Liew in Edmonton, Alberta Canada.

If you’d like to see your collection right here on Robot 6, just send me a write-up and some jpgs, and we’ll make it happen!

Now let’s hear from Victor.

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Comics A.M. | Angoulême Official Selections; cartoonist suspended

Angoulême International Comics Festival

Conventions | The Angoulême International Comics Festival has announced the Official Selections for the 2012 festival, which will be held Jan. 26-29 in Angoulême, France. Eddie Campbell’s Alec, Craig Thompson’s Habibi and Daniel Clowes’ Mister Wonderful are among the almost 60 graphic novels on the list. [Angoulême]

Editorial cartoons | The Columbus Dispatch suspended political cartoonist Jeff Stahler after finding that his Monday cartoon was too similar to a New Yorker cartoon published in 2009. At The Daily Cartoonist, Alan Gardner posts several of Stahler’s cartoons alongside earlier pieces with similar punchlines. While one can debate whether Stahler lifted his ideas from the older cartoons, it’s obvious that he drew them in his own style, unlike David Simpson, who was recently accused of copying Jeff McNally’s cartoons. [Comic Riffs]

Crime | Several pieces of original artwork, among other items, were stolen from the car of AdHouse Publisher Chris Pitzer while he was in New York City last weekend for the Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival. Pitzer is offering a reward for any information leading to the recovery of the artwork. [AdHouse]

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Saturday Shelf Porn | A map of Alison Sampson’s world

After a too-long hiatus, Shelf Porn is back! Today’s shelves come to us from Alison Sampson in the UK, an architect and comic creator who, as you can see in the image above, drew her shelves. How cool is that? The image above is part of a four-page story she did for a UK anthology, and she breaks down what was on them for this edition of Shelf Porn (and provides some photos of what they look like now).

If you’d like to submit your shelves to us, it’s easy — just send me a write-up and some images at jkparkin@yahoo.com.

And now here’s Alison …

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Lisa Hanawalt, J.G. Ballard, McSweeney’s in multi-car pile-up

What is it with Lisa Hanawalt and the use of automobiles for untoward purposes? Last week she drew a review of Nicholas Winding Refn and Ryan Gosling’s neon-noir crime flick Drive, and now she’s selling an original art piece entitled “Car Wreck Totem Pole.” Originally created for the (very comics-friendly) Panorama issue of McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, the watercolor illustration was inspired by Crash, author J.G. Ballard’s novel about accident victims who’ve become sexually fixated on car crashes. (You may also recall director David Cronenberg’s kinky film adaptation, starring James Spader at his James Spaderest.) It’s on sale for $220 at Hanawalt’s new online store. Where does she go from here — The Road Warrior, Death Race 2000, Vanishing Point, Duel, Cars, 2 Fast 2 Furious, Herbie the Love Bug? The possibilities are endless and/or unleaded.

And hey, while we’re on a Ballard kick, it’s never a bad time to check out The Diary of a Teenage Girl author Phoebe Gloeckner’s extravagantly NSFW illustrations for Ballard’s The Atrocity Exhibition — well, unless you’re at work, in which case it’s a very bad time to do so. There’s also this examination of Ballard’s book covers by Simon Sellers and Rick McGrath, featuring striking from artists such as Salvador Dali, Chip Kidd, Max Ernst, David Pelham, Bill Botten, and Chris Foss. Finally, this is a bit farther afield from comics, but the excellent BBC4 rockumentary Synth Britannia, which is now available in its entirety on YouTube, spends some time tracing Ballard’s influence on early synthesizer-heavy experimental and synthpop acts The Human League, The Normal, John Foxx, and Gary Numan. Buckle up!

Shelf Porn | Bookshelves from Brooklyn

Welcome to Shelf Porn, the column that features a comic fan’s shelves. Today’s Shelf Porn comes from Greg Farrell, cartoonist and drummer living in Brooklyn, New York.

If you’d like to see your shelves featured here, have I got a deal for you — just send a write-up and pictures to jkparkin@yahoo.com, and we’ll make your dreams come true. As long as your dreams are to see your shelves featured here.

Now let’s hear from Greg …

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Comics A.M. | Kirby heirs appeal Marvel ruling; Steve Geppi sued over art deal

Jack Kirby

Legal | As he promised he would do last month after a federal judge declared the heirs of artist Jack Kirby had no claim to copyrights on the superheroes he co-created for Marvel Comics, Kirby family lawyer Marc Toberoff filed an appeal Monday with the Second Circuit Court of Appeal.

“Specifically, the estate of comic book superhero legend Kirby — co-creator of Captain America, The Fantastic Four, The X-Men, The Avengers, Iron Man, Hulk, The Silver Surfer and Thor — sent notices terminating copyright to publishers Marvel and Disney, as well as film studios that have made movies and TV shows based on characters he created or co-created, including Sony, Universal, 20th Century Fox and Paramount Pictures,” Deadline reports. [The Hollywood Reporter, Deadline]

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Shelf Porn | A ‘trophy room’ filled with statues and original art

Welcome to Shelf Porn! It’s been awhile since we’ve posted this feature and we’re back with quite the collection today, as David Dougherty, a lawyer from Florida, shares his nicely displayed collection of statues and original art.

If you’d like to see your collection featured here, contact me at jkparkin@yahoo.com. And now let’s hear from David …

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Amazing Spider-Man #49 cover art expected to go for $100,000

Amazing Spider-Man #49

Heritage Auctions expects the original art for the cover to Amazing Spider-Man #49 to go for around $100,000 when it goes up for auction later this month.

Drawn by John Romita Sr., the cover features Kraven the Hunter and the Vulture double-teaming Spider-Man. According to Ed Jaster, senior vice president at Heritage Auctions, it’s only the second cover by Romita they’ve offered for auction.

In addition to the Spider-Man cover, several other comic-related items will go up for bid in Heritage Auctions’ Signature Vintage Comics & Comic Art Auction on Aug. 17-18. These include Victor Moscoso’s original treatment for the wraparound cover to Zap Comix #4, Steve Ditko’s original art for page 17 of The Amazing Spider-Man #12, a George Herriman hand-colored Krazy Kat Sunday comic strip and a page of art from an unpublished Superman story by Joe Shuster, Paul Cassidy and Wayne Boring.

SDCC ’11 | You have until 1 p.m. to bid remotely in the CBLDF art auction

Snarkd Ship, Roger Langridge

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is holding an art auction tonight in San Diego to raise money for their various programs, but even if you can’t attend the live auction, you can still bid on some really nice art (like the above Snarked image by Roger Langridge). But you’ll need to hurry — bids will only be accepted until 1 p.m. Pacific today. You can find complete details, including a list of what’s up for auction, on the CBLDF site or after the jump.

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