Collector Spotlight – Andrew Allen (Part 2)

Welcome back all, to part 2 of Andrew’s tale about his collecting experiences along with his growth as a collector and person! If you missed it, do check out part 1 of Andrew’s story here.

All Micronauts, All the Time?

From the perspective of the original art hobby, I’m sure it must appear so! But, as the first part of this article hopefully suggests, I do branch out. I’ve always been a collector of the things that made me happy. I had quite the accumulation of books on dinosaurs and sharks when I was in elementary school, though they’re all long gone now. I still have my childhood agate collection (almost a requirement for growing up in Central Minnesota), and I add to it a little every year. My high school comic book collection is in storage somewhere. I still have all my trading cards, though I’ve stopped collecting new ones. I used to collect a few Transformers, they’re in storage too. I have formidable (yet specialized) CD, DVD, and Blu-Ray collections, and a library stuffed with books on nautical and naval history. Most oddly of all, I have a modest collection of sterling silver spoons from the 1890’s to the 1940’s; focusing entirely on examples which feature navy battleships as their decoration. (I take a lot of grief from friends over that one.)
If you combine all the above with an original comic art collection, it sounds like a lot of… stuff. But I take pains to tuck it all away in my house as discreetly as possible, while still having it all more-or-less accessible. I’ve always resolved to not have a household where I’m forever stepping over things. Clearly, at least as an adult collector, when I choose to collect something, I zero in on a segment of that particular hobby which interests me. Which brings us to:

Micronauts: Michael Golden Era

Landmark Micronauts cover – Micronauts #11, cover by Michael Golden

Micronauts #11 is, without a doubt, my favorite single comic book. Viewers of my gallery will know I consider this issue the cornerstone of my original art collection. It is complete, with 18 story pages, a few assorted effect pages, and now the cover, all present. I cannot take much credit for its completeness, as it had been stored as a set since its publication. When the art was made available to me, I decided to ‘make an adventure’ out of the transaction. I jumped into my trusty VW Beetle and headed out into the teeth of a Minnesota spring blizzard. Two days later, I was negotiating the freeways of New York and Long Island for the first time as a solo driver. I remember when I’d reached my destination, I put my head down on the steering wheel and just let my shoulders sag. It had been a stressful journey, and I was only at the halfway point.

The owner was waiting for me. When I viewed the issue for the first time in its original black and white, it was like a long-forgotten puzzle piece clicked into place in my heart. Only the cover had been elsewhere; but, much to my satisfaction, it was located recently. It’s still kind of a pinch-me dream-come-true that I’m fortunate enough to own this now.

My favorite page – Micronauts #11, page 7 by Michael Golden & Al Milgrom

This is likely my favorite page in my entire collection; a fantastic example of a ‘villain soliloquy’. Every comic book fan will probably be able to recollect only a few comic books in their whole lifetime that, for whatever reason, made such an impression that the experience of reading the book for the first time will always be remembered. That is this book to me.

I wish I could say I read my favorite comic straight off the racks, but I didn’t start reading Micronauts until over two years into its publication run; I’d missed the entire Michael Golden era of the book. This particular issue had been referenced in the later books I was reading, and I asked a fellow high-school comic reader to dredge up his old copy. We were competing in a state high school swimming final, and he brought it along. I read it there at the Radisson Hotel, Duluth, MN. So, when I state that I remember where I was when I read it the first time, I’m not kidding. After being exposed to only Pat Broderick’s art on the book to that point, I was completely unprepared for the revelation of Golden’s style. Simple, elegant, emotional, and with such epic sweep, the art could easily be called cinematic.

Micronauts #12, page 2 by Michael Golden & Al Milgrom

Micronauts writer Bill Mantlo made a point of beginning each of his scripts with a reminder to his artist that, being a ‘team’ book, each issue was to incorporate a ‘line-up’ of images of the team into the first page of each issue. This was to be a signature of the book, and, generally speaking, it was followed throughout the publishing life of the title. Micronauts #12 complied with that directive by featuring the entire team in a full-page title splash, seen above.

Michael Golden’s final Micronauts page – Micronauts #12, page 30 by Michael Golden & Al Milgrom

Michael Golden’s run on Micronauts, while legendary, was also short; spanning only 12 issues of storytelling. Golden continued to produce covers for the book for another year, but the interior artwork was assigned to Howard Chaykin. At the time, that must have seemed a good choice; Chaykin had enjoyed equally legendary success introducing Star Wars just a year or two prior; but the drastic change in styles must have come as a shock to fans of Micronauts. The above page is the last page from Micronauts #12, and represents the last piece of storytelling art produced by Golden for Micronauts. I am strongly on the lookout for this issue’s cover; any info as to its current whereabouts would be both appreciated and rewarded!

Micronauts: Pat Broderick Era

My first exposure to the Micronauts was issue 27, and, since the page below was page 1, this would have been my first glimpsed page… and what a continuity-heavy entrance it was. Much of this issue was so hard to follow without cliff-notes that it was almost gibberish. It remains a surprise to me that it still made such an impression. You can also see the title page ‘character line-up’ which I discussed earlier on display here.

The first Micronauts page I ever read – Micronauts #27, page 1 by Pat Broderick & Danny Bulanadi

This page was produced with an effect called a color surprint. When a portion of the drawn art needs to be printed in a color other than black (in this example, Karza’s head on the viewscreen and the ‘Star Wars Crawl’ text) it would be drawn on a separate page, aligned with the art on the ‘master’ page, and manually added to the appropriate color plate during reproduction. This had the detrimental visual effect of requiring a blank space on the master page, where the color-only art was to be viewed in the finished comic. Some previous owner decided to ‘unify’ the piece and paste those color elements onto the main page. Perhaps the surprint page had become damaged at some point over time, or said owner just wasn’t a purist. Points scored for presentation, perhaps, but unfortunately Karza’s head is glued down just a little out of place.

Micronauts #28, page 1 by Pat Broderick & Danny Bulanadi

I’m a ‘night owl’ sleeper. Late nights typically lead to late mornings; and if I’ve overslept, I depend on my network of online friends to keep an eye open for me should morning opportunities present themselves. One morning, I awoke to a desperate email: “Wake Up!” it read. “You need to move on this, NOW!” A comic book store had unearthed a quantity of Pat Broderick pages, including three Micronauts title page splashes. The online listing was only a couple of hours old, but even with the short window, I was too late. Competing collectors had swooped in and snagged all three pages before I’d even roused myself. Never mind the rest of the Broderick pages available, the Micronauts pages on offer were targeted first.

As I’ve said before, it’s hard for me to not take that a little personally. A few grouchy days ensued. Normally, that would likely be the end of the story. The majority of the original art hobby is transacted in secret, with buyer’s and seller’s identities jealously guarded. I must then acknowledge a measure of satisfaction in reporting that, against all odds, two of the three splashes have found their way back to me. (One of them is pictured above.) Even the location of the third is known. I have again been fortunate.

I’d concede that the above is not the most thrilling of stories. But it may serve me personally as a reminder that my surliness over a mere pastime is unseemly, and that patience and decorum have a place in this hobby!

Micronauts #28, page 15 by Pat Broderick & Danny Bulanadi

In addition to being a fabulous example of an action splash, this Baron Karza vs. Acroyear page also represents a pivotal moment in the entire Micronauts saga. The previous owner had lost track of this one over the course of several moves. The day that this page showed up in the back of his closet was one of the happiest in my collecting experience! I feel humbled and fortunate to be able to own this page.

Micronauts #31, cover by Frank Miller

Here’s the only cover Frank Miller contributed to Micronauts.  Miller was a hot commodity for Marvel at the time, and this was still before his star-making turn in The Dark Knight Returns. Assigning a popular artist to design ‘guest shot’ comic covers is an old trick for bumping sales and hopefully exposing books to new audiences. This cover originally sported energy effect lines, which were drawn in marker rather than ink, and have faded considerably over the years.

Micronauts: Butch Guice Era

1982 was a landmark year for comics, but it probably wasn’t completely apparent at the time. Marvel had decided to attempt a new experiment in distribution: direct-market exclusive releases to comic book shops. Exclusive books would be published every other month, have no ads, and increase their price and page count. Moreover, since they would not be distributed to neighborhood drug stores, these books would no longer be required to observe the artistic restrictions of the Comics Code Authority. Obviously, this ‘experiment in distribution’ was a precursor of the shape of the entire comic book industry today.

Micronauts was one of three titles chosen by Marvel for direct-market distribution. There was no advance warning for the change, just an announcement in the final traditionally produced issue. This was highly inconvenient for me personally, since I depended upon my local drug store for my monthly Micronauts fix. The nearest comic store was hours away from my rural hometown, so I was forced to scramble to arrange a mail-order subscription. I missed a handful of issues, and when I finally held a new Micronauts book in my hands again, this happened:

Baron Karza returns…again! – Micronauts #49, page 30 by Butch Guice & Danny Bulanadi

Since the moment I’d started collecting Micronauts original art, this particular page had been high on my list of ‘most-wanted’ pages. While examining a database of past OA sales, I was stunned to discover this page had been quietly sold on eBay a few years prior. It had been available a scant few hours. Glancing back through my calendar, I found I had been enjoying a Police reunion concert the evening one of my ‘Holy Grail’ pages had sold!

As before, a few grouchy days ensued. Unfortunately, from a hobby perspective, this segued into a few sullen years. I was haunted by the missed opportunity; far more than it deserved. Finally, I got a ‘bee in my bonnet’ and spent a weekend re-examining that database. The only information I had on the transaction’s participants was a single outdated numerical I.D. But, with some well-reasoned database searches I was eventually able to tease out the identity of the seller, and, finally, the buyer. I then spent a weekend feeling rather pleased with myself. (eBay has since changed its database policy, and research as described above cannot be performed anymore. The increasing anonymity of eBay had been circumvented one last time.)

I resolved to travel to the hometown comic convention of the owner. We’d had some dealings in the past, but I’d never met him before. I was mildly nervous, as my travel plans had materialized late in the game and he wasn’t aware I was heading his way. I didn’t know what to expect, but he turned out to be a patient, gracious gentleman. While I gather he wasn’t enthusiastic to deal, he eventually accepted a grateful trade offer on my part. I get overgenerous when I’m happy, and, bless his heart, he had to tell me “Hey, dude – that’s enough!” when I tried to press more trade into his hands.

I have endured some degree of criticism (from both within the OA hobby and without) regarding my behavior in this matter. It is a critique I take very seriously, and I re-examine it often. Much could have gone wrong, and I am fortunate that it did not. One fact remains very clear to me: I literally sleep better since acquiring this page, and I think I have my trade partner to thank for that.

I’m still surprised that the nostalgia of comic books might be so strongly linked to family and places. I remember the exact spot I was standing when I opened that comic to that page for the first time; a scrawny awkward teenager jumping up and down at the corner of Dad’s office desk, while he looked on bemusedly at his inscrutable son.

I miss him so much.

It means a lot to me to have it in my collection. Yet another puzzle piece clicks into place within my heart.

Micronauts #50, wraparound cover by Butch Guice

Since there was no longer any need to make space for ad content, Marvel was free to use every inch of paper for art and story. The above is a rare example of a ‘wraparound’ cover; where the art on the cover wraps around to the reverse in one large composition. Creating a wraparound cover is tricky for the cover artist; half of the composition needs to work as a front cover, yet still be part of the greater double-cover.

The art for this cover has been improperly stored in the past, gauging by its yellowed appearance. The Baron Karza figure is unfortunately a ‘stat,’ a typical method of art correction for the time. The original Karza figure must have been deemed insufficiently menacing by Editorial, so a larger photostatic copy of the figure was pasted over the original. The original pen and ink artwork is still present, but can only be glimpsed by holding the piece up to a bright light. My first letter to a comic book publisher was printed on the inside of this cover. A cringe-worthy read, my straight-laced 17-year old self didn’t quite understand the concept of “retconning”.

Baron Karza’s last stand – Micronauts #58, page 21 by Butch Guice & Kelley Jones

By the time Micronauts #58 was published, the book was once again marked for change. Sales figures remained adequate, thanks in large part to a revamped art team and a crossover with the fan-favorite X-Men. But the storyline was winding down, and original writer and creator Bill Mantlo was willing to move on.

In this landmark issue, Princess Marionette was the deliverer of Baron Karza’s richly-deserved dirt nap. This was the third ‘final battle’ in the book’s history between the Baron and our intrepid heroes, but this time it was different. The previous conclusions had been overly verbose, cosmic battles with fairly typical ‘outs’ for the villain’s inevitable return. In ironic contrast, this one ended in a shockingly swift, brutal knife fight. After 58 issues, such a curt, personal ending was almost disturbingly anticlimactic to this teenage reader. Looking back on the sequence now, it is plain that this was Mantlo’s intent.

After 59 issues, Micronauts was cancelled. Immediately after, Micronauts: The New Voyages began monthly publication, with a new writer and art team, and a new story direction. It also marked a return to wide distribution as well as the old standard comic book format.

Micronauts: The New Voyages

Kelley Jones was the primary artist for the return of the Micronauts to wide distribution. Like Walt Simonson, Jones is well known for not parting with most of his comic artwork, so he isn’t as well represented in my collection. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have a few favorites from the second volume of Micronauts:

Micronauts: The New Voyages #18, cover by Keith Pollard & Mark McKenna

I happened to know from a comment from cover artist Keith Pollard that he had been asked to do this cover twice, as Editorial didn’t like the heavy black border drawn around the figures on the initial version. A second version of the cover was created from scratch, except some of the background was reproduced as color surprint effects, allowing the central figures to ‘pop’ on the published cover. I’m unsure whether or not Pollard actually did the second one himself, as there are additional credits present – perhaps it was lightbox-traced from the original by staff inkers at the Marvel Bullpen. While it likely devalues both of them, (the two paired together would never sell for what I paid for them separately), I’m still happy to have them together.

Micronauts (Image Comics)

In 2002, Image Comics acquired the publishing license for Micronauts. This was the first time in 16 years the property was being published in comics form, and it had big shoes to fill. The intended readership had strong memories of the original Marvel version, and had high expectations for the new Image title. Sadly, a slow-moving start to the story, combined with a baffling initial publication rate of every other month, stunted the opportunity. Image replaced the writer and artist after the first year, resulting in a far more entertaining direction to the title, but the damage was already done. The book folded after only 11 issues, one short mini-series, and an aborted relaunch attempt.

Micronauts #11, page 2 by Steve Kurth & Barbara Schulz

I own all the interior art for Image’s final issue, with the frustrating exception of one absent page. (I’ll run it down eventually, have no fear.) I remain grateful to the book’s penciller, Steve Kurth, for allowing me to purchase the above crucial splash for that issue.

Micronauts: The Lost Voyages

Well, that’s what I call them, anyway. In 1998, Marvel attempted to relaunch the Micronauts. Three issues were in various stages of completion, before legal issues forced the book’s quiet cancellation prior to publication. Micronauts fans were aware of the book as it was being assembled, and were crushed when the cancellation became apparent. Only the lowest of 1998-level low-rez scans had made it out of the Halls of Marvel.

After years of obscurity and questions, all the pages from this ill-fated project finally came to light. Each page is posted in my gallery with its corresponding script page or story description. The first issue’s art is finished, the second issue is only half-inked, and the third is only penciled, with a few pages being little better than breakdowns. Paging through the three books from beginning to end, you get the strange sensation of the story ‘fading away’ right in front of your eyes. Viewed together, the three issues present a fascinating window into an obsolete process.

Unpublished cover and page 1 splash by Cary Nord & Dan Green

For years, a major Micronauts fansite had hosted pictures of some of the pages from this unpublished project, including the cover and splash pictured above. Intrigued by the art on display, I found penciller Cary Nord’s website and sent him an email. By a stroke of luck, the receipt of my email coincided with the surprise arrival of the project’s outstanding pages on Cary’s doorstep. He let me know they had just arrived, after years of languishing in the vaults of Marvel. He made interested noises about being willing to sell them, and then (as artists often do) lapsed into an extended silence.

Not knowing the fate of the pages, I resolved to travel to a large convention in Cary’s Canadian hometown; trouble was, I couldn’t be certain that he was aware I was en route. But I risked the road trip; it was an adventure! (Michael Golden was attending the same show, so it couldn’t be a complete blowout for a Micronauts fan.) Once I arrived, I quickly determined Cary wasn’t present. I had pinned my hopes on his appearing in his hometown show, and I’d guessed wrong. I asked around a bit, and by (yet another) stroke of luck was directed to a potential contact: a fellow artist who played in the same band as Cary. He conveyed a message to a surprised Cary, who nevertheless kindly travelled to the convention to meet me. A price was worked out, and within a couple of months a large stack of art was in my possession. A variety of pieces from the project were missing, but I had an idea where they might be.

A quick contact with the aforementioned Micronauts fansite revealed the owner of the missing inked pieces from the project, and said owner was willing to sell. Thankfully, his lot completed issue 1, leaving only two pages missing from the entire set. This was frustrating, especially since it seemed highly unlikely that two unpublished, likely unfinished orphan pages from an abandoned project would ever have survived. So many things could have happened to them in the intervening years. Nonetheless, I started kicking the bushes. Everyone contacted was willing to help, but it had been too long since the project’s cancellation. Nobody knew anything. It seemed I would have to settle for a nearly complete project.

But suddenly, beyond all hope, I received one last email from Cary: “Hey, you must be missing a couple of pages from that old Micronauts project, right? They got mixed up in some blank pages in my studio, and I just found them!” You can imagine my glee. (Cary has contacted me just recently to inform me he’s located all the prelim drawings he made before starting his pencils. So the compiled project will shortly be even more hyper-complete.)

Personal commissions aside, this is without a doubt the worst use of my hobby funds in my entire collection. The entire project is unpublished, and has minimal interest and value to the vast majority of collectors. Nevertheless, it is highly satisfying to me to have it all together. Cary was a fortunate man; the one collector in the world foolish enough to be willing to pay to keep the set together was the one who found him first. Otherwise, the art would have been scattered to the four winds.

It was the suggestion of an old friend that I should take the opportunity to complete the project. At the time, I dismissed the idea as being overly complex and expensive; now, since his recent passing, I have reconsidered.

Cary Nord pencils with new blueline inks by Dan Green

I have scanned all the unfinished pages in hi-resolution and cleaned them up in Photoshop. Original series inker Dan Green has inked blueline prints of some of these pages; issue 2 is now completed. Hopefully, we can continue. The joy in this approach is the project would be finished, while simultaneously preserving its original ‘orphaned’ state.

Micronauts Commissions

The pedigree of any given piece of comic book original art is usually judged first and foremost by its publication history, if any. Commissions are typically unpublished, and are from the outset a poor investment for a comic art collector. Commissions are also very often either very broad in their appeal (depicting characters very commonly seen, such as Batman or Spider-Man) or so personal or obscure that future value is stunted from the outset. And yet, despite all that, commissions are widely collected and loved.

The majority of commissioned art in my collection is pretty standard fare, with convention sketches dominating. They are of varying quality, although it’s wise to not be too critical of convention-produced results. The vast majority of artists do the best they can in trying circumstances; they are required to draw various characters within the space of an hour or two, all while being constantly interrupted to chat with fans, network with other artists, sign autographs, and otherwise run their booth business. The second criterion for judging the pedigree of original art is, of course, the artist executing the piece.

Baron Karza commission by Arthur Adams

Only one commission in my collection was executed by such a notable talent that I can comfortably expect it to at least hold its value. Not every collector gets the opportunity to own an Arthur Adams piece. Ever since I received that Doctor Doom gift in the mail from Castrillo, I’ve preferred my commissions to be drawn on blueline-formatted 11”x17” comic art boards. As I’ve said earlier, I’ve come to love the format, and it allows a consistent viewing experience when paging through them. I was required to make an exception to my paper preference for Adams, as he insists upon using his preferred paper type and image size. The satisfaction of owning an Arthur Adams piece makes up for that small twinge; besides, I simply mounted it on a blueline page for my consistent viewing experience! Despite my snobbish predilection for published pieces, this commission remains the top-viewed piece in my gallery. The Public has spoken.

Through a MICROscope

Comic art commissions come in all shapes, sizes and flavors. Many subjects are selected based on characters associated with an individual creator’s career, others are requests for well-known public favorites. ‘Themed’ commissions are scarcer, and usually focus on one’s personal favorite character; but sometimes, they can get a little more complex in their requirements. Some of the most notable themed commission collections include: “Batman on Gargoyle” (exactly as it sounds, the Dark Knight loitering around dramatic rooftops), “Trophy Walls” (assorted villains surrounded by the mounted heads of their most famous adversaries), and “One Minute Later” (famous comic book covers reimagined to display events one minute after their published versions.)

After a few years of collecting Micronauts commissions, I decided to devote a portion of my collecting efforts to my own themed commission gallery, which I elected to call “Through a MICROscope”. This involved commissions of famous comic book covers or well-known movie posters, only re-done with the Micronauts taking the place of the familiar character elements from the originals. Playful twists on the Star Wars franchise was an obvious target; but I have attempted to find connections to more unlikely subject matter, in an effort to engage the artist, amuse myself, and surprise the viewer. As I’ve become more experienced in Photoshop (and more refined in what I expect from my commissions) I have begun to design the ‘cover dress’ elements (titles, prices, blurbs, etc.) myself, printing them in advance on formatted pages before turning them over to my chosen artist for completion.

Infinity Gauntlet #1 cover redo by Anthony Castrillo

One of my favorites, this is a redo of Infinity Gauntlet #1, one of the most famous covers ever created by George Perez. The central conceit here is imagining Baron Karza as the collector of the Infinity Gems, not the Mad Titan, Thanos. Castrillo and I had a lot of fun deciding which characters from the original cover to keep, and which ones to swap out. Castrillo noted to me that working on this piece had the effect of making him appreciate the sheer genius of the original’s concept.

Fantastic Four #258 cover redo by Steve Kurth

This is a redo of Fantastic Four #258 by John Byrne. The original cover was cleverly designed, subtly tapping against storytelling‘s “fourth wall” by depicting the gauntlet of Doctor Doom ripping through the book’s cover, with the art from the actual first interior page peeking through the tears. After replacing the Fantastic Four elements with Micronauts cover dress, I took the added step of inserting a well-known splash of Baron Karza in the ‘torn’ elements. The commissioned artist only had to execute the gauntlet and reflected visage of the Micronauts villain. I was experimenting with color levels when I printed out this cover, which resulted in three examples. Not wishing to waste them, they were sent to three different artists, resulting in three mildly different interpretations of the same concept.

Fake Marvel Two-In-One cover by Phil Hester

Approaching Godzilla artist (and Micronauts fan) Phil Hester to do a redesigned cover, he cast a quizzical look at my initial brief: a fake Marvel Two-In-One cover (traditionally a superhero team-up title) of all things, a Micronauts vs Godzilla concept, and compositionally based on Michael Golden’s cover for Micronauts #22 to boot. Luckily, I’d come prepared with a little Photoshop slap-together to aid in my pitch… once Phil laid eyes on that, he ‘got’ the piece immediately and was bemusedly ready to get to work. When it comes to pitching comic artists with a prospective commission idea, sometimes it helps to be prepared with a visual approach.

Godzilla had actually briefly been in Marvel Comics continuity in the late 1970’s, tangling with S.H.I.E.L.D., the Fantastic Four and the Avengers. When Hester accepted my commission request, I asked him if he was planning on using the old Marvel design for Godzilla, or the more modern version for which he was known. “Are you kidding? Mine… of COURSE!” was his reply. The final colors for the piece were added by me, to better make the individual elements ‘pop’ from the composition.

Judge Dredd #3 cover redo by Angel Medina

Here is an example of me attempting to ‘think outside of the box’ for a cover redo concept. This is a reimagining of the infamous Brian Bolland cover of Judge Dredd #3. Inter-company crossover stories are rare, but they do happen occasionally. One of the more unlikely examples occurred in the 1990’s when the Judge Dredd universe intersected with DC Comics’ Batman. The Joker joined forces with the undead Judge Death and briefly became a “Dark Judge” himself, wreaking his own kind of unholy justice on the citizens of Dredd’s Mega-City One.

If the Joker could cross over between comic publishers and be a ‘guest’ Dark Judge, why not my favorite villain, Baron Karza? What would he look like, should that happen? Like the Infinity Gauntlet cover above, this is a concept that I’ve asked multiple artists to attempt. The results have been impressive, but each artist has designed the alternative Dark Judge to their tastes and styles. The “Judge Karza” design I have in my head hasn’t been depicted yet, and I may attempt the commission again with yet another artist.

Micronauts (IDW Publishing)

Micronauts: Wrath of Karza #1, variant cover by Michael Golden

IDW Publishing is the third comic company to obtain the license to produce Micronauts comic books. Normally I would have left this section in its published chronological place, but I decided to move it here to better illustrate one last story. The provenance of this particular piece is quite convoluted, but in brief:

I had commissioned Michael Golden to finish off a pencil concept he had produced for a new Micronauts cover for IDW publishing. The cover as published was a (digitally-produced) head-and-shoulders portrait, and I was expecting a pen and ink version of it. What arrived at my doorstep was a far more involved composition, as you see above. My surprise at first seeing this final piece was total. The pencil rough he’d finished for me was based on his first concept for the cover, subsequently abandoned for a simpler composition. I must admit to some initial mixed feelings. While highly impressed by its intricacies, I had been expecting, in essence, a published cover. (That’s my snobbish prejudice showing, once again.)

Shortly after, I forwarded a picture of it to a friend in IDW Publishing, who immediately voiced their interest in running it as an upcoming cover. Since that would greatly enhance the value of my piece, I agreed, pending approval from Golden. (Commissions are granted without conferring any duplication rights.) It was finally published in two versions in May of 2017. So, I managed to get my published cover, after all. (But it’s not on blueline paper stock. Sigh…)

Still on the Hunt…

I’ve never been shy about communicating which pieces I most covet. Visitors to my CAF gallery will no doubt note that I have transformed my introductory “Featured Gallery” into a blatant ‘Most Wanted Gallery,’ instead of the usual tack of showing off personal favorites from my collection. While I concede that this approach might seem mildly obnoxious to some, I’m going to stick with it for the time being, to gauge its effectiveness. The site helpfully keeps track of the volume of views of individual pieces, so I’m aware that my ‘Most Wanted’ listings are getting some attention.

I continue to look for more effective ways to ferret out the locations of the pieces I’m hunting:

  • As mentioned above, pages and the cover from Rom: Spaceknight Annual #2.
  • Covers, splashes and pages from the Broderick and Guice runs of Micronauts, especially if they feature Baron Karza.
  • Corner Box art from Micronauts and Rom: Spaceknight.
  • Michael Golden covers for Micronauts #4 and Micronauts #12.
  • One particular Golden page: Micronauts #9 page 1.
  • As mentioned above, one particular Image Comics page: Micronauts #11 page 6.
  • Pages from the Micronauts guest appearance in Alpha Flight #10 & #11.
  • Pages from the Micronauts guest appearance in Captain Marvel (Vol. 3).
  • Pages from the Micronauts guest appearance in New Mutants #50.
  • Art from Comico’s two Star Blazers series.
  • Art from First Comics’ Grimjack and Dynamo Joe.

Further information and pics for the above and other stuff I’m watching for can be found in my two “Want Lists” on ComicArtFans: Wanted Gallery and CAF Want List.

Again, my full ComicArtFans online gallery can be viewed here.

Thank you for your kind attention.


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