The theft of Jack Kirby

Most comics fans with even a passing interest in the medium and its history will be aware of how badly the industry has suffered from people stealing original art from publishers and selling it to collectors. The most famous case being that of Jack Kirby who throughout his career must have seen hundreds of pages ‘vanish’ only to have them reappear on the secondary market. There’s an excellent blog here detailing the issue, and it is one which a number of people really, really, really fucking hate talking about for all the reasons in the world popping in your head right now.

Jack Kirby original art for Captain America #197 | Jack kirby art, Jack  kirby, Kirby

There was a few conventions in the 90’s in London where dealers from the US would have piles of art from the likes of Kirby, plus Neal Adams, Gil Kane, Steranko, and loads more for not insane prices compared with what any of those pages would go for today. The feeling at the time was many of these pages were stolen, or passed on from the original theif as after all, this was a goldmine of comics history being sold for a bargain. Just what you’d do if you want to shift hot goods quickly.

As mentioned before, this is barely spoken about because it involves picking a scab and what might come from it isn’t good. We know some artists,writers, editors (I’m not naming names, but the likes of Howard Chaykin have often over the years) and all and sundry would help themselves (struggling with rent? Grab a few pages, sell them to collectors and you’re back on track) so when Kirby had his art returned to him by Marvel, hundreds of pages ere missing. Other artists have seen pages for sale that they were told was lost while every now and then you’ll hear rumours of a black market of art thought lost but being traded by rich collectors. There’s a serious business now in collecting original art, and as everything is a one of a kind, there’s the fact it’ll never be replaced so next time you see a load of art on sale wonder where exactly that art came from and also ask if the artist/s are getting a penny from it?

Cancelling Frank Miller

If you ask people one of those who changed how comics are seen as a medium since the 1980s then Frank Miller is going to be high on the list of names given as his Daredevil work for Marvel, then Dark Knight and Batman Year One for DC being given as examples. Dark Knight is one of the best selling mainstream comics of all time. Also people may mention Sin City or 300, but Miller from 1980 through to the late 90s produced a body of work few creators since have matched let alone got near.

Since the late 90s his work has been, well, sketchy. After watching his hometown being attacked on 911 he appears to have went off the rails a tad, but if you’ve had to live by breathing air containing soot, smoke and atomised human then perhaps the horror of that day might have got to you. All of that does not excuse Holy Terror, a thinly vieled Batman booked where he tortures and kills a lot of stereotypical Muslim terrorists in a work that is toxic, angry, awful and unforgiveable all at once.

Holy Terror (graphic novel) - Wikipedia

It’s a work which really shouldn’t exist. Miller in more recent years seems not exactly proud of it, even apologetic for it, which to be honest he should be because it is every bit as terrible as it sounds.

Anyhow, Miller has turned his hand to helping make average comics for DC these days but his part in making comics what they are today is untouched, so as a guest at a comic convention you’d expect Miller to be not just a huge draw but to go down well? Not in the case of Thought Bubble, who’d invited Miller over as guest, who announced today that he was no longer coming due to complaints from other creators who felt ‘unsafe’ had he been present. The full story is here at Bleeding Cool.

The idea that Miller being in the same area is essentially making the area ‘unsafe’ would hold water if after Holy Terror he’d carried on producing the same sort of work, which he didn’t. If anything it provides an opportunity to discuss the book with Miller in a way that hasn’t been done publicly. Instead a boycott is threatened, the organisers back off some people feel worthy, and nobody learns anything. There’s no sign that people change or contain a complex set of thoughts and feelings, good and bad. Instead it’s do right or do one, and if you don’t like it the hive will come after you.

Life is about living with different types of people of a variety of different opinions and thoughts. Sure, fuck full on actual racists but I don’t beleive Miller is one, and it would have been fascinating to see someone who has fought hard for free speech and against censorship in comics to discuss this with people in a con setting.

Miniver Cheevy: Frank Miller on the Comics Code Authority

So instead we get this. Thought Bubble were in a no win situation, neither was Miller, but the organisers of the boycott feel like they’ve won a victory but it’s a sad time for the UK comics scene when a creator as important as Miller to the mediums history is ‘cancelled’ like this. The only shining light is that if one sets themselves up as morally pure then they’d better be careful not to drop these standards or do something others might find offensive or they’ll be the purity guard after them. This sort of rightous authoritarianism always leads to a bad place.

And next year Thought Bubble should book Howard Chaykin just to fuck all the right people off.

Come to sunny Paisley this weekend and buy comics!

The comics marts are coming thick and fast now, with this time the sunlight land of Paisley welcoming us all to the town for a comic (and toys, etc)at the Paisley Centre. Lots and lots of wonderful comics will be getting sold, so get yourselves down and give me your money!

BGCP Comic and Toy Market Tour: Paisley

Comic cons are back, sort of…

Last weekend I set up shop in sunny Cambuslang for the first comic con/mart since Feburary 2020, and in this case it was in the socially distanced spaces of the shopping centre which from my view over the weekend is set in 1985.

To be honest I wasn’t expecting much though I had a minium amount I needed to take to make it worthwhile, and I couldn’t take watching mates hump 20 odd boxes up and down stairs so I trimmed down stock to a minimal amount (eight boxes and a couple of back ups) for the weekend.

Lo and behold things were busy, surprisingly so for what was a small town show, not to mention most of Scotland is in Level 2 Covid restrictions which meant a lot of people will still be inside, however the weather was splendid and people did turn out. One of the things I was worried about was how Covid had affected the market and in this outing, it seems that collectors are coming out of lockdown looking to spend money so I was selling some insane stuff, including stuff I’ve lugged around for years. The Sunday was excellent and that’s the worst day normally.

But the event was more about breaking myself back into the world not to mention learning how to stand again without feeling like jelly. Today I feel like I’ve been beaten up but in a good way.

So one down, Rutherglen is next up…

Wading through the comics market post Covid

As we slowly unravel after Covid it’s time to assess exactly how the comic market has changed in the last 17 or so months, and to say things have changed is a tad of an understatement. Comics which were barely worth 50p in February 2020 are now pulling in 50 quid plus on Ebay. Then there’s comics worth a few quid then now hitting 100-150 quid, so the story is the pandemic might not have killed off the back issue market though take also into account the work of speculators inflating the market artificially on the search for the perfect ‘key 9.8’.

Anyhow I’ve got a week or so to get my stuff together so this could end up being a lot more fun than expected…

The welcome return of comic conventions

It might only be a local event and relatively small but dear me, have I missed these things something chronic over the last 16 months but in a few short weeks in the sunny climate of Cumbernauld I’m back trading for a smallish two day event.

May be a cartoon of 3 people and text that says 'GREENOCK/ 21ST AND 22ND MAY CUMBERNAULD 5TH AND 6TH JUN MORE EVENTS BEADDED! KIRKCALDY / 12TH JUN AYR 25TH AND 26TH JUN 27TH AND 28TH AUG LOCH LOMOND/ 21STA LOMOND 24THJUL DUNFERMLINE GLENROTHES 3RD JUL 31ST JUL CHECK WEBSITE FOR VENUE, TIMEAND TICKET INFORMATION COMICCON COMIC AND ΤΟΥ MARKET TOUR 2021 FREE ENTRY f bigglasgowcomicpage.com #BGCPCOMICCON'

I’m still sticking to events near Glasgow barring the big Edinburgh events until things get back to full normality, whatever ‘normal’ will be in future. Subsequent events will be announced but please do turn up if you’re in the area, say hello and grab some glorious comics I’ve been waiting 16 months to sell!

The Wonderful, Horrible World of E. C. Comics

E.C Comics gave us the finest examples of the medium in America with some of the greatest artists to bless the medium. Some 70 years later it has an influence that lives on, which is why we need to keep celebrating it and that brings me to the online San Diego Comic Con which has a wonderful panel discussing E.C.

Have a look and enjoy.

How well is a virtual San Diego Comic Con going?

We’re well into Comic Con at Home, the online event to replace the actual event which was canceled this year due to Covid-19. It is as good as you’ll expect it to be though there’s only so much joy you can get from glorified Zoom meetings, with much of it the sort of stuff you get at the mega-conventions so you’ve got your Star Trek, and other big media ‘franchises’ (a despicable word that reduces art and culture to nothing more than a Big Mac) through to actual talk about comics at a comic convention.

SDCC-at-Home-735x400

Some of it is painfully tedious. This thing for proclaiming their pronouns in introductions is complete bullshit and instantly makes the thing tedious, as are moderators who don’t know when to shut up however there’s a lot of stuff coming out for everyone even if there’s an awkwardness about it all which is of course understandable.

However SDCC could learn a few things from this. For one the on-floor exclusives in future could easily be done online, so you screen out those who’ll come for a few hours, grab their stuff before going home to bang it on eBay, or to be locked away .  Some of the huge panels could have pay per view functions to again reduce the amount of people sitting in queues to get a glimpse of Robert Downey Jnr. from 200 meters away. There’s a lot they can learn from this weekend which can open the event up, and maybe even free up tickets for people who want the weekend to explore the con rather than just follow film and TV announcements.

Or they could learn nothing and just plug on as they have been. We shall see.

Comics in the 1980’s

I’ve been scouring the internet for video or film footage for a while now, and every now and them, in amongst the ‘geek’ videos telling you how great <insert shite Marvel/DC comic here> while desperately hoping for that big TV deal you’ll get a gem. This is one of those gems.

This is a compilation of stock footage from the 1980’s, though some may well be 1970’s with the Neal Adams footage, and it’s a joyful flood of nostalgia as these days of comics are gone now to be replaced by a more corporate version. Enjoy this look into the past…

The comics of San Diego Comic Con

Gem Mint Collectables are a pretty fun comics based YouTube channel, and by ‘comics’ I actually mean comics and not ‘geek culture’. It can be a wee bit tied up in speculator prices but the love of comics is there and I can’t fault that one bit.

This year they released their annual video of the comics of San Diego and it is an utter joy drooling over stuff I’ll never, ever have but hey, I can dream about that Gil Kane original art can’t I?

So fanboy’s assemble and enjoy this great wee video.