Saturday, May 24, 2008

Todd McFarlane original art gallery

I was browsing the web earlier today and came across an interesting site. I'm sure many of you have already been there and seen the gems...

Todd McFarlane's site has a TON of interesting stuff to read and look at, including, yup you guessed it, a nice online gallery of McFarlane original art including some of his favorites. And it's even narrated by him. Woot. The art was original presented as part of a retrospective exhibit showcasing Todd's art and career (Held at New York's MoCCA in 2006).

Shown here, Batman sketch, was the first McFarlane artwork published in a legitimate comic book (1981). Wild wild stuff but very very cool. Something about it sorta reminds me of his work on Detective Comics, Batman Year 2.

Other pages shown at the site include pages from Amazing Spider-Man, Spider-Man, New Mutants, Hulk, Spawn, and others. Even rejection letters and doodles from high school days.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Super-Con 2008 in San Jose

I spent all day today at Super-Con 2008 at the San Jose Convention Center, South Hall. As a private joke, the Bar-Con was held next door at the San Jose Marriot. I heard Beer-Con last night was pretty good too. Then rumor has it the wining and dining will continue Monday at the estate of Charest's wifes family. Sounds like fun.

It was a hot day in San Jose but at least the car was cool in the not-so-cheap but safe underground parking. South Hall, for those of you that haven't been to the San Jose Convention center, looks like a small hanger. Almost like a tent. Fortunately it didn't feel too hot in there.

The show opened at 10am but by the time I got there, it was closer to like 11:30am. Entrance was easy enough since I had prepaid my admission but there were no lines at that time anyways. Seemed to be pretty light (crowd wise) but it did seem to get slightly busier later in the day. I started with a walk-through of the entire floor to get an idea of what the day would bring and just browsed booths and tables. I was immediately greeted by Michael Golden at the end of the first corridor. After some chatting, admiring his artwork, and fanboy geeking out, I regained composure enough to continue my walk. Actually saw a couple collector/dealer friends that I hadn't seen in some time, so it was good to see them and catch up. This show wasn't really a big "original art dealer" show. There was 1 dealer booth who had a couple portfolios of various artwork. There were many "smaller" artists and their dealers selling artwork though, probably more artists than I had seen at a comic book show in a long time. And of course, there was a fairly big list of "bigger" artists including Dan Brereton, Travis Charest, Tony DeZuniga, Ernie Chan, Frank Cho, Paul Smith, Tim Vigil, Greg Horn, Joe Jusko, Steve Leialoha, Ryan Sook, Adam Hughes, Michael Golden, etc etc.

After my once-around, strange enough, I ended up stopping at Paul Smith's table often. It was the first time I met him and got the chance to talk with him. Wow what a great person and artist. I have newfound respect for this guy, and his work on Spirit is k-i-l-l-e-r-!!! Get the book if you haven't yet. I didn't make it on his con commission list, but I did pick up 2 pre-made pieces he had done earlier. They had an unmistakable PMS feel to it... I'll post these later... If I run into PMS at the next local show, I'm gonna be sure to chat more with him. I'd recommend you do the same as well. This guy is just easy-going and how I would expect all professionals to be. Funny too. Also chatted a bit with his new inker, Walden Wong. Seems like a humble dude too. Paul had been working with Walden on making sure the "look and feel" for their book is right. Paul is inking his own work right now, but soon enough Walden will join in on Spirit. Hope this wasn't a big secret I just let out of the bag. :-)

I ended up sitting in on the "inking Q&A" panel. There were a few interesting questions on topics such as "digital inking", "Vince Colletta inks :-)", "inking as an artform", etc. The photo above is of that inking panel discussion, including Tony DeZuniga, Frank Cho, Adam Hughes, Ernie Chan, etc. The only annoying part of this panel is that they didn't use their mics or didn't talk INTO the mic, so it was hard to hear anything they were saying. Thank GOD Adam Hughes knew how to use his mic, otherwise the discussion would have been moot.

Next up was what I pretty much came for --the original comic book art auction. I don't recall the final count of pieces, and I didn't bother tracking values for each piece, but it seemed like the auction went on for 1.5/2 hours. There were 2 versions of a Wonder Women pinup, one by Michael Golden and the other by AH!, that were blueline copied then inked over by various artists. For the most part these pieces started at $100.00 (and surprisingly some got up as much a few hundred) but of course the AH! inked piece over AH! blue-lined pencils went for the most, over $3k. I believe the Travis Charest inked piece over the Michael Golden blue-lined pencils went for second most, around $2800.00 range (I forgot the exact number). Regardless, both pieces were nice.

Regarding these blue-line inked pieces, I know Charest worked on the piece, and technically it is his original art, but would you spent that much on a Charest inked-only piece?!? Maybe if it were his own pencils underneath, or maybe even his own blue-lined pencils, I would consider it, but this wasn't either. The AH! inked over AH! (blue-line) pencils to me might be closer to true value, but for some reason, without original pencils under inks, I personally didn't think it's value would be as high as what was realized today. Chatting with a few other collectors/dealers there, they pretty much agreed. We'll see how/if they retain their value *if* they hit the open market. I thought they were going to auction off the penciled originals (Golden or AH!) but alas, I think those were kept by the artists or organizer of the show and good for them. Oh yeah, there was a small pile of artwork that didn't meet the starting $100 value so those were kept. I can imagine there will be some of these unsold pieces for sale in the coming weeks. Keep an eye out on eBay if you are interested, or email me and I can tell you who you want to talk with if you are interested.

All in all, I thought the show was decent, esp if you were looking for some deals, although the few dealers I chatted with didn't seem as excited with the lack of sales in their booth. Not many art dealers either. Because the crowds were not of Wizard shows, WonderCon or SD Comic-Con levels, however, it was much easier to walk the floor and enjoy yourself without running into people or walking at a snails pace. At least I left the con with a couple sketches and some bargain basement priced compilations ("Essentials" books).

Looking forward to Super-Con 2009. If I could leave feedback for next year's con, I'd ask for more original art dealers, and also please bring back Paul Smith. :-)