2017 Mid-Year Commentary & ComicConnect Auction Report (Part 2)
Hello everybody, I’m pleased to note that today’s 2017 mid-year commentary happens to coincide exactly with the 7-month anniversary of the Original Art Aficionado column!
A Personal Perspective
To start, I’d like to wholeheartedly thank all the contributors and readers of this column for your tremendous support and invaluable input. Without you, we’d never have been able to publish an article weekly since 1 December 2016! The many friendships and conversations which arose in the course of producing this column over the past 7 months are greatly treasured – not only have they provided me with renewed vigour for original comic art collecting, but also increased my appreciation of the collectors involved in our hobby and creators responsible for the masterpieces we cherish!
The other benefits which I’ve gained from working on this column also cannot be overlooked. From the research and preparation that goes into each article, much valuable knowledge and insight into artistic considerations, history of comic characters and the industry, and accomplishments of creators, have been gleaned. In addition, I find writing the articles to be quite cathartic – by organizing then setting my thoughts down on screen, a sense of satisfaction at having clearly and accurately shared my views with the community is achieved!
Perhaps of greater interest to many, is the prospect that by regularly producing OA-related content for public consumption, you can increase your involvement in the hobby while reducing the amount of money spent on artwork! This stems from the fact that you’ll still be actively engaged in the hobby (even more so in my case), but don’t necessarily need to procure or hunt for new pieces in order to attain a sense of engagement. At the same time, you’ll be growing the hobby by attracting new collectors and invigorating existing ones, through introducing them to aspects of OA collecting they’d previously not known or overlooked!
In light of all the above, I strongly recommend that those of you with even the slightest inclination, should try your hand at producing OA-related content. Whether it be through written features, podcasts or videos, becoming an original comic art content producer is one of the most immersive and fulfilling ways to enjoy this hobby. There are so very many topics, genres, and niches you can cover that will find an appreciative audience. Compared to other hobbies – given the passion, intelligence, resourcefulness and articulation of the OA collecting community – I feel that there is a distinct lack of outlets discussing or showcasing our hobby. If anyone would like to bounce off ideas or seek advice on becoming an OA-related content producer, please feel free to get in touch with me!
Advice to New Collectors
In my final bit of blather before moving on to the auction report, I’d like to impart some advice to new or prospective original comic art collectors (existing ones can listen in too of course).
First, take time to learn the hobby before jumping in! I spent over a year learning about OA collecting – by reading forums, browsing auction and dealer sites, and making small purchases – before starting to seriously buy OA.
Second and perhaps most importantly, understand what truly gives you long term pleasure of ownership, rather than the quick thrill of acquisition! Try to establish a collection “blueprint” – outlining the overall theme/scope of your collection. Right from the start, I was honest about my tastes and had target pieces of artwork in mind, which held me back from jumping on whatever piece happened to appear for sale in front of me. Consequently, I still appreciate every item in my collection. Unfortunately, that also means I’m a deep, dark, black hole collector who can’t let any artwork go!
Establishing a collection blueprint and identifying target pieces also helps to satisfy the old “quality over quantity” adage – I’m not saying don't buy cheap pieces or unpublished commissions, but rather, make your purchases count so that you acquire without regret!
Third, be flexible in your collecting scope! I remain a Marvel Cosmic and '90s-era fan, but have found my horizons expanding over the past couple of years, away from primarily Thanos artwork to OA from other artists and eras. This was partly driven by the price explosion of quality Thanos pieces, which even the recent increased supply can’t control. If I’d been too focused on my Thanos-centric tastes, and didn’t allow myself to develop an appreciation for other types of comic art, I might have become rather frustrated at these rising prices. Of course, even with a broadened collecting scope, remember to set targets and stick to your collection blueprint!
Fourth, be disciplined in your spending (duh!) and maintain a war chest of cash, so that you can pounce on opportunities when they arise. This way, you let the availability of quality artwork guide your purchases, rather than be dictated by the availability of funds.
Alright, for the handful of you still awake, let’s return to CC’s Jon Berk Auction!
Market Report – June 2017 ComicConnect Event Auction (Part 2)
For those who missed it, please refer to last week’s Market Report Part 1, which focused on Jack Kirby’s early-Marvel OA. Today we’ll continue looking at Silver Age artwork by other artists, with a smattering of newer pieces thrown in!
Pages from single-digit numbered ASM issues (which are packed with character 1st Appearances) hardly ever pop up for public sale, let alone one from #6, which is the earliest ASM OA offered that I can recall. What’s more, this amazing page from his 1st Appearance features the Lizard in every panel, and has some magnificent big, bold Spidey images. CC notes, “When this page surfaced in the 90s, it stunned the original art market when it became the first Marvel piece to sell for more than $10,000.” Given that decent Ditko Spidey-action panel pages from much later ASM issues now start at over $60k, I think the buyer of this page snagged a great deal!
$37.5k for a page from ol' Hornhead’s 1st Appearance seems like a fair price, considering Matt doesn’t appear in costume here. It does however, feature an early demonstration of DD’s radar sense, along with those trademark shades and cane. Yet another rare and historic treasure from the Jon Berk collection!
Wow that page 9 fetched a strong price, considering the #115 title splash with a full-figure Torch in flight (and small Sandman bust) went for $14.3k in February 2017 on Heritage Auctions. Do Sandman panels from his 2nd Appearance really matter that much? Also of note, page 9 cost 65% more than page 8, which I attribute to the display of Sandman’s powers – it apparently commands a premium to Johnny’s flame effects!
Early-Marvel Ditko superhero OA is rare enough, but when you consider that this page comes from the Melter’s 1st Appearance (no biggie) and contains some large, chunky Iron Man images from the first ten issues of TOS featuring ol’ Shellhead (very significant), it becomes even more special! Taking into account the stratospheric prices of Ditko ASM OA, TOS pages look like superb value right now, which should appeal to collectors looking for Ditko’s more affordable superhero work from the early-’60s. $10.2k is only about double what non-Iron Man pages from this run go for, making this piece a great buy!
Everything mentioned about the TOS #47 page above still applies here. However, this page ramps up the desirability quotient by hailing from the 1st X-Men crossover story and featuring not just Tony in armour, but also some extraordinarily rare Ditko X-Men art! Given all that, $15.4k seems like another bargain; wish I’d gone harder after these two Ditko TOS pages. As discussed in Part 1, decent early X-Men and Thor Journey into Mystery pages fetch mid-$20k to low-$30k, making these early TOS Iron Man pages look even more appealing!
$7.4k is a very strong price for this Ayers TTA page from the (deceased) Black Knight’s 1st Appearance. I’m just going to put this down to collectors placing increased value on pages from 1st Appearance issues, as discussed in Part 1!
In my opinion, $12.4k is a pretty impressive sum for this mediocre Sienkiewicz cover, which I’m guessing would have fetched about half the amount 18 months ago. Sienkiewicz OA prices are on the uptick, with strong Moon Knight and New Mutants pages also fetching robust prices recently.
The Mighty Thor indeed! Values of Pollard’s Thor OA have leapt over the past couple years, with prices for Keith’s other artwork also gaining momentum. This late-Bronze Age cover has it all: a titanic Destroyer/Thor brawl, Sif, Bifrost and Asgard! Once that’s taken into account, $13.8k seems a perfectly fair amount for this tremendous cover.
Until next time, happy collecting!