Wednesday, March 5, 2014

John Byrne Superman 5 Page






















(click for larger image)  Really excited about this one!  Back in 1986 John Byrne was the king of comics.  He had just completed a successful stint on the Fantastic Four over at Marvel Comics, his long-time employer.  He had written and drawn a whopping 60+ consecutive issues on the title!  Not only that, but he also launched his own series, Alpha Flight, through Marvel and both wrote and drew that title as well.  Just as Byrne was finishing up the Fantastic Four, the big brains at DC approached and said they had an idea to "re-boot" their most iconic character - Superman.

Byrne was given a lot of leeway, and like his previous books at Marvel, he would both write and draw the new series.  First up was "Man of Steel", a six-issue limited series that would retell the origin of Krypton's most famous son, as well as "clean up" some of his complex history.  It was a smash success, and slated for follow up were the newly minted Superman book (starting with issue # 1), and a run on the Action Comics title - the birth place of Superman way back in issue # 1 in 1938.  This re-launch met with a lot of "hoopla" and it was all over the news and press at the time.  In 1988, Byrne would even illustrate the Man of Steel for the cover of Time Magazine.

Anyone who has ever read my blog will know of my high regard for both the Fantastic Four series and the Alpha Flight series.  My sole desire as a new collector of original comic art was to acquire a nice example from the Fantastic Four.  I have chronicled my pursuit of these pages both in my blog and in articles during my tenure as a contributor to the CFA-APA (links on right ->).  In the back of my mind, I had also wanted to get a nice Superman example, and actually owned some minor pages which I eventually parted with.

After re-reading Byrne's Superman work recently, I was compelled to finally pick up a nice example.  I don't think I could have done much better than this page.  Not only does it have Clark Kent changing into Superman and flying up from the Daily Planet, but it has a last panel that could be a poster or comic book cover.  Very iconic!  You might be scratching your head and wondering why the stubble - older readers will recall the popularity of the t.v. series Miami Vice.  Everybody had stubble in the late 80's!  The other thing I really like about this page is the inks.  Byrne inking himself is my favorite and I own no other examples.  The only inker who, in my mind, comes close to making Byrne's pencils look the way they are supposed to look is Karl Kesel.  He did a great job on this series.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Byrne Fantastic Four 248 Pages

(click for larger image - pencils and inks by John Byrne)  My first love in comic art has always been John Byrne Fantastic Four art.  I've been lucky to have found some great pieces over the years, and I was stoked to find another couple of great pages recently.  I actually saw these a couple of years ago at a convention in San Jose, CA.  I wish I had bought them then because they were quite a bit cheaper!  At any rate, I decided to grab them anyway - I've been hunting down stuff like this for the last 10 years and if there's one thing I've learned - you only regret the stuff you DON'T buy!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Rusty Riley - Halloween 1956







Frank Godwin was one of the all time great illustrators and I love his work on the comic strip Rusty Riley; an adventure strip about a boy and horse racing.  Godwin had a very distinctive style and was a master with the brush. Most collectors desire strips featuring horses and good shots of Rusty. I like those as well but also love Godwin's portraits and the way he renders water - so this strip is right in my sweet spot since it features both. It is also from the castle/raft storyline which collectors prize above all others. It does have some staining, but this 10/31/1956 daily is a great example nonetheless. Pencils and inks by Frank Godwin (click for larger image).

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Rip Kirby 1949-10-10





Alex Raymond is considered by many to be the greatest strip artist of all time. This is the third Rip Kirby strip I've owned, and none have had Rip himself in them. That doesn't bother me at all because - look at this strip!  So much going on - dramatic lighting with lush inks. I love the inking effect Raymond gives for showing the light outside the car window in panel one. And I love the one simple shadow line on the woman's face in panel three cast by her eyeglass frame. I could go on... Pencils and inks Alex Raymond (click for larger image)


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Alpha Flight 12, Page 32























I parted with a great three page sequence from this issue a while back, so I am glad to add this page to my collection.  Lots of good action and a great image of Guardian!  (click for larger image)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Alpha Flight 6, pages 6 and 7

Earlier this year, I sold a great three page sequence from Alpha Flight 12 (click here to view) that I had for many years.  It was a great sequence leading up to the death of Guardian (or Vindicator as he is sometimes called), but didn't actually have Guardian on any of the pages.  So I was thrilled to find these pages which do feature him.  Page six with him in flight is my favorite, but it's always fun to have sequential pages.  (click for larger image)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Big Ben Bolt 1968-05-10

(click for larger image. pencils and inks by John Cullen Murphy)

I had never heard of John Cullen Murphy before I started collecting comic book and strip art, but once I discovered his work on Big Ben Bolt, I was smitten.  In my opinion, he is one of the greats of the medium. He had a very unique style which employed fine scratchy lines, yet the work still managed to look clean and realistic.  I used to own four examples which I picked up for a song, but regretfully sold them off (save one).  Since the strip is about a boxer/detective character, I'd always wanted one of him boxing and when I saw this one come up, I couldn't resist.  This is quite a bit later than my other example (from 1961), and I actually prefer the early one, but this one has some great line work, so I can't complain.  Murphy later went on to work with Hal Foster on the Prince Valiant newspaper strip in 1970, and eventually took it over completely in 1979.  He continued on the strip all the way up until 2004 and died shortly thereafter.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Fantastic Four 235, p 05























Another one for my Byrne obsession… (click for larger image) As a collector of original comic book art, few things are higher up on my want list than originals from John Byrne's run on Fantastic Four. Once I discovered you could actually buy this stuff, I thought "I want some Byrne FF!" It's what started me down that long, terrible road of addiction. I've been looking for great examples for almost ten years, and when I see something special, I do my best to acquire it. I have some pages that I really like, but this one is exceptional. I think if I had been able to find a page of this quality from the start, I might not have looked so hard for others. This one has it all - some great action, a good self-contained page, and all four members of the team. It's also from the early part of the run (only Byrne's fourth issue of his 61 issue run!), which features traditional inking tools (i.e., pen and brush rather than magic marker - a trademark of later issues). These early pages tend to have tighter inks and more detail, and this one has some really cool detail. In this particular story, the FF go up against Ego - "The Living Planet!" The last panel shows some really cool "Daliesque" (as Byrne puts it) details of the surface of this massive monster!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Alpha Flight 12, Page 28























(click for larger image or click HERE for triptych)

SOLD!! 2013

Back in the 1980's, I became a full-fledged comic book addict. I just loved the stuff and couldn't get enough. I would buy any title that caught my interest, in hopes that it would be worth my while. Some stuff was great, and some stuff not so great. I soon found that the current monthly books were not enough, and began backtracking to find previously published issues of things I liked, or other titles that I'd never heard of. If memory serves, the first John Byrne comic book I purchased off the newsstand was Fantastic Four 272. I was instantly smitten. I loved both the writing, and especially, the artwork (Byrne was doing both). It wasn't long before I was tracking down back-issues to get up to speed on what I'd missed (he began his run with issue 232). I was also happy to discover another title that Byrne was writing and drawing at the same time - his own creation, the Canadian super-team, Alpha Flight.

Alpha Flight wasn't as "cosmic" as the Fantastic Four, and it certainly didn't have the history (having been created in 1961 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby). It was also not a favorite of Byrne himself as he has stated repeatedly in interviews. Nonetheless, I loved it simply because it was Byrne. The book may not have been Byrne's personal favorite, but it did have a strong fan following. Byrne only ended up doing the first 28 issues, but some might argue that his initial run climaxed with issue 12 - the death of Guardian. Fans were shocked and devastated. If most fans were like me, they were probably thinking "he'll be back". Surely it was just some stunt or trick to boost sales? But, unlike today's superhero comics, he was dead. Really dead. Forever.

When I got introduced to the world of original comic art, my first thought was to obtain some nice Byrne Fantastic Four art. It turned out that that wouldn't be so easy (as chronicled in my CFA-APA article for issue 62 link HERE). So in conjunction with my search for Fantastic Four pages, I happily added Alpha Flight pages to my collection. And not just any Alpha Flight pages, but pages from the famed issue 12! Here is the first one I obtained. I've posted it on this blog before, but always in a group with the other two pages in the sequence (see them together HERE). I thought these pages deserved their own post, so here is the last. (Pencils and inks by John Byrne. Click for larger image.)

Alpha Flight 12, Page 27























(click for larger image or click HERE for triptych)

SOLD!! 2013

Back in the 1980's, I became a full-fledged comic book addict. I just loved the stuff and couldn't get enough. I would buy any title that caught my interest, in hopes that it would be worth my while. Some stuff was great, and some stuff not so great. I soon found that the current monthly books were not enough, and began backtracking to find previously published issues of things I liked, or other titles that I'd never heard of. If memory serves, the first John Byrne comic book I purchased off the newsstand was Fantastic Four 272. I was instantly smitten. I loved both the writing, and especially, the artwork (Byrne was doing both). It wasn't long before I was tracking down back-issues to get up to speed on what I'd missed (he began his run with issue 232). I was also happy to discover another title that Byrne was writing and drawing at the same time - his own creation, the Canadian super-team, Alpha Flight.

Alpha Flight wasn't as "cosmic" as the Fantastic Four, and it certainly didn't have the history (having been created in 1961 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby). It was also not a favorite of Byrne himself as he has stated repeatedly in interviews. Nonetheless, I loved it simply because it was Byrne. The book may not have been Byrne's personal favorite, but it did have a strong fan following. Byrne only ended up doing the first 28 issues, but some might argue that his initial run climaxed with issue 12 - the death of Guardian. Fans were shocked and devastated. If most fans were like me, they were probably thinking "he'll be back". Surely it was just some stunt or trick to boost sales? But, unlike today's superhero comics, he was dead. Really dead. Forever.

When I got introduced to the world of original comic art, my first thought was to obtain some nice Byrne Fantastic Four art. It turned out that that wouldn't be so easy (as chronicled in my CFA-APA article for issue 62 link HERE). So in conjunction with my search for Fantastic Four pages, I happily added Alpha Flight pages to my collection. And not just any Alpha Flight pages, but pages from the famed issue 12! Here is the first one I obtained. I've posted it on this blog before, but always in a group with the other two pages in the sequence (see them together HERE). I thought these pages deserved their own post, so here is the second. (Pencils and inks by John Byrne. Click for larger image.)

Alpha Flight 12, Page 26























(click for larger image or click HERE for triptych)


SOLD!! 2013

Back in the 1980's, I became a full-fledged comic book addict. I just loved the stuff and couldn't get enough. I would buy any title that caught my interest, in hopes that it would be worth my while. Some stuff was great, and some stuff not so great. I soon found that the current monthly books were not enough, and began backtracking to find previously published issues of things I liked, or other titles that I'd never heard of. If memory serves, the first John Byrne comic book I purchased off the newsstand was Fantastic Four 272. I was instantly smitten. I loved both the writing, and especially, the artwork (Byrne was doing both). It wasn't long before I was tracking down back-issues to get up to speed on what I'd missed (he began his run with issue 232). I was also happy to discover another title that Byrne was writing and drawing at the same time - his own creation, the Canadian super-team, Alpha Flight.

Alpha Flight wasn't as "cosmic" as the Fantastic Four, and it certainly didn't have the history (having been created in 1961 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby). It was also not a favorite of Byrne himself as he has stated repeatedly in interviews. Nonetheless, I loved it simply because it was Byrne. The book may not have been Byrne's personal favorite, but it did have a strong fan following. Byrne only ended up doing the first 28 issues, but some might argue that his initial run climaxed with issue 12 - the death of Guardian. Fans were shocked and devastated. If most fans were like me, they were probably thinking "he'll be back". Surely it was just some stunt or trick to boost sales? But, unlike today's superhero comics, he was dead. Really dead. Forever.

When I got introduced to the world of original comic art, my first thought was to obtain some nice Byrne Fantastic Four art. It turned out that that wouldn't be so easy (as chronicled in my CFA-APA article for issue 62 link HERE). So in conjunction with my search for Fantastic Four pages, I happily added Alpha Flight pages to my collection. And not just any Alpha Flight pages, but pages from the famed issue 12! Here is the first one I obtained. I've posted it on this blog before, but always in a group with the other two pages in the sequence (see them together HERE). I thought these pages deserved their own post, so here is the first. (Pencils and inks by John Byrne. Click for larger image.)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Daredevil 233, Pages 03 and 04


Here's a great sequence from possibly the best Daredevil story ever written - Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli's Born Again (originally published in Daredevil 226-233). This was a favorite of mine from back in the 80's, and still holds up very well all these years later. I've owned page 4 for years, and knew the whereabouts of page 3 for almost as long. I don't know why I put off obtaining it for so long. I'm glad it was still available once I finally decided to do something about it. I always enjoy having pairs of pages since comics are a sequential medium and it really helps relay the impact of the story. (click for larger image)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Rip Kirby 1954-01-25



I had a small strip art collection some years ago (chronicled in CFA-APA issue 65), but sold most of it off. I was trying to condense my collection down to the bare essentials, which meant retaining only the stuff I was most nostalgic for (i.e., 1980's comic book art). I do have a real soft-spot for the photo-realistic strip art of the 1940's-1960's however. There were some tremendously talented guys producing the most beautiful art on a daily basis. Among the best were Alex Raymond, Leonard Starr, Jose-Luis Salinas, and Frank Godwin. I own or owned strips by all of them, but I did sell my only Raymond a while back.

My interest in these strips has been rekindled lately, and I was lucky enough to find this excellent Alex Raymond Rip Kirby at what I thought was a bargain price. Raymond is considered by many to be the best strip artist of all time. I won't pick favorites, but I'm glad to have another Raymond in my collection. (click for larger image)

Here's a close up of panel one showcasing Raymond's great brush and pen work. (click for larger image)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Fantastic Four 253, Page 20



UPDATE: SOLD IN 2012!

I had nearly the entire issue of this book, but never planned to keep it. I sold all but this page. For years I had hunted down Byrne FF art, and I especially wanted a nice early page featuring inks done using "traditional" inking tools (i.e., pen and brush - all the later stuff was done with magic marker). I was finally able to buy an example, but had to buy all the pages together. That shows you how rare this stuff is. Ironically, after I purchased the near-complete book, early pages began hitting the market after all. Go figure. Anyway, great inking on this page - very detailed. Compare this to the later pages I have from the 260's and you'll see the difference. (click for larger image)

You can read about my hunt for John Byrne Fantastic Four art in some of my CFA-APA articles (click for link)

Friday, March 30, 2012

Karl Steinhauser (1880-1954)



Here's a nice beach scene by the California artist Karl Steinhauser. He was born in Germany on March 29, 1880 (I purchased this painting exactly on what would have been his 132nd Birthday!). By 1915 Steinhauser had moved to Pasadena. He died in San Diego California on March 18, 1954. This painting has a very nice impressionistic style. The sky is delicately painted, and I like how he incorporated tones of pink in the sand. (click for larger image)