Saturday, October 24, 2009

Captain America Original Art

I've decided to ebay a piece of John Byrne/Joe Rubinstein art from Captain American #234. Before I sell it, however, I thought I'd list some of the things I enjoy about it. (Edit: No longer on ebay. Sold.) Click on it below if you'd like to see a larger view.

First of all, the inks are truly beautiful. If Joe Rubinstein was never a fan favorite, he should have been.

Second, the cool thing about owning original art, is that you'll notice mistakes that you'd never notice by merely looking at the printed book. For example...

The first panel has been whited out at the top. It was apparently drawn too high on the page. (A lettering issue, perhaps?) In the printed comic, the panel is lower, but slightly crooked. It must have been copied and placed a bit carelessly. (Yes. It's subtle. Have I ever mentioned I art direct for a living?)

Also, one of the panels has the lines of the door frame drawn through Cap's shoulder. When I first compared it to the printed page, I was surprised to find it there too! I shouldn't have been.

Original work, as an artifact, tells a story by itself. You can often see the history of decision-making told by white out, blue lines, or unerased pencils. You can see the "hand of the artist" in the variation of the black inks. The page above has Zip-A-Tone applied to it, which was a cool fad for a while.

I'm going to miss seeing original art, as more and more work is created solely on the computer.


Garth McMurray said...

I know that you'll be sad to part with the page, but thank you for auctioning it. I am a very big Byrne fan and an even bigger Captain America fan. Those Byrne Cap issues will always be my favorite comics of all time. I know that some rich collector will most likely outbid me, but I'm gonna try anyways. I'd sell my car to pay for it if I thought it would be enough. If I happen to win I can promise that the page will be framed and displayed with great respect.

Kerry Callen said...

Good luck in your bidding, Garth! I really hope the art ends up in the hands of a true fan. I bought the page directly from Joe Rubenstein at a Chicago convention in the early '80's. I've been the only owner since.

A bit of trivia you may or may not know... (This is what I heard, anyhow.) Stern, Byrne, and Rubenstein had planned to stay on the book much longer. At the time, Marvel gave bonuses to creative teams who stayed on a book for 12 months straight. Marvel inserted a reprint story just as the team was approaching their twelve issue together, disrupting the bonus. The team was so upset at such a sneaky trick that they quit the book. Too bad. It was a GREAT run.

Andy Ihnatko said...

I'm a little nostalgic for the old, non-digital means of assembling a comic page, too. The original page is the story of how that page was created. And when I buy a page of original art, I can't wait to look at the back. You find warmup sketches, phone doodles, even flight information and phone numbers from when the back of this page of original art was once just the nearest handy sheet of note paper.

We're also going through a period of redefinition. I see a neat page in the publisher's preview so I contact the artist and see if it's available. Yes, but which version is the "original" art? The pencils that the artist scanned? The inks that the inker scanned, after he downloaded the pencil TIFF from the FTP site and printed it in blueline on a new set of boards?

Or neither? Is it the finished page with letters, borders, lighting effects...the whole digital magilla?

Garth McMurray said...

Yay! I won it! I've been trying to get my hands on a John Byrne Captain America page for years. I consider this page to be the highlight of my extensive Captain America & John Byrne collections.

Kerry Callen said...