Collector Spotlight – Dick O.
Welcome everyone, to the final weekly instalment of OA Aficionado! Thank you to all readers, contributors and guests for your invaluable support – you’ve enabled us to publish articles for 83 consecutive weeks! Just because this is the last weekly piece doesn’t mean it’s the end of the column though, we’ll still periodically publish the reports and features that you’ve come to know and (hopefully) love.
My zeal for original comic art burns hotter than ever, as I turn my focus to other OA-related endeavours. I’ll still be deeply involved in the hobby, and look forward to interacting with all of you for decades to come!
When planning today’s article, I realized I’d never talked about my own artwork, even in the introduction. Well, to rectify that and do some showing-off, today I’ll chronicle my collecting journey through the lens of my collection.
Thanos with Infinity Gauntlet illustration by Jim Starlin
This was the very first piece of comic artwork that I bought, aside from convention sketches. After learning about OA by following message boards and online sales for a few months, I finally took the plunge and ordered two pieces from a dealer in 2011 (the other was a Juggernaut X-Men #160 page by Salvador Larroca). This perfectly proportioned full-figure image of Thanos wielding the fabled Gauntlet, by his legendary creator, was the ideal way to start a collection!
Thanos Imperative #5 (2010), pages 7 & 8 DPS by Miguel Sepulveda
Over the next year, I continued familiarizing myself with the OA market, but nothing struck my fancy enough to pull the trigger on. Then one day this monstrous double-page splash showed up on a dealer’s site, and after some intense negotiations, I managed to haul it home! Sepulveda’s detailing here is staggering, particularly his ultra-fine hatching and cross-hatching around the Galactus Engine’s eyes and helmet.
With that, a switch seemed to flip, and I began actively approaching collectors on ComicArtFans about selling their Thanos artwork. At the time, Marvel Cosmic wasn’t the hot property it is today, and there was virtually nothing for sale or at auction. So I had to do some serious legwork!
Thanos #5 (2004), pages 4 & 5 DPS by Jim Starlin & Al Milgrom
Fortunately, OA collectors are a friendly bunch and supportive of others who share their passions. An experienced collector kindly agreed to sell me his Thanos vs Galactus DPS, which had been seared into my brain ever since first reading the comic. I was over the moon about my first “big” purchase – something I’d never imagined owning in my wildest dreams!
Silver Surfer #55 (1991), page 10 by Ron Lim & Tom Christopher
Of course, life comes at you in bunches, and just five days later the deal for this astonishing half-page splash was sealed with a big Silver Surfer fan. To this day, it remains the largest full-body Thanos with Infinity Gauntlet depiction that I can recall, by cosmic master Ron Lim no less!
Warlock Chronicles #2 (1993), page 6 by Tom Raney & Keith Williams
To illustrate just how underappreciated Marvel Cosmic was 5 years ago, I managed to snag this jaw-dropping Eternity page by the underrated Raney/Williams combo for less than $300 on (the usually pricey) Heritage Auctions. It’s probably the single greatest Eternity image ever produced (in my humble opinion), and is a piece I’ll likely never part with.
Infinity Gauntlet #2 (1991), page 11 by George Perez & Joe Rubinstein
Here’s my first “stretch” buy: I entered a maximum bid in the eBay auction over four times more than I’d spent on any OA item to that point. I knew it was one of those gloves-off situations – a unique opportunity to obtain perhaps the finest Infinity Gauntlet piece in existence – and threw all my resources at it. The week leading up to, and especially the seconds right before the auction ended, are still the most anxious I’d ever been about winning a piece of art!
Ghost Rider & Blaze: Spirits of Vengeance #6 (1993), cover by Ken Steacy & Adam Kubert
My all-time favourite comic book cover! When I first saw this issue on the rack, I was convinced it was a computer enhanced image… the eerie lighting and three-dimensional texturing were simply breathtaking. Even today looking at the painting in hand, it’s hard to tell that it’s handcrafted with acrylic and gouache – Ken’s exquisite use of airbrush and brush to blend colours truly culminated in a masterpiece of lighting and textures.
X-Force #4 (1991), pages 2 & 3 DPS by Rob Liefeld
Quality Juggernaut artwork is very thin on the ground, so owning this iconic Juggy image is something I still pinch myself over! The double-page layout gave Liefeld sufficient space to properly convey the sheer mass of Cain Marko, and Rob’s use of Zipatone on the helmet is a particularly neat touch.
There’s still a ton of pieces I’d love to talk about, but that’ll have to wait for another day, as I’ve rambled on too long already. To end off, in honour of Avengers: Infinity War crossing $2 billion in box office earnings, I’d like to showcase this gem:
Iron Man #55 (1973), page 9 by Jim Starlin & Mike Esposito
As an unabashed Thanos/Marvel Cosmic fan, Iron Man #55 page 9 holds a special place in my heart: it unveils Thanos’ origin and marks the first time we ever see his face! This page also features the first appearance of Kronos, second time we see Mentor, and Drax’s origin in the bottom three panels. Interestingly, each star in the backgrounds consists of a glob of white paint rather than a flat white dot, giving the page a funky three-dimensional nature.
Until next time, happy collecting!
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