Friday, December 30, 2005

Why Does Original Art Have to be so Pricey ????

I know, I know.

It's art, it's one of a kind, it's rare and it's cool and that is why it costs a lot.

I don't like that answer, because I want more and I want it now!

Everything was ok a few years back, I could pick up a nice interior page from just about any artist not named Kirby or Adams for under $100. That does not seem to be the case anymore. Back in 1999 and 2000, I bought quite a few Dick Dillin pages for $35-$40. Now, I rarely see one sell for under $125.

Where I really shot myself in the foot, however, was getting into the original cover art market. That's a whole new ballgame, folks!

Rawhide Kid is one of my all-time favourite titles and a couple of years ago, Heritage Comics was selling a bunch of original cover with Larry Lieber art. Now Larry's art does not excite many people, but I have alway enjoyed it and felt he infused a good mix or draftmanship and emotion. I end up winning an auction for the cover art to Rawhide Kid #90 - which is a great one as it features a crossover with Kid Colt in a scene right out of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. It is very cool. I have it framed and it is hanging on a wall at my house.

I can't remember exactly what I paid for it, but it was around $400. That may not seem like a lot compared to what Kirby, Adams and Ditko covers fetch - but it felt like a lot to the wallet and was certainly at least 4 times more than I'd spend on any art up to that point.

The problem is that now I want more covers - they are so great and look great framed and I must have more. There are two currently being auctioned by Heritage that have caught my eye.

The first is a nice Golden Age western cover for a Comics Media cover by Don Heck. Heck's horror covers for Comics Media are legendary, but his western ones are also very nice. This one features are sheriff getting shot in the back. And some people think the Code only impacted horror and crime books.

Heck is one of my favourite comic book artists ever - I have a couple of pages by him from much later in his career. One is from his stint on Justice League of America (his draws a nice Hawkman) and the other is from the DC horror anthology Ghosts. Both are nice but definitely unspectacular. I figure that this cover may end up being a bargain, since it is DC and Marvel artwork that really command the highest prices and I wouldn't be suprised if an early Silver Age Heck page from Tales of Suspense of The Avengers would sell for more than this cover. That being said, I think it will still end up north of my price limit. Too bad, because it is a beauty.

The second cover will likely sell for ever more, even though it was published 25 years later. People often think of Dick Giordano first as an editor, then as an inker and finally as a penciller. That is too bad, because Giordano is an excellent penciller and he design truly dynamic covers. During his pre-editorial days at Charlton, his covers shone like a diamond in the rought. Many of the covers he did for DC in the late 70s and early 80s are nearing icon status. All of that being said, Giordano artwork typically sells for far less than the artwork of many of his contemporaries.

This particular Wonder Woman cover appeals to me because I owned the book as a child. My parents would give me a certain amount of money to buy comics, but there always seem to be a little bit more money for bying books that my older sister might also enjoy. This is pretty much how my Wonder Woman collection got started - my inability to turn down free comics. It's a great action cover, and I want it now. Sadly, it will likely end up well above $1,000 and that's an expense I just can't justify right now.

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