CONFESSIONS OF A COMIC BOOK ART COLLECTOR
“Well done! The first step is admitting you have a problem!”
“Who said it was a problem?”
So, where does this piece come from? From sketches to commissions to original art pages, I collect the lot and, with DICE 2013 coming up, I was looking into commission lists and sketch details for various artists who will be in attendance (some details of which will follow this piece). I have gotten in the habit of doing this as you can guarantee you get some art from the con. This time I have one piece of original art sorted (my second Irish comic book page) and one sketch sorted already. The original page was a case “if you don’t ask, you don’t get” with me e-mailing asking the artist to bring it. I’ll save the details of the page for when I have it in hand and will probably be doing a piece on the book the page comes from as it is one of my favourites. This brings up the question: why do you collect comic book art? Well I’ll break it down to the three types: the sketch, the commission and the original art page as I (and possibly you) have different reasons for each.
The sketch is pretty simple for me. It is a chance to see an artist’s take on my favourite character. I have Daredevils by Declan Shalvey, Stephen Mooney, Stephen Thompson, PJ Holden and John McCrea amongst others and have recently begun a Secret Six collection which I hope to continue at DICE. It is also a chance to get a small piece of the history of your favourite comic by getting a sketch by a creator who is involved on that particular book: I have a Michael Lark Daredevil, a Mark Buckingham Bigby Wolf and a Carlos Pacheco Green Lantern. Of course, the big thing is that it is a cheaper way of owning some original art.
Next up is the commission. This has the same reasons as a sketch except it is a more detailed vision from the artist plus you can ask for a bit more. For me, it is the closest thing to being a professional comic book writer. The level of detail you give can be as broad or narrow as you want: you can give the artists a picture of the kind of thing you like (this is applicable if you are looking for a scene or cover redo or recreation), you can write a brief description of the scene or you can just name the character and the scene. I have done all three and have found the most important thing is to let the artist decide on works best visually. I sent a picture to Declan Shalvey of a scene with Batman and many of his foes and he came back with a much better composition. He checked if I liked it with a rough outline and it worked and that was that. With my two Stephen Mooney commissions, they were single figure commissions so I just said something like “I want Black Widow” and he came back with a great commission with extra details that made it even better. I got Fred Hembeck to do me a cover redo of Giant Size X-men which had the added detail of including Banshee (I had not noticed he was missing until I commissioned it). I got an amusing note “now with a 100% more Banshee” with a Banshee doodle on it.
Finally, we have the original art page. This is the most expensive form of collecting so I reserve it to specific books and artists I enjoy. I only have four pages to date (with, as I mentioned earlier, number five due at DICE). I have a Michael Lark Daredevil page (purchased from the artist himself and signed), a Brad Walker Secret Six: Six Degrees of Separation page (inked by Jimmy Palmiotti), a Tony Harris Ex Machina (a page from the final issue purchased from the artist and signed) and an Alan Nolan Sancho page (purchased from the artist and signed). This is all about owning a piece of a book and is probably the best representation of the artist’s work. I really like to pick it up from the artist as you can generally get a bit of back-story or tit-bit about the creation of the page but there are a lot of good dealers out there.
So those are my excuses and I’m sticking to them. I’m off to see if I got an e-mail from a legendary artist about ANOTHER commission, load more images on my Comic Art Fans page and come up with my plan of action for DICE. I don’t have a problem. Really.
Share My Disease
Here’s a list of some of the artist’s prices for DICE. I’ll update with more details as I get them.
Headshot 15, Elaborate sketch 50 (pre-ordered 40)
Headshot 15, Elaborate sketch 50
Commission list full, might have time for a couple of sketches
Headshot 30, Full body 60
You can follow me on Twitter www.twitter.com/davidpbferguson