I’m a bit late to the party, but knocking about on the Web this morning I happily discovered that on October 2nd, 2009, the Directors of Spectrum, an annual showcase of “The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art,” announced that Richard Corben would receive the Spectrum‘s 2009 Grand Master Award. Previous recipients of the award include Frank Frazetta, Don Ivan Punchatz, Leo and Diane Dillon, James E. Bama, John Berkey, Alan Lee, Jean Giraud, Kinuko Y. Craft, Michael William Kaluta, Michael Whelan, H.R. Giger, Jeffrey Jones, Syd Mead, and John Jude Palencar. A biography and full appreciation of Corben appears in Spectrum 16, on sale now. Congratulations, Richard!
Yesterday evening, I won an ebay auction for a lovely original life drawing of a female model, Jessica, by an award-winning American editorial cartoonist named Ed Hall. The drawing, which is 14 inches wide and 11 inches high, is in graphite and ink on a medium weight paper and is signed and dated by the artist in the bottom right. Here is the scan from the drawing’s ebay auction page:
Now, truth be told, before I decided to bid on the above drawing, I not only had never, to the best of my recollection, seen any editorial cartoons by Ed Hall, I had never even heard of Ed Hall. This has happened to me before. Many times over the years, I have bid on or purchased outright a drawing or a small painting not because I was already a fan of the artist and wanted a representative sample of his or her work but because I am an admirer of fine draftsmanship (with a special emphasis on figure drawing) wherever I find it and a collector of the same on those infrequent days when the opportunity to buy a work that has caught my attention arises at the same time as my extremely modest budget for original art allows for a purchase.
And yesterday, well… yesterday was just one of those days…
I might post a few specific observations about the drawing itself after it arrives and I have had a chance to peruse it in person, but I am happy to report here and now that my winning bid for Jessica Resting on Couch was US$21.97 (approximately CDN$23.05) and I paid US$10.00 for the drawing to be shipped from Florida, U.S.A., to Saskatchewan, Canada, via USPS First Class Mail International, for a grand total of US$31.97.
Who says one has to be wealthy to have nice things!
Fact is, most of the works in our collection of original art were purchased for less than CDN$100 a piece, and we have some terrific pieces — spot illustrations, comics pages, sketches, etc. — by artists such as John Buscema, Dave Cooper, Jordan Crane, DeWitt Hardy, Rudy Nebres (the all-Nebres “Rook” page I bought from a dealer for a very reasonable US$125.00 plus shipping is the exception that gently mocks the rule), Dave Sim (I bought an all-Sim Cerebus “High Society” page for CDN$50.00 directly from the artist in my first or second year of university), George Woodbridge, Chinese watercolourist Youqiang Zhang, and others.
So, if you would like to own a drawing of similar quality to the one I just bought, and you have a few bucks to spend on original art, you might want to bookmark the ebay auction page of seller halltoons2qr3 or keep an eye on the Halltoons Weblog, where the artist promotes his work and gives advance warning of upcoming ebay auctions. See, for instance, Ed’s blog post about his drawing of Jessica, My Sunday Best, or browse through today’s Sunday sketch results, at least one of which, I am told, will be up for auction this coming weekend.
But should you decide to bid, please be forewarned: if the drawing is first rate, and the price is right, you might have a little competition from me!
Yesterday evening, I succumbed to temptation and bought another piece of Mad Magazine art by George Woodbridge (1930-2004). So now here, for your delectation, is a scan of the artwork, along with a scan of the feature of which it was originally a part:
What I especially like about this piece, other than the fact that it is expertly drawn, is that the bracingly cynical satirical message shines through even though it doesn’t include any of the typeset text written by Tom Koch.
Miscellaneous info: The “Ain’t It Great!!” feature appeared in Mad #251 (Dec 1984). The image area of the artwork is 7.5 x 6 inches. And the cost, shipping included, was US$45.95.
So now we have a grand total of three pieces of original art by the talented Mr. Woodbridge in our collection.
Click here to see the last piece we purchased (which is still my favourite).
My wife and I purchased the following magnificent page by Filipino artist Rudy Nebres earlier this year:
From the early 1970s to the present day, Rudy Nebres has worked, sometimes as a penciller, sometimes as an inker, and sometimes as both (see above), on comics of all kinds, including “adult”-themed comics, for a wide variety of publishers. He’s a skilled artist who has had a long and productive career, and that’s great for him! Not so great for the average, non-art-obsessed reader, however, is the fact that only a handful of the comics Nebres worked on are worth reading for any reason other than to marvel at the man’s amazing craftsmanship. It’s a pity Nebres never found the perfect project to harness his prodigious talent — if only he could have drawn nothing but Western comics! — but the same can be said for most comics artists of his generation and before who scrambled to make a living doing nothing but “work for hire.”
I don’t know which Warren comics magazine the page we now own is from; the dealer didn’t have the information. The only information he had on his site was “Rook Story p.8 Warren Art,” so it is possible this is a page from a Rook story that appeared in Eerie or one that appeared in the Rook’s solo magazine, entitled, what else, The Rook. From Wikipedia:
He [Restin Dane, the time-traveller known as “The Rook”] appeared in Eerie #82-85, 87-95, 98-105. He got his own Rook Magazine which ran 14 issues from 1979 to 1982 (after which he returned to Eerie and concluded the storyline in #132 and continued in 134 and 136). Warren Presents #2 reprints the stories from Eerie #82-85. Eerie isues #116 and 120 had stories staring his great-grandfather.
After perusing Richard Arndt’s index of Warren Magazines, I would venture to guess that the page appeared in The Rook #11 (or possibly #12). But that’s only a guess, so if you by chance recognize the page, and remember which Warren magazine and which issue the story was in, please post a comment, or send me a private message using the link at the top of the page, and let me know. I’d really appreciate the information.
p.s. If you’re wondering why there are no captions or word balloons on the page, it’s because all that is on a separate clear overlay, which thankfully came with the artwork.
UPDATE 03 OCTOBER 2008:
Acting on the basic research outlined above, I mosied on over to ebay and purchased the two issues of The Rook most likely to contain the story with our page in it. Well, the books arrived today, and I was right. Our Rudy Nebres page was printed in The Rook #11 (October 1981), page 12. The story, written by Will Richardson, is titled, simply, “The Rook.” Mystery solved!
As of 12 July 2008, my wife and I are the proud owners of the following artwork by cartoonist George Woodbridge:
[CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE]
The image area of the drawing, which first appeared in print in Mad Magazine as part of a piece entitled “Appeals from Charities through History,” is 9 x 6 inches.
The total cost, shipping included, was US$55.95.
So now we have two — count ’em, TWO — pieces by George Woodbridge in our modest but growing collection of original comic-book (and other) art.
George Woodbridge (1930-2004) joined Mad Magazine’s “usual gang of idiots” in 1957 and had work in nearly every issue thereafter. He also worked at Marvel during the 1950s on titles such as Astonishing,Battle Action, and Kid Colt.
(The books used to be distributed via the Illustration Age site, but that’s no longer the case. The explanation offered is as follows: “Out of respect for the Andrew Loomis estate, Illustration Age has removed these out-of-print books from our free collection.” Previously, however, Illustration Age site claimed that Loomis’s books “are free to distribute because of their public domain status.” My view is, if the books are in the public domain, they’re in the public domain. Too bad for the estate that they didn’t give a shit about the books when they could easily have protected the copyright. But what’s done is done. In fact, the free PDFs are what prompted me and others to buy the lovely the hardcover reprints a few years back. Free e-Loomis for everyone!)