The three-day Planet Comicon comic book and pop culture convention wrapped yesterday in Kansas City. The highlight of the day for thousands of attendees was the one-day visit to the show by Stephen Amell, star of the CW Network’s Arrow TV series. If you’ve been reading borg.com for very long, you’ll know I’ve been tracking the show as the world’s biggest Green Arrow fan, including spending the night with 7,000 other fans in San Diego for the show premiere with Amell and his co-stars back in 2012.
After hanging with his cousin (and CW star of The Flash) Robbie Amell last night at the Elite Comics after party at the Alamo Drafthouse, we got to meet Stephen today. As you’d expect, fans were happy to meet him, and he kept a cheery disposition throughout a whirlwind day of signing autographs and being featured on a panel at the convention.
Because he was only at the show for one day, that meant plenty of lines to get to see him–lines that barely even looked like lines.
But as typical with attendees at comic book conventions, everyone handled it all with great attitudes.
One of our favorite artists is J.K. Woodward, known for his vibrant and life-like painting style, and his work on several successful series including Doctor Who/Star Trek: The Next Generation–Assimilation² reviewed here and Star Trek: Harlan Ellison’s The City on the Edge of Forever reviewed here.
We haven’t featured any new original comic art lately so what better time than now to share borg.com’s recent commission of a Woodward painting, done as part of his donation to the Toe Tag Riot crowdfunding project (we reviewed Toe Tag Riot Issue #1 here).
Adding to our gallery of awesome Green Arrow and Black Canary original art, Woodward placed the Alex Ross era costumed duo on the streets of Star City. Green Arrow, sporting his classic look and Van Dyke beard, is ready to take out some vile foe off-screen, as Black Canary soars into the picture overhead on her trusty bike. Based on her facial expression, this superheroine means business.
Check out the full image, after the break…
This year I had my first comic convention experience where I didn’t get in early to be the first in line to commission sketches from some of the great artists attending the show. That was Planet Comicon, and it was simply because I was helping set up booths, working my way through four cosplay outfits, meeting celebrities, spending hours in costume with attendees in photo ops, catching up with old friends, helping artist friends sell art, manning a booth… keeping busy and having a great time doing it.
So I missed out on my regular art fix.
So I decided to fill the void by picking up some original cover art from one of my favorite artists in the business right now. That’s Mike Mayhew, who created some great covers for the Bionic Man series last year, and is currently wrapping up one of the best Star Wars works ever produced, The Star Wars, where he served as artist interpreting George Lucas’s original vision of Star Wars before it became Star Wars.
It’s a strange coincidence that 50 years after the death of President John F. Kennedy a controversy has surfaced involving a Superman comic book, President Kennedy, and original comic book art. The controversy involves the original artist, Heritage Auctions, and an agreement made just after Kennedy’s death.
Heritage Auctions had initially planned to auction 10 pages of original artwork from Superman Issue #170 today in conjunction with the anniversary of the President’s assassination (along with several Dave Gibbons original cover art pages for Watchmen). The auction house agreed to pull the lot in light of a lawsuit brought by 91-year-old artist Al Plastino, who claims that the original art was to be gifted to Boston’s Kennedy Library by DC Comics decades ago.
The Superman comic book, which featured the story “Superman’s Mission for President Kennedy” has its own interesting history. Plastino was working on the Kennedy story art the day Kennedy died, and the project was halted until DC Comics got permission to issue the story to honor President Kennedy, authorized by President Lyndon Johnson himself. The story involves Kennedy enlisting Superman in his initiative to get America’s youth physically fit. It includes a full-page drawing of Superman waving to an image of Kennedy above the U.S. Capitol–the art that was to be sold at auction today. The story was finally published in July 1964 with a note on its last page announcing the original art would be donated to the JFK Memorial Library at Harvard University.
Following on the heels of the successful Dark Horse Comics series Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 and 9 and IDW Publishing’s The X-Files Season 10, this week Dynamite Comics announced Steve Austin, the Six Million Dollar Man will be continued where the TV series left off with The Six Million Dollar Man Season 6.
Unlike the current successful monthly series Bionic Man and Bionic Woman, which updated the original TV series for the 21st century, The Six Million Dollar Man Season 6 will make an effort to look back to elements, styles, designs and even sounds that made the original series popular in the 1970s. Expect familiar special effects, slow motion movements, and kung-fu gripping action.
Our Firefly readers should like this news from Dark Horse Comics. It’s not the much-desired return of Mal & Co. to the screen, but it’s still what we need, as Christopher Walken would say, “more Firefly.” Dark Horse announced on its blog late today that something is in the works for Serenity comics. The publisher mentioned no specifics, but offered the following tease:
Joss Whedon’s beloved Firefly series and Serenity film’s lifespan may have been short-lived, but managed to produce one of the most dedicated fanbases in the history of modern science fiction. Dark Horse is proud to be able to keep Mal and his crew flying with new comics and products. Look for the hashtag #WheresSerenity over the next few months on our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages for exclusive news on the future of the franchise at Dark Horse!
Dark Horse also released the above four-part animation showing the steps in creating a comic book page featuring the Firefly class ship Serenity. It looks great!
If you’ve any doubt which is more popular and influential–Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, or Alan Moore’s Watchmen–a coming original comic art auction may end the discussion once and for all. Heritage Auctions is auctioning the cover to The Dark Knight Returns Issue #2, with pencils and inks by Frank Miller. Only slightly less iconic than the stunning cover to Issue #1, the cover to Issue #2 took the world by storm, showing the classic superhero like he had never been seen before, not as heroic and stoic, but as grim and mean.
Back in February 2013 Heritage began to auction off the 1986 original art to all but one of twelve covers to Watchmen by Dave Gibbons. The cover to Issue #1 fetched $155,350, Issue #2 sold for $38,837.50 and Issue #3 sold for $22,705.00. Heritage’s magazine said the other covers will be sold in a coming auction. However, in May 2011 an interior splash page of The Dark Knight Returns–Issue #3, page 10–also from 1986, sold for a whopping $448,125, as we reported here at borg.com. That said, that page (shown below) was simply stunning. Personally, this reader would rather have the interior page on the office wall than the Issue #2 cover, but cover art is cover art and interior art is interior art–covers sell for big bucks compared to interior pages. And the cover to Issue #2 is arguably the defining image of the new grim Batman of the 1980s that survives to this day in the dozen+ monthly comic book titles and Christopher Nolan’s grim movie trilogy.
Issue 3, Page 10 original Frank Miller/Klaus Janson splash page art that sold for almost a half-million dollars at auction in May 2011.
This year I continued my Comicon season by commissioning sketches from comic book artists of my favorite characters, Green Arrow and Black Canary. I always like to let the artists do whatever vision they have with the duo and am always blown away by the results and at this year’s Planet Comicon it was no different. It’s even better when you watch artists take on characters for the first time.
At Planet Comicon weekend itself, I met Greg Smallwood, who I found at Artists Alley with the forthcoming Dream Thief co-creator Jai Nitz. Greg sketched this great piece for me, and I’d LOVE to see a series with this classic look.
Black Canary never before looked more like she was going to take everyone out of commission with that sonic scream!
I also asked my friend Damont Jordan to give me his take on Green Arrow and Black Canary and gave him a few weeks after the Con to take his time with it. Somewhere we started chatting up adding extra characters and I threw out the idea of something like “oh yeah, why not include Super Grover, too.” And BAM! Check this out:
By C.J. Bunce
Sometimes you want to just sit down and view a single TV episode where you walk away at the end of the hour having been energized with a complete end to end story. I remember countless episodes of the X-Files with the monster of the week and these stand out to me from the episodes that followed the long-term plot of Fox Mulder’s lost sister or uncovering the mysterious smoking man’s real story. I have the same thoughts about standalone issues of comic books. Most series today have multi-issue story arcs and they are usually relevant and continue the intrinsic and historic serialized nature of monthly comic series dating back to the origin of comic books. But when I was a little kid I’d flip through the short supply of comics at my local Kwik Shop and sometimes you’d be lucky and get an issue with a single beginning to end story and sometimes you’d start reading and have no idea what is going on. I still get excited about a book when I get a great end-to-end story. Detective Comics #19–the 900th issue of Detective Comics is one of those reads.
When the old DC Universe ended in August 2011, Detective Comics was at issue #881. Detective Comics was set to become the second DC Comics series to reach Issue #900 after Action Comics. Then the New 52 renumbered everything. No matter. DC Comics knows when it has something to celebrate, so to mark the occasion it is publishing a good ol’ 80-page giant issue. As part of its across-the-line gatefold cover series, it cleverly manages to include the number 900 as part of its cover, as well as integrate the number into its storyline in a meaningful way.
Heritage Auctions publishes a print version of a collectibles magazine called Heritage Magazine for The Intelligent Collector. Each issue presents several collectors and their different collecting interests, including interviews with celebrity collectors like Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Whoopi Goldberg. Issues also highlight key items sold in past and future Heritage Auctions. One issue previewed a superb collection of John Wayne memorabilia sold off by his estate. The photo quality is beautiful and it’s a fun magazine to read, especially about areas of collecting that you’re not necessarily interested in. It’s a bit like watching Antiques Roadshow on Public Television. Subscriptions are $21 for 3 issues and the magazine is published three times per year.
This month’s print edition features a pull-out poster of Dave Gibbons’ original comic art cover pages for the original Watchmen series and a who’s who of the best comic book creators of all time.