New York Times Profiles Comics Art Collectors
Comics have long been a haven for collectors, that niche of consumers who’ll drop six figures on an old Disney issue or a near-mint of a Golden Age superhero.
As comics are becoming less of a disposable form of entertainment, the issues are increasingly common. So individual issues are no longer a hot commodity.
I don’t see it as a new trend, but The New York Times saw fit to devote a lengthy story to the new target of comics collectors — original artwork. The article mentions how originals were once used to sop up ink stains, but they’ve gradually become more and more valuable, to the point that they’re now selling for inordinately high prices.
Collectors of original comic-book art sound like a subculture within a subculture, and that’s fine with many aficionados. “There was a thrill in finding something nerdier than collecting comics,” said David Mandel, 37, an executive producer of the HBO series “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” who first bought original art during a visit to the San Diego Comic-Con in 1995.
Mr. Mandel has pieces that would make many fans drool, like the cover, by Gil Kane and Dave Cockrum, of Giant-Size X-Men from 1975, which trumpeted Wolverine, Storm and others as the new incarnation of the mutant team, and the 1982 cover of Daredevil No. 181, by Frank Miller, depicting the death of Elektra, the title hero’s girlfriend.
His collection also includes the last four pages from “The Killing Joke,” a seminal 1988 story that helped usher in a new level of maturity for comic books. That Batman tale chronicles a possible origin for the hero’s nemesis, and was written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Brian Bolland. In November the last page of the story became available at Heritage Auction Galleries in Dallas. Mr. Mandel landed it for just over $31,000.
It would’ve been nice if the reporter had talked to Scott Dunbier, currently an IDW editor and formerly one of the better known art dealers. If you want to hear some great stories about buying and selling comics art, I highly recommend Scott’s blog.