Tags Matching: original art

7 Psychopaths.

I’ve been on a big Sean Phillips kick lately, and the first comic I’m gonna bring up while I’m on it is 7 Psychopaths.

Essentially a WW2 Dirty Dozen type story, with the titular psychopaths on a suicide mission into Germany to assassinate Hitler. It follows the traditional three part flow for that sort of story: recruitment, training/downtime, and then the mission. But it doesn’t feel formulaic, despite adhering to the formula, and the English translation (7 Psychopaths was originally published in France) never finds it’s way into awkward phrasing the way translations like Battle Royale and Blacksad have.

Phillips is one of those artists who pencils are deceptively simple, and the combination of Dick Tracy comic strip and film noir that he excels at not only makes him perfectly suited to his best known* works (Criminal, Sleeper, Incognito), but for this pulp war story. As I mentioned, this was originally published in France, where as I understand it it was in an oversized format. I’d really like to find the French version just so I can see the artwork that much bigger, as it really is as cool to look at as it is to read.

*- I suppose technically his best known work to most was Marvel Zombies, but to be honest the longer that comic went on the more disappointing the series became. And that’s before it even got to the non-Kirkman/Phillips sequels. Still, for those that only know Phillips from that, here’s an OG piece of artwork from the second series:

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Jim Will Always Be Jim

Let’s forget for a moment that none of us can afford this. Let’s also ignore the fact that there is nothing remarkable enough about it to justify the asking price. Put that in the back of your mind.

Instead, let’s discuss the value of knowing your role versus the need to expand beyond it. We can all agree it would be unreasonable for Shaq to wake up one day and insist on playing forward. Or for Tom Brady to suddenly feel compelled to play defensive tackle. Being good at one thing isn’t a cause for shame, it’s a necessity. This isn’t Dungeons & Dragons where there is tangible benefit to being “well-rounded”. This is the real world where being freakin’ awesome at ONLY one thing will get you millions of dollars and a model for a wife. With that in mind, do I praise this Jim Lee vision of Death from the Sandman series? He has made Death a Jim Lee creation. This doesn’t look a thing like the original character. If we stripped the ankh off of her, I would just assume this was Deathblow’s girlfriend or some shit.

Is it a crime to have your own style and never expand on it? Is it wrong to pass over continuity for the same of your own visual consistency? I don’t know. But it’s worked for Jim and a number of other 90s creators who are always in demand. My commissions aren’t selling for 3k, so I’d probably defer to Mr. Lee on this one.

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A tale of two Bagley pages…

Two original art pieces here from Mark Bagley, the Cal Ripken of mainstream comics. An artist who’s style is and always has been very smooth, clean, and detailed without needing too much in the way of superfluous line work. He’s evolved a little bit over the years, but he’s got a trademark style that is as much it’s own as Alan Davis, an artist who I would compare with Bagley in many ways. Let’s get started.

The cover art from Mighty Avengers #8. A venomized Wasp. Great clean shots of Ms. Marvel, Iron Man, and the Sentry. Would love to have this piece, but $3000 is heavy. That said, this is a cover piece, and everyone knows that covers will demand the most value and attention. Do I see this piece retaining value? No. But do I think this will be a piece that changes hands often regardless? No.

This piece, an interior page from Ultimate Spider-Man, is the opposite as far as price tag. Another page that has a nice smattering of characters (Spidey, Moon Knight, Daredevil, Dr. Strange, Iron Fist) and while the “ultimate” version of Danny Rand leaves something to be desired, this is a really cool piece. Classic Bagley, and the price is right… no bids? Really?

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Soft but Defined.

It’s not an easy thing to describe illustration all the time. Sometimes the answers scream out at you, and others you have to really search for what you’re seeing. Terry Dodson is the weird example where both statements above are true.

His style has both a very soft effect as well as being very smooth and defined. Perhaps its the very skilled use of differentiated line style – he makes a wonderful use of outlining bold lines to make them pop from the page. You can see this on this original art page on Emma Frost.

Early on in his career he got a shot on some pretty big books, and I was always aware and interested, but the book that has somehow still resonated is his X-Men Chronicles work. Howard Mackie wrote two excellent issues that fleshed out the world of the Age of Apocalypse. In the first issue (illustrated by Dodson) Mackie detailed the death of Wanda Maximoff, the daughter of Magneto, and, y’know, the Scarlet Witch. Dodson’s style has truly evolved, but stayed in a very interesting and soft line style that I think makes his work stand out from the pack. The second issue of the X-Men Chronicles, also part of the set below, is drawn by a near polar opposite but still very interesting artist, Ian Churchill. While I can’t necessarily say much for his proportions, I always enjoyed his detail.

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The Parker Portfolio.

If you don’t know by now, I am a HUGE fan of Richard Stark’s Parker, and thus am also a HUGE fan of Darwyn Cooke’s excellent adaptions. So naturally, I am constantly searching for old versions of the Parker novels. Last night, however, when I entered my customary search for “Stark, Parker”, these popped up:

I had never even known that these existed til now. Apparently they were retailer incentives, ala The Man With The Getaway Face, and as such can be pretty hard to find (no sign of volume 1 anywhere on the ‘bay right now), not to mention pricey. So to find 3 of them at once (the first seller has 2 available)… let’s just say it’s hard to pass up. So odds are I won’t. Unless I decide I need to start saving up for this…

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For Asgard, Ron Frenz!

Nothing makes me pine for the winter weather like a good Asgard story. All these glorious Vikings, Valkyries, and Frost Giants fighting… So cool. And for about a six year period, Ron Frenz did it better than almost anyone.

He had big shoes to fill. Saying that is about as much of an understatement as it can get. Sal Buscema did a one year run, but before that was the even present shadow of writer/artist Walt Simonson, who’s run still stands as the best on THOR. But Frenz put forth an effort that did not fall short, and though some of the stories felt dense (honestly, most Thor books of the day had this problem. can’t fault the artist) the pace and ability to just jam the pages with action was brilliant.

His style echoed of the greats like Steve Ditko and even moreso, the great Jack Kirby. Outside of George Perez, no one knew how to fill the page quite like Ron Frenz in the 1980’s, and with style like that, you know you’re doing pretty dang good.

That’s all for my original art bender. I think I got it out of my system for today.
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Chris Bachalo nailed it

Three quick notes on this original art piece, from Generation X #1.

1. Something seems extra cool about this being from an “important” issue of the series. Although you often see great original art, for some reason the pieces from big issues fetch a larger price tag because, well, they were more relevant. More people saw this page than some random shot from Generation X #13. Issue #1 is catching a lot of casual fans, give-it-a-try’s and also had a large chance of becoming the “I love this ______ (artist/book/writer/character)” issue.

2. Page gives you a great sampling of the book’s main characters. Monet, Jubilee, Husk, Banshee. Outside of Emma Frost and/or Chamber, you’ve covered most of your bases.

3. It’s amazing to see how much time and effort it appears that Bachalo sank it to some of these early issues of Generation X. Look at how crisp, smooth, and detailed this page is – ask yourself if you’ve ever seen Bachalo’s work look so crafted. And this isn’t in anyway bashing any of his other work – the looseness of his style explodes on the page and has become his signature. Here he feels like a focused and sharp weapon – all of the energy in his pencils just oozing out of these tightly drawn, precise pages. Within 12 issues his style loosened, and his illustration transformed into Busta Rhymes – extravagant, unique, explosive.Whether enjoyed or not, Bachalo’s art demanded attention like few others, and continues to do just that today.

So in summary, a $645 Buy It Now seems reasonable for this. A little lower and I think I’d have to start thinking about it.

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A perfect fit.

I’m trying, and failing, to think of a comic appearance of Emma Frost, the White Queen, that was illustrated by Bill Sienkiewicz. If it did happen, I’ll need to track that down. Until then, this commission piece will serve as an absolutely perfect example of when a certain artist’s style fits the character perfectly.

I have no idea when this piece was commissioned, but it’s one of my favorites I’ve come across. Sienkiewicz absolutely works so well in black and white, and his strong, sharp angles, mixed medium usage and just general feel is better than any of the billion artists who’ve received rave reviews on their depictions of Ms. Frost. The image feels like it’s judging you, and that’s exactly what every piece of dialogue should feel like from this character; one of the unique pieces of comic book / visual story telling is when the image does a better job of conveying character than the words used. A+

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Strong Guy

Maybe some of Peter David’s finest writing is the segment where Guido, bodyguard to Lila Cheney, joins X-Factor and has to pick a code name. Strong Guy is his choice, and the irreverence and annoyance with which the other characters react is perfect. Havok has never seemed so surly, and Mr. David did it perfectly.

So for the Strong Guy diehards out there, this one’s for you. Joe Madureira original art – nothing special here, but like I said, if you are just looking for a manageably priced piece of a loved character, this would do very nicely.

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Deadpool x Joe Mad x Original Art

I don’t think anyone here is a big Deadpool fan, but I see his value. Maybe not even that – I see his potential. But right now, he’s the equivalent of food options on a cross country drive. You know there’s amazing food somewhere, and you want it, but all you are seeing are McDonald’s and Subway. No one’s doing the work to make this character more than a literal idiot babble stream of thought. But – the sales are there, so who am I?

Anyways, this is one of the best original art piece auctions I’ve ever seen. With two days left, it’s still at a very reasonable price, and it has a potentially awesome feature for presentation. You get the original Joe Madureira pencils, Joe Rubinstein inking, and Laura colors – so you get the entire work as it moves through the traditional comic art process. I could see this being put into a three panel frame, pencils to the left, inked work in the middle, and the final colored piece to the right.

If you are a fan of original art, you must see the auction. So cool.

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