Wednesday, August 7, 2013

This Makes Me Sad

This week the original cover art for the 1986 comic The Dark Knight Returns (drawn by Frank Miller) sold at auction for $478,000 (!).

That beats another piece of Miller art from The Dark Knight Returns, which in 2011 sold for $448,125.

Amazingly neither of those are even close to the record. 

The record for an original piece of American comic book art goes to Todd McFarlane's 1990 cover for The Amazing Spider-Man #328, which sold for an astonishing $657,250. Oy gevalt.

I'm hoping the people who bought them did so because they actually like the art, or it has some sort of nostalgic significance to them. Because if they bought them as investments, then they've got far more money than sense.

Personally I wouldn't buy any of these if they were priced at a dollar. Seeing the pieces in their original form like this makes you realize just how much they rely on the coloring to make them look good. In all three examples the underlying artwork is quite poorly drawn. In my opinion, or course.

What really makes me sad about the whole thing is there's not a single piece of Jack Kirby art in the lot. What's the big deal about Jack Kirby, you ask? Oh, nothing much. He was only the artist who almost single-handedly created the Marvel Comics Universe!

Jack Kirby, the guy who created or co-created Captain America, Challengers Of The Unknown, Darkseid, Doctor Doom, The Demon, The Fantastic Four, The Forever People, Galactus, The Hulk, The Inhumans, Iron Man, Silver Surfer, Thor and The X-Men. That Jack Kirby.

Kirby's artwork had fluidity, movement and a bold sense of style. His art wasn't realistic by any means, but damn was it energetic and fun to look at. Best of all he could actually draw, and knew how to construct a figure unlike some of the other artists on this page. In my opinion, of course.

I just wish I was reading about some of his art selling for $657,3250. Or better yet, a million! After all, without him there wouldn't be a Marvel Comics or any X-MenWolverineIron ManThorCaptain America or Avengers movies!

Kirby died in 1994, so it wouldn't surprise me if the people buying comic art these days consider him old hat and not worth the investment. 

Or maybe it's just a case of a flooded marketplace. Jack Kirby was a very prolific artist, pencilling four or five books a month (!) in his prime. Maybe the reason his art isn't on this list is because there's just a lot of it, making it less rare. You know, supply and demand-- the only thing you remember from Econ class. 

Or maybe people are just idiots. In my opinion, of course.

1 comment:

  1. I love Kirby. I think one of the reason we don't see his art for sale is people want to hold on to it. His sense of dynamic power and his ability to make fantastic action part of a compelling story made modern comics.


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