What is the Modern Age of comics–such a vague term? Some claim it started in the mid-eighties, but that would make the modern age “middle aged” at 37. Regardless of how you break down the various periods in comic book history, today I will preview some thoroughly modern original comic art at ComicConnect with an eye to building your art portfolio.
Thoroughly Modern Millie and Original Art
Thoroughly Modern Millie is a musical Rom-Com from 1967 starring Julie Andrews–what does that have to do with original comic art? Considering the film is old enough to get a senior discount at the movie theatres, I’m really stretching here. But bear with me.
Prior to Thoroughly Modern Millie, English-born Julie Andrews became an American institution playing Mary Poppins and later Maria Von Trapp in The Sound of Music. Decades after that, Andrews revived her career as the grandmother in Princess Diaries and voice of Queen Lillian in Shrek. So, early in her career, she played a young woman who was “thoroughly modern”; decades later, her roles evolved to more regal characters. Could this be an analogy for your modern comic art purchases?
Here’s my thesis, Thoroughly Modern Millie was fresh and new 55 years ago, and now it’s a classic. In the same way, thoroughly modern original comic art holds the potential to be classics in 20, 30, or 55 years! And just maybe, you can purchase art that’s anywhere from ten years old to “wet ink” for affordable prices.
Modern Art at ComicConnect
Let’s talk about a few potentially affordable pieces, all from the last five years. In this CAT Eyes on Original Art preview, we’ll focus on ComicConnect.com’s September 19-23 auction. I’ll start with Suicide Squad #13 title splash by Eddy Barrows and Eber Ferreira. Eduardo Barros enjoys many DC Comics credits since 2005 working on titles like Detective Comics, Superman, and Teen Titans.
I like that Barrows has long runs on major characters to build his brand with DC readers. Besides the popularity of Harley Quinn, this piece is nice because it includes both pencils and inks. I couldn’t project a price yet with limited sales to reference at Heritage Auctions and ComicConnect. I suggest looking at past sales for a barometer. Obviously, covers sell at a premium compared to interior pages like this one.
Invest in Blue Chips like Spider-Man
When buying art by less established artists–guys not named Jack Kirby, John Buscema, Jim Lee, Frank Miller, etc.–it’s good to buy published art featuring the most desirable characters. Spider-Man art rates that claim! This cover art by Nick Bradshaw boasts Spider-Man and Ghost Rider. It’s published, so a lot of people have seen this cover from Spider-Man #5 (2018). And fifty years from now, Spider-Man has a great chance to still be popular, unlike a plethora of other heroes and villains in the market today. Past Bradshaw cover sales range from about $1,500 to $3,000 at HA.
Distinctive Quality Art has Advantages
Mico Suayan’s variant cover for DC vs. Vampires Hunters 1 pops off the proverbial page. Art that goes beyond the ordinary always has distinct advantages over pieces that blend together in the vast sea of comic art. This particular cover is an homage to Robin 1 by Brian Bolland. I suspect that’s a good draw, but time will tell.
Variant and homage covers are rampant these days, so it’s possible that this era could be looked upon with disdain in the future.
Final Note on Thoroughly Modern Original Art
Here are some final thoughts on modern art. First, it will never be as “rare” as Golden or Silver Age art because no one is surprised that it’s worth something. But it SHOULD still be ONE-OF-A-KIND. I say that with emphasis because the computer art process employed by many modern artists changes some of the rules. See my article on Digital Art and NFTs.
The other challenge is that some art pieces are pencils only, while others are inks only. Look for a future article on pencils-only art. I called one of my first blogs Simple Original Art Investment Plan. That article is a good supplement to this one.
I will preview interior art from Amazing Spider-Man #252 at auction through ComicConnect in my next article!