Sunday, November 19, 2006


Spent most of the day on Saturday at the Big Apple National Comic Con at the Penn Plaza Pavillion in NYC. My main intent going to the show was to acquire some commissions from Bill Sienkiewicz, Michael Golden and Dave DeVries. I scored on all, along with a sketch by Steve Mannion.

I was able to get everything by days end, except for Michael Golden's drawing, as he was backed up with other requests and will be mailing me mine (Baron Karza from The Micronauts). It was great to be able to chat with Michael and his agent Renee for a little while. They were both very cool to talk to. I showed Michael the drawing of Acroyear (also from The Micronauts) he did for me back in the late 70's (again, after meeting him at a con, but having the art mailed to me) and he was astonished to hear he only charged me $10 for it. Well, it was the 70's and I was a kid!

Michael Golden-1970's Acroyear

He was also nice enough to sign a copy of the Micronauts for me (#12, one of my favorite covers) as well as the book my mom wrote on collecting comics, titled, appropriately enough, 'Collecting Comic Books'. Back when it was being written, c. 1980-1982, the publisher, Little Brown and Company, asked my mother for suggestions as to who could do the cover art. She in turned asked me and the first name I threw out was Michael Golden's. Luckily enough, they were able to get him to do the cover art. I've been looking for the original art to this cover for awhile (Little Brown said they had returned it to him many years ago), so I figured he might know where it was. Unfortunately, he didn't know, and said he never it got it back himself. Who knows, maybe it's sitting in a file somewhere in an office at Little Brown. He did give me some info on how it was created and that someone in the production dept. at the publisher did the color work on an acetate overlay (ala an animation cel). The figures were also drawn in areas predesignated by the art. there weren't full body drawings of Silver Surfer or Dr. Strange, that they cropped, to put inside the letters. I asked him if it was his idea to put Hellcat on the cover, but he said, no, Marvel wanted the character because The Defenders was hot at the time, hence the inclusion of a bunch of other Defenders on the cover.

Collecting Comic Books

The first artist I approached was Dave DeVries, as he was on the ground floor. I've gotten a number of drawings from Dave over the years and this time he really blew me away with an awesome mechanical robot rabbit..I asked for a hulking, retro robot and he came up with this terrificly imaginative take, straight out of his 'noggin. It was interesting to hear him talk abit about his one point when I came back to see how he was progressing on the drawing, he had down a very loose, rough sketch that he was working through. He said he was having a tough time and had done alot of erasing. It was heartening to hear someone I respect that much and figure can do no wrong, say he was having some trouble at some point in his art...but I knew in the end (even at that stage, it looked cool) it would be awesome. He quickly showed how he might just start loosely moving the pencil around on the paper, maybe not even looking at the page and then seeing the shapes he made and going in and picking out certain lines to turn into part of the character. Great.

Dave Devries - Robo Rab

Next up, after stopping by Michael Golden's table, was Bill Sienkiewicz. There were a couple of guys trying to get onto his sketch list, so I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to get something by days end. It was around 12:30 at this point and I was planning on leaving around 5 or 6pm. I spoke with Bill's rep and he asked me what I was looking to spend. For $100, I could get a head shot, and for $200, full-body (or around 3/4 based on my drawing). I went for a full-body Batman (I figured I couldn't go wrong with a tried-and-true character). Compared to the prices for his art on his website, that was a bargain! I handed over my money and said I'd stop by a little later on. An hour or two later I came by and he hadn't yet gotten to my drawing. Another guy was there who had given Bill $100 back in Feb. for a Batman headshot, so I figured this guy would have his done before mine. I took another walk around and came back a little while later. At this point, Bill had started work on a Batman, but I didn't know who it was for. I explained to Bill's rep my time frame and if Bill didn't have a chance to work on it today, I'd rather just get my $ back. He helped out, though and made sure the Batman Bill was working on would be for me, even pencilling my name at the top of the page. It was looking good, just from the intial pen marks he was putting down. I thanked him and left, checking in with Dave Devries, who at that point was still in the pencil stages of the Robo Rab drawing. I checked back with Bill around another hour or so later and lo and behold, my Batman drawing was finished, sitting on the chair next to him. Walking around the con with it was fun, as I got a number of people asking about the drawing and saying how much they liked it.

Bill Sienkiewicz - Batman

Travis Charest was doing free head sketches and full-body drawings, some with color, for a $40 donation at the HERO booth, but I was too late for either. Mark Texeira was doing some great watercolor paintings, but he wasn't by his setup the few times I passed by. Paolo Rivera was also doing some great color mini-paintings, but, again, it was too late in the day to get a commision from him. Alex Maleev was seated next to Dave DeVries, and he too was doing some incredible commissions. If only...

I didn't buy too much else at the show, as most of my cash was earmarked for original art. I picked up a few relatively recent back issues (Dan Brereton, Joe Chiodo), a Bernie Wrightson sketchbook, a Steve Leialoha sketchbook (very Moebius influenced) and a couple of Hong Kong movies (that looked like they had some amazing action, based on the bits playing there). There were the usual number of people suited up in costume, hot babes (though not as many as in previous years) and guys selling all manner of weapons/swords. The 'big' names getting the non-comic/art/toy buying people into the building were Val Kilmer, the perennial Adam West, B-movie actors and former startlets. Of course, I was drooling at every booth set up with vintage comics..rows and rows of early Amazing Spider-Man's, Fantastic Four's and other Marvels, classic Golden Age Charlton and DC stuff...old EC's...literally millions of dollars worth of collectibles. But I refrained from any purchases, one reason being that you can get alot of that stuff cheaper on Ebay, the other being my dwindling wallet!



Dan Springer said...

I like the unemployed Skeletor- I guess you can be a Master of the Universe and still not have a job.
It's good to see some Storm Troopers and a Jawa- what is this? 1977??

I would've liked to have gone if I didn't have to work- just to see Adam West and ask him about the Family Guy...

FrogDaddy said...

excellent post justin-
felt like I was there-
i will now go masturbate furiously
on my acid-free, plastic wrapped issue
of "Amazing Fantasy #15"

Justin Leigh Leiter said...

Dan:That woulda cost you $40 to ask Adam West that question...$15 to get in and another $25 to get in line to meet him..I was taking a shot of him from the side and as I was taking it, the burly security guard started shouting 'no pictures, no pictures!'. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) it came out blurry.

Glenn:You never told me about your Amazing Fantasy #15! Damn you! I'll trade you my Showcase #4 for it, as long as you clean off the mylar!